Welcome to my first Chairman’s Column. I want to take this opportunity to focus your attention on what NAW has been working on these past three months of the pandemic.

Since March 13, the association’s team, much like many organizations around the world, has been working from home. During these unprecedented times, the NAW staff continues to work tirelessly on behalf of our members, most notably, its government relations team.

I believe the greatest benefits NAW offers its members are exposure to new trends and ideas in distribution, access to key partnerships and government affairs. This combined value has grown exponentially throughout the pandemic, and government relations has become one of the most important aspects of our organization.

In the past three months, our government relations team, led by Jade West, has delivered to its membership 69 updates, and counting, focused on the impact COVID-19 has had on our businesses and the distribution sector. Every update has been timely, concise, reliable and specific to our industry.

Beyond constant communications to members, our government relations team has continued to represent our association in DC through input and exposure. NAW has had a voice on Capitol Hill because this is the work they have always done; every day NAW’s government relations team spends its time building respect and relationships. NAW’s ability to orchestrate changes in policy has been immeasurable in value as a result of this dedication.

The government relations team is actively engaged daily in dealing with federal committees and agencies to work on policies that benefit our members. For the recent stimulus policy, they have been involved from the beginning, speaking and engaging with the Treasury, Senate, Federal Reserve and House of Representatives. As Jade puts it, “this is simply what we do,” but it means so much more to our membership.

From FFCRA to PPP, from the CARES Act to CISA, NAW’s government relations team has been involved, influencing outcomes and keeping members apprised of what we need to know. Especially with CISA, they clearly demonstrated how the distribution industry is essential, not just to the economy, but more importantly, to our communities throughout this pandemic. It’s through this team’s work that the distribution channel was declared a critical infrastructure.

It was also through NAW’s work that the White House reached out to NAW to further engage the wholesale distribution channel as a valuable industry during the pandemic, calling on us to continue serving the supply chain and supporting our country.

Government affairs, advocacy, education and delivering insightful information that helps all members lead our businesses successfully are among the invaluable services NAW provides. Members have contacted NAW  throughout this time, stating, “NAW has been the most informative association” they’ve been involved with, government relations does “an exceptional job of filtering down all the information into informative bite-size pieces” and that it’s appreciated to see NAW “exercising its influence to making sure distributors are represented in these talks.”

I cannot thank Jade West, Blake Adami and Seth Waugh enough for the work they’ve done on our behalf, as communicators, policy influencers and advocates. And based on the numerous comments we’ve received from members, I think we agree, our members have more than benefited from their efforts.

As COVID-19 continues to impact our country, NAW will continue to serve our members with the information, tools and resources to support our businesses, the distribution industry and our communities. Hearing directly from our members about what they find valuable helps guide NAW and its Board of Directors in our efforts to serve you. Please continue to send in your feedback to NAW, and if you haven’t reviewed the information Jade and her team have provided, please do so.

Stay safe and healthy.