More than 300 distributors, manufacturer's representatives, employees and spouses joined Mitsubishi Electric US' Cooling & Heating Division (Mitsubishi Electric), America's No. 1 selling brand of ductless cooling and heating systems, in Kapalua, Hawaii, for its 2014 Distributor Conference. The annual event, held from March 7-10 at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, gives Mitsubishi Electric the opportunity to honor its distributors and together toast to the success of ductless and Variable Refrigerant Flo (VRF) zoning systems in the U.S. market.
"As the first manufacturer to bring ductless and VRF zoning technologies to the U.S., we have spent more than three decades building a network of the best distributors for our product," said Bud Nardello, vice president of sales, Mitsubishi Electric US Cooling & Heating Division. "They are the key players in the market - the movers of our products - and the partnership we have today with our distributors has been critical to our ongoing success in building this market."
The theme for this year's conference was "E nana I kekuma a me kalaikou'ike,'" which in Hawaiian translates to "look to the source and carve your vision." According to Nardello, it reflects the key to success for Mitsubishi Electric and its distributors. "We got to this point by working cohesively with our distributors," he continued. "We wanted this year's theme to reflect how we've gotten here and that our future success as industry leaders rests on continuing to have a common goal."
Included in the three-day conference were presentations from the division's executives, who brought distributors up to speed on everything from the current state of residential and commercial sales to product branding and advertising initiatives. Attendees also participated in discussion groups and strategy sessions, which focused on various sales and marketing strategies to effectively promote the products and grow their businesses.
Attendees also heard from several guest speakers:
- Clifford Nae'ole, cultural advisor at the Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua, greeted attendees at the welcoming reception. As the only cultural advisor out of the 80 Ritz-Carlton hotels worldwide, Nae'ole provides attendees with an authentic experience and a better understanding of the Hawaiian way of life through his storytelling and invitations to cultural ceremonies and events.
- Steve Chealander delivered the keynote speech. Chealander has a wealth of leadership experience, having served as a Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force, and as a Military Aide to President Ronald Reagan. Chealander currently holds a position on the National Transportation Safety Board. His speech focused on the importance of motivation and persistency in overcoming obstacles to achieve success.
- Dr. Jeffrey Dietrich, a popular economics analyst, spoke on the state of the economy, perceived trend cycles and the forecast for growth.
- Salvatore Augustine "Sal" Giuna delivered the keynote speech on the final day of the conference. Giuna is a former U.S. Army soldier and the first living person to receive the eminent Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.
An important tradition of the Distributor Conference is to honor the distributors whose performance surpassed expectations in 2013. The Distributor of the Year Award recognizes the organization that has performed above and beyond all others in sales, market development and service levels with Mitsubishi Electric's products. This year, Mitsubishi Electric honored the top distributors in each of the five Business Units (BUs). The recipients of the 2014 Business Unit Distributor of the Year Award are as follows:
- Central BU: The Habegger Corporation, Cincinnati, Ohio.
- Northeast BU: ABCO | HVACR Supply and Solutions, New York.
- South BU: Lyon Conklin & Co. Inc., a subsidiary of Ferguson Industries, Md.
- Southwest BU: Robert Madden Industries, San Antonio.
- West BU: GENSCO, Tacoma, Wash.
GENSCO was also honored as the 2014 U.S. Distributor of the Year. Additionally, Quota Buster and Superior Sales awards were given to more than 55 distributors who met or exceeded their established quotas for the past year.
This year's conference also raised $3,500 in charitable donations, which was presented to the Mitsubishi Electric LOVE Committee, a philanthropy committee dedicated to providing support to charities within the local community, and to Nainoa Thompson of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. The contributions will help support Thompson's upcoming mission where he will be traveling around the world in a two double-hulled canoe.
"We are honored that our distributors continually see the value in the solutions we provide and give their unwavering support of our endeavors," said Nardello. "This event is important to Mitsubishi Electric in that it allows us to salute these distributors and show our appreciation of their continued hard work and dedication."