On the morning of Sunday, May 15, 2022, NAHAD members from across the globe gathered in Miami Beach, Florida for the organization’s 38th Annual Meeting and Convention. Almost 900 attendees were on site at the historic Fontainebleau Miami Beach to reconnect with existing clients, engage with new customers, and take part in multiple educational sessions.
The convention’s opening session on Sunday morning started with a welcome message and brief “State of NAHAD” report by NAHAD 2021-2022 President Jeff Scheininger. In his remarks, he outlined the numerous changes implemented by the board, including a revamp of the association bylaws and the introduction of a streamlined committee structure.
“Thank you for allowing me to serve this past year and hopefully improve the structure of our great association,” Scheininger said. “The NAHAD staff diligently work to make NAHAD a premier trade association, and their professionalism, effort, and care makes each one of our companies better. I have greatly benefited from the clear-headed advice, commitment and support of my fellow executive committee members, and to our board, you are the future of NAHAD, and we appreciate your service and your commitment.”
After his remarks, award-winning author and business growth expert Meridith Elliott Powell took to the stage for her presentation, titled “Thrive: Turning Uncertainty into Your Competitive Advantage.” Powell’s message focused on the steps leaders and sales professionals should take, including learning the new rules of success and the strategies needed to build business, engage teams, and outcompete the competition.
After lunch, attendees split into concurrent sessions. Powell provided an informative presentation on succession planning, a topic frequently requested by NAHAD members. Marketing professional Gerry O’Brion shared his insights on how distributors can stand out in a crowded industry with disruptive strategies and creating competitive advantages.
The NAHAD Academy kiosk was open to demonstrate the expansive educational offerings available to members. More than 2,000 employees of NAHAD member companies are using the academy to train their employees on the importance of hose safety. The kiosk offered an early look at the upcoming, in-person regional training program in June and promoted the launch of NAHAD’s podcast, “The Outer Diameter.”
At the end of the first day, attendees gathered on the Fontainebleau’s Ocean Lawn for the convention’s opening party. The causal, outdoor event was a perfect opportunity for NAHAD members to network, socialize, and take in the tropical breezes.
The conference’s second day began with a session covering a critical and timely topic: strategies to attract, hire, and retain talent. The morning session’s presenter, Alex Chausovsky of the Miller Resource Group, peeled back the curtain on recruitment and stressed the need for partnerships and alliances. He covered the key elements that make an organization attractive to top talent, shared best-in-class hiring strategies including metrics and practices and delivered practical and actionable advice. Following his remarks, Chausovsky moderated a panel with NAHAD distributors and manufacturer members on workforce challenges and successes. Joining Chausovsky for the panel were Mike Harvey of Flexaust, Chris Holder of Singer Equities, and Mike Mortensen of Alaska Rubber Group.
NAHAD Members’ Luncheon on Monday started with the presentation of the 2022 George W. Carver Award. NAHAD President Scheininger recognized the 14 previous recipients of the award, several of whom were present at the luncheon. He then announced the 2022 posthumous award to Dixon LeGros of Westflex, Inc.
“Dixon was an industry professional in every sense of the word. He was a friend, a colleague, a success, a leader, and a consensus builder. His dedication to his family, business, community, and industry was unsurpassed,” Scheininger said.
Dixon’s son Elliot LeGros, accompanied by his mother Paula, accepted the award on his father’s behalf and shared thoughtful sentiments about his father.
Scheininger then welcomed Alex Banayan to the stage for the convention’s keynote address. Banayan shared the lessons learned as he sought to discover the secrets of success, with an overall theme of turning failure away from dejection and into opportunity. Casual in tone but deeply insightful, Banayan recounted his experiences interviewing top-name artists and business leaders, and even chasing Larry King through a supermarket.
Keynote speaker Alex Banayan addresses the NAHAD attendees.
After Banayan’s address, NAHAD members took the afternoon to enjoy the resort’s amenities and continue conversations and make connections. On Monday evening, members enjoyed additional networking at the Manufacturer Hospitality Suites around the beautiful Fontainebleau property.
The final day of the convention started with the organization’s annual business meeting, called to order by President Scheininger. After the financial and programs reports, provided by NAHAD Treasurer Dave Heckler and Executive Vice President Molly Alton Mullins, respectively, Scheininger thanked four outgoing board members for their dedication and service: Brent Lilly of PT, Christopher Hart of Hart Industries, Susanna Vandenberg of Flexaust, and Brian Pellegrin with Singer Equities.
NAHAD Immediate Past President Sam Petillo presented the nominating committee’s report. He thanked Mike Mortensen of Alaska Rubber Group for joining the board to step in after the retirement of Janeece Higgins, and thanked Mark Balcom of Pooley, Inc. to fill the term of John Tattersall, who passed away suddenly last year. Petillo welcomed three newly elected board members: Tripp Batey of Hose of South Texas, Scott Nelson of Hydraquip, and Mike Braucher of Continental. He also recognized Standards Committee Chair Andy Christmas, who will serve as a liaison to the Executive Committee.
Petillo finished his report with the presentation of the slate of officers for the 2022-2023 NAHAD Executive Committee:
Scheininger thanked Petillo for his work as the chair of the Nominating Committee and then introduced 2022-2023 NAHAD President Jason Westad. “Jason will likely be one of the best presidents NAHAD will have,” Scheininger said. “I have sought his counsel often and he gives it without hesitation or personal agenda. It is the association’s betterment that is his shining light.”
After the welcome, Westad presented Scheininger with the NAHAD 2022 Eagle Award for excellent service to the industry and the association and began his first address as NAHAD president.
“Our membership is strong, our events are world class, our participation is high, and our financial position is healthy.” Westad said. “This organization is like no other I’ve been a part of, and it will be my mission, with the board, to continue nurturing, enhancing, and augmenting all of the exceptional benefits NAHAD brings us as members.”
At the conclusion of his remarks, the Annual Meeting of Members adjourned. Westad welcomed the final speaker of the conference, The Economist editor Vijay Vaitheeswaran. Vaitheeswaran pulled from his years of experience with international economics and politics to provide insights on today’s global economy and trends and concerns in the coming years.
The highly anticipated Showcase of Hose Solutions opened immediately after the last session. More than 130 exhibitors set up in the hotel’s Sparkle Ballroom with displays highlighting the latest innovations in products and technologies. A grab-and-go lunch allowed attendees to casually walk the aisles and make last-minute connections with colleagues.
As the evening set over Miami, convention attendees had one last event: the closing party. Members met on a terrace overlooking Miami Beach for an evening of Cuban-inspired fare and fun, complete with freshly rolled cigars. It was the perfect time for members to look back over the successful 2022 NAHAD Convention and say goodbye, safe travels, and see you next year in the Bahamas for another surfside convention.