Season one of the We Supply America tour has come to an end and, after visiting some of our country’s best distribution companies, I am headed home. As I make my way back in the We Supply America RV, I’ve been reminiscing about every step of this journey. From the beginning, I have been surrounded by leaders and team members who are in touch with this noble calling of distribution. I set out to find the hardworking people who are supporting America by supplying America—I certainly found them.
Good leaders are accountable to their businesses. They are accountable to their customers, their staff, and the community at large. And I’ve witnessed this type of accountability at all levels during the We Supply America tour—titles don’t matter; function or role in the company is not an issue—everyone takes responsibility for their part in the company’s greater purpose. Everyone has an ownership mindset—they own what they do, and they care about outcomes.
I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, that “this place is like family.” This sentiment rolls off the tongue like a platitude. It is rarely defined in a way that speaks to the actual significance of a business culture that is nurtured with the spirit of “family”.
The truth is that while the statement “we are a family” can seem like a cliche in most businesses, I’ve seen true, honest, authentic family cultures throughout the We Supply America tour.
Yesterday I backed the We Supply America RV into my Barrington, IL driveway at about 4:36 PM. After 97 days and 16,599.4 miles this simple act brought season one to an official close.
The We Supply America campaign couldn’t have launched without the support of our sponsors like Proton.ai. Their support is the ratification of my belief that the people who make up the distribution industry represent so much about what is good in our country. As the tour enters its last leg, I want to take a moment to express my sincere thanks to all of our sponsors.
As I continue on this final leg of the We Supply America tour, I’ve been thinking a lot about what we’ve accomplished. One thing I keep coming back to is telling the stories of distributors. The last episode of the We Supply America eight-part docuseries aired last week. With each stop of our tour, we continue to hear about the importance of championing the noble calling of distribution.
This morning I find myself at site number 55 at the Kampground of America (KOA) off Tomahawk road in Apache Junction, AZ. I’m staged here to begin the 13th and final week of the We Supply America tour – 2021 edition.
A fundamental part of the spirit of distributors is their unrelenting commitment to their people—their employees. While visiting over 30 independent distribution companies during the We Supply America tour, I repeatedly heard “I am not just a number” and “they truly care about us as people.” And I have seen this in action. So many of these companies are committed to providing a culture of training, mentoring, career paths, support, and more.
I rolled into the headquarters of General Air in Denver, Colorado in the early morning last week. Even though it was the industrial part of the city, it was still beautiful with the majestic mountains in the backdrop. Immediately upon my arrival, the team at General Air whisked me through the locker room and on in to meet with the team.
At the core of the noble calling of distribution is a sense of purpose. While this purpose varies by each individual business and their unique value system, an underlying theme runs through them all: they are driven by a purpose and meaning deeper than meets the eye.