Q&A with Matt Croson

Gear Solutions talks with company leaders so they can share their experiences in the industry. We had a chance to sit down with Matt Croson, AGMA’s new president, to learn more about him.


Please tell me a little about your background.

For the past 23 years, I’ve been developing the communications, meetings, membership, human resource, and general management experience necessary to lead an association. I’ve worked for three associations — PMMI, ASC, and AGMA. PMMI focused on packaging machinery; ASC focused on adhesives and sealants, and AGMA — power transmission. In my heart, I’m a writer. I hold a B.A. in English with a concentration in writing from George Mason University. I’ve developed skills to take complex themes and narrow them down to salient messages. The nature of writing within the association space is one of collaboration, and I think that applies to the work of any association. Association professionals collaborate every day with their members — identifying opportunities and challenges that can be addressed by working together in a collaborative manner. It’s an exciting process, and I’ve enjoyed building a career in Washington, D.C., the preeminent location for association professionals.

Since your first day as AGMA president, what have you been up to?

Since I started June 20, 2016, I’ve flown more than 50,000 air miles, visiting with more than 40 member companies and partners that work with AGMA. This has allowed me to gain a stronger understanding of our industry and to meet face-to-face with many of the leaders who have guided AGMA through its 100 years of association. I’ve been to Chicagoland, Cleveland, Erie, Syracuse, Rochester, Detroit, Port Huron, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia, plus Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, and Belgium.

We’ve also developed a long-range plan, created a five-year roadmap, and made numerous tactical decisions to support our education programming, standards development, emerging technology objectives, and overall governance.

It’s been a fast-paced schedule, and I’ve enjoyed every minute — especially seeing first-hand how our members innovate for their customers.

What’s your schedule like for 2017?

For 2017, we will focus on executing on our long-range plan — developing new education programming, creating new communications to explain who and what AGMA is all about, foster our efforts to grow exports and support our members overseas, and track emerging technologies that affect our industry. In addition to attending and participating in many of our meetings, I will continue to meet with members across the country and strive to reach different parts of our industry to spread the word about what we are doing and how it benefits their company.

I also believe part of our time will be understanding what new things may occur given a new administration.

What are you most looking forward to in 2017 and why?

I’m looking forward to developing our emerging technology objective. AGMA has an opportunity to both communicate information about the four emerging technologies we are tracking (robotics, Industry 4.0, additive manufacturing, and new alloys) and connect members to companies that deliver these solutions in order to facilitate their efforts to innovate. Our new vision — AGMA and its members drive power transmission innovation — allows AGMA to be a platform for these types of forward-thinking conversations that are critical for our members to understand and embrace.

What are some of the goals you want to accomplish for AGMA and its members? 

We want to grow our education programming. We want to expand our communications efforts. We want to foster global sales opportunities and track emerging technology. These are the primary objectives AGMA will focus on in 2017, while also ensuring all of these elements are found at this year’s Gear Expo.

I also want to foster the concept that AGMA is here for you — a simple concept really, but this is a critical value that I believe is the underpinning of successful associations. At our core, associations are about serving a community that needs support and to do it in a positive, collaborative manner.

When you’re not traveling, what do you like to do? 

Coach volleyball. I have a U14 boys travel team that plays competitively in the Mid-Atlantic region, and it’s fun to bring these boys together, teach them the game, and get them to work together for each other. I also manage the club, and we have six other teams and deliver a competitive, affordable volleyball program for more than 100 kids in the area in which I live.

Tell me something interesting about yourself that others wouldn’t know.

I don’t know if it’s interesting, but I sang for a few years with a choral society and have always valued music and performance.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? What was yours?

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I am focused on being present for my family, my work team, and anyone I come into contact with to ensure we connect and move forward with whatever we are working on, in a positive manner.