Sam Geist
Bill Wagner
Dimitris Klapsis
Ken Miesemer
Suzanne Richer
Stephanie Samulski
Al Bates


Sam Geist - Why Should Someone Do Business With You?

No idle armchair philosopher, Sam's insights stem from years of front-line business experience.  He grew his single sporting goods store into a 15-store $40 million dollar a year national chain before he sold it to his competitor.  He opened a marketing and consulting agency, based on the full-service customer concepts he had honed in the retail arena, and went on to learn an entirely new set of skills and experiences.   When his marketing clients began asking him to speak to their clients he discovered his true calling.

A Speaker
Sam's early business roots taught him well about our volatile, ever-changing marketplace.  His experiences provide him with an invaluable dual perspective—both as client and marketer—a perspective he has been sharing with audiences across North & South America and Europe for the last 15 years.  His business programs are not just theoretical speeches, they offer tangible ideas, and solutions.  They provide a wealth of applicable information as well as the impetus to act on it.  Sam questions.  He challenges.  He informs.  He refocuses participants.  He provides actionable strategies to address the obstacles faced by so many of today's organizations.

An Author
Sam has written "Why Should Someone Do Business With You… Rather Than Someone Else?" an interactive book on business strategy that has assisted thousands of marketers to re-view, renew and move ahead of the marketplace.  His second book, "Would You Work for You?" is a thought-provoking guide that encourages leaders to better see themselves, their relationships and their skills to enable them to lead their organizations effectively.  He has also written two short business guides—"Make It Happen:  20 Ways to Execute Your Strategy Every Day" and "Why Should Someone Do Business With You… Rather Than Someone Else:  Eighteen Strategies to Get and Keep Customers."

A Consultant and Facilitator
During hands-on, interactive discussions and brainstorming workshops, Sam uses the Socratic method to encourage participants to question themselves, to think about their business in new ways in order to change, improve, and grow. He insists that asking tough questions—and answering them honestly—is crucial to the well being of your organization. He shows you how to capitalize on your resources, and how to use your knowledge more profitably than you ever did before.   As a consultant he also uses his extensive experience to assist companies involved in restructuring, develop a unique road map to create their own future.

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Bill Wagner - Top 10 Leadership/Entrepreneurial Qualities

For nearly twenty years, Bill Wagner has been at the forefront of entrepreneurial practice and research. He has devoted nearly all of his adult life to understanding entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship -- first as a student, then as an entrepreneur and now as a teacher.

He is the Co-founder and CEO of Accord Management Systems, Inc; a firm dedicated to helping executives make logical conclusions about themselves and the people within their organizations. Working hand-in-hand with entrepreneur-focused organizations such as The Executive Committee (TEC), the Young Entrepreneur's Organization (YEO), The International Franchise Association (IFA), he is able to stay on the cutting edge of research and knowledge on entrepreneurship.

Bill is an expert in due diligence, mergers and acquisitions, organizational alignment, succession planning and tactical applications such as selection, leadership development, motivation and team building. He helps audiences and clients understand why issues exist, what to do about them and how to fix them. He calls himself an "insultant" rather than a mere consultant, who believes the difference is in the message. He rocks the boat and tells the truth, helping clients become their own organizational therapists. Bill focuses on questioning answers rather than answering questions.

Unlike other organizational specialists, Bill focuses exclusively on using behavioral tools from a strategic, rather than a tactical perspective. As a result, he is one of the most in-demand authorities on the subject today.  Each year, he presents to thousands of CEOs at more than 100 seminars and workshops across the country. Well over 90% of those who hear him speak are entrepreneurs, CEOs or senior level executives. Widely published, his articles and interviews have appeared in such benchmark publications as Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc. Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Franchise World, Workforce Magazine, Wells Fargo's Business Advisor Handbook of Business Strategy, Lodging and Hospitality, Federal Credit Union, Los Angeles Business Journal, California CEO Magazine, and YEO's Axis Magazine.

Prior to founding Accord Management Systems, he held corporate positions at Xerox, Frito-Lay and Protection One Alarms.

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Dimitris N. Klapsis, LEED AP - Learn From Architects How to Get Products Specified in Green Projects

Dimitris Klapsis received his master's degree in architecture from the University of Southern California and his bachelor's degree in architecture from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, where he is a licensed architect and a member of the Greek Technical Chamber.

Mr. Klapsis is a LEED Accredited Professional. His sustainable projects include the LEED platinum rated Robert Redford Building for the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Vantaggio of Baldwin Hills, currently designed to meet LEED-H standards, and Taylor Yard Parcel “C” master plan – a LEED-ND 24 acre transit oriented mixed-use development which will include a large component of affordable housing.

His experience encompasses private multi-family projects, custom single-family residences, congregate care facilities and hotels. His experience includes the 1200 – room expansion of the Hard Rock Hotel and Residencies in Las Vegas, the 347 - unit Del Mar Station in Pasadena and the Mission Meridian in South Pasadena; both transit oriented developments, the West Wing Expansion at Villa Gardens in Pasadena, a ninety-unit congregate care facility addition and a 120-room bungalow style hotel in the Greek island of Alonissos.

Mr. Klapsis has served as a project manager and designer for commercial, health care, transportation and institutional clients. These include a new Metrolink station for the City of Santa Clarita, the new $750 million Arrowhead Medical Center in San Bernandino County, a new laboratory and medical offices building at City of Hope hospital in Duarte California, a 50,000 square foot addition for the Athens Naval Hospital, the new $37 million police station for the City of Glendale. Additional public sector work includes the Metro Red Line station at First and Boyle streets in Los Angeles and a new Fire Station for the City of West Hollywood. 

Mr. Klapsis has administered construction for a number of projects, including the addition to the Athens Naval Hospital and the new Metrolink station in Santa Clarita. He has built upon his experience by completing a Construction Management course at the University of California, Los Angeles, and by attending seminars sponsored by the American Construction Inspectors Association.

Mr. Klapsis’ presentations on sustainability include the Congress for New Urbanism X, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, the Municipal Green Building Conference and Expo, United States Green Building Council– LA Chapter, the United States Green Building Council Annual Members Summit, and the Natural Resources Defense Council Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).

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Ken Miesemer - Increase Efficiency Through Better Warehousing

Ken Miesemer is currently a Sr. Consultant at the St. Onge Company with a focus on Supply Chain improvement projects. He had been with the Hershey Company for 15 years with the most recent title of Director, Distribution and International Logistics, overseeing approximately 4 million squar feet of distribution center operations in the mainland U.S, Hawai, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, and Hershey International Operations.

Ken’s career provided experiences in Materials Management, Systems Implementations (MRP/ERP, Supply Chain Planning and Execution Systems), Program Management, Distribution Operations, and International Logistics. He had the opportunity to define, consolidate and then manage several national distribution networks. At Hershey Foods, Ken had been involved with several large projects including the start up of the new 1.2 million square foot Eastern Distribution Center III and the standardization of processes across the national network. Hershey opened a new 1.1 million square foot Distribution Center in the St. Louis area in 2004.

A graduate of Millersville University, Ken has continued his education through the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) and Penn State’s Logistics certificate programs. Ken is an active speaker at WERC, CSCMP, and APICS, and authored the book, Start Up of a World Class DC. He currently serves on the Board of Directors as the President of WERC, an association of distribution professionals.

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Suzanne Richer - How to Avoid Shutdown During Port Disaster

Suzanne M. Richer, founder of Customs & Trade Solutions, Inc. and a licensed Customs Broker has over twenty three years in international supply chain management, having served in the Ports of Detroit, Miami, Newark and Philadelphia.   Ms. Richer has counseled corporations involved in the importation of Automotive Vehicles and Parts, Electronics, Wearing Apparel and Machinery.  She has worked with clients during their closing audits with U.S. Customs, assisted companies in participating in cargo security programs such as    C-TPAT at Tier 3 levels, and counseled corporations on international trade law issues.  In 2006, she was recognized by the Journal of Commerce as one of the top 20 Women in Transportation.


 Ms. Richer has conducted International Trade Seminars throughout the nation, and has spoken on related topics, including Classification, NAFTA, and NAFTA for Textiles, Incoterms, Export Controls, Import Compliance Issues and Duty Drawback.  Ms. Richer also presents on behalf of training companies specializing in international trade topics.  She has conducted over 3000 hours of training, including training for the National Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Association, Footwear Association, CLM New York Roundtable, Mid-West Importers Trade Association and the Federal Maritime Commission.   She currently serves as the President of  the CSCMP – New York Roundtable as well as overseeing the Curriculum Committee of NEXCO, a New York group focused on import and export activity. 


 Ms. Richer earned her Masters degree in Economics from Eastern Michigan University and her Bachelors of Economics from the University of Michigan.  She has studied language courses at the University of Strasbourg, France and Osaka, Japan.  Her articles on international trade topics appear in the Shipping Digest and Supply Chain Management magazine. 

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Stephanie Samulski - Life Cycle Analysis

Stephanie Samulski is a project manager for the Tile Council of North America and an instructor for the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), where she teaches installation from a standards and performance-based perspective. Ms. Samulski participates in the development of industry standards including the TCNA Handbook and the ANSI material and installation standards. She is currently focusing on developing installer-oriented materials for CTEF. Stephanie entered the tile trade in 1999 as an apprentice with Local 32 in Detroit, where she worked on commercial installations for Shores Tile, including two International Masonry Institute (IMI) award-winning tile projects. As an independent contractor, Ms. Samulski installed tile and stone in residential applications as well.


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Al Bates - Company Performance Report

One of CTDA's most popular speakers, Al Bates from the Profit Planning Group has proven expertise in a number of financial and management fields and he will once again present the annual CTDA Company Performance Report.

The report, compiled confidentially from responses of ceramic tile distributors across the country, gives you a clear and concise view of the financial strengths and weaknesses of the ceramic tile distribution industry.

But that’s not all! Financial challenges that arise in a downturn economy are challenging. This session will distinguish between actions that really help and those that only make a difficult situation worse. Identify draining cash traps - inventory and accounts receivable, and slam the door on expenses - focusing on areas where reductions are possible without sacrificing customer service.By participating in the PROFIT survey, you will receive two very useful management tools that compare your results with your peers:

PROFIT IMPROVEMENT PROFILE analyzes and compares your company's profitability and financial ratios to your peers and focuses on your company's three weakest areas, tells you how to improve those areas and shows results that could be achieved if the plan is implemented.

The PROFIT TOOL KIT is a diskette sent with your data and the industry data already included. The program lets you test some "what-if" changes in your business and immediately see the results.

Participant data will be held strictly confidential by Profit Planning Group. Profit Planning Group has conducted similar surveys for more than twenty organizations and have an unblemished record of confidentiality.

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