Longtime NAW Leader Van Dongen Dies

He headed the group for more than four decades before retiring in 2020.

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The National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors on Monday announced the passing of Dirk Van Dongen, the trade group’s longtime president and CEO.

Van Dongen first joined the NAW in 1968, departing AT&T’s marketing department to lead the association’s phone solicitation membership campaign. He would ultimately lead the group for more than 40 years before retiring in late 2020.

Van Dongen was also considered a top Republican lobbyist and fundraiser dating back to the Reagan administration. The NAW particularly highlighted his work on congressional campaigns, tax legislation, and numerous presidential campaign finance committees.

“I often told Dirk Van Dongen that he was a living legend,” NAW CEO Eric Hoplin said in the announcement. “Throughout his four-decade tenure, he transformed NAW into a powerhouse in Washington. Dirk mentored generations of trade association leaders, including myself.”

Van Dongen is survived by wife, Maryann, and daughters Rachel and Marisa. 

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