Legacy and Innovation: Katie Poehling Seymour on Leading First Supply into a New Era 

June 26, 2024, 9 PT/12 ET

Join us on June 26 at 9 PT/12 ET when Katie Poehling Seymour, CEO of First Supply, is our Wholesale Change guest.  

First Supply is a 127-year-old distributor of plumbing, HVAC, municipal, waterworks, well and septic, builder PVF and industrial supplies.  

Katie is the fifth-generation family CEO of First Supply, continuing a time-honored tradition in distribution of successive generations leading established companies to new heights. In this wide-ranging interview, we’ll discuss various issues that are pressing for distribution leaders while gaining insight into Katie’s career path, experience and interests.  

  • Succession planning strategies and communication. As Katie says, this is a hard subject to prioritize “because it’s not urgent – until it is.”
  • Applying technology to enable employees and delight customers. “Happier employees make for happier customers,” she says, and implementing new capabilities that make processes more efficient, less frustrating and more robust works for all stakeholders. 
  • Giving back to the industry. Katie’s a former president of the American Supply Association and a current board member of the NAW. She’s constantly participating in association events, buying groups and other industry meetings while also working with charities like the American Heart Association — all while raising three young girls!  

Katie runs her 650-employee firm so well that Ernst & Young just named her a finalist for the 2024 Midwest Entrepreneur of the Year.  

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to listen to an amazing industry leader who tackles every challenge with enthusiasm.  

Our Guest

Katie Poehling Seymour

Katie Poehling Seymour, First Supply LLC

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Thank you to our sponsor:

About our guest:

Katie Poehling Seymour

CEO & President, First Supply LLC

Katie Poehling Seymour is CEO and president of First Companies. 

Poehling Seymour represents the fifth-generation of Poehling family leadership at the 126-year-old company. First Companies is headquartered in La Crosse and Madison, WI with 53 facilities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas and Michigan serving numerous channels including plumbing, HVAC, PVF, industrial, waterworks, kitchen & bath and lighting. 

Poehling Seymour has held a number of industry leadership roles. She served at the 2023 President of the American Supply Association and is currently the 2024 chairwoman. Her other roles include serving as the past chairman of Affiliated Distributors buying group Decorative Brands Division, American Supply Association Women in Industry division past chairman and was named the American Supply Association Alice A. Martin Woman of the Year in 2020. Poehling Seymour also served as the American Heart Association of Southeastern Wisconsin’s Go Red for Women Movement Campaign Chair for 2024

About our hosts:

Ian Heller

Ian G. Heller

Founder & Senior Partner, Distribution Strategy Group

Ian Heller is Founder & Senior Partner at Distribution Strategy Group, and has more than 30 years of experience executing marketing and e-business strategy in the wholesale distribution industry. He has written and spoken extensively on the impact of digital disruption on distributors.

Ian Heller

Jonathan Bein, Ph.D.

Managing Partner, Distribution Strategy Group

Jonathan Bein, Ph.D. has worked with many distributors to make their marketing a profit center. He has developed and applied analytic approaches for customer segmentation, customer lifecycle management, positioning and messaging, pricing, and channel strategy for distributors.