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SMC Retrospective, Day 2

Today I found out what SMC is all about. The day got started with a networking breakfast, where I got to meet more members and talk with them about what they do. Soon after, we were treated to a host of speakers. GAWDA President Lloyd Robinson announced the recipients of the 2011 Gives Back Program, an amazing program that really showcases the generosity of GAWDA members. This year, the beneficiaries are the PENCIL Fellowes program and the FDNY Fire Family Transport Foundation. Young Executive blogger Abydee Butler, from Butler Gas, joined Member Services Committee co-chair Amy Milligan, of Dynaflux, to talk about the efforts of the committee. (Great job, Abydee!)

Michael MarksThe first of the headlining speakers was Michael Marks. He brought a unique, no-holds-barred approach to the supplier-distributor relationship, and really challenged attendees to rethink the dynamic. It really stuck with me when he said, “You can eliminate the distributor, but you cannot eliminate the work the distributor does.”

Next, Bruce Tulgan took to the stage, bringing an energetic style to his presentation about managing a new generation of workers. He suggested that Gen-Y employees are the highest maintenance work force yet, but will also be the most productive, due to the information available to us young folks. Tulgan made reference to some of the management myths outline in his article, “It’s Okay To Be The Boss.” What do you think—are Gen-Y workers as high-maintenance yet highly productive as Tulgan suggests?

After the morning business sessions, I sat in on Michael Marks’ distributor owners’ lunch, where he addressed how to create shareholder value in wholesale distribution. Again, he was really insightful, and brought up some great issues, such as the question of whether a small, independent distributor should have a board of directors. Any of you have a board? What do you think? His presentation also focused on the importance of targeting the right market segments. “Sales is getting rid of what you have,” he says. “Marketing is having what you can get rid of.”

Believe it or not, that was only the first part of the day. I don’t want to be long-winded, but I don’t want to short-change the other great programs, so check back for more on everything going on at SMC.

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