Executive Vice President/General Manager, SWS of Florida
Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Steve Power joined Southern Wine and Spirits of Florida in 1976, following a short, six-month stint as a wine salesman for a national wine marketer. Hired by Mel Dick, Southern Wine and Spirits of America's Senior Vice President and President of the national company's Wine Division, Power started as a Sales Representative covering off-premise wine accounts in the Miami market.
Two years later, Power was moved to the Company's On-Premise Wine Sales Department in the Miami market, working on a variety of national domestic and imported wine brands then -- and still -- represented by Southern Wine and Spirits of Florida.
Then, in 1980, Power was promoted to District Manager, On-Premise Wine Sales in the Miami market. Next, in 1984, Power was appointed Sales Manager, On-Premise Wines for the Miami market.
In 1986, Power was named Assistant to the President, Mr. Mel Dick, who was and still is President of Southern Wine and Spirits of America's Wine Division. In that position, Power assisted Mr. Dick with the Florida division. In that position, Mr. Power assisted Mr. Dick with wine-related business matters in the Company's Florida operations.
Then, in 1989, Power was appointed Vice President and General Manager for the Southern Florida division of Southern Wine and Spirits of Florida.
Three years later, in 1992, Power was promoted to his present position, Executive Vice President, General Manager of Southern Wine and Spirits of Florida, where his responsibilities include overseeing all sales and supplier relations for the State of Florida..
Mr. Power says, with the approval of senior management, "One of the first things I undertook after being named to my present position was to streamline the geographical divisions in the state from four regions down to three." This new organizational sales structure, Mr. Power says, allowed the Company to better align itself with some of the state's largest on- and off-premise customers, ranging from supermarket and club stores to national restaurant chains, many of which are headquartered in the Orlando market.
Mr. Power says he also intensified the Company's already heavy commitment to product knowledge and employee education. Currently, the Company's full-time team of wine educators, headed up by Eric Hemer, travel to the three divisional offices on a regular basis. Likewise, Mr. Power is extremely proud of the Company's commitment to assisting its customers in category management - this commitment, Mr. Power adds, extends to on-premise accounts. According to Mr. Power, no other wine and spirits distributor in the state makes such a significant investment in category management technology and human resources.
Overall, the aim, Mr. Power says, is to have the Company's employees possess "the highest skill levels in the industry." Mr. Power adds, "People are the most important ingredient to our success; we expect a lot of them, so we provide a lot of educational support."
Viewing the overall statewide operation, Mr. Power says, "Southern Wine and Spirits of Florida thinks in the big picture, but we act locally. Each of the three regional marketing and sales divisions has the local autonomy to meet local market needs - we are nimble and cut out the red-tape - but we are also capable of seeing the entire state and adjust our tactics and strategies accordingly."
Mr. Power is especially grateful for the experience of working for Mr. Mel Dick, who continues to set an example to the entire Company, not just in Florida, but in every market in which Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc., operates. "Mel has been a real mentor to me," says Mr. Power.
Last but not least, Mr. Power is extremely proud of the Company's involvement with local charitable efforts. The Company -individually and collectively -- donates money and employee time and effort to literally dozens and dozens of local, regional and national civic, medical, cultural, educational and charitable organizations, among which are Habitat for Humanity, Vizcaya Museum in Miami, the America Heart Association, the Hospice of Northwest Florida, the University of Miami, the Jackson Memorial Medical Center in Miami, the Weitzman Institute of Science, the Kids-In-Distress Foundation, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the March of Dimes.