What is AEA?

AEA is a collective of wholesale-distributor trade associations structured as an LLC entity. The top executives from each of these associations meet biannually to handle the business of AEA, discuss and decide on forthcoming services and programs and share and collaborate on best practices. Members pay an annual capital contribution, voted on by the membership, to cover AEA operating expenses.

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Membership Benefits

AEA Meetings

AEA meetings are held each June and November/December. The June meetings are usually in Chicago (O’Hare airport area) and the November/December meetings typically rotate throughout the country. For our winter meeting, we utilize a partnership with ALHI (Associated Luxury Hotels International) to preview properties around the country that may work well for our member association’s meetings or conferences. Our meeting programs vary; we usually discuss AEA business and share information on our association initiatives – what is working, what isn’t – and workshop any ideas we may need to crowdsource with fellow members.

University of Innovative Distribution

UID is AEA’s major educational program. It is a four-day intensive educational session held in conjunction with Purdue University. Each year, attendees can earn up to 30 CEUs. Upon completion of 3 years of UID, or 90 CEUs, they receive their Certificate in Innovative Distribution from Purdue University. You can read about our past faculty by visiting the UID website. AEA associations sponsor UID and agree to market the program to their association members. As part of their initial membership fee, associations pays a one-time $1,000 USD deposit for UID operating capital. Associations share in the net proceeds generated from the program on a pro-rata basis (for example, if the net proceeds equal out to $100 per participant, and 10 association members registered, your association would receive a check for $1,000). Should any UID program suffer a loss, the total losses are shared equally among all AEA members.

Education Programs

AEA members may choose to participate in various educational programs throughout the year. Currently, many AEA members are sponsoring (free) quarterly webinars through the UID Year-Round program, a series of seminars offered by Don Buttrey, titled The Four Pillars of the Sales Profession that he holds three times a year in Dayton, OH, and discounts to access two online Sales courses through Jim Pancero. For this and any other seminars that AEA sponsors, all proceeds generated, after expenses, are applied to each association’s capital contribution for the following year. In other words, if your members take part in a program where there is an associated fee, your association will be able to reduce the following years capital contribution.

Hotel, Speaker & Charitable Initiative Sharing

The most tangible benefit from AEA membership is the information sharing between members. One way we do that is through Speaker and Hotel Sharing Forms located on the AEA website in the “Members Only” section. Good or bad, it’s always nice to share your information and experiences with others. By completing sharing forms, fellow AEA members can search our database and utilize your past knowledge to inform their present decisions.