STAFDA’s 47th Annual Convention & Trade Show Wrap Up

Members of the Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association (STAFDA) came together for the Association’s 47th Annual Convention & Trade Show on November 5-7. With nearly 2,700 attendees, STAFDA’s San Antonio event unrolled several new initiatives during the three-day program. STAFDA’s two-day Trade Show was bustling with 438 booths.

Educational Workshops Sunday provided a curriculum where attendees could pick two topics to meet their interests. Subjects included “Human Centric Leadership” (Dirk Beveridge); “Fine Art of Building Relationships” (Debra Fine); “Master Your World: Today’s Game for Maximum Profits, Peak Productivity, & Top Communication” (Mary Kelly); and “Trust, Accountability, & Business Relationships” (Thom Singer). The new Women in Distribution Luncheon provided an opportunity for a growing segment of the industry to meet, network, and interact with speaker JJ DiGeronimo as she presented “Accelerate Your Impact.”

For those attendees 35 and younger, the NextGen Luncheon offered a six-member panel – featuring two distributors, two manufacturers, and two rep members – generating inter-generational conversations on a variety of industry-spanning subjects. Audience members included college students studying industrial distribution, supply chain management, or related majors.

The university students also participated in all Convention activities including a Speed Interviewing session with STAFDA members seeking new employees and interns. They also competed in the expanded STAFDA Supply Chain Competition where teams used a web-based business simulation game to turn around a fictional struggling manufacturer using their supply chain, sales, operations, and other business skills. The top three teams advanced to the Global Supply Chain Competition.  Congratulations to the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, East Carolina University, and University of Nebraska - Kearny!

During STAFDA’s General Session Monday morning, a dynamic video presentation featuring members from across the world proclaimed We Are STAFDA! The Association’s President Harry Klassen, Fastek, Inc., St. Catharines, ON, Canada, spoke passionately about the multitude of opportunities students have in the distribution world and building trades. Associate speaker Russell Kohl, Diablo, Atlanta, rocked the crowd with his team’s marketing techniques and insights. During a sit-down interview, Harry spoke with TV Host and Professional Contractor Mike Holmes (and fellow Canadian) about the future of construction, building with the environment in mind, and expanding a family-run business.

Exhibiting manufacturers kicked off the Trade Show before its official opening by bringing one new product to preview for distributors in the inaugural Power Aisle. Distributor attendees were then able to vote on their favourite innovation with Stacksmarter, announced as STAFDA’s first Power Aisle winner!

Trade Show exhibitors upped their game this year bringing aisles of new products, exciting demos, and meeting one-on-one with distributor decision makers. Within the exhibit hall, attendees could also visit the sold-out Tech & Consultant Pavilions to test business-building software, receive on-the-spot advice on complex company issues, and discuss STAFDA-only discounted services.

Alan Beaulieu’s Economic Workshop Tuesday was a straight-talking prediction of what members can expect from global influences, the chances of a recession, inflationary pressure, and the coming ups and downs of the economy.

Meanwhile, day tours for spouses/companions attendees offered a trip to the Texas Hill Country and Fredericksburg or to the San Antonio Botanical Garden and its succulent station.

STAFDA’s 48th Annual Convention & Trade Show will be November 10-12, 2024, in downtown Nashville. Registration opens June 24 at 8:00 a.m. (Central). You must be a member to attend.