Summer means a little break in the work travel schedule here.
But before I reached this summer’s hiatus, I embarked on an adventurous four-event June junket. The fun started in early June in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio at the 2014 North Central Wholesalers Association conference. From there, it was on to Meadville, Pa., where hand-tool manufacturer Channellock demonstrated that family ownership and the phrase “Made in the USA” are alive and well.
After Meadville (which I was informed was about an hour from the Canadian border — who knew?), I took a six-hour pit-stop at my house for a nap, suitcase-reloading and hygiene boost before heading out to Boston where Wholesalers Association of the North East held its annual gathering.
The whirlwind concluded in late June with the 86th annual Southern Wholesalers Association convention in Palm Coast, Fla. Convention coverage can be found here and exclusive SWA videos from the event are at www.supplyht.com/video.
I am happy to report there were no major travel delays. My 2014 travel follies pale in comparison to Modern Supply’s Dottie Ramsey, who told me in mid-July she’s been stranded overnight four times already in 2014!
With that many events to attend, there’s bound to be ample amounts of educational offerings — and these didn’t disappoint. But what impressed me most this time around was the amount of simple, straightforward advice that was given by various executives and guest speakers — advice that can make a real difference in someone’s professional and personal lives.
I was able to hear Ian MacDougall (highly entertaining with his two delivery voices) speak at both the NCWA and SWA shows. MacDougall, founder and managing partner of Boca Raton, Fla.-based Corporate Lifecycles Associates, provided a great sample solution in Palm Coast about how to deal with change and conflict resolution in a company.
“Instead of saying we need more outside salespeople, say our major accounts are not getting called on frequently,” he said.
It’s all in the delivery.
President and CEO Bill DeArment talked to media members at one of Channellock’s manufacturing facilities in Meadville about the longevity of the company’s employees. Simply put, he said, “Without good people, we wouldn’t be here today.” Quality people make a difference.
At the WANE show in Cambridge, Mass., reformed mobster Louis Ferrante, who I wrote about in this space last month, said something as simple as adding an ideas box at your company could be all it takes.
And back to the SWA gathering, ultra-marathoner Dean Karnazes, who told a packed breakfast crowd he’s ordered pizza before and picked it up while running during one of his training sessions, shared his response to being asked how he runs 1,000 miles.
“I run one mile, 1,000 times,” he said in explaining the importance of breaking down large tasks into smaller, more manageable portions. These are simple words of wisdom that make perfect sense.
My simple advice: Take advantage of what all the shows you attend have to offer. That seemingly innocuous comment, piece of information or suggestion could help hatch substantial benefits down the road for you and your company.
Looking at the upcoming travel itinerary, WIT & Co. is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a major gala in Portland, Ore., in early September. Read here for my story on the progress the buying group has made since it was started by four companies in 1974. There’s also an interesting tidbit in there about what the acronym WIT originally stood for.
The following week, the granddaddy of industry events, NetworkASA 2014 takes place at the Bellagio in Las Vegas where ASA’s continued forward momentum will be on full display. For a preview of the convention, check out my story here. A feature on the ever-growing ASA Education Foundation, which will also have a key presence in Vegas, can be found here.
Planes, rental car shuttles and hotel rooms aside, these events provide immeasurable benefits for attendees (myself included) when it comes to networking and education.
And now that the calendar has turned to August and September is waiting on deck, it means the trips through the TSA security lines will start picking up again. Don’t forget that gum wrapper in your pocket!