The Select Dealer Group (SDG) is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The office technology peer group brings together dealers from across the U.S. to share best practices.
Select Dealer Group is a prime example of an organization that makes a difference in the industry. Three times a year, more than 35 office technology dealers come together with their fellow dealers from across the country to learn about the latest trends and developments in the industry, share their knowledge, and benchmark best practices with their peers.
This group of industry leaders has been following this practice faithfully for the last twenty years. It was in 2003 that the Select Dealer Group (SDG) was officially launched; this year the group celebrates its 20th anniversary.
Organized under the auspices of the Business Technology Association (BTA, www.bta.org), Select Dealer Group meetings have taken place in many locations: at the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas, the Pelican Hill in Newport Coast, CA, San Antonio, TX near the Alamo, the Stewart Hotel in New York City, NAPA Valley in California, and at dealerships located in Chicago, Denver, and many other locations. Fresh off a meeting earlier this year in New Jersey, the group is now preparing for its next gathering this fall at a location near Buffalo, NY.
Dealer members come from many different parts of the country. Meetings are jam-packed with valuable information for members. Sometimes the members present to the group or participate in panels. Other times guest speakers are brought in. Keynote presentations have included a Manufacturers’ Panel, moderated by The Cannata Report, industry updates as shared by Andy Slawetsky of Industry Analysts/What’s Happenin,’ and an Oklahoma City meeting where Governor Kevin Stitt was the featured speaker. During these two-day and three-day events there is also time to sightsee; groups have visited the Alamo, toured California vineyards, and seen a number of professional ball games, to mention a few of the activities.
Current SDG Board President, David Scibetta of CopierFax Business Technologies, along with founding member Richard Van Dyke of Advanced Office, shared some thoughts on the group’s 20th anniversary.
“Without the leadership and foresight of John Hey, John Hanson (in Memoriam) and Todd Johnson of Strategic Business Associates, the idea and formulation of SDG never would have happened. They fully understood the model that Todd’s father, Tom Johnson, unleashed on the industry for financial and operation improvement and excellence. The many SDG members, both current and those that have sold their dealerships and exited, would all agree – it is this continual learning and improvement that these gentleman brought to SDG along with the members commitment to assist each other in improvement, that enabled the organization to thrive over 20 years,” said Richard Van Dkye.
“And there is another significant “leg of the stool” -BTA’s commitment to assist dealers in education and to allow SDG to form under the BTA non-profit umbrella. The extraordinary assistance and work provided by BTA Marketing Director, Valerie Briseno has been priceless along with the support of BTA Executive Director Brent Hoskins,” added David Scibetta.
The Select Dealer Group is different in purpose and mission from many traditional business association groups. “It gives dealers an environment where they can discuss issues that are important to them in a safe and secure setting,” said Ray Belanger, CEO of Bay Copy in Rockland, MA, and one of the original Select Dealer Group founding members. He said, “If a dealer has a problem, whether it’s with how to market a product, handle an employee situation or something else, it’s better to share the concerns with people who are colleagues, not competitors or employees. What we learn at these meetings makes us better at running our companies.”
Peer groups allow individuals to broaden their perspectives, establish a trusted network of support and advisors, and challenge themselves to do better.
SDG members are required to share financials from their companies and members hold each other accountable in terms of strategies for improving their growth and businesses. Perhaps the strongest benefit is the relationships that members form with each other. Many members stay in touch between meetings by visits, phone calls, or even Zoom or Teams.
David Scibetta, president of the Select Dealer Group board, says that the group is always very helpful to each other and remembers in particular the value of SDG during the pandemic. “Covid-19 was raging across the country, and we all faced similar issues. We were able to help each other get through some unprecedented difficult times.” He added, “We are grateful for the continued input of our founding members, and we greatly miss the contributions of the Marshalls and of Chip Miceli.”