FAIRFAX, Va. -- In order to adapt to a changing membership, the American Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA) has made a series of enhancements, including changing its name to the Convenience Distribution Association (CDA), chairman Rob Sincavich, president of Team Sledd, Wheeling, W.Va., has announced.
As reported in a 21st Century Smoke/CSP Daily News Flash, the group's board approved the name change at its meeting in Las Vegas on February 24.
Other changes include significant expansion of government and industry affairs efforts.
"Changes in the way people work and do business have been accelerated by adoption of new technologies, and these changes have increased people's expectations of trade associations as well," Sincavich said. "So that means AWMA must change to effectively meet the needs of our evolving membership."
The name Convenience Distribution Association more effectively describes what the organization is all about, Sincavich said. "It is who we are. It is what we do. We distribute convenience products in varying retail formats and store sizes. We distribute convenience products institutionally. When we talk to our government representatives, they will know who we are and what we do. It makes sense."
The board also endorsed a wide ranging program of enhancements to the association that include:
- Increased emphasis on government affairs, including the launch of a sophisticated online State Advocacy Center.
- Beefed up industry affairs and member engagement efforts, supported by the hiring of two industry veterans: Steve Shing, formerly with GSC Enterprises Inc., as vice president of member engagement; and David Dresser, formerly of Core-Mark International Inc., as vice president of program development.
- Increased collaboration with a wide range of other industry associations in an effort to improve the efficacy of programs and encourage supply chain collaboration and efficiency.
- The establishment of a series of "communities" designed to allow collaboration and learning, both at person-to-person gatherings and in a new custom-built online portal.
- Establishment of a Manufacturer Advisory Council designed to get greater input from manufacturer partners.
- New emphasis on digital content delivery to members, allowing the association to provide more information to members, and to make that content more readily available.
The name change will be phased in over the next few months, according to association president Scott Ramminger.
"While the AWMA name has served us well, it has presented some challenges. Every time we go to Capitol Hill, we have to explain who it is we represent. Convenience Distribution Association is pretty clear. While we were making other changes, it was a great time to get the name right," he said.
Ramminger also announced that Kimberly Bolin has been promoted to executive vice president of CDA. She will have broad responsibility for implementing the program enhancements.
For the past five years Bolin has managed membership efforts at AWMA, creating a system to track and increase member engagement. Prior to joining AWMA, Bolin worked on Capitol Hill, and in a Washington, D.C., government affairs shop, with clients including trade associations, companies, cities and universities. She has served as a consultant to former Sen. Majority Leader Trent Lott's Leadership PAC. Bolin also worked for United Health Care, opening the company's first office in Mississippi.
AWMA is an international trade organization working on behalf of convenience store distributors in the United States. Its members represent more than $85 billion in U.S. convenience store product sales. Associate members include manufacturers, service providers, technology companies, brokers, retailers and others allied to the convenience retailing industry. In addition to convenience stores, its largest customer segment, convenience store distributors also service grocery stores, drug stores, tobacco shops, mass merchants, newsstands, concession stands, gift shops, fundraising groups, restaurants, institutions and more.