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Distribution Leaders Named to Hall of Fame

CHICAGO — Two industry veterans were inducted into the Convenience Distribution Association’s (CDA) Hall of Fame Wednesday at the group’s 18th-annual Convenience Distribution Business Exchange held in Chicago.

Pat Carrico, former CDA chairman, and CEO and president of South Bend, Ind.-based Richmond-Master Distributors Inc. was given the Hall of Fame Award. Altria Group Distribution Co.’s Bob Sears, director of section sales, was this year’s recipient of CDA’s Dean of the Industry Award. Both award recipients were on hand to receive their awards.

A Mentor and Leader

Introduced by previous inductee Steve Shing with GSC Enterprises, Sulphur Springs, Texas, Carrico was described by his peers as “quiet,” “deliberate,” “an effective leader” and a “man of vision.”

“I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more,” Shing said.

After 50 years in the wholesale industry, Carrico has served as a mentor and leader. He was the chairman of CDA (formerly AWMA) in 2004 when the organization’s “fate hung in the balance,” Shing said. While he worked with the association to maintain its financial viability, Carrico demonstrated the “honesty, kindness, patience and strong work ethic” that would eventually earn him a spot in the CDA Hall of Fame.

“And have you ever seen such an amazing head of hair on a great grandfather, no less?” Shing joked.

Industry Ally

Honored for his ability to “value the importance of partners in a distributor’s success,” Altria’s Sears was named the 2015 Dean of the Industry. Presenting the award, Keith Canning, managing partner with Pine State Trading Co., Gardiner, Maine, described Sears as “the best” and “very, very good at what he does.”

“Bob is one of those people that makes you smile when you see him coming your way,” Canning said. And when challenges arise on the retail front, Sears is the kind of ally “you want in your fox hole.”

For his part, Sears said upon acceptance of the award “we try hard to listen and I hope I’ve help advance that effort.”

“Being truthful is an important part of building relationships,” he said.

CDAis the trade organization for convenience-products distributors in the United States. Its distributor members represent more than $92 billion in U.S convenience product sales, serving a variety of small retail formats. Associate members include leading convenience-product manufacturers, brokers, retailers, suppliers and others allied to the industry. The CDBX event is a meeting for CDA members where, in just two and a half days, member distributors get 30 top-to-top meetings with key trading partners in one venue.

Abbey Lewis


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