WIT President Greg Skagerberg (Goodin Co.) addresses members at the 2013 WIT Distributor/Vendor Conference in Dallas, Texas. Photo by Mike Miazga/Supply House Times.
Executive Vice President and COO Charlie Moorhead told Supply House Times at the WIT annual Distributor/Vendor Conference at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas that purchases throughout the 89-member organization were up 14.5% over the previous year. He added 80% of members grew their businesses in 2012.
“For a group of 89 distributors to have that amount of growth is significant,” he said. “Our programs are effective. Purchases through the group have increased and we added two new owners this year. We had a fantastic year.”
Moorhead said members reported upticks in residential construction sales, while multifamily construction sales have continued to stay strong. He added certain pockets of the country helped fuel the positive returns.
“In 2012, WIT saw significant improvement in the Atlanta, Houston and Florida markets.” he said. “Phoenix seems to be improving for us and Northern California looks stronger. We also saw improvement in the Pacific Northwest.”
Moorhead noted WIT vendor partners also reported strong 2012 numbers. “Our vendor partners had tremendous growth,” he said. “Some of our vendors were up as much as 25 to 30% with us. The blend helped us to have a very successful year.”
This year’s conference drew more than 700 attendees, including 166 vendor companies. More than 6,700 individual meetings occurred during the three-day event. WIT is celebrating its 39th year in 2013.
WIT honored Ace Plumbing, Heating and Electrical as part of the WIT 2012 Ranking by Percentage Growth awards. Vineland, N.J.-based Ace increased business by an impressive 92% in 2012. Others in the Top 10 include: Hydrologic Distribution Co. (64.5%), Service Supply Co. (58.5%), Rubenstein Supply Co. (56.4%), Design Air (44.0%), Northside Plumbing Supply (40.2%), Wm. F. Meyer Co. (38.4%), Plumbing Distributors, Inc. (37.9%), SouthWest Plumbing Supply (35.8%) and East End Plumbing Supply (32.9%).
Minneapolis-based Goodin Co. repeated as the buying group’s top volume company for 2012. Also in the Top 10 for 2012 are: Consolidated Supply Co. (No. 2), Standard Plumbing Supply (No. 3), Cregger Co. (No. 4), Canyon Pipe & Supply (No. 5), Northside Plumbing Supply (No. 6), Wm. F. Meyer Co. (No. 7), General Plumbing Supply (No. 8), Plumbing Distributors, Inc. (No. 9) and The Portland Group (No. 10).
The meeting once again was filled with informative guest speakers. Charlotte Pipe Chairman Frank Dowd IV delivered his “The Peaks and Valleys of Family Businesses” keynote address to the assembled membership.
“My cousin and I are fourth generation,” Dowd told Supply House Times after his talk. “Family business is a topic that comes naturally. Sixty to 85% of businesses in the world are family businesses. If history is any indication, there will always be family businesses.”
Captive Resources’ John McHale presented a session on the difference between captive and traditional insurance options. Watts Water Technologies’ Stephanie Ewing and NIBCO’s Chris Bleile were the featured speakers at a special lead-free informational breakfast. Excelsior Learning’s Dan Coleman presented his “Ignite Your Negotiation Performance” seminar, which centers on a fresh, creative-thinking approach to negotiation.
WIT also honored numerous vendor partners for their years of dedicated service. Honorees with 20 or more years of WIT membership include: Ideal Corp. (35 years as a WIT member), Viega (25 years), Franklin Electric (20 years), Hammond Valve (20 years) and Nomaco (20 years).