The 2013 NAW board of directors has been elected and Patrick Larmon, president and CEO of Bunzl Distribution USA Inc., was named as its chairman. What other highlights came from the meeting’s special speakers about the economy, leadership, and the political arena?

The 2013 National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW) board of directors has been elected and Patrick Larmon, president and CEO of Bunzl Distribution USA Inc., headquartered in St. Louis, was named as its chairman.

“During the many years Bunzl Distribution USA has been a NAW direct member, we have enjoyed the many products, services, and networking opportunities that NAW offers,” he said in acceptance of his new post. “It is my honor to be elected to serve NAW as its next chairman. I look forward to working with NAW and our members in 2013, and contributing to NAW’s ongoing, dynamic work for our industry.”

Larmon succeeds Mark Kramer, NAW 2012 chairman of the board and president and CEO of Laird Plastics, Boca Raton, Fla. He will remain active on the NAW board as immediate past chairman.

The new board elections came on the heels of the association’s 2013 Executive Summit: Unlocking Secrets of Success from the Best. Wholesalers and distributors from across the nation met in Washington for the three-day conference that kicked off with a welcome reception and dinner. It ended on the words of Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., during the closing session. What happened in between was a tight schedule of special speakers, panel discussions, roundtables, and more.

According to the association, attendees told NAW they left the meeting inspired with innovative ideas, informed opinions, and realistic strategies.


Some of the highlights of the summit included four general sessions with special speakers and topics. The first general session featured Alan Beaulieu, president of ITR economics and a NAW senior economic advisor. His session provided a macro forecast for 2013 through 2014, as well as some detailed specifics for certain sectors of the wholesale industry. During his presentation, Beaulieu pointed out that the economic recovery’s leading indicators are pointing up and that construction spending is improving. He also emphasized that banks are lending, exports are up, and liquidity is not the issue it once was. Beaulieu did caution attendees about areas of concern in the economic landscape. Europe’s financial troubles are something to keep an eye on as well as the possible recession in China. As for domestic concerns, massive legislative changes could cause economic unrest as well as the possibility that oil prices could break through $120 per barrel.

The second general session, “A Fighter Pilot’s Secret to Business Success,” hosted two speakers. One was Patrick Houlahan, former U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet instructor pilot. He tied military objectives and business objectives together, encouraging the audience to understand the parallels between concepts of military leadership and how they can be applied to business. The concluding speaker was John Mansfield, vice president of business development for Graybar. The company has employed the methods taught by Houlahan and Mansfield shared their success in performance and customer service.

The third general session brought F. Barry Lawrence, Ph. D., to the podium. As program director for the Industrial Distribution Program at Texas A&M University, Lawrence detailed some of the results of the “Optimizing Channel Compensation” study conducted in consortium with the NAW Institute. His presentation showed a structured approach to distributor channel compensation based on identified best practices.

The final general session covered customer relationship management (CRM). Mark Dancer, founder and president of Channelvation previewed the findings of the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence’s preliminary findings of the investigated CRM trends. Scott Thomas, director of Marketing, Parksite Inc., shared the company’s experiences and answered questions about CRM.


Also during the summit was the chairman’s address. In it, Kramer reminded the membership what his initiative had been for the last year.

“My initiative has been focused on an issue of ongoing importance to the future of our companies and our industry - namely the discovery, recruitment, and hiring of top young sales and possibly management trainee talent,” he explained.

Kramer went on to point out that he once saw hiring as a private affair for each company to guard and develop on its own. He has since seen that the competition doesn’t seem to lie among the members of the distribution industry, but among the different industries altogether.

“At the outset, we are competing against all other industries that vie for the attention of these young prospects; and our individual chances for success can be enhanced by our industry’s reputation and image,” he said. “Show me your recent hires and I’ll show you your future.”

He asked the audience, “What do you see in your new hires? Do you see grizzled veterans of the industry hired primarily from competitors? Do we see ‘Hail Mary’ hires from outside the industry? Or, do we see bright, young talent eager to be trained and developed in the values and visions of our companies?”

As his address came to a close, Kramer encouraged attendees to get involved with the building of the distribution industry as well as their involvement with NAW.

“I have been energized by the chance to initiate our consideration of how we can further build the industry’s brand and position ourselves to attract an unfair percentage of the brightest future sales and management stars.”

For more information or to download the presentations from some of the general sessions and chairman’s address, go to


The National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors elected a new board during its January 2013 executive summit. One of those elected is HVAC industry member Richard Schwartz. He is the CEO and chairman of WinWholesale Inc., headquartered in Dayton, Ohio. Schwartz was elected as second vice chairman and will be serving for the 2013 term. WinWholesale is a member of the Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI).

Others elected include the following:

Dan Blaylock,chairman-elect, Adams-Burch Inc., Landover, Md.

Manuel Perez de la Mesa,first vice chairman, Poolcorp, Covington, La.

John Tracy,secretary, Dot Foods Inc., Chesterfield, Mo.

Dirk Van Dongen,NAW, Washington.

Robert Taylor,treasurer and chairman of the Subcommittee on Budget and Finance, Do it Best Corp., Fort Wayne, Ind.

Tim Buche,chairman of the NAW Association Executives Council (AEC), of the Motorcycle Industry Council.

Christopher Jahn,chairman-elect of the AEC, of the National Association of Chemical Distributors.

Mark Allen,past chairman of the AEC, of the International Foodservice Distributors Association.