On the Road with Dirk 07.11.21: Noble Pursuit of the American Dream through Distribution

American Dream through Distribution

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I was at Fromm Electric in Reading, PA earlier this week for a We Supply America tour stop (following Bender Supply in New Haven, Ct. on Tuesday, and Almo in Philadelphia on Wednesday— and then C.H. Briggs also in Reading the following day on Friday). I met so many spirited people at each of these stops.

For example, there at Fromm I met Marina, a young woman who came to the U.S. alone. She left her family behind in Brazil seven years ago to seek a better life.  She couldn’t speak a word of English when she arrived. By going through the right processes, she was paired with a family who sponsored her and her dream. But she had more than a dream; she also had a work ethic and such a desire to learn and grow that it would inspire anyone.

She has worked for three years with Fromm, continuing to take on additional responsibilities, throwing her hat in the ring to learn anything and everything. She’s been promoted three times and is now doing the necessary work to become an automation specialist.

All so noble in so many ways.

The actions she has taken to better herself are noble.  Fromm providing the opportunity for her, the investment in developing her, and the commitment to her growth … is all noble.

This was just one of the many stories I heard at every stop I have made.

Bringing these stories as we champion the noble calling of distribution to everyone is my mission, and I am privileged to be the messenger. These are the stories that America is made of—and they need to be told!

Inspired By…

As incredible as Marina is, it’s so cool that I was inspired by even more people this week.

The entire warehouse crew of Almo, for example. They came out to the We Supply America RV, where we chatted for about 30 minutes. They were into the RV (it looks pretty badass), but they were way more into the mission we’re on – to tell the story of distribution across America.

I then met a woman who has worked in the warehouse at Almo for 31 years!  She is full of life and loves her co-workers. Even more inspiring is her appreciation for working for a family business that has supported her and her coworkers whenever life throws a curveball.

And then there’s the team at Bender. Inspired by the evolution journey the entire team has intentionally been on for the last six years, they decided they needed to evolve the culture from a punitive tone to one that finds and recognizes the good in their employees. As a result, the culture is thriving around its noble purpose of “We deliver creative solutions for comfortable living.”  Everyone in the company understands their role in fulfilling that purpose—and yes, it’s so much deeper and more meaningful than moving boxes. From what I’ve seen of the way the team works together, it shows.

Another source of inspiration this week? CH Briggs and their Greater Purpose Initiative. Everyone in the company is focused on it. They tell their customer’s stories … and the nobleness of their customer’s mission. And they don’t focus on just the tactical (i.e., moving boxes); they tell the complete customer stories about the meaning of healing rooms, classrooms, dormitories, food service, and more. They think of it as partnering with their customers to build America.

Does it get any better?

Lessons Learned

A few themes started to gel for me this week. These are continuing to come together, and I’m still pulling the lessons out of my experiences, but so far, I’m currently thinking about…

Purpose: The companies I’m visiting are in service of something more—all of them. From Porter Pipe to Bender shifting their entire culture to Almo helping independent dealers grow and prosper. Everyone I’ve visited has been driven by a purpose.

Each of these purposes has a deeper, meaningful, and emotional aim inherently built-in. It’s an optimal blend of altruism with profit.

People: The independent distributors I have met all have in common a focus on helping their employees grow, develop, and thrive. These businesses are not just four walls and inventory, they are a platform for personal and professional growth – more on this later.

Family: Due to the focus on purpose and people, the businesses evolve into a family, with a deep and caring connection with one another.

Profit: This one is not talked a lot about even on my visits, but it’s dawning on me that Profits are Noble. None of what we are talking about is possible without profit. Profit is noble.  More later too!

Next Episode

Our next episode will air on July 15. Get a reminder email here.

“This [first] episode not only captures the strategic, quick-thinking and dedicated teamwork that happens behind the scenes within this industry to keep services running in challenging times, it also captures the story and essence of Porter Pipe; the company, the family. The balance was so well done, I now want to meet each and every person that works there!”

Comment by Jennifer Hardcastle Nelson from HOLT Electrical Supply

Infor is proud to be a Sponsor-Partner of the We Supply America tour in partnership with Dirk Beveridge and UnleashWD. Infor is a global leader in business cloud software specialized by industry, with a special focus on wholesale distribution. We use data-driven insights to solve emerging industry challenges and provide our customers with the modern tools they need to innovate and transform their businesses.

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