Who inspires you?

That was the crux of Affiliated Distributors Chairman and CEO Bill Weisberg’s annual talk at the buying group’s recent record-breaking 2014 PHCP North American Meeting held in suburban Dallas.

“Inspiration is a little different than determination or persistence,” he said. “Determination is climbing a mountain. Inspiration is something you get from others. It doesn’t come from within. Why is inspiration so critically necessary? The answer is because everything changes. The single worst strategy you can have in life is to keep doing the same things you’ve always done.”

Weisberg said his children provide him great inspiration. “There is something truly inspiring being with children and looking into their faces and seeing the future,” he said. “What will they be like in 20 years? That inspires me to be a better father, role model and person.”

Weisberg added well-known executives such as Warren Buffett and the late Steve Jobs don’t inspire him. “Their big accomplishments are impressive, but are not particularly inspiring,” he said. “The inspiration I get is from AD members and suppliers that I’ve had the opportunity to work with. These are amazing businesspeople.”

Weisberg went on to cite numerous AD members he finds inspiring such as Peirce-Phelps President-CEO Brian Peirce (thrust into key management role at age 35 and has consistently grown the company over the years), Pace Supply CEO Ted Green (put together a team to buy the company as an ESOP), Texas Plumbing Supply President Glenn Fuller (helped grow the company by 40% since he’s been part of it) and Locke Supply President/CEO Tammi Bryant (worked her way up through the company to her current position) to name a few.

“I would stack this group up against the Warren Buffetts and the Steve Jobs any day,” Weisberg said. “The people in this room are what this country is all about. They inspire me. It’s up to us to harness the amazing power, wisdom and creativity we have. If we do that, we are unstoppable.”

This year’s North American Meeting drew a record 882 people (affiliates and suppliers combined). Among 2014 AD highlights, record-breaking growth was reported (with October being the strongest month the group has seen in more than 30 years). For 2015, AD leaders discussed strategies centered on growth of current members through programs such as the new AD Education Center (7,000 sessions taken thus far) and recruitment of strategic affiliates and suppliers (AD’s PHCP Division added 9 new affiliates and 10 new suppliers in 2014).

As always, AD held its Spirit of Independence Awards dinner where supplyFORCE’s Mike Vitawas named the 2014 AD MVP. Eastern Industrial Supplies took home the AD Giving Back Award. SharkBite (Suppler of the Year for Marketing Excellence), Apollo Valves (PVF Supplier of the Year), F.W. Webb (PVF Affiliate of the Year), APR Supply (HVAC Affiliate of the Year), Uponor (Plumbing Supplier of the Year) and Crawford Supply (Plumbing Affiliate of the Year) also earned awards.  Ten AD affiliate members also were recognized for being named to the 2014 Supply House Times Young Execs 20 list.

For a full list of Spirit of Independence award winners and to view an exclusive video with AD PHCP President Jeffrey Beall, visit www.supplyht.com.