STAFDA members love Music City! Members of the Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association made its Nashville Convention & Trade Show, November 10-12, the best attended event since 2007 – the last time STAFDA was in Nashville. More than 4,900 attendees came downtown to the Music City Center for a spectacular program, which included variety of educational opportunities, a 690+ booth Trade Show featuring 10, 50’ x 50’ island booths, and exciting musical acts highlighting Nashville’s finest.

Educational Workshops Sunday focused attendees on a wide-range of timely topics for a custom-fit curriculum. Subjects included Authentic Marketing: How to Market to Millennials (Jeff Butler); Women in Business: Career Strategies to Increase Impact (JJ DiGeronimo); Our Age of Global Transformation (Peter Leyden); and Three Ways to Improve Employee Engagement (Don Yaeger). Alan Beaulieu’s highly anticipated Economic Update built on the information he provides members throughout the year by offering attendees the chance to ask questions during his practical, in-depth workshop forecasting the economic future.

The NextGen Networking Luncheon featured a distributor, manufacturer, and rep member-led panel discussion offering feedback and industry insight to members under 35. Also included in NextGen activities, 30 university students from across the country participated in a variety of Convention activities including Speed Interviewing. The group – who each have industrial distribution, supply chain, or construction management majors – took full advantage of this valuable opportunity to meet with members seeking to hire new employees or interns.

This year’s Spouse/Companion Activity meant a stroll downtown to see how the delectable GooGoo Cluster is made as well as a visit to the Patsy Cline Museum.

It may have been country music, but the Opening Party was definitely rockin’ and rollin’! Attendees began the evening by grabbing some down-home food and libations at the Municipal Auditorium and touring the Musicians Hall of Fame. Then the stage lit up when Big & Rich got the crowd on their feet dancing and singing along during a private 90-minute concert.

Monday morning’s General Session focused on the family side of distribution as well as the intricacies of a multi-national corporation as industry speeches from STAFDA President Sean Baird, Hampton Roads Fastener & Construction Supply, Virginia Beach, VA, and Associate speaker Glenn Knowlton, Norton|Saint-Gobain Abrasives North America Corporate, Worcester, MA, bridged the divide between members of all sizes.

David Goggins’ keynote speech took attendees from his harrowing childhood through grueling basic and then specialized military training as the former Navy Seal, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Controller detailed his life. He explained how he shut out the voice in his head telling him he couldn’t do amazing things. Now an ultra-marathon runner, Goggins kept the audience rapt before he opened the Trade Show with STAFDA members who have previously served in honor of Veteran’s Day.

The Trade Show featured six hours of new products and show specials from a wide-range of product categories. Also within the exhibit hall, a record 28 vendors in the Tech Pavilion provided opportunities for business-building ideas featuring software, advice, discounted services, and more. The Consultants Area provided one-on-one conversations with the industry’s best service providers and business experts.

Tuesday morning returned to an educational focus with two targeted roundtable sessions: 21st Century Leadership – How to Cultivate the NextGen (Jeff Butler) and Smaller Equals Stronger: Double Down on Strategic Advantages to Win Customers (J Schneider). The Trade Show then reopened for five and a half hours, giving much needed time to scour the hall for additional interesting products and discounted pricing.

A spouse/companion day tour to Lynchburg and the Jack Daniel’s Distillery took guests into the Tennessee countryside for a smooth sip of whiskey and Southern hospitality. After a busy day, the Closing Party provided attendees with a comfort-food-filled buffet dinner while John England & the Western Swingers provided one more taste of sweet Nashville music.

After such an exciting Convention & Trade Show, STAFDA will be returning to Nashville, November 10-12, 2024.

STAFDA’s 44th Annual Convention & Trade Show, will be held November 8-10, in Anaheim. Registration opens June 29 at 8:00 a.m. (Central). You must be a member to attend.