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The Role of Distribution: Marketing the Lifecycle of Goods

Do you ever wonder how some of your favorite products end up in your hands? It’s not as simple as just running to the store. On April 16, the BMA Young Professionals invite you to learn about distribution and the role of marketing.

Our expert panel including Al Maag - Chief Communications Officer, Avnet, Inc. (@almaagAvnet), Jake Gress - VP of Marketing, L&W Supply, USG Corp (@jakegress1) and Kendall Wirtz - HR Business Partner, Wirtz Beverage Illinois will answer tough questions and provide their insights into how that product ends up in your hand, from production and distribution to marketing and consumption. 


Vice President, Avnet, Inc.;
Chief Communications Officer, Avnet, Inc.

Allen Maag joined Avnet as chief communications officer in September 1998 and is responsible for brand management, which includes global public relations, investor relations marketing, community relations and corporate communications.

He reports to Steve Church, chief business development and process officer, and is also a member of Avnet's Executive Board. He was elected a corporate officer in 1999.

Prior to joining Avnet, Mr. Maag was principal and owner of an international marketing communications and consulting firm in Chicago, where he specialized in public relations, advertising and communications. His clients included technology firms, distributors, manufacturers, associations and publishers.

Mr. Maag was also director of advertising and communications for Molex, vice president of Hamilton/Avnet, and director of strategic planning at Cahners Publishing (now Reed Business).

In 2002 he was recognized by Upside magazine, and in 2003 and in 2007 by PR Week magazine, and listed among the most effective public relations executives by both publications.

After serving as vice chairman, Mr. Maag was recently appointed as chairman on the national board of the Business Marketing Association and is the founder and immediate past president of the organization's Phoenix, Arizona, chapter. He is an ambassador on the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) and serves on the marketing committee of the Arizona Technology Council. In 2008 and 2009 Mr. Maag served as the dinner chair for the Arizona Governor's Council on Innovation annual awards event. Additionally, he serves on the board of the Phoenix Sports Commission. A former board member of Goodwill, he now supports its marketing efforts.

Mr. Maag formed and actively manages the 20-year-old Maag Toy Foundation, a 501(C)(3) charitable organization that collects new toys for needy children. In 2009 he was voted Volunteer Executive of the Year by the Phoenix Business Journal.

A graduate of the University of Illinois (Chicago Circle Campus), he holds a BA in Communications.

Mr. Maag is the founder of the 16" Softball Hall of Fame, based in Chicago, and in January 2004 was inducted into the Hall for his organizational efforts on its behalf. He is also an avid Chicago Cubs fan.


VP Marketing
L&W Supply, a USG company

Jake Gress joined USG in 2003 as Director of Channel and Segment Marketing.  He has held various roles as head of product management, national accounts for Lowes and most recently as VP Marketing for L&W Supply, USG's distribution arm.

In this role, Mr. Gress is responsible for category management, vendors relationships, sales support and training, branding and marketing communications.  He reports to Brendan Deely, CEO and president of L&W.

Mr. Gress has also held positions at Sunbeam as director of marketing for Coleman, and at Newell Rubbermaid in brand management positions in the Sanford division over Papermate and uni-ball.

A graduate of University of Wisconsin - Madison, he holds an MBA in Marketing and a business degree from Eastern Illinois university.  He also served on the EIU advisory board from 2000- 2009.  Mr Gress lives in Park Ridge, IL with his wife Linda and their son and daughter.


Kendall Wirtz joined Wirtz Beverage Company in 2010 and since has elevated to her new role as human resources business partner.  The youngest of three children in the family-run business, Wirtz is the first Wirtz woman to work for the company.  She is a graduate of Lynn University. 

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