Get to know Bart Tessel- Chief Innovation Officer

August 12, 2022


What will you be doing at NAW? 

In this role, I will lead NAW’s amazingly talented Innovation & Thought Leadership team and help write the next chapter in its impressive story in transforming the Wholesale Distribution Industry, continuing to add value to NAW membership as we evolve our offerings, content and delivery with the goal of helping wholesaler-distributors grow revenue and innovate their operations.

What are you most excited for at NAW? 

As the world of commerce is rapidly transforming, I look forward to helping NAW facilitate the exchange of ideas amongst fast moving, forward thinking creative talent from all corners of the distribution industry and beyond. We will take these ideas and turn them into actionable content and deliver to and engage with our members in variety of formats. Together we will light a path to the next generation of innovative, but proven distribution solutions, a future I am extremely excited to help steward.

Tell us a bit about your experience prior to joining NAW.

Prior to joining NAW, my experience stretches over 25 years of global leadership in wholesale distribution and logistics services including operations, account management, business development, and M&A. Most recently, I served as Head of Corporate Development and M&A at ABB Optical Group, the nation’s largest distributor in the vision care industry with over $1.5B in revenues.

What advice would you give to someone pursuing a career in wholesale distribution? 

For someone with an interest in commerce, WD provides you with a wonderful opportunity to work up and down the value chain between suppliers (typically manufacturers) and customers (retailers, factories, construction, hospitals etc.) and use the insights gained to support these B2B partners: WD’s goal is to create the most effective and efficient way to bring goods, materials, products, and services to the end-customer. The career opportunities in WD are endless; the companies involved stretch from local experts in their trade to multi-$B multinationals and the industries they serve range from Automotive to Wood products. What they have in common is the WD business model. Whether your passion or interest is in supply chain operations, finance, sales, marketing, technology, or human resources, you have a career opportunity to be hands-on in creating a better customer experience, deliver sustainable operational excellence, and a solid financial performance. WD is one of those unique, people-centric industries where, to be successful, you learn to excel in the management of both goods and services.     

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I grew up in The Netherlands, which due to its size and location, set me up for an international career in supply chain related industries. While at DHL Supply Chain I relocated to the US in 2004 and together with my wife and 2 teenage kids we call South Florida home. We enjoy exploring the US, Caribbean and beyond for natural beauty and a taste of culture. Sports are important too, on the sidelines at kid’s Lacrosse games or a morning run, pickle ball and a round of golf. I have been a longtime supporter of Junior Achievement, where as a mentor I use my skills and expertise to inspire budding entrepreneurs at the JA Fellows Business Incubator program for high school students.