CJ and I were invited to attend Pacific Office Automation’s (POA’s) annual sales meeting on January 14. CJ has been attending this meeting since 2019. This was my first time, and I was genuinely impressed.
This year’s theme was “Grit.” Doug Pitassi served as master of ceremonies and put on quite a show. Looking around the room it was an impressive sight. There were approximately 800 employees of POA plus manufacturers and vendors, including Konica Minolta. Sharp, Ricoh, Kyocera, HP, and US Bank. POA also sells Canon, but we did not see anyone we recognized.
Pitassi invited founder Terry Newsom to the stage, where he gave the audience a short history of his company. Newsom has built an amazing culture by generously recognizing top performers, and the results are there for anyone to see. In his remarks, he extolled the contributions his wife of 57 years has made to the business. “Most of the good or smart things we did came from her,” he said.
We first met Newsom shortly after he acquired the Apeco Portland branch in 1976. In Newsom’s case, he immediately sought to add a line that made sense as the Apeco products were no longer competitive. Newsom took on Sharp and quickly took advantage of what they had to offer.
When I was at Apeco, we private labeled Sharp. We had a very able group of salespeople supported by the techs on the direct side. A gentleman named Joe Castrianni, VP of sales for Sharp and a mentor of mine, thanked me for introducing dealers to the Sharp product. “You are one of my best salesmen,” he told me at a NOMDA regional meeting in 1978.
Newson held his first organizational meeting in 1977 and has conducted one every year since, even during the pandemic when it went virtual. Leaders like Newsom understand the importance of rewarding the top and most productive producers. He doesn’t stop with generous commissions but adds 401Ks that secure futures for those who remain loyal. We spoke to a few employees, and they are all heavily tenured in their respective positions.
For CJ and me, it was a wonderful opportunity to say hello and catch up with some of our clients and learn from Pitassi and his senior managers as they went through the nearly three-hour program. This was a rare opportunity to listen to the leaders of POA speak to their respective charges.
The meeting was unquestionably one of the most inciteful we have ever attended. We understand that you must be careful and not drink too much Kool-Aid from a sales pro like Doug Pitassi. A big part of this job was congratulating the winners and gently goading the ones not getting the job done positively.
When they recognized their Top 10 producers it was quite impressive. If you added up POA’s total sales revenue, the dealership is bigger than 84% of the dealers in our 37th Annual Dealer Survey. POA does not like to divulge compensation numbers, but we feel comfortable in saying their combined efforts, coupled with the efforts of the entire sales team, have pushed POA over the $400 million mark with something to spare. Today, POA has 31 branches throughout the West and Southwest.
We want to thank Terry Newsom and Doug Pitassi for their gracious invitation to attend their 2023 sales meeting A special thanks to Doug for his expressions of gratitude for CJ and I attending. He had CJ introduce Mike Marusic of Sharp as one of their leading sponsors. He truly treated us as guests and not just press. We look forward to doing the same for him when he attends our Annual Awards & Charities Gala on November 2, 2023, as well as anyone else he may choose to bring with him. We were so impressed with POA’s Grit we focused on it in our January 27 edition of Fridays with Frank. It was that good!