Winholesale, which oversees and assists more than 430 wholesale firms that operate as independent local Winholesale companies in partnership with Primus, based in Dayton, Ohio, is in the midst of a management restructuring that switches the focus from individual industries to regions.

Formerly the Winholesale organization had seven industry presidents, who functioned like the vice presidents of other companies but were assigned to oversee the company's performance in specific industries nationwide. For example, there was an industry president of HVAC and an industry president of PVF.

Now there are 32 newly created positions based on regional responsibility. Beneath Richard Schwartz, CEO of Primus, and Jack Osenbaugh, chief operating officer of Winholesale, are five vice presidents - three oversee regions of the country, while the other two are assigned to sales and mergers/acquisitions. Each of these vice presidents reports to and is employed by Winholesale.

Three full-time area leaders and six part-time area coordinators report to each regional vice president. The area leaders are employed by Winholesale but the part-time area coordinators are not, although they are compensated by Winholesale.

Each regional vice president (RVP) is responsible for the business performance, goals and objectives set by Winholesale for companies and industries in his or her region. The RVPs focus on growth across all industries, with the goal of improving market penetration. They are located in the Dayton office.

An additional responsibility assigned to the regional vice presidents is representation at industry groups, including attendance at trade conventions and participation at meetings with manufacturers in cooperation with Winholesale's distribution arm.

The area leaders work out of a regional business services office or a private office at a local Winholesale company. They are not presidents of local companies and do not have direct responsibility to manage a local company. The part-time area coordinators are local Winholesale company presidents. The leaders and coordinators focus on operational assistance and support to the local Winholesale companies in the region. Area Leaders are assigned to about 40 companies, while the area coordinators oversee five or six. In each region, the area leaders and coordinators assist about 150 companies.

The changes began August 1, 2003 and may continue for some time yet.

In a letter addressed to all local Winholesale company presidents, Primus' CEO Schwartz explained that when the organizational structure was designed, shortly after 1980, there were only about 130 local Winholesale companies. The structure created overlaps of duties and often hindered pursuit of common objectives.

“As the wholesaling business becomes increasingly competitive, we can no longer afford the inefficiencies that exist with the present structure,” Schwartz wrote. “We must make the organizational changes needed to achieve higher levels of operating efficiency if we are to stay in the game. We must provide a unified and easy-to-understand image to vendors, bankers, service providers, acquisition candidates and outside individuals interested in joining a local Winholesale company.”

The organizational changes will make Winholesale and its independent distributors more flexible, better able to respond quickly to changing market conditions.

In his letter to the local Winholesale company presidents, Schwartz said these changes are necessary for Winholesale to reach its strategic goals. The restructuring plan creates the opportunity for the organization's best leaders in the field to become more involved; makes possible a more natural and viable succession plan; and provides more consistent and direct help to the local Winholesale companies, he said.

Sidebar: Winholesale's New Management Structure

Primus Inc.

Richard W. Schwartz, CEO

Winholesale Inc.

Jack Osenbaugh, COO

Regional Vice President - East

Ben Fry

Area Leaders

Wayne Batter

Mike Creech

Jim McIntyre

Tom Dominy

Area Coordinators

Keith Kruysman

Prisco Panza

Chip Abbott

Regional Vice President - Central

Stan Reznicek

Area Leaders

Lou Gillson

Ray Jackson

John Lapour

Area Coordinators

Kent Best

Mike Larkin

Ralph Mueller

Regional Vice President - West

Steve Ford

Area Leaders

Mike Samuelson

Ronnie Bohannon

Joe Verow

Area Coordinators

Gerald Brandt

Chris Lopez

Rick Troutt

Bob Mandarich

John Wyatt

Scott Coplan

Gary Krans

Vice President - National Sales

Gary Benaszeski

Vice President - Mergers & Acquisitions

Calvin Grout