Distribution Talk with Kevin Gammonley
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Behind the Scenes of Association Management and Distribution Recruiting Activities With Kevin Gammonley of Smithbucklin

Episode: 147

If you’re in distribution, you probably belong to an association, one that’s focused on advancing the concerns of your specific vertical. Chances are also good that you have no idea who is responsible for the association management of that organization or that it offers excellent career opportunities for young professionals. Kevin Gammonley has been getting those messages out for 30+ years as a senior director at Smithbucklin. Jason caught up with Kevin to get a behind-the-scenes tour of association management basics and learn why it’s an excellent career choice for innovative young professionals.

“There are a lot of different paths someone can take because there’s obviously a lot of different roles,” says Kevin of a career in association management. “Once a young person can figure out what parts of it they like––event planning, marketing, finance, research, and data––there’s so many different variables that they could ultimately decide to focus their career on.” As executive director for the North American Building Material Distribution Association (NBMDA) and the North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD), Kevin has come into contact with almost every department mentioned, so he has witnessed the potential himself. He’s even convinced his daughter to give association management a try.

Kevin’s commitment to distribution is apparent in how he speaks about the industry’s people and supports its vitality. As executive director of NBMDA and NAFCD, Kevin fosters the professional development and economic health of two thriving communities. He’s so knowledgeable about the focus of each that most members thought he was a direct employee rather than head of an outside management team. That’s by design. “Once members understand the role that Smith Bucklin plays,” Kevin says, “it gives them a heightened level of comfort to know that there are a lot of resources and expertise behind the scenes.”

The NBMDA and NAFCD teams work alongside their membership to create dynamic, responsive programming, especially in education and recruiting. Kevin has an excellent track record in that regard. ”I’ve been out there preaching and telling young people and have been pretty successful in the last several years because one of my sons now works in distribution.”


University Of Innovative Distribution

Association Education Alliance


“I told many young people in our management company, ‘Hey, we manage a lot of different groups, but you might wanna check one of these distributor groups. They’re really good, fun people to work with.’”

“The people running distributorships are great people. It’s the reason why I’ve stayed in this role.”

“These distributors have got to get more creative and innovative in how they go about recruiting.”

“There’s so much we can learn, you know, from each other by sharing what’s working, what’s not.”

“I always say, beg, borrow, and steal what you can from others that are further along, especially within a specific program or topical area that maybe you just don’t have any experience or haven’t done anything in yet.”






Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth, and achieve personal goals.


This episode was edited by The Creative Impostor Studios.

Special thanks to our sponsor for this episode: Connected Peers providing virtual communities for wholesale distributors.

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