STAFDA Announces Convention Keynote Speakers, Theme

The 39th annual convention's general session will include the Associated State-Of-The-Industry address from a prominent industry figure, along with a keynote delivered by three "shark" investors.

The Specialty Tools and Fasteners Distributors Association recently announced the keynote speakers and theme for this year's 39th Annual STAFDA Convention and Trade Show, held Nov. 8-10 in Phoenix.

STAFDA has announced that Robin Roberts, Senior Vice President-Sales, Protective Industrial Products Inc. (PIP) will present the Associated (Manufacturer) State-of-the-Industry Address during the general audience session on Nov. 9.

Roberts began his career in the safety industry working in sales for Jones Safety Supply, Roanoke, Va. He was quickly promoted to branch manager at their headquarter location. Shortly thereafter, in 1988, the company was acquired by W.W. Grainger. Three years later, he relocated to Chicago where he took on the responsibility of Product Manager. In that role, he interacting with multiple business units which included Allied Safety, the core Grainger distribution business, and Grainger’s integrated supply business then known as GISO. In 1997, Roberts accepted a position of Vice President-Sales for the Bata Shoe Company (today, Onguard Industries). In 2000 he was recruited to lead the sales team for PIP where he's helped lead a sales expansion from $30 million in 2000 to over $200 million today. He has served on numerous safety industry committees and supplier advisory councils.

The members-only event is going with the theme "Swim With the Sharks" this year, highlighted by a keynote address from three "sharks" in the form of investors Lori Greiner, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary from ABC’s Shark Tank.

Greiner is an inventor of retail products, having created over 400 products and holding 120 U.S. and international patents. Known for her popular jewelry and cosmetic organizers, she had her own show on QVC-TV for 16 years.

John created the fashion brand FUBU, standing for “For Us By Us,” which represented a lifestyle neglected by clothing companies. FUBU’s annual sales top $350 million, placing him in the same category as designer sportswear legends Donna Karan and Tommy Hilfiger.

In 1986 O’Leary co-founded SoftKey Software Products, a catalyst for consolidation in the software industry that raised over $1 billion and merged with Spinnaker Software and WordStar International. After additional mergers, in 1999, the Mattel Toy Company acquired O'Leary's company for $4.2 billion. In 2003, he became a co-investor in Storage Now, one of Canada’s largest owner/operators of storage services. He’s continued to evolve his business interests and currently is Chairman of O’Leary Funds, a publicly traded family of global equity and income funds.

See the daily agenda for the STAFDA contention here.

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