During these past few weeks, the idea of transition has been top of mind. As I mentioned in my last column, there are great opportunities when we are in a state of transition. We have opportunities to try new things, embrace new ideas and find innovation in charging forward.

As we embark on these transitions, I want to ask you, how do we as an association, as wholesaler-distributors and as leaders in our communities influence these transitions and turn them into positive transformations?

I see 2020 as an opportunity to reset. Let the year put us back at 00 and allow us to usher in a new era. How will you transition into this new decade?

For me, and for Ewing, I’m welcoming back my son, Jack, to Phoenix, Arizona, where he starts his leadership journey within our corporate office. After opening and leading a branch of Ewing in New York, Jack is coming home to learn more about the back-end operations and what it takes to lead a successful national wholesaler-distributor. I’m working on my transition, although it’s not immediate. I’m laying the foundation for the next generation of my company and my family to carry on the legacy we’ve built within our industry.

Also, I’m preparing to transition my role as the NAW 2020 Chairman of the Board. I’ve been fortunate for the opportunity to serve you and this association during the most tumultuous year of my career in wholesale distribution. The opportunities afforded me this year have been once in a lifetime—meeting with the President of the United States to discuss distribution’s importance during a global pandemic, bringing in timely partnerships to extend to my fellow distributors and being part of the selection committee for NAW’s new President and CEO.

I’m excited for this new era at NAW. Eric Hoplin is the right leader for our association to build upon the strong foundation Dirk Van Dongen has provided for us in his decades of leadership. In speaking with Eric, he has portrayed the perfect blend of respect for the work that has brought wholesale distribution to where we are today and the vigor and enthusiasm to take our organization to the next level.

Eric has long-standing family ties in the wholesale distribution sector, which combined with diverse leadership experiences, desire to serve and aspirations of elevating the organization’s future, I feel confident in the future of NAW and the value Ewing will continue to receive in being an active member.

We would not be talking about transitions for NAW if it weren’t for Dirk. When he announced his retirement, the weight of his mark and legacy in the wholesale distribution sector was felt. Suddenly, we had a void to fill and as part of the selection committee for his successor, I felt a responsibility to find the best option for our industry.

After 41 years of service and leadership, Dirk, you will be greatly missed.

It’s been our privilege to have Dirk at the helm of NAW and now, in his transition, he’s built a strong organization with an incredible and dedicated team as we charge forward for decades to come.

I would like to raise a glass to the great Dirk Van Dongen. Thank you for your incredible mentorship, innovative spirit, demand for excellence and kind friendship over the years. You cannot be replaced; we can only build upon the foundation you’ve given us.

Lead on!