SEDA: Thriving in Dynamic Times

June 19, 2008
Just how does that personal protective equipment get to your door from the factory? Forty years ago, the Safety Equipment Distributors Association (SEDA) was established as a forum for the exchange of ideas and information for companies and professionals in the safety equipment industry. From June 22-24, SEDA’s Safety Leadership Forum in Nashville will celebrate 40 years of providing education, professional interaction and a clear-eyed perspective on the continuing evolution of the safety equipment industry.

Recognizing the impact of an ever-changing industrial and business marketplace on the safety industry, our theme for this year’s Safety Leadership Forum is “Thriving in Dynamic Times.” Monday’s Keynote Speaker, Rob Stevenson, will show attendees “How to Soar Like an Eagle.” A session on Monday afternoon discusses “Revisiting the Health and Safety Value Proposition in a Changing Economy.”

Tuesday’s session, “Closing the Gaps,” with keynote speaker Joe Contrera, will provide strategies to help draw the members of an organization closer together, so that they can “close the gaps” between the organization and the market it competes in. Landy Chase’s “Winning on Value vs. Losing on Price” will round out Tuesday’s educational sessions with insights on how America’s most successful sales organizations are “thriving in dynamic times.” Landy’s presentation will offer “ready-to-use” ideas for strengthening and improving an organization’s sales.

Keynote Addresses

“How to Soar Like an Eagle in a World Full of Turkeys” – Rob Stevenson

This double-edged sword presentation cuts to the core of performance, both business and personal. With continued budget crunches, increasing global competition and pressure to make better and faster decisions, success requires businesses to be creative, aggressive and innovative. To make an organization successful you have to make its people successful. This fast-paced and highly informative program penetrates the very core of success, breaking down the causes so they can be identified, understood and accepted by the audience.

Stevenson is an internationally recognized speaker and author of the best selling book, “How To Soar Like An Eagle In A World Full Of Turkeys.” Stevenson has shared the podium with such renowned speakers as former President George Bush, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Anthony Robbins, Tom Peters and Steven Covey. This former All-American athlete has owned several companies, sold internationally in over 20 countries and established and maintained hundreds of accounts worldwide, along with managing a worldwide sales force.

"Revisiting the Health & Safety Value Proposition in a Changing Economy" – Dr. Rick Fulwiler

Rick Fulwiler’s presentation will be a thought provoking and informative discussion of the health and safety (H&S) value proposition in the context of “where to go from here,” given the rapidly changing demographics impacting EHS in general and the safety equipment manufacturing and distribution business specifically. Included in the changing demographics will be such things as H&S drivers, the nature of work, the delivery of H&S services, the migration from manufacturing to service, OSHA after the election, globalization and the economy.

Fulwiler has been the course director for the Qualified Safety Sales Professional (QSSP) since its inception. Prior to that he had a 28-year career with Procter & Gamble, where he started as an industrial hygienist and retired as director of Health & Safety Worldwide. He has a B.S. in chemistry, an M.S. in industrial health, an Sc.D. in environmental health and is a Certified Industrial Hygienist and a Certified Safety & Health Manager. He is past president of the American Academy of Industrial Hygiene, adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, director for the Leadership & Management Course for EHS at Harvard University and has published widely on occupational health and safety.

“Closing the Gaps” – Joe Contrera

“The market is mature.” “Everything is coming from overseas.” “It’s all about price.” We are continuously bombarded with messages that threaten our profits and put inordinate amounts of pressure on ourselves and our businesses. Whether we are a business of five employees or 500, all of us are faced with a market that seems to be changing on a daily basis. How do we keep all the pieces and parts of our business connected when it seems like it just keeps getting more and more complex?

Few companies truly understand that before you can close the gaps between you and your customer, you need to close the gaps within your employees and within your organization. “Closing the Gaps” is a high-powered, dynamic presentation from Joe Contrera that brings the whole concept of customer-centric down to the core of where it begins; the attitudes and perceptions of your employees.

Contrera is the president and founder of ALIVE @ WORK® LLC, a firm that speaks, teaches, coaches and consults with organizations to motivate and engage their people at work. He is the author of the book titled, “Light ’em Up: How to Ignite the Fire in Your Sales Team in Just 21 Days.”

His unique personal style and use of humor both motivate and encourage his audiences and those he consults and coaches. Joe’s strengths come from his experience both on and off the platform. He doesn’t just talk about achieving a higher level of success, he lives it.

The central purpose of the Safety Leadership Forum is to present insights and opportunities for professional and business development that will enable distributor and manufacturer members in the safety industry to continue to grow their businesses.

For more information, visit SEDA's Web site at

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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