“We believe that distributors provide so much more than the products on their shelves.”
Dirk Beveridge, Founder of UnleashWD, is wrapping up the first week of his 3-month cross-country project to promote distribution as an industry. Beveridge says he designed the campaign because of his fundamental belief in what he calls “The Noble Calling of Distribution”. Beveridge says the value distribution provides this country is a story that is under-told, and he plans to tell it this summer.
“They provide six million jobs. They provide economic vitality, local community support. They provide benevolence and help to non-profit charities,” Beveridge told the media in his kick-off press conference. “The stories of the people in distribution is under-told. The story of how we contribute to the greatness of this country is under-told. It’s not going to be under-told any more.”
Beveridge is meeting with distributors in all fields during his trip. He has already met with a pipe distributor in the Chicago area and a restaurant supply distributor near Detroit. He is bringing a production crew along for the visits, and will produce 8 episodes of his journey. You can see them every Thursday at 3pm Central time beginning in July on his new website, www.wesupplyamerica.net.
His visits will include stops at NAED’s home office in St. Louis, and a meeting at Wiseway Supply’s main branch outside of Cincinnati in June. His plan is to meet with two distributors a day from the middle of July through August so he can learn more about their stories. And, he hopes they will help with recruiting and retaining the next generation of distributors for our supply chain.
“We have to ensure that we within the industry remember that we are more than just the products on our shelves,” Beveridge added. “We have to ensure that if we are going to attract the talent that is going to be required going forward, that those coming into the workforce understand that yes, our products are cool, but we are so much more than our products. A goal of mine is that we obliterate the term that distribution is not sexy. If you want technology, come to work in distribution. If you want to grow, come to work in distribution.””
Beveridge also hopes the stories will help electrical distributors in a number of ways as we begin normal operations following a difficult 16 months with the pandemic. “We supply America is going to tell the stories, and bring inspiration and insights to bring your team together to come out stronger on the other side (of COVID),” Beveridge added. He is targeting the conclusion of his tour for Labor Day, so distributors can use his inspiration to begin strategy sessions for the future. “After Labor Day, we come back in September we start looking to that fourth quarter and closing out the year strong, and that’s when we start planning, that’s when we start strategizing. That’s when we start looking toward that horizon. We supply America is designed to ensure that as we are looking toward that inflection point, we understand this noble calling, we understand that there are inspirations and lessons and that we in fact do so much more than the products on our shelves.
During his visit in Chicago, the America Supply Association joined Beveridge in explaining the importance of distribution while showing support for the We Supply America campaign. “The reason we are excited to support this is it is spot on with what ASA is all about. Without wholesale distribution, this country doesn’t function properly,” Mike Miazga, Vice-President of Sales and Membership for ASA said.
“This is a national campaign, and I don’t think that’s big enough. My hope is that we absolutely start a movement, first from within. I really do believe that the story of the noble cause in distribution is really under-told within our four walls. And sometimes it becomes did I check off my to-dos. And if the pandemic taught me anything, its that we have to remember this larger calling, this larger purpose that we have. Our employees have been impacted in untold ways. And I think as leaders it’s our responsiblilty to help them come out of the pandemic. And I hope these stories will unleash the spirit within our people to help them grow and to help them fulfill their potential,” Beveridge said.