Steve Woodford, president of WCM Industries, was honored with the 2022 Golden Eagle Award by the Association of Independent Manufacturers’ (AIM/R) membership during a Gala celebration at the rep association’s 50th Annual Conference at the Gaylord Rockies Resort in Aurora, Colorado on Friday, October 14.
Woodford accepted his honor at the biggest event of the year for AIM/R, which took place in his organization’s backyard. WCM Industries, is based in Colorado Springs. Each year, AIM/R membership nominates individuals from manufacturing for the Golden Eagle Award. These individuals are often executives who embody all the core values of supporting and taking their products to market through independent manufacturers’ representatives.
“We're a relatively small manufacturer, and this is a big deal to be recognized by reps in this way,” said Woodford. “We value reps a lot. It's nice for them to recognize that we value their work. We need good work by reps, and it’s pretty rewarding for them to honor us.”
Woodford grew up in the industry and serves as third-generation family leadership at WCM Industries, Inc. His grandfather started the company in 1929, and Woodford has been around WCM Industries most of his life from summers in high school to coming on full-time with the organization in 2000. Several brands comprise WCM Industries. Inc., including Woodford, Watco, Isimet, MAPA, Eagle Mountain, Roger’s Hydrant Company, and Perma-Cast.
There has been a roller coaster of ups and downs in the economy during Woodford’s tenure with WCM Industries, and he reflected that their niche approach to business and working with manufacturers’ representatives has served them well.
“One of our core values is integrity and honesty before sales and profit. That’s some good advice from my dad,” Woodford added. “During the pandemic, there was a lot of chaos. Our reps did a good job of keeping us top of mind with our customers to help us gain market share. Our reps didn't overlook us.”
Due to the niche nature of many WCM Industries, Inc. products, Woodford shared how vital their rep agency network is to their long-term goals.
“I don’t think there’s any comparison. Reps in our world make all the difference,” Woodford said. “If anything, the industry may be undervaluing reps. We don’t agree with that trend. There’s no better way to reach new customers and stay in touch with current customers than really effective independent reps. We need really good representation. We value it, and we see it as critical.”
“Every year, the selection process for Golden Eagle is so rewarding for the association,” said AIM/R Board Member Michelle Lewnes-Dadas of Preferred Sales. “We congratulate Mr. Woodford on receiving this honor and thank him for his continued support of the rep business model and WCM Industries, Inc.’s rep agencies across the country.”
The AIM/R board of directors and membership have a set of requirements that any Golden Eagle candidate must meet before consideration for the award, which includes:
- Working cooperatively to develop and maintain strong partnerships with manufacturers’ representatives;
- Efficiently communicating information to their reps, keeping them up to date on the industry and the manufacturer’s product lines;
- Supporting their reps’ efforts through the prompt filling of orders, timely payment of commissions, backup support in the event of any issues, and closely working together to ensure customer satisfaction; and
- Going to market through manufacturers’ representatives, supporting AIM/R, promoting the industry, and actively participating in industry events.