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What To Do At The NAED National Meeting

In case you didn’t notice, the NAED National Meeting starts on Saturday, May 16.  If you are attending, there are plenty of events for you to learn, observe and grow.  If you are not attending, you are missing out on your chance to do all of the above.

The meeting starts on Saturday afternoon with our Distributor and Supplier Peer Networking Groups.  The networking allows members the opportunity to talk about best practices, current trends and viable opportunities while also exchanging ideas and information about how to strengthen the supply channel.  The good news is these Peer Networking Groups will get together from 3-5pm on Saturday, so there is plenty of time to arrive in Chicago and make it to your group meeting.

That is followed by the Hubbell/NAED Opening reception from 6pm-7:30pm, which is always a good way to see old friends and prepare for a great meal in downtown Chicago.

But don’t stay out too late, because the General Session begins Sunday morning at 8am with an introduction from outgoing NAED Chairwoman Maureen Barsema.   “Mo” has brought a great perspective to NAED during her term, pointing out the three hard truths of electrical distribution and how manufacturers and distributors need to continue to work together. 

She will be followed to the stage by a panel discussion on the future of the industry, which will be moderated by Michael Marks.  The panel has some of the strongest companies in electrical distribution, including Rexel, Square D, The Reynolds Company and Shealy Electrical Wholesalers.  They plan to discuss a wide variety of subjects that impact the industry, from consolidation to the impact of technology to the aging workforce.

One of the emerging topics in electrical distribution is the growth of DC technology. It is being credited for its reliability and security.  But what do you really know about selling DC products?  NAED has brought in Gregory Reed, a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh Center for Energy to help clear up the confusion.  Be prepared to learn what you need to know about direct current technology and the future of our industry.

Then we get to the keynote speaker at the NAED National Meeting, Theresa Payton. She is a former White House Chief Information Officer in the George W. Bush Administration.  In a world where you need marketing databases and customer analytics, how can you make sure your systems are safe from cyber hackers?  Theresa will explain how to maintain those data systems and maintain your security.  Immediately after her presentation, she will be signing her book, “Privacy in the Age of Big Data: Recognizing Threats, Defending Your Rights and Protecting Your Family”.

Sunday includes the Women in Industry Luncheon, which features Denise Keating of DATAgility and Linda Taddonio of Insite Commerce.  They will be discussing the opportunities that now exist in this industry thanks to the development of technology.

The afternoon booth sessions go from 1:15pm-5:00pm and are followed by the 505 Club event which will be held at Untitled, a speakeasy designed club that takes you back to the days of Prohibition. The 505 begins at 6:30pm.  And Robroy Industries is back again this year with its Gourmet Dessert Reception from 9pm-midnight.

Monday kicks off early (7:30am) as NAED dives into the topic of getting the most out of attending B2B meetings.  Two distributors, two manufacturers and a manufacturer’s rep will be discussing the best practices for attending these meetings.  You have already invested the time and money to attend. How do you get the best results?  Our panel, which was selected by the NAED Manufacturer’s Council, will discuss the preparation, the meeting itself and the follow up to make sure you are getting the biggest return on your investment.

At 9:15am, Tom Gale, President of Gale Media and Publisher of Modern Distribution Management, will get you through the second half of 2015 with a discussion on “What’s hot, what’s not” for the rest of the year.  You will get forecasts from the financial analysts who know this industry best, along with what is defining the competitive landscape and what you should be thinking about as you try to maximize your growth in the second half of the year.

And if you are talking about growth, you should be prepared to talk about expanding into other parts of the world.  Kalyn Rozanski, the Trend Consultant for The Ebco, will be discussing expanding business opportunities in Latin America.  You will learn about possibilities in the region as well as how to leverage the potential changes that could happen in the channel as it expands South.

After another round of booth sessions on Monday from 10:30am through 4:45pm, the Appleton Group is hosting the evening’s reception from 5pm-6:30pm.  That is followed by the Closing Reception and Awards Banquet, where NAED will honor not only the past chair and incoming chair, but also a wide variety of award recipients, including the 2015 Arthur W. Hooper Achievement Award winner.   

The NAED National Meeting will conclude with a one-time performance the by first-ever all-industry band, “Total Harmonic Distortion”.  It will be worth your while to see and sing and dance along with your business partners as they rock the end of your three days in Chicago.

And it will give you another great story to tell those people who didn’t attend, that they missed one great concert.

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