The National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW) held its Executive Summit on Jan. 31-Feb. 2 in Washington, D.C., serving as a marquee industry event for networking and thought leadership. This was my third time attending the annual summit, and it was great to see it filled to capacity with 430-plus attendees. In fact, the growth of the event has caused NAW to find a bigger venue for it next year after more than 30 years at the Georgetown Fairmont.
As always, NAW Executive Summit had a fantastic lineup of speakers that featured well-known distribution executives addressing how they’ve managed challenges, digital transformation best practices (including AI) and sales model commentary. They were alongside guest speakers that included U.S. Postmaster General and CEO Louis DeJoy, former Secretary of Defense and Director of Central Intelligence Robert Gates, ITR Economics’ Alan Beaulieu, New York Times Bestselling Author Daniel Pink, Fox News Sunday Anchor Shannon Bream and former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker.
During the Executive Summit, I was able to wrangle seven attendees for quick interviews that asked about their biggest takeaways from the event; thoughts on market demand; and the biggest priorities they have for 2024.
Our latest MDM Podcast, embedded atop this blog, features those interviews that include four distributor executives, one industry research consultant and two NAW executives. They proceed in the podcast as follows:
- Kevin Sachs — Sr. Partner at McKinsey & Company
- Jeff McLendon — President & CEO of Specialty Building Products
- John Gannon —VP of Operations at PACE Supply Corp.
- Mark Kirchdorfer — President at ISCO Industries
- Jon Michael Adinolfi — COO of The Hillman Group
- Eric Hoplin — CEO of NAW
- Dan Schuberth — CRO of NAW
Listen to the full episode via the audio player above, and check out our full MDM Podcast library here.
The event was held under the theme of “Agents of Change,” reiterating that distribution leaders are empowered to change not only how their company innovates going forward, but how they will collectively change how the industry at-large evolves in the near future. The tagline aligned with the event’s gala dinner that was held at the International Spy Museum, where attendees could network while browsing the venue’s several floors of exhibits.
The gala culminated in NAW presenting its top honor — the Distributors Deliver Award — to MDM’s very own longtime owner and steward Tom Gale.
Of course, the event also served as a great way for the MDM staff to discuss NAW’s Jan. 18 acquisition of MDM with attendees, and it was wonderful to hear so much positive feedback about it. For more insights on what that deal mean’s for MDM’s content going forward, check out my Jan. 26 blog that addresses exactly that.