Welcome Generations X and Y
November 14th, 2012

I’m just returning from Palm Springs and this year’s Total Solutions Plus. Initially, we were all a bit skeptical at the prospect of combining TCNA’s, CTDA’s, and NTCA’s fall events into a single event. But after three years of phenomenally successful events, I think it’s safe to conclude that it was a great idea. If you didn’t attend, I would strongly encourage you to get signed up for next year. And if you did attend, consider bringing additional members of your team next time. With the rich educational content, the event provides an excellent opportunity to train members of your sales team on topics ranging from thin tile to greenbuilding to a wide variety of installation demonstrations.

Attendees will also recall that I made a call for involving the next generation. When Connie Podesta, our keynote speaker, had everyone 35 and under raise their hands, I counted no more than a couple of dozen people in a room of 400. This is a problem. The long term health of our businesses and our industry will hinge on whether we make a smooth transition of leadership from the baby boomers to Generations X and Y. If we don’t bring the rising stars in our organizations to industry events like Total Solutions Plus and Coverings, how can we expect them to make the connections and get the education they need to lead our organizations in the future? Forward thinking businesses like Century Tile in Illinois and D&B Tile in Florida have consistently brought younger members of their leadership teams to industry events. Exposing the next generation to distributors, dealers, installers and manufacturers from around the country broadens their business perspective and provides them with peers to call upon when confronting challenges. Our young leaders also have the energy and passion to carry what they learn back to our organizations. Each year upon returning from TSP, we hold a series of trainings with our staff to convey the key information we learned. Who better to lead these trainings than your rising stars? Of course, we also want to make sure that we hold onto these young talents. By investing in their careers and continuing education, you communicate how much you value them.

The CTDA Board is transitioning to new leadership as well at the end of the year. Frank Donahue, of Best Tile, will be taking over the presidency. He brings a passion for our industry and our association that we will all benefit from. Frank’s agenda for the next couple of years centers on increasing active membership by engaging current members in our committees—the primary vehicle for action in our association—and by recruiting new members. While many industry associations are struggling to find their footing right now, the CTDA is experiencing a renaissance. Sound finances, great events, expanding membership, and dynamic leadership all ensure that the CTDA is a must for distributors.

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