Cream rises to the top
Affiliated Distributors CEO and Chairman Bill Weisberg isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo for his members. At the recent annual AD PCHP North American Meeting in Grapevine, Texas, AD members were invited to speak on issues of faith and take part in the group’s new Co-Ventures program.
Weisberg took time recently to speak with Supply House Times on additions made to the annual meeting’s itinerary and how AD’s members were able to rebound from the country’s long recession.
Supply House Times: The theme of the recent North American Meeting was Invest in Relationships, how important is that in this day and age both in and out of the office?
BW: The people who rise to the top in any organization or any aspect of life are those who are best at accomplishing what they do through others and with others. Being good at relationships is a critical life skill. The key to successful relationship building is serving the needs of others, putting others first and helping others. Those people and companies who are best at this are those who become leaders and stay leaders.
Supply House Times: You added a faith breakfast to this year’s event. What spurred this and what has the response been like?
BW: One of the things AD does extremely well is to gather people together to share best practices and provide each other with encouragement. We’ve done this for years in AD Networks with great benefit for our independent members. We’ve expanded that recently by gathering people of faith together on an optional basis to discuss how their faith and work intersect and to provide each other with encouragement and support. As a person of faith myself, I found it to be an extremely moving and uplifting event. That said, AD is a broad and diverse community and we respect and honor the views of all AD members and suppliers.
Supply House Times: This industry has made a long climb back out of some tough economic times. What has helped AD members rebound and where do you see things headed in the near future?
BW: Our members have rebounded strongly from the Great Recession. Their strength comes from their closeness to the market, their independent/entrepreneurial drive and their strong relationships with customers and suppliers. We see a gap forming between those distributors who are committed to growth and success and those who are just “holding on.”
Supply House Times: How vital is the presence of your Young Leaders group given the need for the industry to attract young executives?
BW: We are thrilled to see so many next generation leaders attending our meeting and rising up in the ranks of our independent member companies and we are supporting that activity by including them on AD committees, task forces and staging networking events. This bodes exceptionally well for the future of our group.
Supply House Times: What does AD’s Co-Ventures program bring to the table?
BW: AD Co-Ventures is a new program we’ve introduced to help our members take advantage of AD’s multi-industry structure by connecting them with fellow AD independents in other AD divisions in their local geographic markets to share best practices and even to collaborate on new locations and projects. Introducing this program is part of our strategy to provide innovative programs to help our members and their supplier partners achieve accelerated and profitable growth.
Supply House Times: Your advice to an independent wholesaler going forward?
BW: I encourage every independent wholesaler to view the current landscape as a wonderful opportunity. Whenever a competitor of yours is bought, you have a powerful opportunity to grow faster. Whenever the companies around you are uncertain or pulling in their horns, you have the opportunity to grow faster. Those that follow the herd will only get what the herd gets. Those that take another path and invest in their people and in their future will find this a great time to grow.