MARCO ISLAND, Fla. -- With the General Merchandise Distributors Council's eye on the approaching millennium under new leadership, the 800-plus member association of nonfood executives witnessed the passing of the torch and honored a long-time supporter with its lifetime achievement award.
After 25 years of service, Rick Tilton, GMDC president, officially presided over his last HBC Marketing conference here, Sept. 24 to 29. The association honored Tilton's achievements in building the GMDC into a leading trade association by presenting him and his wife, Gail, with a coveted bronze sculpture by Evergreen, Colo., artist Tom Ware.
In remarks to the organization during its business session, Tilton assured the group of nonfood executives that he would not simply "fade away" and that he considered his retirement as "moving on to the next phase." Now residing in Scottsdale, Ariz., Tilton said, he would do consulting work for both the GMDC and member companies. The GMDC is planning to further honor Tilton next year with a special tribute.
"From its original inception 29 years ago, GMDC has been a real force. You might say like the point man in creating awareness for the general merchandise and health and beauty care categories in our industry. As we all know, it wasn't too many years ago when that awareness did not exist," said Tilton.
He added he was most proud of the culture created within the GMDC organization. Using 11 words to describe the culture that has evolved over the years, Tilton said it was a culture of "partnering, integrity, sincerity, consistency, productivity, predictability, cooperation, sharing, friendliness and honesty."
Tilton looked to GMDC's future under Dave McConnell, who takes over as president next year, and said the organization was solidly positioned and well staffed to take on the challenges of the new century.
Another well-known GMDC executive and promoter, Scott Roberts, a retiring vice president of Gillette Co., Boston, was honored with the lifetime achievement award. This year marked Roberts' 29th consecutive HBC Marketing Conference. He has spent more than 40 years in the HBC business and served on GMDC's HBC advisory board for 13 years and was a former HBC advisory board chairman.