GRAPEVILE, TX — After nearly two years of remote interactions, the AD Industrial & Safety-U.S. Division gathered for its annual North American Meeting on Sept. 26-29. Drawing more than 650 attendees, the event reflected the resilience of the AD community.
Despite ongoing challenges, AD ISD-U.S. has seen record growth in 2021. According to division President Mike Carr, member purchases from suppliers are up 26 percent over last year. Carr credited the tireless efforts of AD members in driving sales and increasing participation with AD suppliers.
“Manufacturers rely on strong independent distributors to focus on their products,” Carr noted. “They’re the ones doing the hard work.”
Throughout the meeting, AD leaders, members and suppliers referenced the theme, True North, as a guide in uncertain times. In his keynote, AD Chairman and CEO Bill Weisberg described true north as the code that helps organizations stay true to their core values and make decisions in a principled manner.
“The pandemic taught us a lot about who we are as leaders, businesses and partners and what's important to us,” Weisberg said.
Weisberg noted that in addition to successfully navigating 2020, the group has seen 34 percent growth this year in total member purchases from AD suppliers across its 13 divisions with record distributions to members.
While reflecting on the extraordinary challenges of 2020, Weisberg pointed to the crucial role of communication in helping the AD community survive the pandemic.
“Sharing information is part of AD’s culture,” Weisberg said. “We have powerful networks that give us the wisdom to make good decisions in the face of the unknown.”
Weisberg applauded the community’s resourcefulness in finding solutions. “That’s what entrepreneurs do in a crisis,” said Weisberg. “Get your house in order, figure out your business and then ask how you can add value.”
New and existing initiatives drive growth
In the divisional business meeting, ISD-U.S. Board Chairman Rick Martoia, president of Alro Industrial Supply, highlighted the AD Supplier Heroes program, recognizing 43 suppliers who went above and beyond for the AD community by supporting key AD initiatives in a challenging year.
“By setting achievable new goals that were still a stretch, suppliers gave our people the opportunity to perform better than market level,” Martoia said.
A special booth badge identified the AD Supplier Heroes in attendance.
The meeting also saw the launch of the AD Rewards program in the division. Originally started in AD Electrical-U.S., this program incentivizes AD members’ sales teams to better understand and sell products from participating AD suppliers. The industry's largest loyalty program, AD Rewards has a seven-year history of driving sales at double the market rate.
The program includes targeted product promotions and online product trainings worth reward points that sales teams can cash in for prizes. AD leadership encouraged members to join AD Rewards.
Another initiative helping members increase participation with AD suppliers was highlighted during the meeting. AD Max is a series of workshops where members learn how to leverage all of AD’s resources and tools to maximize engagement and drive growth. The next workshop is slated for February 2022.
Taylor Summers, director of sales & marketing at AD member R.S. Hughes Company Inc., described his company’s recent experience with AD Max.
“It was a good opportunity for our sales and marketing team to engage with AD leadership and take a deep dive into how we can maximize our membership,” Summers said. “The AD team did a great job introducing the program from top to bottom and detailing the resources we have available, while the smaller group setting facilitated open discussions and team building. I would recommend that any AD member take advantage of AD Max."
Leaders of today and tomorrow
One key theme highlighted throughout the meeting was the importance of member governance. In recognition of the enormous time and effort contributed by the divisional board, Martoia presented service awards to two members who are rotating off the board, Eric Rosin of SL Fusco Inc. and Jon Eames of Horizon Solutions.
A networking reception for women in industry brought together women from all levels across the industry. Part of AD’s mission to foster learning and growth, the women in industry program aims to help female professionals make valuable connections and share perspectives on business and leadership.
Jessica Yurgaitis of Industrial Supply Co. was the reception’s featured speaker. “We have a voice that’s different and powerful,” Yurgaitis said. “That voice should be used to grow businesses.”
In line with AD’s mission to support the development of future industry leaders, the AD Emerging Leaders program helps the next generation of business owners gain the skills they need. During the week, members met to build relationships and share best practices through formal network meetings and a networking reception specifically for current and future industry leaders.
2021 AD Industrial & Safety Division-U.S. award recipients
A special awards dinner celebrated members and supplier partners in ISD-U.S. who excelled in the areas of sales performance, marketing excellence, employee engagement, leadership and giving back.
AD congratulates this year’s award winners:
- 2021 AD Best Annual Planning Process Award: IAC Supply Solutions
- 2021 Best Conversion Award – Tools & Material Handling: Apex Tool Group and Stellar Industrial Supply
- 2021 Best Conversion Award – Metalworking: Lenox Tools and AHB Tooling and Machinery
- 2021 Best Conversion Award – MRO: Krylon Products Group and Groves Industrial
- 2021 Best Conversion Award – Safety & Janitorial: 3M Fall Protection and Columbia Safety and Supply
- 2021 Tier 1 AD Member of the Year: A&M Industrial
- 2021 Tier 2 AD Member of the Year: F&M Mafco
- 2021 Tier 1 AD Supplier of the Year: Harrington Hoists
- 2021 Tier 2 AD Supplier of the Year: 3M
- 2021 Best AD Workplace: AHB Tooling & Machinery, Inc., Ergodyne Corporation, Martin Industrial Supply, Master Fluid Solutions and Turner Supply Co.
- 2021 AD MVP: Randi Hobson of Groves Industrial
- 2021 AD Member of the Year for Leadership: David Ruggles of Martin Industrial Supply
- 2021 AD Giving Back Award: Columbia Safety and Supply