News Feature | August 7, 2014

RSPA Passes Chairperson Gavel To BSM's Roddy

Jim Roddy, RSPA Chair and BSM President

Business Solutions magazine (BSM) President Jim Roddy became 2014-15 RSPA (Retail Solutions Providers Association) Board Chairperson on Tuesday when 2013-14 Chair Lynn Skurla passed the gavel to him during a ceremony at RetailNOW in Orlando, FL.

Roddy is only the second vendor member and first member of the media to be named Chairperson of the RSPA board in the association’s 66-year history. Business Solutions is a five-time winner of the RSPA’s Gold Vendor Award of Excellence and this year’s Gold Medallion Award Winner.

Roddy has been an active member of the RSPA, serving as a board member since 2010. He has also served as the chairperson of the Vendor Working Group and Marketing Committee and has moderated several panel discussions at RetailNOW and RSPA INSPIRE.

Following is the complete text of Roddy’s acceptance speech:

Before I look forward to the future, I want to say a couple thank yous.

First to outgoing Past Chair Mark Olson: Thanks for all you’ve done for the association. At the RSPA Winter Conference in Jamaica in 2006, Mark stood up on stage and made the pitch for the transition from a dealer organization to a true industry association.

In Jamaica, Mark helped the association and me, personally. At the resort we all stayed in villas – seven or eight people in the same small building. There was a pool in the back, and I remember Mark and I each grabbing a chaise to sit down and talk. I had just been named president of Jameson Publishing, and Mark was significantly old… I mean, he had significantly more life experience than me, and had more business experience as well. Mark introduced me to everybody at the conference – he was very generous with his time.

Mark, I wouldn’t have this honor of serving as RSPA Chair if it wasn’t for your efforts with the association and your personal guidance. Thank you.

Current Past Chair Lynn Skurla. I’ve heard many people say they’re glad we had a first female chair. I agree, but to me what is an even bigger deal and bigger lift for all of us is that we had you, Lynn Skurla, the person, as the Chair. Your passion for the RSPA, for making other solution providers successful, is inspiring. You took over an association that was moving forward, and you accelerated the progress.

Back to you being the first female chair for a moment. My wife and I have an 8-year-old daughter, and if she wants to go into business, I’d recommend she call you. Whether you know it or not, you’re a great role model. Thank you for this opportunity, and thank you for serving the association so admirably.

Now looking forward. I wanted to deliver a message tonight that was brief and not corny. I’ll hit the mark on brief, but what I have to say may be a little corny.

At RetailNOW 2013, I was prepping for an educational panel I was hosting that started in a few minutes. I was a little nervous, and needed something to fire me up and get me focused. Over the intercom system at Mandalay Bay, I heard the song “Brave” with the refrain “I want to see you be brave.”

You might have heard that song because it’s featured in a lot of Windows ads. Can I have a show of hands who’s familiar with that song? Now how about a show of hands who wants to hear me sing that song? I didn’t think so.

“I want to see you be brave.” Isn’t that a great message for all of us? That’s my challenge to you and to myself for the upcoming year.

I want to see the RSPA be brave: really get to know the needs of each member and challenge members to improve their business by engaging with the RSPA. I want to see the RSPA add channel companies, both vendors and resellers, who sell adjacent technologies that we should all know about.

I want to see resellers be brave: don’t sell the same things the same way as you did last year. Add at least one item to your line card – managed services, video surveillance, digital signage, remote monitoring, mobility. That could be a lot of work and risky … and it would be brave.

I want to see resellers be brave with their business model: take steps internally and with at least some customers to increase your recurring revenue.

I want to see vendors and distributors be brave: develop more bundles and channel programs that speed up resellers transitioning to the as-a-Service model. I know that will be a burden on you … and it would be brave.

I’ll tell you who in our association was brave – men like Stanley Hayman, Ed Burl, Kyle Leeds, A.C. Whitmer, Curt Kennington, and Ed Mancini. In the late 1940s, they faced unfair competition from a giant cash register dealer. They could have quit. They could have said “this is too hard” and bailed.

But they didn’t. They formed the ICRDA – Independent Cash Register Dealers Association – the foundation of today’s RSPA, and together they fought the good fight for themselves as individual businesses and for their fellow dealers. That was brave.

I want all of us to not fear the changes our industry is experiencing. I want us to have the attitude of one of my co-workers I hired over a decade ago. Near the end of his interview process I said, “This job is very difficult. Are you ready for the biggest challenge of your career?” He leaned forward and said, “I’m primed for it!”

I want all of us to have that attitude. It’s our time to be a Stanley Hayman. It’s our time to be a Curt Kennington. We’ve all benefitted from them being brave.

Now it’s our turn. I want to see us be brave.

Before I close, one more thank you. You! You are what makes the RSPA and the retail IT channel great. You’ve helped my organization, Business Solutions magazine, and you’ve helped me personally. I’d like to repay you, so if there’s any way I can help you during my year as RSPA Chairperson, please let me know.

RetailNOW 2014, hosted by the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA), was conducted Aug. 3-6 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, FL. For more information on the event, go to