Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

April 28-29, 2020 at the Hilton O’Hare in Chicago

Add to Calendar 20200428T140000Z 20200429T143000Z America/New York NAW Large Company Operations Roundtable, Spring 2020
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We are currently in the process of finalizing our Spring 2020 program. Please check back for updates. Please contact Tara Mostatab at if you have any questions.

The NAW Large Company Operations Roundtable for direct members was created as a new mechanism for the Operations executive of large distribution enterprises to network with non-competing peers in multiple lines of trade on key operations issues.

This by invitation roundtable is composed of executives from large companies that meet in Chicago two times per year and is highly interactive. The annual fee is $1,500 per member, which covers meeting costs for two events in a twelve month cycle. Participants are expected to cover the cost of their hotel and travel. Once the annual fee is paid, there are no additional fees to attend the meetings, which will last one day beginning with a reception and dinner the evening before.

The participating companies can also name a senior level alternate who can take the place of the operations executive, should that person be unable to attend the scheduled meeting.

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

Eligibility: Companies with $100M to $1B annual revenue.
The NAW Large Company 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 Operations Roundtable Agenda

Day 1 - April 28, 2020

2:30 PM – 3:00 PM

3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Opening Session & Discussion

What to Expect for the US Economy in 2020 and Beyond?

Taylor St. Germain, Speaker and Analyst, ITR Economics

The last two years have provided for many headlines, but did those headlines help or hinder your business? Presidential politics are fascinating, and we will explore the likely impact, if any, on the near-term economy and what potential election outcomes may mean to our forecast and to your world. Our job will be to determine the best course of action for the most important part of the economy – you and your business. We will:


  1. Look at a system of leading indicators proven to signal cyclical turns in the economy
  2. Discuss the sectors of the economy that will provide the best opportunities for the next business cycle decline
  3. Assess interest rate and other financial market trends
  4. Consider your 3, 5, and 7-year planning needs and talk about the 2020s and how you should prepare for challenges and opportunities


Taylor St. Germain is an economic analyst at ITR Economics, providing consulting services for small businesses, trade associations, and Fortune 500 companies across a spectrum of industries. Taylor’s refreshing personality and aptitude for helping businesses capitalize on economic trends are always a hit.

Before joining the Executive Vantage Point™ team at ITR Economics, Taylor graduated from the University of Vermont with a major in statistics and a double minor in mathematics and political science. He is an asset not only to his EVP team but to ITR Economics as a whole!

4:30 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 – 9:30 PM
Large Company Executive Dinner

Government Relations Update

Blake Adami
Vice President–Government Relations, NAW

Make sure to reserve your seat for 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.

Blake Adami, Vice President – Government Relations, will be joining us as our dinner speaker this year. Blake will share his insights on what the heck is going on in Washington, whether anything will actually get done this year, and how NAW is working with Congress and the regulatory agencies, to benefit the entire $6.01 trillion wholesale distribution industry.

Day 2 - April 29, 2020

7:00 AM – 7:45 AM

8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
Opening Session & Discussion

Focusing on “The Five”

Dr. Albert D. Bates, Principal in the Distribution Performance Project, Distribution Performance Project

For most distribution firms there are five key actions necessary to achieve high-profit status. If managed properly, large improvements in profitability are possible. At this session, Al Bates will help walk you through these 5 essential actions.

So first, what are the five essential actions?

  • Focusing on the Key Profit Factors—Developing a real understanding of the items that drive profit even if they are counter to conventional wisdom.
  • Managing Revenue in Relationship to Expenses—Focusing on how to not just increase sales, but to increase sales faster than expenses increase. This turns out to be much easier said than done.
  • Driving a Higher Gross Margin—Identifying ways to increase gross margin in what will continue to be an increasingly competitive industry
  • Avoiding Investment Myopia—Ensuring that the firm does not get bogged down with excessive investments in inventory or accounts receivable, but doing so in a way that does not impact sales negatively.
  • Maintaining Total Firm Communication—Eliminating the feudal view of distributor performance.

Come ready to discuss these 5 key areas with your peers so that you can go back and instantly increase your company’s profitability.


Dr. Albert D. Bates is a Principal in the Distribution Performance Project, a research group devoted to distribution issues. He also serves as a strategic advisor to Benchmarking Analytics.

Al makes approximately 50 presentations each year on topics such as Improving the Bottom Line, Getting Serious About Profit, Doing More with Less, and Pricing for Profit. He is also a featured speaker at the University of Innovative Distribution.

He has written extensively in both the professional and trade press, including the Harvard Business Review, the California Management Review, Business Horizons and Modern Distribution Management.

Al received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Arlington and his MBA and doctorate from Indiana University. While at Indiana he was one of the first recipients of a Ford Foundation Fellowship in Business Education.

He is married and has three grown daughters. When he is not traveling giving seminars he enjoys tennis and skiing. He is not particularly good at either one.

9:30 AM – 9:45 AM


9:45 AM – 11:00 AM
General Session & Discussion

How Does a Company Make Sense of the Intricacies of the LTL Pricing Model and Industry?

Chris Nadeu, CEO, Haversack 

Understanding the true nature of a 3rd Party Logistics (3PL) relationship and how outsourcing logistics operations will negatively impact a company’s competitive advantage.

The logistics/supply chain industry has experienced significant pressure points over the past 3 years. Tariffs, driver shortages, softening of certain markets and the implementation of electronic driver logs. These are examples of how the logistics industry has dictated pricing to the advantage of the asset based and 3PL providers.  Companies must have the correct information to understand where to best place themselves in the supply chain market in the coming years as these pressure points increase.


  • Understand how increasing the ability of your current logistics management teams will create a competitive advantage in your industry
  • Gain a greater understanding of the true motivation behind the LTL pricing model and how to best navigate this industry
  • Insourcing of logistics management will increase visibility and control of transportation spend
  • Insight to the pricing model of 3PLs and the impact on a company’s bottom line

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Open Discussion

Going the Extra Mile: Distributor Value Added Service Success Stories

This session is set aside for you to raise any issue you would like and have the group provide their thoughts. We will start this session by hearing best practices on how to incorporate value-added services but also how to measure its success! You’ll also hear success stories from you distribution peers. This is an open forum to further discuss any item on the agenda or to bring up topics that are not on the agenda. Make sure to take notes during this session; you may find a perfect topic to suggest for the next NAW Roundtable.

12:00 PM – 12:45 PM

Joint Lunch & Networking Discussion with CFO Roundtable

This is the “halftime” period where you meet up with all of the Large Company senior executives at this week’s Roundtable to compare ideas and benchmark across disciplines. Both the CFO and Operations executives will attend this joint lunch.

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Closing Session & Discussion

How will Artificial Intelligence Transform Your Warehouse? 

George Bailey, Executive Director & Chief Research Officer,  CGE’s Digital Supply Chain Institute (DSCI)

Artificial Intelligence has made its way to warehouses and companies are already seeing transformations in some major key areas such as productivity, operations, and communication. At this session, you’ll hear not only where your peers are using AI today in their warehouse but also where experts are saying you’ll see the most growth and profitably when implementing AI.


George Bailey is the Executive Director & Chief Research Officer of CGE’s Digital Supply Chain Institute (DSCI). He is on the Advisory Board of Lockheed Martin, the American Productivity and Quality Center and MarketShare Partners, a privately-held marketing analytics company. He is also the Executive Professor of Digital Innovation and Management at Pepperdine University and the Chairman of the Jackson Hole Ocean Sailing Team; a not-for-profit that teaches kids how to sail and compete on the water and in life.  George was the CEO of DIVA Networks, an Internet applications development firm.

Prior to that, George was the acting CEO of Sony’s educational solution called “Tenobo” and was based in Tokyo as Sony’s Chief Transformation Officer reporting to the Chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer.   Before Sony, George was a member of the senior leadership team of IBM, running the global semiconductor business, parts of Sales and Distribution and Consulting. Before IBM, George led the global PriceWaterhouse Strategy Change business and was a member of the Chairman’s office.

2:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Set Agenda for Next Meeting Scheduled November 4-5 , 2020

2:30 PM

The following wholesale distribution companies are registered for the Spring 2020 Large Company Operations Roundtable:

  • Building Material Distributors
  • Coastal Construction Products
  • Composites One LLC
  • EBP Supply Solutions
  • Ewing Irrigation
  • Grabber Construction Products
  • IPS Packaging
  • ISCO Industries
  • Palmer Donavin
  • Parksite
  • Plumbing Distributors
  • Polymershapes
  • Team Horner
  • Werner Electric Supply

NAW Large Company Operations Roundtable Members

  • Allied Electronics and Automation
  • Building Material Distributors
  • Coastal Construction Products
  • COE Distributing
  • Composites One
  • EBP Solutions
  • Ewing Irrigation
  • Grabber Construction Products Inc
  • Gustave A Larson Co
  • IPS Packaging
  • ISCO Industries LLC
  • Kimball Midwest
  • Lawson Products Inc
  • Palmer Donavin Mfg Co (The)
  • Parksite
  • Plumbing Distributors Inc
  • Polymershapes
  • Team Horner
  • United Electric Supply Co
  • Valin Corporation
  • Werner Electric Supply Co

The following wholesale distribution companies have attended previous Large Company Operations Roundtables:

  • Allied Electronics
  • Benco Dental
  • Boelter Companies
  • Coastal Construction Products
  • Composites One, LLC
  • Curbell Plastics
  • Grabber Construction Products
  • Gustave A. Larson
  • Hub Construction Specialties
  • IEWC
  • Inline Distribution
  • ISCO Industries, LLC
  • Kennicott Brothers
  • Lawson Products, Inc.
  • McNaughton McKay Electric Co
  • Munchs Supply Co Inc
  • PACE Inc
  • Pacesetter Steel
  • Palmer Donavin Mfg Co., (The)
  • Parksite, Inc.
  • Plumbing Distributors Inc.
  • Polymershapes
  • Power & Telephone Supply Co
  • Seal Rite Door
  • T&A Supply Company
  • Team Horner
  • United Electric Supply Co
  • United Pipe & Steel
  • US Lumber Group
  • Werner Electric Supply Co

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.