The award was presented to Duane DeCota, owner of DeCota Electric Supply, during the Affiliated Distributors meeting in Dallas, Texas. Allen Mercer, DeCota general manager and vice president, and Michelle Wilson, DeCota advertising specialist and sales representative, accepted the presentation on his behalf.
Affiliated Distributors comprises 175 electrical distributors in Canada and the lower 48 states and serves as a buying and marketing group. DeCota has been a member of the group since 1988.
Admitting he was surprised to be in the running for the award, DeCota explained it is presented based on the sales increases of the member vendors. "We were lucky we had some big jobs that sky-rocketed our sales. It is a matter of timing," he said modestly.
He also had high praise for the company's employees, attributing the company's success to their work. DeCota has three distributorships and 30 employees serving clients throughout Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois.
In addition to the Sikeston showroom, where customers can see the latest in lighting available, the company has showrooms in Cape Girardeau and Poplar Bluff. Also those on staff can assist customers in lighting design and layout for commercial and residential projects.
Another plus for the company, considered one of the smaller members of Affiliated Distributors, is the quality of the vendors and their products, according to DeCota. In turn this benefits the local business' customers.
"Our customers get the premier products offered in the electrical industry from us at competitive prices. We have buying power from AD as a group," said DeCota.
He described the Association as more than just a buying group, explaining AD works to make its members better distributors through education and advertising.
Also the AD is moving its membership rapidly into the computer, DeCota noted. Orders are entered electronically and all transactions are done by computer as well. "They are trying to make operations more efficient," he said.
After a slight glitch - his name was spelled wrong on the plaque - DeCota now has it hanging along with several other honors in his office at 925 S. Main St.
And while proud of his award, DeCota again turns the conversation back to his hometown, its businesses and the residents. It is obvious these are what light up his life.