After cancelling its National Meeting scheduled for Philadelphia in early May, NAED’s conference and program teams started preparations for a virtual meeting to take its place. Earlier in April, NAED announced the virtual meeting will happen on May 7 between 10am and 2pm Central Time. Before making the announcement, the worked behind the scenes to change nearly all of the program so it would fit with our current economic situation.
“You are going to have the benefit of live Q&A with each speaker,” Kelly Jones, NAED’s Director of Learning and Program Content said in the “DistributED with tED magazine” podcast. “Each session is shorter, but we build in time for the interaction with the speaker. We think it will go by quickly, it will be a really engaging use of your time, and hopefully people will be able to take away information that is immediately relevant and applicable.”
Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the NAED National Meeting. NAED worked with him and his staff, and Ridge changed his speech to accommodate the COVID-19 situation and the needs of NAED members who will be a part of the National Virtual Meeting. “Governor Ridge was in a leadership role during 9/11, and during the anthrax scare after 9/11, and he’s going to come in and really bring that perspective of what does it mean to lead when things are in crisis,” Jones explained. “I think there’s a tricky balance for leaders right now, where you have to manage the current crisis while you are thinking ahead. It’s going to be a really good way to kick this off. Governor Ridge completely changed the focus of the talk and made sure everything is last minute and relevant. He has gone above and beyond to support us in this national event.”
The second speaker is economist Alan Beaulieu with ITR Economics. Beaulieu and his team have been creating blogs on the ITR website on a regular basis as he stays ahead of the curve on searching for economic trends. “He’s really going to focus on how you make decisions in these uncertain times,” Jones explained. “How do you keep a data-driven perspective when the data changes every day? What are the leading indicators that you need to be tuned into when you are looking at this economy? And how do you cut through the noise. That will be the focus of what he will be doing. Alan and ITR Economics know our industry so well. So they are coming in in that trusted advisor role.”
Another person who knows our industry well is Michael Marks of Indian River Consulting Group. Marks will talk about stress testing your business right now to make sure you are ready for anything that could potentially happen. “Marks has guidelines for that are specific for distributors for cost reductions, and then he will talk about the critical actions that you need to keep doing during this pandemic,” Jones said.
Just after the initial impact of COVID-19 hit our supply chain, Dr. William Putsis created a webinar for NAED members. Now a number of weeks later, Dr. Putsis will return for the National Virtual Meeting to provide an update and help viewers moving forward. “He’s going to look at those lessons learned from previous economic downturns and then take those lessons and apply them to the current situation,” Jones explained.
The National Virtual Meeting will close with a Government Affairs panel that includes Ed Orlet and Ian Reynolds from NAED along with Palmer Schoening and Alex Ayers from the Family Business Coalition. Jones says the panel discussion will be an up to the minute conversation on how members can use stimulus opportunities along with what to expect from Washington, D.C. over the next few weeks. “This will be a very fast-paced panel, because the information will be current as of that morning,” Jones said. “They are going to look at provisions we can expect in future congressional actions, and what are some of the potential long-term changes in government policy.”
Dirk Beveridge will moderate the National Virtual Meeting, taking attendees from one topic to the next and handling the Q&A sessions. Also, there will be a ceremonial handing over of the gavel from current NAED chair George Vorwick of United Electric Supply to Wes Smith of Mayer Electric Supply.
You can see the entire agenda, the sponsors, and register for the National Virtual Meeting by clicking here. There is no cost to attend the online meeting.