Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

October 10-11, 2018 at the Hilton O’Hare in Chicago

Add to Calendar 20181010T133000Z 20181011T133000Z America/New York NAW Billion Dollar CEO Roundtable, 2018
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Please contact Tara Mostatab at if you have any questions.

NAW’s Billion Dollar CEO Roundtable is a unique event designed for CEO’s of wholesale distribution companies with annual sales volumes that exceed $1 billion. A proverbial “who’s who” in wholesale distribution, this unique conference provides you with the opportunity to network with non-competing peers across a diverse range of commodity lines. You will have the most in-depth business discussions ever at this event!

This by-invitation-only event for CEO’s of billion dollar companies provides attendees a distinct forum where they can interact with peers from the largest firms in the industry to share and discuss key strategic issues.

Join your peers to discuss how you are surviving this economic climate and strategies to position your company for the coming rebound. Change is the only constant you can rely on and this event helps you to stay one step ahead.

If you would like to learn more please contact Tara Mostatab at 202.263.4080 or

Eligibility: Companies with $1B+ in annual revenue.
The NAW Billion Dollar Roundtable is the only opportunity that provides networking and benchmarking exclusively with other top executives of non competing, like-sized Wholesale-Distribution companies.

NAW Billion Dollar CEO Roundtable Preliminary Agenda

Day 1 - October 10, 2018

1:15 PM – 2:00 PM

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Opening Session & Discussion
Technology and Business Model Shifts in Distribution: CEO Forum Panel Discussion

Shri Santhanam
Partner, Oliver Wyman

Wes Clark
Board Member, Distribution International Inc

Chris Debrusk
Partner, Oliver Wyman

Dan Lewis
CEO, Convoy

Rapid changes in technology, customer expectations, and market structures are disrupting the distribution landscape and are causing unprecedented shifts in winning strategies. Technologies such as AI, blockchain, software services, and connected devices are opening the way for new business models, while at the same time distributors are facing new pressures from digital-native marketplaces and manufacturers looking to expand their direct customer interface. These shifts are putting pressure on distributors to expand their role as value chain partners. Adopting new technology in new ways to serve customer needs will be critical.

In their quest to change fast, distributors can learn lessons from industries such as retail, consumer goods, and business services, many of whom are further down the road on adoption and have faced many of these changes first.

This panel discussion will feature executives from a range of fields to share perspectives and learnings as their businesses have changed, examine the impacts of technology and customer and market shifts impacting distribution, explore implications for the business model choices that distributors are making to make their business more relevant and expand their role in value chains in which they participate.

This discussion will cover:

  • Concept of a ‘greenfield distributor: how can leaders reimagine the role of a distributor under changing market landscapes, and what would a reimagined distributor look and feel like
  • Recommendations for how distributors can build nimbleness and entrepreneurial culture into their organizations
  • Examples and case studies from cross-industry leaders as well as within distribution


Shri Santhanam is a Partner with Oliver Wyman Labs, where he focuses on commercial effectiveness topics like pricing, growth, marketing, and sales force effectiveness. Shri is passionate about using engineering approaches and technology to drive sustained commercial impact in companies. He has spent over a decade working in a range of sectors, including distribution, retail, hi-tech and transportation. Shri has led large-scale multiyear commercial transformations at billion-dollar com.

Wes Clark currently serves as a board member of ABC Supply Co., Inc. and Distribution International Inc.  He has also served as the Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of MORSCO Inc. and Distribution International Inc. and as a board member for WW Grainger, Inc., Clarcor Inc., Uline Inc., and K+S AG.   He is also an Operating Partner with Advent International Global Private Equity and was the CEO of Morton Salt, Inc. and prior to that, the President, Chief Operating Officer of W.W. Grainger, Inc. He began his career with Cummins Engine Company, serving as Vice President of Cummins’ Advanced Drivetrain Corporation, before assuming the role of Division General Manager of Granite Rock Company.  He is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, the Union League Club, the Columbia Yacht Club, and is a Governing Board member of the Chicago Symphony.  He has been a board member of the National Museum of Mexican Art, Second Harvest, and Preserve To Enjoy.  Most recently he served as a member of the Management Board of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business from which he received his MBA in 1977.  In addition, Mr. Clark graduated with degrees in both Economics and Philosophy from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Chris DeBrusk is a Partner in Oliver Wyman’s Digital, Technology and Analytics practices, based in New York. Chris has spent over 20 years providing advisory services to clients in a range of areas including technology and data strategy, digital strategy, large program management and outsourcing strategy. Chris has extensive experience helping clients deliver using a global model and has run teams spread across North America, Europe and Asia. Chris has a B.A.Sc. in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo and a B. A. also from the University of Waterloo.

Dan Lewis is the CEO and Co-Founder of Convoy. Convoy is the leading technology-enabled trucking network, reinventing the $800B transportation industry. Before Convoy, Dan served as General Manager of New Shopping Experiences at Amazon, as well as Vice President of Product and Operations at Wavii (acquired by Google), and Group Product Manager at Microsoft. Dan started his career in technology and supply-chain consulting for Oliver Wyman, after studying cognitive science at Yale University.

3:45 PM – 5:00 PM
Networking Discussion Workshop

Join your noncompeting peers in NAW’s exclusive networking groups to discuss ideas, share solutions and find answers to key issues that could apply to your business, today.

ENTRY TICKET: Your ticket for entry is to bring two ideas or questions concerning the presentation that you want to discuss. Present your entry ticket to your table captain at the start of the discussion workshop.

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Reception – Drinks & Dialogue

Come prepared to meet and mingle with your fellow participants from the largest firms in the industry.

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Billion Dollar Company Executive Dinner
NAW Government Relations Update

Jade West
SVP-Government Relations, NAW

For over 20 years, Jade West was a staple in the U.S. Senate. For the past 10 years, Jade has helped educate lawmakers on how certain legislative policies could impact true economic engines such as wholesaler-distributors. From stopping the repeal of LIFO, to tax and labor initiatives, Jade has been out front and leading the charge on Capitol Hill to benefit the entire $5.7 trillion industry that is wholesale distribution.

Make sure to attend the most exclusive executive supper club in Chicago this evening! This dinner is your opportunity to pick the brains of the senior executives for the top wholesale distribution companies in the industry.


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.

Day 2 - October 11, 2018

7:00 AM – 7:30 AM

7:35 AM – 8:45 AM
Opening Session & Discussion
NAW Talks

Learn best practices and innovating way to recruit and retain front-line employees in warehouses, trucking, and other segments of distribution. In addition, learn how to create the right workplace environment where safety comes first. Hear innovative ways to promote workplace safety.

Transforming Talent Acquisition

Chris Streit
Director of Client Solutions, Futurestep, a Korn Ferry Company

Regardless of industry, everyone in business has an intimate understanding of the need to create scarcity with what goods or services their organization brings to market. It is this principle that drives the strategy and execution of every business to do “whatever it takes” operationally to create consumer value and defeat competition. We typically see this mindset with the talent that encompasses our operational workforce, (i.e. warehouse managers looking for cost improvement opportunities, supply chain leaders looking to reduce delivery time etc.) whose attitudes and motivations are aligned with shareholders in that they are looking for the company to spend less and make more.

While an “employee-owner” mindset exists and is a good thing for business it is typically latent in our talent acquisition departments when our ability to recruit and find the right talent is more important than ever. Scarcity has made the competition for talent equally (if not more) challenging as the competition for customers. In this presentation we will provide an overview of what it would mean to “operationalize” talent acquisition and the resulting impact that would occur on our pool of talent and organizational performance.

Specific areas of focus will be:

  • Review of current state of talent shortage and talent acquisition
  • Provide an overview of operational metrics and incentives for talent acquisition
  • Introduce, define and provide innovative examples of “doing whatever it takes” to attract talent
    • Employer Branding
    • Artificial Intelligence in recruiting
    • Grass roots recruiting
  • Discuss operational outputs of a transformed talent acquisition group
  • Transform mindset to look at talent acquisition as a business unit rather than support function.

The Four Domains of Safety Leadership

Justin Ganschow
CSP, CHMM, Caterpillar Safety Services

A transformational safety leader is one who is effective, not because of their job title, but because of how he/she interacts with others. People follow this type of leader voluntarily and passionately give their best, safest performance every day. At Caterpillar Safety Services, we have discovered that becoming a transformational safety leader requires mastery of four “domains,” revealed through a 5-year research project. Participants begin to understand these four domains, along with fourteen elements of leadership-based safety in this dynamic presentation and reflect on their own safety leadership characteristics.

Following this session, participants will be able to:

  • Create connectivity between safety, business operations, and employees.
  • Understand what it takes to proactively drive safety results.
  • Earn personal credibility with employees by demonstrating credible consciousness and building trust.


Chris Streit has provided consultation on talent acquisition and development, recruiting and technology and cost reduction.

His unique consultation experience in Talent and Corporate Tax allows Mr. Streit to approach client solutions with a heavy focus on ROI while maximizing the impact of the Talent Acquisition function within organizations.

Mr. Streit was instrumental in launching and growing the Korn Ferry Talent Academy across the global Talent Delivery Center network and with select Marquee Accounts. This curriculum and delivery methodology have become the standard in onboarding and professional development in the Talent Management industry.

Mr. Streit has partnered with multiple organizations on executing enterprise-wide hiring initiatives for the Life Sciences, Industrial and Technology industries.
His understanding and knowledge of the recruitment technology (Sourcing, CRM, Applicant Tracking Systems etc.) landscape allows Mr. Streit to provide clients solutions to the recruiting challenges of tomorrow.

Areas of expertise include: talent acquisition, technology integration and utilization, learning and development, onboarding, change management, strategy execution, workforce planning and sizing, employee engagement and culture, employee development, talent strategy, etc.

Justin Ganschow has 15 years of experience in the Environment, Health and Safety field implementing effective culture change within Caterpillar manufacturing facilities and organizations from a variety of industries. He is a frequent presenter where he brings the safety culture journey to life by sharing his own experience as a practitioner, leader and champion of the Caterpillar approach. Justin is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM). He has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science – Biology and a Master of Science in Biology from Bradley University.

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Networking Discussion Workshop

Join your noncompeting peers in NAW’s exclusive networking groups to discuss ideas, share solutions and find answers to key issues that could apply to your business, today.

ENTRY TICKET: Your ticket for entry is to bring two ideas or questions concerning the presentation that you want to discuss. Present your entry ticket to your table captain at the start of the discussion workshop.

10:45 AM – 11:45 AM
General Session & Discussion
How Will Omnichannel Effect the Manufacturer and Distributor Relationship? 

Rick Wilson
Managing Director, Chicago Strategy Associates and Visiting Scholar, Kellogg School of Management

Legacy distribution is being rocked by significant trending disruptions – more efficient online transaction commerce, new logistics capabilities and cost structures, consolidated large scale platforms, commoditizing prices and margins, radically changing end-customer expectations, and fears of eCommerce disintermediation.  Meanwhile, a recent cross-industry Gallup survey finds that only 29% of B2B customers feel fully engaged with the companies they do business with, and only 46% strongly agree that these companies actually deliver on their promises.

So manufacturers and distributors alike are furiously moving to differentiate themselves in creating new downline experiences for vastly different segments of end-customers. “Omnichannel” is the common language used to describe this proliferation in new manufacturer-distributor business models, and it’s pressuring today’s players to rethink how they build and leverage offline and online assets, investments, and competencies to create fundamentally new customer outcomes in the marketplace.

This session will discuss how manufacturer and distributor relationships are being impacted by these developments, as well as the path forward – from the demands of new Omnichannel business model changes, shifts in the technology landscape, and evolving end-customer expectations, to the uncomfortable adjustments manufacturers and distributors are making in marketplace roles, partnering relationships, trust and collaboration levels, and business economics.


Rick Wilson is a global thought leader and long-time adviser to senior leaders on structuring and managing their distribution channels to drive increased company differentiation, growth and competitiveness. Rick has 25 years of consulting, facilitation, research, and teaching experience on building market-focused organizations and stewarding high-performance distribution channels. He brings a breadth and depth of experience, cross-industry perspective, and a passionate zeal to his work. Rick is also an emeritus Clinical Professor of Marketing at  Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management where he taught MBA courses in Distribution Channel Strategy, eCommerce, and Social Media.

12:00 PM – 12:30 PM
Lunch & Networking Session

Join your noncompeting peers in NAW’s exclusive networking groups to discuss ideas, share solutions and find answers to key issues that could apply to your business today.

12:30 PM – 1:25 PM
Closing Session & Discussion
What Technologies Do Wholesaler-Distributors Need to Stay Ahead in the Next 10 to 20 years? 

Shobhit Varshney
Analytics, AI, Data, IoT, IBM Services

How can the technology of the future be applied to wholesale distribution? What technologies should wholesaler-distributors consider? Every 15-20 years, we see new technologies being introduced as wild ideas, gain momentum and eventually mature to deliver true value to your business. In this session, we will explore technologies that are 10-20 years out (such as Quantum Computing) and would have a profound impact on the wholesale distribution industry.


Shobhit Varshney is a Partner in IBM Services, specializing in AI, Analytics, Data & IoT. He is a trusted advisor to c-suites and a recognized global leader in selling and delivering cross-industry solutions leveraging the transformative power of AI, Machine Learning and Deep Learning. He has 12 years proven track record of partnering with fortune 500 clients across industries and geographies to realize value by linking strategic thinking, cognitive, digital and cloud to deliberate, practical, and sustainable enterprise transformation.

Across various roles at IBM, Mr. Varshney has had the privilege of working with and building world class talent, curriculum, assets and methods. As part of IBM’s Chief Analytics Office, he leveraged analytics to transform various aspects of IBM’s own business. Having driven real world transformation across a global enterprise, he gained deep understanding of the organizational challenges and what it takes to drive adoption of analytics.

Prior to joining IBM, Mr. Varshney gained experience in strategy consulting and deploying analytics in various domains ranging from bio-medicine, financial services and technology at Bain & Co, Bloomberg LP and Intel Corporation. Shobhit earned an MBA with distinction from Johnson at Cornell, MS in Computer Science (focus: Bio Medicine) from Cornell University and BS in Computer Engineering and Math with summa cum laude from University of Arkansas.

Mr. Varshney has driven innovation across multiple industries and has been the co-inventor for 4 Patents.

He lives in New York, with his wife and 2 young kids. In his personal life, he is passionate about photography, is am tech geek and loves to brew beer.


1:25 PM – 1:30 PM
Closing Remarks & Adjournment

NAW Billion Dollar CEO Roundtable Participants, 2018

The following wholesale distribution companies are registered for the 2018 Billion Dollar CEO Roundtable:

  • A B C Supply Co Inc
  • A D S Inc
  • Airgas an Air Liquide Company
  • Amcon Distributing Co
  • Breakthru Beverage Group
  • Composites One LLC
  • Core & Main
  • Dawn Food Products Inc
  • Distribution International Inc
  • Dot Foods Inc
  • Essendant Inc
  • Grainger Inc
  • Graybar Electric Co Inc
  • Gypsum Management & Supply Inc/GMS
  • Hajoca Corp
  • Johnstone Supply
  • M Holland Co
  • M S C Industrial Supply Co
  • Network Services Company
  • PetroChoice
  • Pinnacle Agriculture Distribution
  • Pool Corporation
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • True Value Co
  • U S LBM Holdings LLC
  • U S Lumber Group
  • Uline
  • Uni Select Inc
  • W E S C O Distribution Inc
  • Wilbur Ellis/Connell Bros Co
  • Winsupply Inc

The following wholesale distribution companies have attended previous NAW Billion Dollar Company CEO Roundtables:

  • A B B Optical Group
  • A B C Supply
  • A D I Global
  • Airgas an Air Liquide Company
  • Alex Lee
  • American Hotel Register
  • AmerisourceBergen
  • Animal Supply Company
  • Border States Electric
  • Breakthru Beverage Group
  • Brenntag North America
  • Bunzl Distribution
  • City Electric Supply
  • Crescent Electric Supply
  • Dawn Food Products
  • Do It Best
  • Dot Foods
  • Essendant
  • Grainger, Inc.
  • Graybar
  • Gypsum Management & Supply
  • Johnstone Supply
  • M Holland Company
  • McLane Foodservice
  • Merchants Distributors LLC
  • M O R S C O
  • M S C Industrial Supply Company
  • Network Services Company
  • Performance Foodservice
  • Pool Corp
  • PrimeSource Building Products
  • ScanSource
  • S R S Distribution
  • T N G
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • TRIMark USA
  • True Value Co.
  • Uline
  • Uni-Select
  • WESCO Distribution, Inc.
  • Wilbur-Ellis Company
  • WinSupply

Meeting Location:
Chicago Hilton O’Hare
10000 W O’Hare Ave.                Hotel Accommodations
Chicago, IL 60666
(773) 686-8000

Hilton Central Reservations – 877 865 5322