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Marietta, Ga.-based W.R. Bristow Manufacturers’ Agents Inc. is a sales and marketing company for the plumbing and HVAC wholesale channels in its third generation of family leadership. From its inception in 1958, W.R. Bristow Manufacturers Agents focused on the right solution for contractors, wholesale distributors and manufacturers.
Back in 1958, Bill Bristow founded the company. In 1973, he hired Jim Watson, his son-in-law, and eight years later, Watson took over the company. Watson then hired Jamie Hill, CPMR, his son-in-law, in 2008; Hill officially took the reins in 2019.
Hill, president of W.R. Bristow Manufacturers’ Agents, has put together a team with local coverage for the areas the rep firm serves: Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.
Jon Wiggs: When did your company join AIM/R, and why?
Jamie Hill: Jim Watson saw great value in AIM/R and networking with peers; he joined back in the ’80s. I attended my first AIM/R event in Miami in 2016 and never looked back. I look forward to the networking, comradery and relationship-building that AIM/R provides each year.
JW: As a rep, how does your company define success?
JH: Balance. It is very easy to define success based on sales numbers and commissions. When the lines we represent are outpacing market growth, we know we are doing something right.
However, W.R. Bristow Manufacturers’ Agents also takes personal development and work/life balance very seriously. We actively encourage our team not to limit their goal-setting and skill set to work hours only. Whether it be a calling to serve in a music ministry, volunteering time for orphaned children, or setting and accomplishing personal goals in athletics, it is important for everyone to take time away from the business side and be the best person they can be.
JW: What is something that is unique to your company?
JH: Our team is a family. We truly care for each other, our families, and our goals — that transcends into a great team where everyone comes together. Individually, we aren’t that special. We all are normal people. Our uniqueness comes from our individual personalities. We all want to succeed.
The fact that we are willing to help each other obtain team and personal goals without hesitation makes me very proud of my team.
JW: What is one thing your company could not be successful without?
JH: Besides our great team, our software is instrumental to our success. We use it for planning, tracking and accountability. Its capabilities to measure our efforts vs. results sets us up for both long- and short-term success.
From inside sales to outside sales, we all are kept up-to-date with sales numbers, technical training and even customer-service events. It allows the whole team to have transparency and demonstrates that we need everyone to do their job to keep the wheels on the bus.
JW: What do you value most with your membership to AIM/R?
JH: The community. Being able to meet people from other industries and from my own industry allows me to bounce ideas off people and get feedback from people who have done it, want to do it and want to help. I have made a lot of friends through AIM/R and look forward to making more.
JW: What advice would you give someone entering the industry today?
JH: Give to your industry and find a mentor, someone who isn’t afraid to give harsh but fair criticism of your ideas.
JW: Where do you see your company or the industry 10 years from now?
JH: I wish I had a crystal ball to tell me. My gut says technical skills and training; getting the next wave of plumbing and HVAC technicians up to speed with new and improved technology will be key. With the rapid rate that technology is pacing, we will have a lot to learn and relearn.
In 2020, with the help of fellow AIM/R members, we learned how to adapt and even grow. As long as we have quality members in AIM/R, we will always be able to adapt to what comes our way.
Jon Wiggs, CPMR, CSP, is president of Wiggs-Haun & Bohan. He started with the independent sales agency after graduating from the University of Tennessee in 2005. Wiggs serves on the board of directors for AIM/R. You can reach him at email@example.com.