WAYNE, PA — AD hosted its 2021 Bearings & Power Transmission Division Virtual North American Meeting, from March 29-April 1. The virtual format provided an opportunity for member and supplier partner companies to include more people from their organizations who might not have participated otherwise. This resulted in a record-breaking 364 attendees from 165 member and supplier companies engaged in networking and investing in valuable, growth-focused relationships.
The meeting was held to the backdrop of AD’s Let’s Grow theme. Let’s Grow speaks to the challenges the world has faced and the creative ways AD’s independent distributor members pivoted and partnered with supplier partners, each other, and AD to continue to outpace the industry. True to form, AD members, suppliers and associates embraced the challenges and not only weathered the storm but improved business overall. These improvements and successes were celebrated throughout this year’s BPT North American meeting.
Over four days, attendees participated in business meetings, strategic supplier briefings, best-practice sharing network groups, a virtual networking event and over 1,100 one-on-one member and supplier appointments, during which participants strategized their growth plans.
Jack Templin, president of the Electrical & Industrial Business Unit and chief programs officer, kicked off the event’s member and supplier business meetings by welcoming AD’s newly appointed Bearings and Power Transmission Division Vice President Darin Davenport to his first official AD meeting.
“Darin is no stranger to the bearings & power transmission industry, or to our members,” Templin commented. “He came to AD with nearly 30 years of experience and engagement in the industry and has hit the ground running since joining AD in late December of 2020. While he is a familiar face to most of our members and suppliers, it was great to formally introduce him in his new role to the AD BPT community.”
When asked by Templin what attracted Davenport to AD, he expressed with excitement, “It was the AD member and supplier partners.” Davenport shared what his relationship with AD was like at his previous company as a supplier partner. “Our sales growth with AD members outperformed the national chains year after year and it’s an absolute honor to come to work every day in support of those same members,” he said.
Davenport provided a divisional update that included performance metrics, 2021 outlook, and programs and services available to the AD community like HR Services and eCommerce Solutions. He also welcomed special guest Tom Gale, CEO of Modern Distribution Management, to provide insights on the industrial distribution market and MDM’s 2021 forecast for the broader industrial market.
AD Chairman and CEO Bill Weisberg provided business meeting attendees with an update, reporting how AD’s resilient independent distributor members across its nine industries collectively outperformed the market in 2020. Weisberg attributed this success to the way the entire AD community stepped up in a challenging year.
“I’m incredibly grateful to the governing bodies of AD, the members of this member-owned group that play leadership roles on the AD LLC Board of Directors, divisional boards and committees,” Weisberg said. “They offered their support, engagement and guidance to their AD community in the midst of their own challenges. It was impressive to see,” he reflected.
Weisberg also provided insights on AD’s overall 2021 outlook and plans for continued above-market-growth.
Paramount to all AD meetings, including those held virtually, is networking. To accommodate networking in a virtual environment, the BPT Division held a virtual networking reception, and enabled virtual booth appointments for members and suppliers to plan and partner.
In addition, substantial time was allotted for members to connect virtually in network groups of non-competing market leaders from the industry. These sessions are a primary focus during all AD meetings, virtual and in-person, providing members with an opportunity to share ideas and develop sales and marketing strategies for the coming year.
“Networking is a valuable part of our in-person meetings, and it was important to provide opportunities for our attendees to informally interact with each other in a virtual format, as well,” Davenport said.
AD is the largest contractor and industrial products wholesale buying group in North America. AD provides independent distributors and manufacturers of construction and industrial products with support and resources that accelerate growth. AD's 850-plus independent member-owners span 13 divisions in the U.S., Mexico and Canada with annual sales exceeding $45 billion. AD’s 13 divisions cover industries including electrical, industrial, safety, bearings and power transmission, plumbing, PVF, HVAC, decorative brands and building materials.