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Recommended Reading: Industry Must ‘Show Benefits’ of Distribution

NAW chair: Talent acquisition and retention top priorities for association.

As distributors struggle to find and keep qualified employees, the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors is working to help companies bridge the talent gap, according to 2016 NAW Chair Rick Schwartz in MDM Interview: NAW’s Plans to Improve Business Climate.

"Today’s young people entering the workforce don’t necessarily think of distribution as a viable career path," Schwartz said. "As an industry we can do more to show the benefits and opportunities that exist within distribution."

Schwartz, the former CEO at Winsupply Inc., Dayton, OH, stepped down from that role last fall to become the company's chairman of the board and to focus on his NAW chairmanship. He spoke with me at length last month at Winsupply's annual meeting and vendor showcase about issues facing distributors and NAW’s goals for the year.

With "recruiting and managing talent … one of the biggest challenges we face at Winsupply," and other distributors fighting the same battle, Schwartz hopes NAW can provide resources to help companies more effectively attract younger candidates.

He cited a presentation at NAW's Executive Summit, held in Washington, DC, in January as one example. Ben Casnocha, author of The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age, "presented some very valuable new ideas on unique ways to structure work 'tours' and make our jobs more exciting and challenging to the younger generation."

Read more from Schwartz about NAW's goals for 2016 and the state of the industry in MDM Interview: NAW’s Plans to Improve Business Climate.

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