Affiliated Distributors celebrates 30th anniversary, while keeping an eye on the future.

Affiliated Distributors celebrates 30 years as an industry buying group. Pictured here is A-D’s staff at its annual summer outing. Photos courtesy of Affiliated Distributors.

Take a look at Affiliated Distributors’ history timeline and you can’t help but notice the trends.

Beginning as the first national electrical industry buying group, A-D brought in $450 million in annual sales in its first year. Three years later, A-D grew into the largest electrical industry buying group and annual sales reached $1 billion.

And A-D kept rolling along.

  • 1994 – A-D starts a division for general line industrial supply distributors. Sales top $5 billion.

  • 1995 – A-D creates a PVF division.

  • 1996 – A-D’s National Account Program wins contracts and expands into a separate A-D Division, the Sales and Technology Group.

  • 1997 – Annual sales reach $10 billion.

  • 2001 – Leading independent buying group C.L. Watt joins A-D. The Plumbing Supply Division is created, making A-D the largest-buying group in the Plumbing/PVF industry. Sales reach $15 billion.

  • 2006 – The HVAC Group, the largest buying group in the industry, joins A-D, thus creating the HVAC Division.

  • The new A-D logo.

    Now, Affiliated Distributors – with more than 450 independently owned members and $20 billion in annual sales – celebrates its 30th anniversary. Even as it takes time to celebrate its accomplishments, however, A-D continues to push forward.

    New logo: Check. New slogan: Where market leaders grow. Done.

    Justin Dunscomb, A-D’s vice president of the HVAC and Plumbing divisions, has been with the organization since 2006 and says the company is refreshing its offerings and getting closer to distributors after navigating the tough economic conditions in the last few years.

    Additionally, Dunscomb foresees bigger things on the horizon.

    Justin Dunscomb

    “We’ve seen some growth and that transition is behind us,” Dunscomb says. “If you look at our base of distributors, it’s our second year of growth. We will continue to see growth.

    “Also, on the supplier side, we still have opportunities to add to categories we haven’t offered yet.”

    Brian Peirce, president and CEO of HVAC supplier Peirce Phelps in Philadelphia, sits on the A-D’s board of directors. He says he continues to be impressed by A-D’s reach. He also sees the benefits Peirce Phelps accrues from A-D.

     “Our business with Affiliated Distributors has doubled over the last six years,” Peirce says.

    Brian Tuohey, president of Hartford, Conn.-based Collins Pipe, says his company’s business has grown 300% in the 11 years it has been with A-D.

    One of the first things that A-D had Collins Pipe look at was how it handled its freight. A-D brought in a logistics expert and it yielded Collins Pipe more than $150,000 in savings in the first year.

    “They make you better,” Tuohey says of A-D. “They challenge you to make your company as good as it can be.”

    Roy Weaks

    A-D’s Senior Vice President of PHCP Roy Weaks says that A-D pushes its members to excel in the offices and out in the community.

    “Marketing, succession planning, education, industry support, government involvement, best practice sharing, these are a few of the ways we encourage our members to continue to make their businesses stronger,” Weaks says. “Businesses that take pride in doing local charity benefits not only their people but all of the people who need a lift in their everyday life.”

    Dunscomb believes from the top on down, A-D has the pieces in place to keep adding impressive notes to the company’s timeline in the coming years.

    “I’ve been impressed most with the quality of the A-D team,” Dunscomb says. “I see people who are passionately involved. Leadership is really important. A-D has strong leaders making decisions.”