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Reliable Distributors names award winners

BY Ken Clark

Libertyville, Ill.-based Reliable Distributors recognized its “presidential award” winners during its 2013 Management and Marketing Conference. 

The national buying group, comprised of more than 100 agricultural, hardware, lawn and garden, janitorial and paint sundries distributors, kicked off its 2013 Management and Marketing Conference Thursday with its Annual Member Meeting. During the meeting, Allan Meyer, president of Reliable Distributors, stated: “It is because of your active participation and support that the group continues to grow." 

Reliable Distributors added 26 New Vendor programs last year. 

The Presidental Awards were given to members and vendors for their continued support and leadership to the group. 

Accepting the awards were: Hertz Equipment Rental (member), Tom Robinson; Laredo Hardware Co. (member), Peter Alvarez; MFA Inc. (member), Scott Harvey; Ames True Temper Inc., Chris Frew; and Great Neck Saw Manufacturers, Inc., Bruce Baum.

The conference is scheduled to conclude on Saturday night with its Member Dinner. 

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Unemployment rate declines to 7.7%

BY Ken Clark

Data released by the U.S. government Friday morning shows the national unemployment rate for February at 7.7%, down from 7.9% in January.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 236,000 in February, as employment increased in professional and business services, construction and health care.

In the construction arena, employment increased by 48,000. 

Since September, construction employment has risen by 151,000. In the latest month’s figures, job growth was somewhat equally split between residential (+17,000) and nonresidential specialty trade contractors (+15,000). 

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised from +196,000 to +219,000, and the change for January was revised from +157,000 to +119,000.

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Lowe’s hires new chief for Mexico

BY Ken Clark

Lowe’s named José Luis Pier Castelló as president/general director of Lowe’s Mexico, effective March 15. He replaces Francisco Fernandez, who has left the company.

Pier Castelló will report to William D. (Doug) Robinson, head of international operations and development.

“José Luis has more than 19 years of experience in both store operations and retail strategy with multinational companies. His demonstrated leadership and retail expertise make him an outstanding fit for the Lowe’s Mexico operation as it continues to grow to best serve the needs of Mexican consumers,” said Robinson.

Pier Castelló has served in leadership roles with retailers, such as 7-Eleven Mexico, where he was chief operating officer, supermarket chain Supermercados Internacionales H.E.B., and Wal-Mart Mexico.

“During his time with Lowe’s, Francisco helped us develop operations from the ground up in Monterrey. We thank him for his leadership and service, and wish him the very best in the next phase of his career,” Robinson added.

Lowe’s entered the home improvement business in Mexico when it opened stores in Monterrey in 2010. Today, the company has five stores located in Monterrey, Saltillo, Hermosillo and Culiacan. 

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