Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

September 17-18, 2019 at the Hilton O’Hare in Chicago

Add to Calendar 20190917T133000Z 20190918T140000Z America/New York NAW Large Company CEO/COO Roundtable 2019
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We are currently in the process of finalizing our 2019 program. Please check back for updates. Please contact Tara Mostatab at if you have any questions.

The NAW Large Company CEO/COO Roundtable is the only opportunity that provides networking and benchmarking exclusively with other top executives of mostly non competing and like sized Wholesale-Distribution companies. This is a highly valued business tool for those who have attended and will attend.

NAW would like to invite you to attend the Large Company CEO/COO Roundtable for companies with sales of $100 million and above.

Your businesses are changing on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Now is the time to join your peers to network and benchmark on issues that are affecting the way you run your organization. Find out what they are doing to survive now and how they are positioning themselves for the economic rebound. You will have the most in-depth and enlightening business conversations ever at this event!

NAW member companies with sales of $100 million or more receive one complimentary registration as part of their benefits package.

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

*For further details about sponsoring this Roundtable, contact John Peter at

Eligibility: Companies with $100M to $999M in annual revenue.
The NAW Large Company CEO/COO Roundtable is the only opportunity that provides networking and benchmarking exclusively with other top executives of non competing, like-sized Wholesale-Distribution companies.

NAW Large Company CEO/COO Roundtable Preliminary Program

Day 1 - September 17, 2019

1:30 PM – 2:00 PM

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Opening Session & Discussion

Innovation: It Takes an Ecosystem- A Wholesaler-Distributor Panel Discussion!

David Bauders, CEO, SPA

Benj Cohen, Founder,

Ron Calhoun, President & CEO, Palmer Donavin Mfg. Co.

Mark Dancer, CEO, Network for Business Innovation 

Steen Hansen, CEO, Bossard 

Our research for the next Facing the Forces of Change® report found that distributors are seeking to innovate their customer experiences and business model, but fail to leverage leading subject matter experts and disruptive services. As a result, innovations stay close to the vest and are designed more as extensions of current offerings and capabilities and rather than game-changing or market-leading solutions. In this session, our panel will discuss their experiences and plans around leveraging best-in-class help for innovations. We will share business innovations identified in our research through brainstorming and scenario planning, and explore how distributor build an innovation ecosystem for optimizing results. Disruptive competitors are skilled at building and leveraging an innovation ecosystem. Without building ecosystems into an innovation process designed for distributors, even the best innovators will continue to fight with one arm tied behind their back!


President and CEO David Bauders founded SPA in 1993 and its subsidiary, SPASIGMA, in 2015. SPA is the world’s first company to provide an integrated, holistic profit-driving solution that integrates decision-support analytics and entertaining, high-performance virtual training. SPA helps market leaders’ teams drive greater financial performance by providing the skills training and analytical tools to master the critical daily decisions that drive profitability and enterprise value: negotiation (sell-side and buy-side), profitability acumen and emotional intelligence. SPA’s holistic approach helps clients sustainably create and capture higher economic value. SPA’s typical client experiences increased profits equal to 2%–4% of affected sales in less than 90 days.

Benj Cohen founded to help distributors harness cutting-edge artificial intelligence and dominate the digital age. Benj learned about distribution firsthand at Benco Dental, a business started by his great grandfather. While Benj was studying Applied Math and Data Science at Harvard University, he saw an opportunity to apply innovative technology to distribution; enabling distributors sell more in modern markets.

Ron Calhoun received his B.A. from Ohio University in 1972 and is current President of Beta Theta Pi’s Ohio University Beta Kappa Chapter House Corporation. Currently Ron serves as President and CEO of The Palmer Donavin Manufacturing Company, a distributor of building materials, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Ron currently serves his industry as Board Chair for National Association of Wholesalers Institutefor Distribution Excellence, and current board member of Nemeon, an industry buying group, and a past President of National Building Material Distribution Association.

He also serves his community as board member for The Columbus Chamber of Commerce, and serves as board member for I Am Boundless, a nonprofit servicing the needs of the developmental disabled.

Mark Dancer is CEO of Network for Business Innovation. He was named a Fellow of the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence in 2017. He works with business leaders and teams to create visions, solve problems and strengthen capabilities. Mark’s experience includes work across global markets and commercial, industrial, services, technology, automotive, construction and other sectors. Previously, Mark was Vice President of Global Channel Management–Industrial Adhesives at Henkel Corporation. Mark is author of four research studies for the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence: CEO Insights on Innovating the Distributor for the Digital AgeGetting Results From Your Digital InvestmentsBecoming a Digital Distributor: Strategies and Tools That Create Value and Getting the Most Out of CRM: Best Practices for Wholesaler-Distributors.

From 2006 to 2008, he served as the president of Bossard IIP, Cedar Falls, Iowa,  Steen was responsible for the Group’s logistics between 2004 and 2006, having joined Bossard in 2001 as head of logistics for Bossard Denmark. Prior to joining Bossard, he filled various management positions, the last being supply chain manager at Nomeco Denmark, a leading wholesaler for pharmaceuticals.

3:35 PM – 5:00 PM
Networking Discussion Workshop

Join your noncompeting peers in NAW’s signature networking groups to discuss ideas that may work in your company and compare notes on key issues.

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 Reception”

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

7:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Welcome Dinner & Presentation

NAW Government Relations Update

Jade West
Chief Government Relations Officer,  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 Chief Government Relations Officer 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 - September 18, 2019

7:00 AM – 7:40 AM

7:50 AM – 8:50 AM
Opening Session & Discussion

How Does a World Class Communications Strategy Work and How Should it Look Like in Your Company?

Christopher W. Ullman

Founder and President, Ullman Communications 

Brand matters. What people think and how they feel about your business impacts your ability to attract employees, raise capital, find customers, take market share and increase profits. A thoughtfully devised and carefully executed communications strategy is the key to defining who you are and sending the right messages to critical internal and external audiences. But, in a hustle-bustle world where everyone wants everything yesterday, social media seems to rule and the 24/7 news cycle never ends, communicating well seems harder than ever. There is a solution. The key to effective communications and brand management is to be proactive, strategic, methodical, humble-confident, consistent and timely. It’s not as complicated as it sounds.

This session will cover:

  • Assessing/improving your organization’s communications program
  •  How to use communications to differentiate yourself from the competition
  • Managing the CEO’s public profile
  • Getting in the news for the right reasons
  • What to do when you’re in the news for the wrong reasons
  • Starting a thought leadership program
  • Examples and case studies from an array of industries


Chris Ullman is a communications professional with 32 years of experience across the private, public, and non-profit sectors. In 2019 he established Ullman Communications LLC, a boutique strategic communications advisory firm, serving CEOs, CMOs and CCOs. From 2001 to 2018 he served as Director of Global Communications at The Carlyle Group, a global investment firm based in Washington, DC. Prior to establishing and leading Carlyle’s communications program, he led communications at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (White House Budget Office), the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S House Budget Committee.

Chris specializes in corporate communications strategy, brand development, crisis remediation, reputation management and internal communications.

Chris earned his B.A. in political science from Binghamton University. He serves on the Board of the American Red Cross for the National Capital Region and the Board of Visitors of The Fund for American Studies. Chris is an avid cyclist and a four-time national and international whistling champion. His first book, Find Your Whistle: Simple Gifts Touch Hearts and Change Lives, was published in 2017 by Mascot Books.

9:00 AM – 10:15 AM
Networking Discussion Workshop

Join your noncompeting peers in NAW’s signature networking groups to discuss ideas that may work in your company and compare notes on key issues.

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.

10:25 AM – 11:30 AM
General Session & Discussion

Before Collaboration Comes Connection: The Power of Building Internal Community for External Innovation

Andy Hagerman, Co-Founder & CEO, The Design Gym

Jason Wisdom, Co-Founder & President of Enterprise, The Design Gym

Recent Gallup polls show that 67% of workers in America are actively disengaged in with their work day to day. And in the world of startups, 65% of them fail because of ineffectual senior management compared to a mere 35% due to product development or research. The beliefs that corporate innovation rely on discovering the next hot product, new model service, or cover worthy experience are not only short sighted, but are absolute myths. What is actually blocking most organizations from sustainable growth is the activation of their most important, most expensive, and certainly most complex asset – their people. Instead they turn to new methodologies, office spaces, and marketing campaigns to mask the deeper rooted challenges. Creating an organizational culture and operating model that is truly human centered – employees to customers – requires vulnerability, emotion, and transparency that only the bravest leaders are willing to commit to. This conversation will talk about the fundamental needs of your employees and customers as humans, and how you can adjust your leadership, org design, and culture in specific ways to better allow your humans to show up in their work – and when they do, unlock innovation in a way that works for itself. We’ll touch on topics of:

  • Why relationships prevail in times of change and transformation
  • Vulnerability as our best ingredient for innovation and creativity
  • Calling out the ‘Elephants’ in the room early, often, and together
  • What is Design Thinking and how it becomes easy when the cultural foundation is in place


Andy is a creative entrepreneur hell-bent on using culture, communication, and collaboration to create a more innovative future.

As the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of the NYC-based consultancy, The Design Gym, Andy has worked inside the world’s most influential and creative companies to help them shift to a more empathic, creative and collaborative way of working. These include brands such as Capital One, TED, Marriott, Etsy, Rockefeller Foundation, the NYC Department of Education, MetLife, Porsche, and more.

Before founding The Design Gym, he spent years honing his research and strategy skills at Jump Associates, one of the world’s leading innovation consultancies. Andy has guest lectured at NYU, Columbia University and Parsons, and has led breakout workshops at both TED and TEDMED conferences.

Jason is dedicated to helping organizations better understand their employees and the communities they serve.

As a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of The Design Gym, he’s helped leadership teams from some of the most forward-thinking organizations in the world harness the creativity of their teams to launch new products, drive internal change and stand up internal labs programs. He’s worked with leaders at TED, the Rockefeller Foundation, the NYC Department of Education, the Robin Hood Foundation, among others.

11:35 AM – 12:50 PM
Lunch & Networking Session

Join your noncompeting peers in NAW’s signature networking groups to discuss ideas that may work in your company and compare notes on key issues.

Be Prepared – This will be a working lunch.

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.

1:00 PM – 1:55 PM
Closing Session & Discussion

John Gunderson

VP, Analytics & E-Business, Modern Distribution Management

How to Prepare for a Potential Distribution Slowdown 

In this interactive session, we will discuss MDM’s macro-economic outlook for distribution and discuss three key areas of focus for 2020

  • Tariffs– The effect of tariffs and record number of supplier price increases. We will discuss ideas on how to respond to these higher supplier costs and strategies on how to avoid eating cost increases that you can’t pass thru to your customers.
  • Sales Coverage- How to improve your re-examine your sales coverage plans during a slowdown to maximize your ROI.
  • Where to Invest or Prune– How to make smart investments to manage your costs during a slowdown, and how to position yourself to take share from the competition and grow at a faster rates after the slowdown.


John Gunderson is MDM’s VP of Analytics & EBusiness and has 20+ years of senior leadership experience leading sales, marketing, category management, pricing and analytics teams for B2B Distributors including Crescent Electric Supply, HD Supply C&I White Cap, HD Supply Power Solutions, Anixter, and EIS-Inc. 

1:55 PM – 2:00 PM

Closing Remarks & Adjournment

NAW Large Company CEO/COO Roundtable Participants 2019

The following wholesale distribution companies are registered for the 2019 Large Company CEO Roundtable:

  • Allied Electronics
  • Ball Horticultural Co
  • Banner Solutions
  • Benco Dental
  • Bossard North America Inc
  • Buckles Smith Electric Co
  • Coastal Construction Products
  • Coe Distributing
  • Continental Batteries
  • Electric Supply Inc.
  • Ewing Irrigation Products
  • Field Fastener
  • Galleher
  • Gustave A. Larson Company
  • Highline Aftermarket
  • ISCO Industries LLC
  • IPS Packaging
  • Kennicott Brothers
  • Kimball Midwest
  • Miltons Distributing Company Inc.
  • Nelson Jameson Inc.
  • Palmer-Donavin
  • Parksite
  • Shorr Packaging Corp
  • Source North America Corp
  • Winzer Corp.
  • Womack Machine Supply Co
  • Zanders Sporting Goods

NAW Large Company CEO Roundtable Participants of 2017, 2018, and the Upcoming 2019 Roundtable

  • Allied Electronics
  • Ball Horticultural Co
  • Banner Solutions
  • Benco Dental Co
  • Bossard Inc
  • Bryan Equipment Sales Inc
  • Buckles Smith Electric Co
  • Building Material Distributors Inc/BMD
  • C H Briggs Company
  • Climatic Corp (The)
  • Coastal Construction Products
  • Coe Distributing
  • Continental Batteries
  • Cope Plastics Inc
  • Electric Supply Inc
  • Ewing Irrigation Products
  • Fairmont Supply Co
  • Field Fastener
  • First Supply LLC
  • Galleher Hardwood Co
  • Gustave A Larson Co
  • Highline Aftermarket
  • I D N/H Hoffman Inc
  • I P S Packaging
  • I S C O Industries LLC
  • IEWC
  • Johnson Supply
  • Kennicott Brothers
  • Kimball Midwest
  • Lawson Products Inc
  • Miltons Distributing Co Inc
  • N M C Group Inc
  • National Oak Distributors Inc
  • Nelson Jameson Inc
  • Nichols
  • North American Plastics
  • Organization Name
  • Pacesetter
  • Palmer Donavin Mfg Co (The)
  • Parksite Inc
  • Piedmont Plastics Inc
  • Plumbers Supply Co
  • Plumbing Distributors Inc
  • Reeb Millwork Corp
  • Shorr Packaging Corp
  • Skidmore Sales & Distributing Co Inc
  • Team Horner
  • TriMark USA
  • Turtle & Hughes Inc
  • Van Meter Inc
  • Winzer Corp
  • Womack Machine Supply Co
  • Zanders Sporting Goods Inc

The following wholesale distribution companies attended previous NAW Large Company CEO/COO Roundtables:

  • AC Pro
  • Belknap White Group
  • Benco Dental
  • Blevins Inc.
  • BMD, Inc.
  • Boelter Companies Inc
  • Bossard North America
  • Bryan Equipment Sales
  • CH Briggs
  • Climatic Corporation
  • Composites One
  • Cope Plastics, Inc.
  • Crane Supply
  • Curbell Plastics
  • Davidson’s Inc.
  • Distribution International
  • Electric Supply, Inc
  • Ewing Irrigation
  • First Source
  • First Supply
  • Galleher
  • Grabber Construction Products
  • Gustave A. Larson Company
  • Haines
  • Highline Aftermarket
  • Team Horner
  • Hub Construction Specialties
  • IDN/Hoffman
  • IEWC
  • Inline Distributing Co
  • Johnson Supply
  • Kennicott Brothers
  • Kimball Midwest
  • L&R Distributors
  • Laird Plastics
  • Lawson Products
  • NB Handy
  • Nelson-Jameson
  • Nichols
  • NMC Group, Inc.
  • Pacesetter
  • Palmer-Donavin
  • Parksite
  • Piedmont National Corp
  • Piedmont Plastics
  • Pioneer Sand Company
  • Polymershapes
  • Power & Telephone Supply
  • Reeb Millwork
  • Robert Oxygen Company
  • Skidmore Sales & Distributing Co
  • Summit Electric Supply
  • Turtle & Hughes
  • US Lumber Group
  • Valin Corporation
  • Werner Electric Supply

Meeting Location:
Chicago Hilton O’Hare
10000 W O’Hare Ave.               Click Here to Book Your Room
Chicago, IL 60666
(773) 686-8000

Hilton Central Reservations – 877 865 5322


Please be vigilant if approached by any company or service that implies or claims to be an official housing provider for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW). We have been made aware of other housing companies or travel agencies that may be aggressively pursuing you, or your company, to book your guest rooms through their company, using your credit card information, at supposedly significant discounts. The only way to book your rooms with security for NAW Roundtables is to use the channels provided on our website. If you are contacted by one of these pirate companies, please contact NAW staff immediately.