1. “Hey Dude” was a cool show that I used to watch on Nickelodeon when I was growing up, but it appears that Hey Dude Shoes have now ‘unofficially’ become the go-to shoe of the Wholesale and Retail Plumbing industry
Everywhere I turned, I saw a man, woman, or child rocking a pair of Hey Dude Shoes at SWA. For the record, I have worn Hey Dude shoes every day for the past 4 years, but for whatever reason, this shoe brand has exploded
For all of the “Hey Dude” enthusiasts, I suggest you buy an insert to give them more stability and comfort. You can thank me later!
2. SWA is the ultimate family event and something everyone should experience at least once in life. There were 1,006 attendees registered for the conference, and it was such a joy to see the family dynamics in action at the conference.
I cannot remember a business gathering in the distribution industry where family matters were discussed in the bathroom and hotel lobby more than financial statements and products
3. The Magic show was the perfect ending to a wonderful event over dinner, drinks, and a view of the Atlantic Ocean like no other… Everyone loved it + the smile on my face and joy moving through my body, while the kiddoes were lined up watching the magician in action, literally melted my
Although the magic show and BBQ dinner was a wonderful way to end SWA 2023, the dessert table being oh so delectable took the cake, literally
4. An industry-wide list of best practices and use cases for technology should be developed soon. #WeAreOnIt Plus, how technology is currently being implemented for distribution businesses is nowhere near as individually-tailored as it should be.
Fortunately, ShowroomMarketing.com has a process in place that helps distributors of all shapes, sizes, and structures understand how to get more mileage out of their “technology stack” – for the most efficient use of your team’s time and minimal financial investment
5. There is massive interest from all sides to use Co-op cash to acquire new B2B and B2C business VS what it has been used for traditionally, which is for hospitality and industry events on the wholesale side, and displays, truck wraps, window dressings, and cha-chas like sweatshirts, tee shirts, and pens on the decorative side.
FYI, our company is currently working with 10 manufacturers to leverage and maximize their Co-op dollars in ways the industry has never seen before. At this time, we’re confident that our B2B and B2C Co-op programming may be the best in the industry for bringing new dollars in
If you haven’t seen our B2B Outreach Program yet, you should really check it out as it has really “hit the mark” on what so many desire from Co-op
6. The way the SWA opens its doors to “special guests” was cool and quite different. I may have been the only person at the event from Boston, but I was treated in the kindest way from SWA staff, manufacturers, reps, distributors, other service providers, and the family members + many others who were invited as special guests last minute shared comments that mimic how I felt
We are also quite honored to be a new member of this awesome association + super excited to be involved in leadership roles in future years
7. The leaders in the distribution industry care as much about industry growth and preserving the integrity of the independent / family business element as they do about personal gain.
This alone makes me so proud to be involved
I was excited to share how my son, Zack, our company’s 16 year old Chief Charitable Donor, has raised just under $30,000 in his lifetime for people and causes facing trying times.
Zack will be in attendance at SWA next year, but if you’d like to learn more about him or see some of the causes he’s supported, his website is DreamBigville.org
8. The amount of down-time SWA provides is refreshing. I believe they’re setting the pace for how work/life balance and mental health is to be of the utmost importance
Now, this is by no means a knock on other organizations. Instead it’s a “tipping of the cap” to SWA for promoting togetherness as a family in a work setting. Fun fact, I especially loved how a 17 year old golfer won the “Closest To The Toilet” prize in the golf tournament
9. Dirk Beverage had a spectacular presentation on day #1 about team dynamics and company culture that moved me to tears several times
Because our company has grown significantly over the last 12 months, as CEO, it has been challenging yet quite rewarding to highlight the “soft skills” side of things as we’ve brought in new hires, gotten innovative with the team and focused on having more fun as a group
During Dirk’s talk, I appreciated how he’s showing an industry that has been historically more about the hard numbers than being heart-centered, how much “being part of a family” matters to the employees that he interviewed on the part season of his “We Supply America” tour.
Way to go, Dirk, keep on teaching and showing us how being more emotionally available will benefit us much more than we know or are able to fathom at this point
10. Cyber Security is something that can impact a business in the most unimaginable ways, but after seeing an attendee’s phone get hacked right before our eyes, that made it oh so real.
Not much more to say on this topic but to be careful and to continue to trust in humanity and stay open-hearted – despite all of the countless reasons not to do so.
In summary, SWA provides a perspective on our industry that no other event is focused on. Again, this is no knock on anybody else’s itinerary or values, it’s just nice to know there is a professional place to go in the summer with the family that won’t get you in trouble for playing hooky at work.
I look forward to seeing you all at SWA 2024 at the JW Marriott in Marco Island. Thanks again to Terry, Linda, Michele, and the rest of the SWA staff for being so awesome and making my first SWA event one to remember!