AIA Corporation (PPAI 101364, D12) held its second-annual Supplier Summit in Chicago last month. The Appleton, Wisconsin-based distributor brought 36 attendees from AIA’s Platinum MVP and the top 12 supplier communities together with AIA leadership in a forum for engaging, educational and collaborative discussion.

AIA CEO Matt Gresge (pictured above, right, with PPAI’s Paul Bellantone) opened the summit with a review of AIA’s 2019 performance as well as goals for 2020. Various AIA leadership team members also discussed how suppliers can become more engaged with AIA. This includes participating in marketing programs that offer cooperative brand-building opportunities to increase product awareness and customer preference. New to the summit this year was a “day in the life” presentation led by AIA owners that offered a look into the challenges facing distributors today.

“The goal of the AIA Supplier Summit is to create an intimate forum where we provide our supplier partners with an inside look at AIA and identify new and better ways to help them grow their businesses,” says Gresge. “This only happens when all parties take the time to step back, listen to each other and ideate together. In today’s fast-paced, quickly changing world, this is easier said than done. The summit ensures this happens, and the result is tangible––stronger relationships and thriving businesses.”

Guest speaker Paul Bellantone, CAE, president and CEO of PPAI, echoed these sentiments in his presentation to attendees. Bellantone shared PPAI’s latest research on the forces that will have the greatest impact on the industry and sought input on what actions the Association should take. He says, “From tariffs and environmental issues to compliance and now viruses, today’s uncertain marketplace demands more and continued collaboration between supplier and distributor partners. These important channel relationships create the foundation of our industry and are critical to member success. I was happy to participate in an event that fosters partnership and focuses on opportunities and the AIA Supplier Summit met the mark. I truly appreciate the learning experience and opportunity to share the PPAI vision.”

Participant feedback was positive. Aaron Gunderson, senior vice president of sales for The Magnet Group, says, “The Supplier Summit was a great two days of transparency and collaboration, bringing focus to growing together. When we strategically get to the heart of our businesses, opportunities present themselves for everyone involved––the AIA Supplier Summit fosters that.”