What's a DC Difference-Maker?

The cover of this issue features six impressive individuals whose efforts and those of the organizations they lead are needed now more than ever.

The transition of power in the nation's capital, especially following a presidential election, is always a time of uncertainty, but never more so than following this past election cycle. The election of Republican Donald J. Trump as President of the United States coupled with Republican control of the House and Senate has, to put it mildly, got some folks freaking out.

Normally such a scenario would elicit cheers from a retail and consumer goods industry inclined to believe Republican dominance might offer some regulatory relief and business-friendly legislation. Well, things are a little different this time. There are huge questions about what happens after Trump is sworn in as president on Jan. 20, 2017, not the least of which is how he will deliver on campaign promises, many of which will require the support of fellow Republicans who failed to publicly support his candidacy.

Amid the suspense and uncertainty, retailers and consumer goods companies can take comfort in the fact that the six individuals shown on the cover—Sandy Kennedy (RILA), Steven Anderson (NACDS), Leslie Sarasin (FMI), Matt Shay (NRF), Pam Bailey (GMA) and Hank Armour (NACS) —collectively have the industry's back. These highly experienced folks lead organizations that represent the broadest swath of the retail and consumer goods industry. They are active and vocal when it comes to representing the interests of their members, which are typically aligned with those of consumers.

For example, as president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, Matt Shay leads an organization that is focused on the nation's largest private sector employer —retail—which supports one in four U.S. jobs and contributes $2.6 trillion to annual GDP.

Sandy Kennedy, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, represents a membership that includes 200 of the nation's largest retailers, along with product manufacturers and service providers, who account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales and operate more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers.

There are huge questions about what happens after Trump is sworn in as president on Jan. 20, 2017...

As president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute, Leslie Sarasin heads an organization whose members feed the nation. FMI members operate nearly 40,000 retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies that generate annual sales of roughly $770 billion.

As president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Pam Bailey represents the world's leading food, beverage and consumer products companies and their partners, who generate $1 trillion in sales, operate facilities in 30,000 communities and comprise the largest sector of the U.S. manufacturing industry.

At NACDS, president and CEO Steven Anderson leads an organization that represents more than 100 member companies at the front lines of health care, operating more than 40,000 pharmacies and filling nearly 3 billion prescriptions annually, in addition to providing an expanding range of services.

Hank Armour, president and CEO of NACS, the International Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing, leads an organization whose members operate more than 154,000 stores across the country and sell roughly 80 percent of the fuel sold in the U.S.

A quick look at these individuals and the organizations they lead reveals the extent to which the retail and the consumer goods industries touch all aspects of American life. It also highlights why the industry is subject to such extensive regulation—some that is much needed and offers important consumer protections, and some that is misguided and effective only at creating compliance headaches and litigation opportunities.

With everything that is going on at the dawn of a new Trump administration, it is reassuring to know that the collection of individuals described as "DC Difference Makers" are at their posts, ready to help the industry navigate the complexities of the new political landscape.

Mike Troy

[email protected]