Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

July 15-18, 2018 at The Greenbrier Resort

Where Champions Sharpen Their Skills

The NAW AEC Summer Meeting was held on July 15-18 at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

AEC meetings are open to chief staff executives and senior staff members of the NAW’s member national associations and their families. The chief executive officer must attend in order for senior staff to attend this meeting. If you have any questions, please contact Trish Lilly at

Click here to view past Association Executives Council (AEC) Meetings.

Where Champions Sharpen Their Skills

Speaker Presentations

Denise Keating

Denise Keating

President, DATAgility

The Amazon Effect

Amazon has dramatically changed the way we shop since the company launched in 1994. Customers want the same experience of frictionless shopping with close to immediate results whether they are online or in-store.

This session will look at the Amazon Effect and offer insights on how and why disruptors are targeting traditional channels. Denise Keating, President of DATAgility, will identify the impact of the Amazon Effect and provide lessons that can be leveraged by distribution, so distributors can adapt and thrive in the age of disruption to remain the channel of first choice for their customers. You’ll gain insight on what your members need to do to remain relevant during this digital transformation, and what associations need to do to remain relevant. You’ll leave this session with ways in which you can support your members, and your association, with digital strategies, and what the secret is to driving sales through innovative e-commerce initiatives.

About the Speaker

Denise Keating is co-founder and president of DATAgility. She is known for her relentless enthusiasm and passion for helping companies gather, create and manage high-quality, unique, and relevant product data content for B2B ecommerce platforms. She has a proven track record in successfully collaborating with clients to help them develop e-commerce strategies that are meaningful and strategic, and have a practical business impact.

With more than 25 years of experience in the distribution channel, she is recognized for her thought leadership on B2B customer experience, e-commerce and product data content strategies and is a frequent speaker for organizations and industry associations such as National Association of Electrical Distributors, Industry Data Exchange Association, Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating, Electro-Federation Canada and more.

She has contributed to many industry publications and served as one of four panelists on the electrical data synchronization panel moderated by Gene Randall, a former White House Correspondent for NBC and CNN.

Tom Morrison

Tom Morrison

CEO, Metal Treating Institute

How to Get Members to Scream Your Name and Beg For More... It Takes LEADERSHIP

In today’s Uberized and lighting fast business climate, satisfying member needs is a challenge for many associations. In this session, Tom Morrison unpacked the three forces driving change at associations: emerging technologies, demographic shifts and consumer buying habits.

His program segments covered:

• Perceiving Value vs Actual Value
• Information vs Interpretation
• Why & Where Uberization Happens
• How to Tap Into the Internet of Things
• Workplace Culture Shifts
• What’s Your UBER?

Following his presentation, Tom facilitated a dialog with some of our own AECs to learn how they have led change within their organizations.

About the Speaker

Tom Morrison serves as CEO of the Metal Treating Institute. He has more than 20 years of experience in business and association management having served as CEO of three different organizations.

Through Tom’s leadership, MTI’s net worth has grown over 1,500% since 2006 through embracing change, focusing on marketplace disruption and driving maximum value to the customer.

In 2015, Tom launched his first personal development book through Waldorf Publishers and Amazon called How to Get People to Scream Your Name and Beg for More, and is currently working on his second edition called, The Dash…Making Sure Your Obituary Won’t Suck.

Tom is active in the Florida Society of Association Executives, Council of Manufacturing Executives and American Society of Association Executives. In 2012, due to peer recognition of Tom’s professionalism, business innovation and passion, he was named the 2012 FSAE Association Executive of the Year.

Tom is a nationally sought after professional speaker on the topics of market disruption, maximizing member value/engagement and personal development. His passion is inspiring people, associations and companies to maximize their success in seizing the opportunities that are coming their way.

AEC Change Leadership Panel, facilitated by Tom Morrison

Download Tom Morrison’s  material for Panel’s slides

AEC colleagues talked about the transformation they led in their organizations.


Jerry Heppes

Jerry S. Heppes, Sr., CAE

Chief Executive Officer, DHI – Door Security + Safety Professionals (DHI)

DHI survived the recession but had lost relevance with its credentials, education and membership structure.  That set in motion a new strategic plan and the evolution of DHI into a new organization.  The journey is not finished but the progress substantial and undeniable.  These lessons will be shared with the AEC audience.

Ed Gerber

Ed Gerber

President and CEO, Industrial Supply Association (ISA)

ISA, a 116 year old association didn’t evolve with the changing landscape. Caught in downward spiral of lost relevance, a turn-around was the call to action. Learn what has been done, the results to date and where ISA is going next.


Talbot H. Gee

CEO, Heating, Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI)

A lot has changed for HARDI since it was created in 2003 creating confusion among Board Directors and staff, inefficient processes, lack of next-level strategic thinking, and concerns about HARDI’s ability to attract the best member talent onto future Boards.  HARDI just adopted sweeping changes to its governance model intended to correct all of these issues while changing just about every way the association operates with the intent to propel the association to new heights.

Jade West

Jade West

Senior Vice President–Government Relations, NAW

The Washington Update

Always a popular and welcome addition to the NAW AEC Summer Meeting program, Jade West will share the latest regulatory and legislative news, and provide some insights into the upcoming mid-term elections.

About the Speaker

Jade West is Senior Vice President-Government Relations for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors. She also serves as Executive Director of the NAW Political Action Committee. Jade is the senior lobbyist for NAW, advocating the interests of the wholesale distribution industry in Washington both on Capitol Hill and in the regulatory agencies. In addition, she is Executive Secretariat for the 1,000-member Tax Relief Coalition and the LIFO Coalition. Jade is a Steering Committee member of the Alliance for Tax Fairness and Growth, and she is on the Management Committee of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, which leads the opposition to organized labor’s effort to remove secret ballot elections from union certification elections and force employers into binding “interest arbitration” in negotiating contracts.

Jade is also a Director of the Business Industry Political Action Committee and a Founder and Director of the trade association Get Out the Vote Best Practices Group, both working to maximize the turnout of pro-business voters in federal elections.

Before joining NAW in 2002, Jade was a senior aide on Capitol Hill for more than 20 years. She served first as Executive Director of the U.S. Senate Steering Committee, directing the activities of a small staff that provided legislative and policy assistance to approximately 25 senators and their staffs.

She was then named Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee, the fourth ranking Republican Leadership position in the Senate. In that capacity, she served as an adviser to the Republican Leadership on legislative and technical procedural matters and managed a staff of 20, including 10 policy experts who provided policy analysis, research papers and talking points, and detailed legislative summaries to Republican senators and their staffs.

George W. Keeley, Esq.

George W. Keeley, Esq

Keeley, Kuehn & Reed LLC

Are You GDPR Compliant?

Associations that interact with residents of the European Union have a new set of rules and regulations to meet when handling those individuals’ personal data. Are you compliant? Have you done what you need to do to protect this data? Find out when George Keeley, NAW’s Legal Counsel, shares the latest news. To prepare, Read George’s Advisory here.

About the Speaker

George W. Keeley, NAW Legal Counsel, is a partner with the law firm of Keeley, Kuehn & Reid, specializing in the areas of commercial law, employee benefits, antitrust, regulatory matters and cooperative legal combinations. He combines legal expertise with a business background to collaborate with business associations and corporate clients on projects involving legislative and regulatory issues and litigation strategies.

George has written numerous articles on such topics as antitrust compliance, strategic alliances, manufacturer/distributor relations, employment law, dispute resolution and product standards and certification. He is author of the firm’s popular pamphlet, “What Every Business Should Know About the Antitrust Laws.”

A member of the Illinois and Chicago Bar Associations, George is a public arbitrator for the National Association of Securities Dealers and holds membership in the Edward Frederick Sorin Society, the Notre Dame Club of Chicago and the Northwestern Management Club of Chicago.

Dan Ketelsen.

Dan Ketelsen

Director of Sales, Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI)

Meeting Industry Insights

Looking to get a better handle on food and beverage costs? Dan Ketelsen will share some tips with you. Plus, if you have specific questions for Dan, let us know in advance and we’ll be sure he covers your questions during this update.

About the Speaker

As Director of Sales for ALHI’s Mid-Atlantic Region, Dan Ketelsen is responsible for assisting meeting professionals, association executives, incentive specialists, business executives, and convention specialists in the Mid-Atlantic United States with ALHI Global Sales Organization services and professional sales support for its distinguished portfolio of more than 250 hotels and resorts around the world. Prior to joining ALHI, Dan served as the Director of Convention Sales – Mid-Atlantic Region for Visit Anaheim. Previous to that, he served for 17 years with Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

Gina Abudi

Gina Abudi

President, Abudi Consulting Group

NAW AEC General Session
The Executive Perspective on Project Management:The Role of the Leader in Project Management

Project management is the practice of applying knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to work initiatives to achieve specific goals and meet specific defined success criteria. Any member within the organization may be working on projects. Applying project management best practices to the initiatives to be accomplished within the organization enables for better meeting both short-term and long-term strategic goals. Selecting the right projects, at the right time, enables for increased competition, meeting customer needs, increasing profitability and reducing expenses.

The leader’s role is to provide executive oversight, or sponsorship, of projects undertaken in the organization. Depending on the size of the organization, the executive may also be the sole individual responsible for selecting and prioritizing the key initiatives to be undertaken.

This session will focus on the role of the executive in project management, from selecting, prioritizing and initiating projects through to evaluating and closing out the project. Discussions and self-reflection activities will enable application of best practices in your association.

Through presentation, discussions and individual action planning, participants will leave the session with:

  • An understanding of how to utilize project management practices in their own organization.
  • An understanding of their role in project management.
  • A plan to prioritize their own key initiatives to meet organizational goals.
  • Knowledge on how to continue to grow and enhance project management within their organization.
  • An understanding of, and striking the balance between, being informed on progress versus getting involved in the work details of the project

About the Speaker

Gina Abudi, President of Abudi Consulting Group, has more than 25 years of experience in helping mid to large global organizations develop and implement strategy around projects, processes and people. As President of Abudi Consulting Group, LLC, a woman-owned small business, Gina has led a number of projects including process improvement initiatives; change management initiatives; facilitation of team meetings and executive strategy sessions; 360 assessments; facilitation of sessions with executives to solve business issues; and development, implementation and evaluation of Project Management Offices (PMOs), Project Management Centers of Excellence and Change Centers of Excellence. She has worked with organizations to facilitate review of project management and core business processes, helping clients find and implement improvements in how work is getting done to support business and customer needs.

Gina is an adjunct faculty member at Granite State College in New Hampshire, where she teaches in both the Master of Science in Project Management and Master of Science in Leadership graduate degree programs. She is also an adjunct faculty member at New England College in New Hampshire, where she facilitates training sessions for corporate clients.

Gina has been involved with project management and the Project Management Institute since 2003. She served as Chair of the Leadership Team of the Project Management Institute’s Global Corporate Council and as President of the Project Management Institute’s Massachusetts Bay Chapter. Gina currently serves as co-chair of the Association of Change Management’s Volunteer Engagement Committee.

Gina has been honored as a recipient of the Power 50 from PMI, one of 50 executives who have achieved success in proving the value of project management within organizations.

Susan Avery

Susan E. Avery, CAE

Chief Executive Officer, International Association of Plastics Distribution (IAPD)

How Executive Coaching Taught Me a Few New Tricks

Do you have an executive coach? Have you ever considered an executive coach? Join Susan Avery of the International Association of Plastics Distribution (IAPD) as she shares her executive coaching story. She engaged an executive coach in 2014 and will share her journey.

According to Susan, executive coaches are for both new and seasoned CEOs. They serve as an unbiased confidant and coach, allowing you to say things without judgment. They help you

  • Discover your patterns and thought systems, and bring them to the forefront
  • Work through difficult relationships with boards, staff, volunteers and members
  • Create and focus on your own professional goals and growth
  • Take critical and constructive feedback, analyze it, decide what is helpful and real, decide what to take in, and put it into actionable steps
  • Design your career story (where you have been, what you have accomplished, where you want/need to go and how you will get there)
  • With on call crisis management

Susan sums it up well: “The physically fit may seek out a personal trainer. Those with a struggling marriage may seek a marriage counselor or spiritual advisor. However, we typically do less with our professional lives. We seek to fill the void by groups of colleagues and professional friends. But they are mostly biased. Truthfully, many of us would not share our deepest and darkest fears and insecurities with those who would be in a position to do harm if that relationship soured. A coach is someone who serves only you, your best interest and your future.” If you’ve ever considered a coach, here is your chance to learn more about coaching from an AEC colleague.

Scott Steen

Scott Steen

President & CEO, American Forests

Storytelling as a Leadership Tool

Storytelling is one of the best tools leaders can use to motivate and influence others. Facts and figures are necessary, but they do little to inspire commitment or change. In associations, the opportunities to tell compelling stories are everywhere. Hear from one association CEO about what he learned being mentored by a storytelling master and how it changed the way he leads. Explore what makes a good story, how to identify and tell stories that advanced your organization, and how stories can be used powerfully in an association context.

About the Speaker

Scott joined American Forests in December 2010. During his tenure, American Forests has planted more than 20 million trees in more than 250 different restoration projects, launched multiple programs and initiatives and tripled membership. Previously, Scott served as Executive Director of the American Ceramic Society, an international organization of materials scientists and engineers; and as Chief Strategy Officer for the American Society of Association Executives and Chief Operating Officer for the Center for Association Leadership.

Where Champions Sharpen Their Skills

Meeting Location:
The Greenbrier Resort
300 W Maine St.
White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986
(844) 837-2466

Hotel Accommodations

About The Greenbrier Resort

Located amid the breathtaking mountains of West Virginia, The Greenbrier is a National Historic Landmark and world-class resort that has been welcoming guests from around the world since 1778. The natural mineral springs that drew to first guests over 235 years ago continue to lure visitors to the 11,000 acre luxury retreat today. With a guest list that includes 27 of our country’s 45 Presidents, America’s Resort has long been a favorite destination of royalty, celebrities and business leaders. Today, The Greenbrier invites a new generation to come out and play. Enjoy relaxing pastimes, start treasured traditions, or set out on an amazing adventure together.  You’ll find endless vacation possibilities at The Greenbrier.

Receive a $100 room credit when you register and book your room by June 1, 2018. 

You may make your reservation:

  1. By using the NAW AEC Reservation Form
  2. By calling the Greenbrier Individual phone-in reservation request to 1-844-867-2612 (be sure to indicate you are attending the NAW meeting)

AEC Summer meeting room rate:              $289.00

This rate is available 3 days prior and 3 days following our meeting dates, based on availability.

Resort Fees and Taxes

Valet Parking: $25 per night (lot) & $50 per night (garage). Self Parking: complimentary
West Virginia State Taxes: 6% sales tax & 3% occupancy tax

Daily Resort Fee: $20.00 per room, per night – the AEC Discounted rate

  • Morning Coffee Service
  • Afternoon Tea and Concert
  • Nightly Movies in the Theatre
  • Historical Tours & Presentations
  • Fitness Equipment (at Tennis Center or Indoor Pool)
  • Cyber Café with High-Speed Internet
  • Children’s VIP Cards
  • Resort-Wide Wireless Internet
  • Culinary Demonstrations
  • Use of Indoor & Outdoor Pools
  • Champagne Toast in The Casino Club
  • On-Property Transportation
  • Hiking & Meditation Trails
  • Springhouse Entertainer Cabaret

Historic Preservation Fund (HPF)

Historic Preservation Fund of 6.5% is collected to preserve and protect landscapes, buildings, and amenities that have played a meaningful role in The Greenbrier’s past while carefully planning the continuous improvement for the future.

Check-In / Check-Out

Check-In Time: 4:00 p.m.
Check-Out Time: 11:00 a.m.


The Greenbrier is located in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia and conveniently situated off Interstate 64 just west of the Virginia/West Virginia border and just east of Lewisburg, WV.


By car, it is a scenic drive from Washington, D.C.  The drive is approximately 4.5 hours.

Self Parking – Complimentary

Valet Parking
$25.00 per night
$50.00 per night (garage)


Greenbrier Valley Airport (LWB), is now served by SkyWest and tickets are available for purchase at Greenbrier Valley Airport is located only 15 minutes away from The Greenbrier. SkyWest will offer daily flights to and from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Washington Dulles (IAD) Airports.

The flights are as follows:

To Lewisburg (Greenbrier Valley Airport):

Location Departure/Arrival Dates
Chicago to Lewisburg Depart 4:13 PM, Arrive 6:48 PM Daily Nonstop
Dulles to Lewisburg Depart 8:25 AM, Arrive 9:40 AM Thursday, Friday, Sunday
Dulles to Lewisburg Depart 12:30 PM, Arrive 2:43 PM Weekdays and Sunday
Dulles to Lewisburg Depart 7:18 PM, Arrive 9:16 PM Weekdays and Sunday
To Chicago O’Hare Depart 4:13 PM, Arrive 6:48 PM Daily Nonstop
To Dulles Depart 10:10 AM, Arrive 11:07 AM Thursday, Friday, Sunday
To Dulles Depart 7:18 PM, Arrive 9:16 PM Weekdays and Sunday

Other airports convenient to The Greenbrier include Roanoke, VA, 2.15 hours (ROA),   Charleston, WV, 2.30 hours(CRW) and Beckley, WV, 1.20 hours (BKW) with service provided by major carriers.

Do you want to leave the driving to someone else?  Amtrak offers service to the Greenbrier from Union Station in Washington, DC. Departing at 11:00 am and arriving at 5:05 pm.

Rental Cars
Rental cars are available through major rental car agencies at area airports.

Shuttle Service

Shuttles are available from area airports to The Greenbrier for a fee. Please call The Greenbrier Transportation Department at 304-536-1110 ext. 7259 for rates and reservations.

Weather and Wardrobe

July temperatures at the Greenbrier average 82 day and 60 evening.

Dress for the NAW AEC meeting is “resort casual”*— however ties and/or jackets for gentlemen are required for the casino after 7:00 p.m. and Tuesday’s dinner. For business sessions, open neck shirts are appropriate.  But, keep in mind that meeting room temperatures can vary so a sweater or blazer might be appropriate.

*While our AEC events do not require jacket or tie, please note that the Greenbrier does have specific dress recommendations for certain venues. See details below.


No denim in the Main Dining Room (dinner only) and No denim on the Golf Courses or Tennis Courts.


Jackets and ties are required in the Main Dining Room (dinner only)
Jackets are required in the Casino Club after 7:00pm
Jackets are suggested in Prime 44 West and Lobby Bar