Did you ever work so hard at something and be held by the fear that it wouldn’t be a success? I’ve been dreaming about, and losing sleep over our first Annual Meeting for months. There is no comparison to the amount of time that it takes to plan an event like this, unless you have a daughter that’s getting married. It took a lot of convincing on Todd’s part and mine to sway my Dad that this was the right thing to do for NetPlus Alliance, and we had a lot riding on the end result.
Along the way there were complications, cancellations and new technology that we launched and tried for the first time. People called, we answered questions (to the best of our ability – it was our first time too), took flight information and made sure that everyone knew what to do, when, and where to be at what time. And during this whole experience, it snowed. And snowed. Since November, the weather has been cold and unforgiving.
Just before we left on Friday, Terry Goss, from Goss Supply, emailed me to let me know that his father, Clarence Goss, the founder of Goss Supply, passed away at 97 and he wouldn’t be attending the meeting. Another distributor and member of our advisory council, Brian Rose, from Toole and Rose Supply, contacted us to let us know that his father-in-law had passed away, and that he and his wife were not able to attend, and had been so looking forward to being away together at the meeting.
Do you ever feel that the forces of nature are working against you; no matter how hard you try? I boarded the plane in Buffalo, NY, sad for our distributors that were unable to attend, and unsure about what would unfold over the next 5 days. When we landed in Las Vegas, I walked outside in the 80-degree weather, and felt a change. The air was electric with heat and energy and it was like someone had lifted a 100-pound weight off my back. We were finally here and we were ready to go. The preparations had been made, and we knew that we made a great choice to host the meeting at the M Resort in Henderson, Nevada. Located off the strip, we drove up to the resort with the NetPlus First Annual Meeting announcement showcased on their outdoor sign. There we were: front and center in Las Vegas lights! When we entered the spacious, bright lobby, behind the check-in desk was our logo for the Annual Meeting: Grow Together. We had arrived.
All of the planning and preparations came together, and our opening party, held in the beautiful rooftop lounge, Lux, gave our guests a night view of the Las Vegas strip and surrounding desert. I took the spot right by the front entrance and had the chance to greet everyone as they came through the door. I met many people for the first time that I had talked or emailed with for years and also had the chance to hug and catch up with old friends. Members were busy throughout the party, many enjoying the ‘learn to play craps’ tables with event sponsor, Krylon Industrial Products “poker chips.” The guitarist played in the background while members mingled and enjoyed the music and before we knew it, the evening had ended and it was time to get some rest for the next day’s activities.
The Pavilion is a separate building from the M Resort, so you walk outside and then into the space where the booths were set-up. It was nice to take in the morning sun and fresh air before going into your day of meetings. Breakfast was being served right on the show floor and members were busy getting coffee, grabbing a bite and checking their schedules before heading off to their first meeting. There was a constant positive buzz in the Pavilion throughout the day, with many distributors splitting up to be able to visit more suppliers than was outlined on their schedule. We had our own booth set-up right in the center, which was managed by Dan, Paul Haber and Shirley, who took instant photos with our Fujifilm Instax-Mini camera. We posted the pictures on our “Grow Together” board throughout the day and it has now taken up residence in our lobby.
At our Award Luncheon, Zach put together a great video that covers the history of our family business right up to what we do today at NetPlus Alliance. I had the chance to say the following about my Dad, the founder of NetPlus Alliance:
“Dan Judge started NetPlus Alliance with the same entrepreneurial spirit of his Great Uncles and his father, working from the ground up and building his business on the countless relationships that he had cultivated over the course of his career. His simple purpose was to deliver the opportunity of a buying group to any industrial or contractors supplies distributor, regardless of size or geography. That core purpose still holds true today: we do what we do everyday to help North American Small Businesses Succeed. Now, everyone in this room isn’t necessarily a small business. However, I would bet that this is how you started. Our goal, and the reason that I come to work everyday, is to build your profitability, to facilitate new relationships and deliver new opportunities for your growth. We can only do part of the job – the rest is you. And it is why we brought you here to Las Vegas: To Grow Together!”
Thank you to everyone that took a chance on us and came out for the first meeting. Everything exceeded my highest expectations and we are still basking in the after glow. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we are excited about the new opportunities and long-standing relationships that will result from this first “gathering of the clan.” We look forward to many more to come, and stay tuned for 2015 dates to be published soon!