After 40 years, the Copier Dealers Association continues to provided members with valuable educational and networking opportunities.
We received an invitation to attend Copier Dealers Association’s (CDA’s) 40th Anniversary celebration at the Broadmoor in Colorodo Springs July 13-15. The invite extended by CDA President Dawn Abbuhl of Repeat Business Systems, included Carol and CJ. We gladly accepted. The venue was the Broadmoor and this was the second time we have attended a CDA event at this beautiful location.
Usually an invitation to a dealer meeting entails being asked to conduct a presentation or moderate or participate in a panel. In this case CDA invited us because we have been attending this association’s meetings for 32 years and they wanted to say thank you. Words are not adequate to express how grateful I was for that kind expression of sentiment.
We were integrated into the e-mail chain about the planning for the meeting and were pleased to see older members reaching out to old friends such as Jim Fuchs, Ron Carr, and many others who had sold their businesses and retired.
We learned that a video was being produced by Toni Gorveatt of Cobb Technologies with well wishes from people such as BTA General Counsel Bob Goldberg and others congratulating CDA on their noteworthy celebration. Larry Weiss of Atlantic Tomorrow’s Office was recruited to put together a humorous presentation that poked fun at various CDA members and their foibles.
Larry reached out to Andy Ritschel of Electronic Office Systems and me to join in the fun. Under Weiss’s direction this portion of the meeting turned into a roast. Barry Simon of Datamax, Charlie Tiernan of NECS, Dwight Alford of CEI, Bill Fraser of Fraser AIS, and Mike Dominic of Coastal Business Systems along with former members such as Jim Fuchs, Kal Kardous, and Lou Marino were among the victims of the roast. It was a good time.
The highlight of this meeting for me was when Bryan Ammons of Standard Office Systems told me that he owed me a debt of thanks. I asked him what for and he replied, “In 1989 you took the time to write me a letter and told me that I should join CDA. I never forgot it.”
That meant a lot to me. I always hope that what we have written about the independent dealer groups has caused some of our readers to reach out to BPCA, BTA, CDA, and SDG. Now I know that our coverage has helped””to some degree””each of these groups obtain new members.
While the celebratory aspects of this anniversary celebration were a great deal of fun, there was also a full meeting schedule with 10 presentations. A presentation by Todd Johnson and John Hey Strategic Business Associates focusing on the financial performance of CDA members in 2016 was one of the best. Most independent dealer groups will receive similar presentations in the coming months. Those presentations alone are worth the cost of being a member of any of these groups.
If we have a message about this meeting it confirms what we have believed since that first CDA meeting I attended in 1985. Dealers are well served when they have an opportunity to network with other dealers. It is not just the education that they provide, but the opportunities to discuss best practices of being a successful entrepreneur with their fellow members. At breakfast one morning I sat with four dealers. Two were discussing a transition plan while the other two were talking about improving their Managed Services business. Over the course of two days several of the members took the opportunity to chat with us, and from their questions we learned what was foremost on their minds, which will be helpful to us in determining our editorial coverage.
Carol, CJ, and I are truly grateful for the relationship we have built with CDA””that what we do is of value to them encourages us to keep supporting not only CDA, but BPCA, BTA, and SDG. We continue to learn a great deal when we attend these meetings. Although we are prohibited from writing about the specifics of the educational sessions, the knowledge we gain increases our value to our clients and partners. In the end that what is all about. However, make no mistake the relationships we enjoy (especially with these dealers) means a great deal to us personally and many are dear and special friends. Long after I have put down the pen, I will cherish and remember the time I spent with them and what they have truly meant to me.