Speaker Biographies

Steve Bryant

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Steve began his 45–year career in consumer electronics becoming a partner with a $90 million Atlanta–based retailer. Upon selling his interest, he formed an education, technology and marketing company whose materials, programs and strategies have been used by thousands of companies and their retail salespeople and managers throughout North America. Since 2000 he has focused exclusively on the needs of the members of Nationwide Marketing Group establishing Nationwide PrimeMedia which concepts, produces and delivers the group’s advanced video learning systems, high–impact television commercials, digital signage technologies, web video content, live educational programs and more.

Mike Campbell

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Michael Campbell is the CEO and President of the top national company, Leather Italia USA. Michael has served on the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Medical Center Advisory Board for ten years. He resides in Wilmington, NC and grew to know the Burn Center and its staff as a result of a home accident that caused severe burns and placed his daughter, Taylor Campbell, in their care. Later, Michael created and launched the “Taylor Campbell Pledge Fund” that is active through the UNC Burn Center and has raised funds annually that support care and research. He has also participated in supporting the Burn Center family waiting areas by donating leather furniture. He has served as past President for associations such as Christian Life Council and has contributed hours of work in various charitable events including Habitat for Humanity, Red Knight’s annual fund drive, Play for Emily, and Woman of Hope. He helped organize a recent event in Wilmington, North Carolina, “Chords for a Cause” that featured Taylor Campbell and her story. The proceeds were raised in an effort to launch an after care burn facility in Wilmington that will serve Southeastern North Carolina.

Michael has also worked with the UNC Children’s Hospital and participated on the “Roof Top program” and has supported a number of other events, including “Pinwheels for Promise”. He has spoken

nationally about his family’s story and journey and the courage of his daughter, Taylor Campbell. Michael has worked with the UNC Athletic staff to heighten awareness of the UNC Burn Center at every home UNC football game and the kids captain programs. He continues to be an avid supporter of the Burn Center Advisory Board and carries a deep attachment to the UNC Burn Center family.

Michael is married to Teressa and they have three daughters, Brooke (22), Morgan (20), and Taylor (12).

Starting in 1996, a vision was born and a company formed to assure the finest quality of leather furniture available in the market place. With years of experience, out staff, tanneries, and manufacturing partners have personally assured every level of premium quality. Today, Leather Italia USA is recognized nationally as a leader and has partnered with the finest retailers in the world to offer our incredible selections. It is with confidence and excitement that we welcome you to our family of champions, “I promise to make a difference”. – Michael Campbell, CEO

Kimberly Duhon

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Kimberly Duhon serves as a National Training Manager with Fisher & Paykel, where she has been for 14 of her 21 years in the appliance industry.

Prior to her current role, Kim served as a Territory Manager and Sales Development Coach, and has worked with customers from across the country. Kim’s wealth of knowledge and passion for appliances is obvious when she facilitates training, and she enjoys educating customers on the newest technology and features.

Kim graduated Magna Cum Laude from LSU with a Microbiology and Psychology emphasis.

Michael Earls

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Michael is a third-generation member of the GEA family. Over the last 10 years he has held roles of increasing responsibility in sales, merchandising, operations, and training. For the last two and half years, he has held the role of Senior Commercial Trainer on GEA’s Commercial Learning team. His enthusiastic training style is evident in his trainings. He holds a B.A. in Marketing from the University of Louisville. Michael, his wife Kristin, and their two children (Hunter & Avery) reside in Louisville, KY.

Jerry Epperson

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Jerry is one of the founders and a Managing Director of Mann, Armistead & Epperson, Ltd. Jerry is the head of the firm’s research effort and has in excess of forty years of experience in the publication of hard/soft dollar research which focuses on demographics, consumer products, furnishings (residential and contract) and related issues. More specifically, Jerry’s research in the furnishings industry is recognized on a world–wide basis for its in–depth coverage of suppliers, manufacturers and retailers. Jerry has also been acknowledged by several industry, research and Wall Street associations for his coverage. On several occasions, Jerry has been requested by the U.S. State Department to travel to the Pacific Rim and Europe to assist those countries in understanding the furnishings industry. Prior to founding the firm, Jerry spent fifteen years at Wheat, First Securities, Inc. and five years at Scott & Stringfellow, Inc.

Jerry earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the College of William & Mary. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Jennie Gilbert

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Jennie Gilbert is the Chief Operating Officer of Retailer Web Services (RWS), whose mission is to serve independent retailers and help them realize their dreams through the promise of technology. A graduate of Arizona State University, Jennie is a frequent speaker at durable goods retail conferences. Her expert articles and advice for independent retailers on how to maximize digital marketing and increase sales have been published in various industry and business media including TWICE, Furniture World, Furniture Today and Sleep Retailer. She is the co-author of two books “RE:THiNK: 11 surprising things you should do now to win retail customers in the digital age” and “RE:MARKET: New digital techniques independent retailers can use now to compete better, grow faster and work smarter” as well as a contributor to “Recalculating: 97+ Experts on Driving Small Business Growth” (Small Business Digest, 2016). Her deep understanding of the unique needs – and potential – of retailers in this field comes from over 10 years of experience working with over 2,000 appliance, furniture and mattress retailers while delivering the RWS line of intelligent software solutions and web services.

Sue Harman

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Sue Harman is a professional with a wide array of skills garnered from 35 years of hands on experience in wood finishing, wood repair, leather repair and fabric upholstery cleaning.  Today, Sue manages the Guardsman technician furniture training programs and offers technical support for the comprehensive line of Guardsman Consumables.

Michael Kirby

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Michael Kirby is the Director of In-Store Experience for Tempur+Sealy Inc.  He has over 20 years experience in the Furniture/Mattress Industry.  He has been a vital part of the TSI  team for 17yrs. Michael is responsible for the Sleep Gallery Program for Nationwide members moving forward.

Jeff Knock

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Jeff Knock is a member of the Senior Leadership Team at Nationwide Marketing Group.  He joined the company in July of 2011. Knock’s career in retail spans over 22 years in the appliance industry at some of its most well-regarded companies, including Electrolux and Whirlpool.

From 1989 through 2000, Knock retained the positions of Account Manager, Director of Sales Training, Director of National Accounts and General Manager of Retail Sales at Whirlpool Corporation.

From 2000 through 2011, Knock retained the positions of General Manager of Retail Sales and Director of Buying Groups, working closely with NMG and their independent retailers for 6 years, at Electrolux.

Knock has many years of experience in retail and a keen understanding of the industry. During his 5 years in Whirlpool’s education organization, Knock developed a particular passion for helping independent dealers in sales training and leadership development.

Today, Knock is responsible for Nationwide’s Core membership development as well as the overall direction of the group and it’s members.

Rob Krause

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Rob is currently Senior Vice President and General Manager with the Payment Solutions at Synchrony Financial. Rob has spent over 7 years helping retailers in the Consumer Electronics, Appliances and Furniture markets grow their businesses through effective promotional financing strategies that drive larger average tickets, create customer loyalty and generate consistent repeat sales.  He began working with the Nationwide Marketing Group financing program in July of 2016.

Kris Kuester

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Kris Kuester inspires people to change, to overcome, and to rediscover joy in their lives.

In college, Kris was an Academic All–NCC and All North Central Region baseball player at the University of North Dakota. After completing college, Kris spent five years under the tutelage of Grammy award–winning songwriter and Nashville producer Dennis Morgan. In addition to touring as an independent country music artist, Kris worked with artists like Trisha Yearwood, Marty Stuart, Pam Tillis, and Sawyer Brown. Kris had a life of successes, happiness and well–being.

In 1996, at age thirty, a casual conversation with a physician on a golf course changed his life forever. Kris was diagnosed with Syringomyelia, an incurable and neurodegenerative disease of the spinal cord. After two brain surgeries and a year of dark depression, Kris decided that he was going to teach himself how to walk again, how to play his guitar, and overcome the physical and emotional ailments in his life. Kris developed a formula for overcoming his obstacles and wrote the book Redefined, describing how other people could follow a similar path.

Kris has been a gifted communicator, teacher and musician for over 20 years, and serves others in this way through his relationship with Nationwide Marketing Group and through his foundation, Living With It. He has spent years working with retailers of all sizes as they look for new and innovative ways to enhance their company culture, become more effective communicators, and inspire the best in their teams. Kris has also worked with many business owners, executives and managers throughout the Independent Retail Channel, helping them hone their leadership skills.

Michael Magnuson

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Michael Magnuson is the founder and CEO of GoodBed.com, the leading mattress research destination for consumers. He started GoodBed after a fatefully frustrating mattress shopping experience, during which he saw the need for an independent review platform for mattresses, as well as an interactive guide to help people find the right mattress for them and buy it from a trusted seller at a great price. Prior to GoodBed, Magnuson was a private equity investor focused on digital media and marketing, as well as a management consultant. Magnuson received his MBA from Stanford and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in Finance and Systems Engineering.

Doug Marsh

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Since joining Nationwide Marketing Group in March of 2000, Doug Marsh has been involved in various aspects of the company. He originally worked directly with our members as an Account Manager in Direct Plus before moving to the Web Services department where he was tasked with bringing in new digital technologies as the Product Development Manager. There he specialized in mobile offerings and strategies and assisted members in the mobile optimization of their website. He now leads the Marketing Operations team with a goal of improving the Promotions sections of MemberNet but will continue to research and test new digital technologies with some of our most digitally advanced members.

Megann McDaniel

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Since joining Nationwide Marketing Group in January 2002, Megann has assumed many roles from project management, business analytics, and corporate trainer. Megann has been involved in various aspects of the company from retail credit, extended warranties, employee incentive programs, and MemberNet, Nationwide’s intranet website. Today Megann is the Project Manager for MemberNet where she develops systems, programs and policies for optimized functionality of MemberNet. Some of Megann’s projects include the launch of Cantex, the first international acquisition for Nationwide Marketing Group. Megann helped develop and deliver a dual language website for a complex hierarchical corporation. Other recently projects include the launch of Exchange, Nationwide’s exclusive Distributor marketplace as well as the Appliance Rebate Finder. Megann works to support Nationwide’s retailers by creating a website that provides solutions at your fingertips.

Dan Miller

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A sales professional with a wide array of skills garnered from 30 years of training and sales management in furniture & other industries. Today, Dan manages the Guardsman sales representatives in 22 states as well as all buying group activities.

Bob Muenkel

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Bob has 30 years in the mattress business perfecting the art of selling, or as Bob calls it, “the journey from the door to the desk.”  With his degreed background in Psychology, Bob brings dynamic concepts in sales training and connecting with the consumer.  As a Solution-Selling advocate, Bob’s training seminars, workshops, and motivational sessions are well known and favorites for industry conferences.

Attending any of Bob’s presentations comes with surprises and full engagement.  Things are rarely what they appear to be, but his relevant points will make you laugh, cry and rethink how you engage your customer and community thereafter.  Come prepared with an open mind.  You’ll be glad you did.

Jeffrey Niederauer

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Jeffrey Niederauer is the Director of Marketing and Operations at Western Appliance, a Nationwide member retailer selling appliances in San Jose, California. Concerned about the quality of digital ad products and representation available to small and medium businesses, he wants to open the discussion among retailers to find ways to hold ad vendors accountable and to get the most out of our digital advertising dollars. A Google Partner certified in both Google

Analytics and Google AdWords, and author on the recently launched MarketingMeasurements.com blog, Jeffrey brings online savvy to traditional brick-and- mortar retail operations. Outside of the office, Jeffrey enjoys Broadway musicals and Disney parks.

Liz Olinger

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Liz is a Strategic Partner Manager in Google’s Channel Sales organization based in Mountain View, California.  She specializes in helping to build and grow new partners as part of our Acceleration program.

Before joining the Channel Sales team, Liz worked with Google’s direct small and medium businesses to help them grow through digital advertising.

Prior to joining Google, Liz worked as a software sales representative at Oracle after graduating with a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

David Perry

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David Perry is the Executive Editor for Furniture Today and is a featured speaker for the bedding industry.

Darren Peterson

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Darren Peterson is a Senior Key Account Manager for National Buying Groups and Rent-To-Own Categories.  His role specializes in Revenue Growth, Merchandising Strategies and Promotional Planning.

With over 20 years of experience with Tempur+Sealy, Darren has managed the company’s largest customers at both National and Regional levels.  He has 23 years of experience in the wholesale Bedding Category as well as 29 years of experience in the Retail Industry – wholesale and retail.


Sarah Prazak

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Sarah has a passion for the appliance industry, spending the last decade with GE Appliances in a variety of roles, including sales manager, merchandising manager, member of the Commercial Training Program, and a Senior Commercial Trainer for the last year. She holds degrees from the University of Kentucky (BBA) and Texas A&M (MBA). She lives in Houston, TX with her husband, Rob, and their two-year-old son, Nolan.

Dean Sottile

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Dean joined the Nationwide team in March of 2014 specifically to build and launch NMG’s exclusive eXchange distribution platform.  He was instrumental in identifying the Connected Home opportunity for NMG’s membership and has worked hand in hand with both the CE team and Vendors like Nest and Google to drive programs for the members.

Josh Sowards

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Joshua Sowards is a Senior Customer Marketing Manager at Tempur Sealy focusing on retail customers across brick & mortar and e-commerce. Joshua believes in building and driving marketing strategies that create traffic and increase conversion. Joshua has 20 years of experience in sales and marketing of consumer goods in both B2B and B2C environments connecting qualified customers to great brands.

Mark Vitanza

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Mark is a national product trainer for LG’s home appliance division. From training on the retail sales floor to presenting at larger corporate events, Mark utilizes his experience at LG for over 10 years to provide effective and dynamic presentations at any level.

Rick Weinberg

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Rick currently serves on the leadership team as the Senior Vice President of Marketing. Before joining the Nationwide team, he spent twenty years at a Nationwide member retailer, working in sales and merchandising management and assisting the company to grow from a seven to eighty–six retail store chain with $860 million in annual sales. Rick has been actively involved in Nationwide Marketing Group’s efforts in growing their membership from 140 local dealers to serving over 3,500 independent dealers across North America.

Mike Whitaker

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Nationwide PrimeMedia’s Mike Whitaker brings a unique mix of experience, humor, and passion to live sessions delivered across North America each year. As a Millennial business leader, Mike cut his 21st century retail skills leading a sales team of hundreds, across over a dozen locations, and sales of hundreds of millions. Since joining the PrimeMedia team in 2014, Mike has accepted responsibility for all educational initiatives for the Nationwide Marketing Group, chartering the Nationwide Learning Academy. In his live sessions, Mike shares the latest in consumer data, trending and successful best practices from retailers across North America, and fresh new ideas that will grow your business. Mike’s real–world experience and high–energy style offer a fun and engaging session where you’ll be challenged, inspired, and informed, giving you more advantages and programs to gain an unfair share of your marketplace, developing customers for a lifetime through unprecedented guest experiences.

Leon Barbachano

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Leon Barbachano has a Bachelors Degree in Marketing and an MBA with an emphasis on Entrepreneurship. He is a partner in Allen & Petersen Cooking & Appliance Center and Automated Laundry Systems which are based in Anchorage, AK. Even though he has a degree in marketing he will be the first to tell you that for the most part traditional media is dead. In his companies he used to spend lots of money in advertising. Now he has altered his advertising to be based on using digital marketing to drive sales through the door. 

Chris Bryant

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Chris is Director of Media Distribution for Nationwide PrimeMedia and is responsible for directing its new technologies and overseeing the distribution of its wide range of media assets.  Whether you need support for MemberNetTV Ultra, the Nationwide Video Warehouse, Nationwide’s Commercial Factory, ANSWERS Info-pad initiative or the Nationwide Learning Academy Online, Chris is your point of contact with the PrimeMedia team.  Through his work with our developers and implementers he has the expertise necessary to answer your questions and help find solutions to your challenges.

Jennifer Danko

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Jennifer Danko is the Chief Technology officer for Site On Time website development. She is Google Adwords Certified and a Google Partner.  She has worked in the appliance, electronics and furniture industries for more than 20 years. Before starting Site On Time in 2008, Jennifer worked in a retail appliance and electronics store for more than 6 years, learning the ins and outs of the industry and the many aspects of running a store. While employed she also earned her associates degree in accounting. During this time she researched and implemented a store management software system for the company. In 1999 she accepted a consultant position with the same software company. Jennifer spent the next 9 years learning programming, providing customer support and traveling across the country to provide training and consulting for this software system. In 2007, she realized the strong need and demand for reliable and reputable website development within this industry.  After successfully launching several ecommerce websites she decided to pursue this full time and started Site On Time in 2008.  Her years of experience in the appliance, electronics and furniture industry allows her to better understand the needs of the retailers and develop solutions that work within the industry. Her accounting and software experience gives her first hand knowledge of the intricacies of building and maintaining a solid, stable and user-friendly retail solution. Site On Time developed and manages the Nationwide Point of Sale Solution, Prime Systems. Jennifer lives with her husband of 22 years and daughter in Gainesville, GA.

Amanda Evans

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Amanda Evans serves as Nationwide’s Director of Marketing, working to create advertising campaigns and promotional events to help independent retailers reach new customers and drive sales. Amanda has spent the last two decades in marketing and advertising roles in franchising, non-profit and at a digital agency. She resides in Memphis, Tenn.

Craig Ellis

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Prior to coming to Samsung, Craig spent 11 years in the home appliances industry with Electrolux Major Appliances, North America, where he worked in several functions, including field sales management, marketing, training and ecommerce.

Craig’s diverse background includes performing live shows at Walt Disney World, and speaking to students all over the country on the subject of high school and college success strategies. Craig attended the University of Illinois at Chicago and Keller Graduate School of Management.

Chris Kirk

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Chris Kirk, Nationwide’s Vice President of Member Services, joined the Nationwide Marketing Group after graduating from OIe Miss University.  In his twelve years of service with Nationwide, Chris has devoted much of his time to refining and implementing many of the group’s internal operations.  Currently, and since accepting the role of Member Services VP, Chris leads the Member Services team in developing and implementing tools and assets that help provide best-in-class in-store experiences, exclusively for Nationwide Members.  Outside of his busy work schedule, Chris is an avid outdoorsman, and enjoys hunting, fishing, and all things nature.

 

Jay McDonald

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Jay McDonald has over 35 years of experience in the commercial and residential laundry business. He has held multiple positions at Alliance Laundry Systems in different capacities of the business. His presentation will be focused on Speed Queen Home Laundry model line and up-selling the unique features of the step up models. His presentation will help any Speed Queen dealer maximize their profitability when selling the Speed Queen line.

Brad Stanek

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Brad has worked in the financial services industry since 1993, becoming an investment professional with Morgan Stanley in 2009 through a predecessor firm. Initially with Merrill Lynch, he came to Morgan Stanley to provide clients with a full range of financial services and investment advice from one of the largest firms on Wall Street.

Brad is also a Certified Financial Planner and is registered in all 50 states. His focus is on financial planning and exit planning for business owners in the Appliance and Electronics, Power Sports and Outdoor Power Equipment industries.

Brad earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Indiana University. Residents of Barrington, IL, he and his wife, Debra, are proud parents of two boys, Gavin and Joel.

When he is not working, Bob enjoys playing golf and watching hockey.  He lives in Barrington, Illinois with his wife, Barbara.  They have three grown children and seven grandchildren.