Homework features AHAM members’ insights on careers, success, life outside of work, and AHAM membership. This month, we spoke with Steve Ver Strat, Regulatory Policy Director, Amway Corporation.

Name three goals (personal or professional) you are pursuing in 2018.
From a personal standpoint, I’m setting a goal to consistently break 90 while playing golf. I haven’t been able to do that since we started our family and that was a long time ago. It seems each of my daughters have added three strokes to my handicap, so it will be a long road back.

Professionally, my responsibilities lie in the area of global regulatory policy related to Amway’s home environment products, with focus on our residential air and drinking water treatment devices. Product certification, performance and safety standards are critical for each of these areas. This year, one of my goals will be to continue to advance the performance and safety standards, as well as product certification opportunities associated with the home environment category, with a primary interest in broadening their applicability to emerging air and drinking water contaminants. 

From an international perspective, my goal is to continue standard harmonization efforts and push the value of voluntary certification, with the end goal being to simplify market entry, minimize duplicative testing and demonstrate the value third-party certification can have on maintaining consumer confidence and safety.

How do you jumpstart your morning?
Well, for the past several months it seems my jumpstart has been clearing the drive of the overnight snow – this (Michigan) winter has been relentless. In normal times, my morning would begin with my Nutrilite supplements (shameless plug), followed by breakfast. I like to follow that by spending an hour reviewing my overnight emails to identify any “hot spots” and then map out my “must-do,” “nice to do,” and “no chance” tasks for the day.  

Predict an innovation that will revolutionize the next generation.
I can’t conceptualize what it would be, but innovations in the area of privacy and data security that will make the use of passwords and security questions obsolete is my guess. I think of the confused look on the faces of future generations when told of the days of having three pages of passwords and using a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols that require an update every six weeks just to see the summary on your frequent flyer account.

What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Many years ago, I received the advice that if the canoe is going in the right direction, keep your paddle out of the water. I have been involved in too many situations where a stray comment or suggestion has taken a team off course, and then you need to “paddle” like crazy to get back to where you need to be.

What home appliance can you not live without?
It must be the automatic coffee maker. It starts my day, every day, and always greets me in the morning with that blue indicator light, signaling it’s time to get rolling.

What do you gain from your involvement with AHAM?
AHAM has developed a great team. The staff’s focus and professionalism are second to none and have provided great support over the years. AHAM has also provided the opportunity to interact with peers across the industry and get a better appreciation not only for the challenges, but also the opportunities this great industry can provide. 

What is your best advice you have for somebody who wants to succeed in the home appliance industry? 
Get involved early and often.  When the opportunity presents itself, raise your hand, join a task group or committee, dig into an issue, and bring your thoughts and suggestions forward. Seeing an issue and being a part of its resolution provides a sense of personal accomplishment and the opportunity to build recognition and reputation within the industry.

Looking for past issues of

Melanie Cook
Rick Roth
Lenore Kaplan
Andy Chinmulgund
John Taylor
Steve Nackers
Paulo da Silva
Pat Bassett
Tom Siwek
Dan Query
Dochul Choi