The American Hardware Manufacturers Association (AHMA) announced the retirement of William P. Farrell, vice chairman of the board, on June 13, after more than 30 years of exceptional service to AHMA, and more than 50 years of like service to the hardware/home improvement industry. Farrell assumes the title of vice chairman emeritus, and will remain on the board as a lifetime, honorary member, and continue to represent the association at various industry events.
AHMA also announces the dedication of its headquarters building in recognition of Farrell’s invaluable contribution to the association and the industry by naming it The William P. Farrell Building. In addition, the association will create an award in Farrell’s name, to be AHMA’s highest honor, and to be presented to individuals who demonstrate his values, including integrity, ethical behavior, principled leadership, passion and excellence, and who make a significant contribution to the hardware/home improvement industry.
Farrell joined AHMA in 1980 as executive director, and was subsequently elected to the offices of president and chief executive officer in 1987, and vice chairman of the board in 2004. Prior to joining the association, Farrell spent more than 20 years in the industry trade press with such leading publications as Hardware Age, where he was managing editor, and Hardware Merchandiser and Hardlines Wholesaling magazine, where he was editor and publication director.
Farrell is widely credited with the growth of AHMA during his tenure. During his term as president and chief executive officer, the AHMA sponsored and conducted International Hardware Week held in conjunction with the National Hardware Show grew exponentially in terms of participation, both domestically and internationally, and value to AHMA’s members and the hardware/home improvement industry. During the same time period, the association expanded its programs, services and activities in the areas of industry conventions and conferences, and international trade.
Specific examples of this growth and expansion include many of the programs at the AHMA sponsored and conducted International Hardware Week held in conjunction with the National Hardware Show, including the New Products Exposition, the Packaging Exposition, the International Visitors Center and the International VIP Program, in which AHMA co-sponsored international buyers to attend the show.
Other examples include AHMA’s international pavilion program, which Farrell spearheaded in 1983 at the Cologne International Hardware Fair in Cologne, Germany, and expanded, in some years, to more than 10 AHMA/USA Pavilions and/or trade missions in as many countries, including Brazil, England, France, Japan, Hong Kong, Mexico, Singapore, Spain and the United Arab Emirates, facilitating AHMA’s members’ presence, and sales and marketing efforts in the worldwide marketplace.
Farrell received two Presidential awards on behalf of the association and his efforts in increasing the exports of member companies, the first in 1987 from then-President Ronald Reagan, the President’s E Certificate for Export Service, and the second in 1990 from then-President George H. W. Bush, the President’s E Star Award for Export Service, both in Rose Garden ceremonies.
Domestically, Farrell led the launch of the industry’s premier technology conference in 1991, the AHMA Hardlines Technology Forum, which brings together the information technology executives from member companies with their counterparts in the retail, wholesale and distribution segments of the industry, as well as from technology service providers.
Farrell’s accomplishments also include launching the Eagle magazine in 1982, leading the effort to establish the industry’s first Bar Coding Guidelines in 1989, creating the Hardware Industry Relief Effort (HIRE) with the American Red Cross in 1996, publishing “Do it Yourself Home Improvement in 20th Century America” in conjunction with the National Building Museum in 1998, and publishing “Celebrating the Past…Creating the Future,” an 80-page book commemorating AHMA’s 100th anniversary as a trade association in 2000.
“Bill Farrell has contributed more to AHMA and the hardware/home improvement industry than anyone else I can think of,” said Donald D. Dray, AHMA chairman of the board.
In 1995, Farrell was presented with the City of Hope’s “Spirit of Life” award for his outstanding personal, professional and philanthropic achievements. Farrell is a member of the City of Hope’s Advisory Council for the Hardware/Homebuilding Industry, and an honorary research fellowship to assist in the City of Hope’s Beckman Research Institute’s role in fighting life-threatening diseases is maintained there in his name.
Farrell served for more than 15 years on the board of directors of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau (CCTB), and for more than 10 years on its Executive Committee, during which time he received numerous recognitions from the CCTB, as well as former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and former Illinois Governors James R. Thompson and Jim Edgar, for his work in the association and trade show industries.
Farrell’s affiliations include being a member of the Hardware Group Association (HGA), the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), the Foundation for International Meetings (FIM), the Newspaper Advertising Executives Association (NAEA) and the American Society of Business Press Editors (ASBPE).
On the occasion of his retirement, Farrell said, “I’ve been exceptionally fortunate to have been part of an organization and an industry of so many wonderful people, and to have had the opportunity not only to work with them, but to build life-long personal relationships with many of them as well.”
About the American Hardware Manufacturers Association (AHMA)
AHMA is a globally focused trade association of manufacturers, or providers, of hardware, home improvement, lawn and garden, paint and decorating, building and construction and related products, as well as manufacturers’ representative’s agencies and trade publications.
AHMA offers many valuable member and industry programs, services and activities, including the AHMA Hardlines Technology Forum, AHMA/USA International Pavilions, AHMA Advantage GPO, the AHMA eAGLE, The Hard Fax: Home Improvement Industry News, The Hard Fax International: Home Improvement Industry News from Around the World, the AHMA Home Improvement Industry Confidence Index, the AHMA Home Improvement Industry Dashboard, Government Relations Programs, Member Benefit Vendor Programs, the AHMA Hardware Industry Relief Effort (HIRE) and the AHMA/Habitat for Humanity Partnership.
For more information about AHMA, visit www.ahma.org.