IMCO Called a champion of independents, Bill McLaughlin
joined IMCO in 1989, when the organization had about
50 distributor members, 90 vendors, combined sales of
$120 million, and a staff of three. By 2013, the
organization had 170 distributor locations, 212 vendors,
combined member sales of $4 billion and a staff of 21.
His mission for IMCO was clear from Day One: To play
a vital role in helping regional distributors compete with
McLaughlin ensured that IMCO remain selective in
adding members, in order to minimize overlap. He
designed promotions – most notably, the Winner’s
Circle – to allow members and vendors to promote on a
national level during select periods of time. He grew the
organization’s private-label program, and initiated a
training program to help members improve their selling
skills, business acumen and product knowledge.
McLaughlin was noted for being a strategic thinker, for
being a strong but fair negotiator, for being a “herder of
cats,” and – for his tenacity – a “dog with a bone.”
IMCO Never met Yates Farris? Want to know how to spot him
in a room?
Moorman: I would tell them to look for the guy who
people are gravitating to in the room. It would be a
pretty good chance that would be Yates Farris. Yates is
always about you…not about him. It is what endears
you to him. He is not fake about his interest in others.
He is real and he really cares. You can feel it when you
talk with him. He is genuine. He is the real deal.
Dave Myers: 2. Talk about Yates Farris. How would you
describe him to someone who had never met him?
Yates is someone you really can’t forget after you meet
him. First, how many people do you get to meet with a
name like “Yates”. Second, Yates has an ability to
immediately make you feel comfortable and important
to him. He has an amazing smile, a positive attitude,
and pays close attention to you during a conversation.
Third, he’ll be the guy with a group of people around
him – not that he’s a “ring-leader” per se, but he’s
normally involved in something fun, interesting and