Best in Class
Joe Carbonara, Editor-in-Chief
Each fall, FE&S presents its Best in Class Awards. These awards are important to our industry because they recognize those manufacturers that subscribing members of the distribution chain named the best at helping meet customer needs on a product-by-product basis. From ease-of-use to reliability to how easy it is to work with the manufacturer and countless other factors, this industry-leading study takes into account all the qualities that make a manufacturer’s product worthy of being labeled Best in Class.
This issue revisits the notion of best in class. Rather than focus on the products, which will happen once again in our October issue, we instead turn our attention to five individuals who make this community so dynamic by proudly welcoming another distinguished individual to the magazine’s Hall of Fame as well as four more key industry players to our roster of Top Achievers.
Like those who FE&S honored before them, each of this year’s award winners has spent time building market-leading businesses and making considerable contributions to the industry at-large. But what makes this year’s class unique is their uncanny ability to look into the future and adapt to market changes, both current and anticipated. Our Top Achievers have strategically expanded their service areas, successfully tinkered with product and service offerings, altered their corporate structure and one even successfully transitioned his business to the next generation.
In doing so, our 2006 Hall of Fame Inductee and Top Achievers have built meaningful, long-term relationships with their customers that go well beyond just offering a product for a price. That’s because our Top Achievers approach their business relationships with honesty, integrity and fairness. It’s not enough for them to walk away from a transaction happy — they want you to feel that way, too.
While researching each of the individuals profiled in this month’s issue, I became more and more impressed, the deeper I dug. It wasn’t just that the references were positive, that’s always the case when you check references for an award. But the feedback I collected went beyond positive and crossed into passionate. And that’s a direct reflection of how the FE&S Class of 2006 approaches their business: with great passion.
Among today’s business lexicon, it seems to me that the word partner could not be any more over-used on a bet. When it comes to the FE&S Class of 2006, though, the exact opposite is the case. Our Hall of Famer and Top Achievers have embraced the term and, in doing so, have become an integral part of their client and vendor teams. Our Class of 2006 regularly makes meaningful contributions to their clients’ bottom line, both in the form of what they do and what they keep their clients from doing. As a result, you can directly link the success our Hall of Famer and Top Achievers enjoy to that of their vendors and customers.
Ultimately, isn’t that the true measure of a partner? Their willingness to stand by their vendors and customers alike in both good times and bad and being that source of information and inspiration that helps someone achieve their goals and objectives is what allows your typical business relationship to transform into a partnership. The individual members of our Class of 2006 may all come from different parts of the country, industry segments, etc., but being able to emerge as an invaluable resource to the various members of their business community is truly a tie that binds them together.
I hope you enjoy reading their stories half as much as we have enjoyed telling them.
Joseph M. Carbonara, Editor in Chief