Scottish wholesalers will explore the many opportunities presented by key events taking place during 2014 - one of Scotland's most significant years - at the annual conference of the Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) at Crieff in June.

With the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, Homecoming Scotland and, of course, the referendum on independence ensuring that the eyes of the world are on Scotland, the SWA has unveiled an impressive line-up of top-flight speakers who will make presentations around the theme 'Going for Gold'.

The SWA's groundbreaking mentoring programme will also take centre stage as mentees Paul Dickson of Booker and Stuart Harrison, a buyer at JW Filshill, talk about their experience of participating in the training initiative, along with businessman and ex-Bellevue owner Graham Benson, one of the mentors.

Keynote speakers at this year's conference from outwith the wholesale industry include John Howie, chairman of CBI Scotland and managing director of Marine Babcock, Marine & Technology Division who will discuss 'The Health of the Nation'. Another fresh perspective on business will come from Tamlin Roberts, managing director of Mercurytide, a digital specialist that builds and designs intelligent back office systems, websites and mobile apps as well as creating online marketing and ecommerce solutions.

This year's motivational speaker, meanwhile, is Dr Katherine Grainger CBE, the world-class rower who won a gold medal at the London Olympics in 2012. Also speaking at the 2014 conference will be: Peter Lederer, chairman of The Gleneagles Group; and Jill Livesey, director of him!, the highly respected industry research consultancy.

Wholesalers addressing the conference include: Julie Dunn, operations director, Dunns Food and Drinks and senior vice-president, SWA; Bill Laird, managing director, Today's Wholesale Services; Philip Jenkins, chief executive, Sugro; Martin Williams, managing director, Landmark Wholesale; and Chris Gallacher of Booker, SWA junior vice-president.

Suppliers, too, are represented and delegates can look forward to thought-provoking presentations from:

  • Nick Dawson, customer director, Kellogg's
  • Stephen Glancey, group chief executive, C&C Group and Tennent Caledonian Breweries
  • James Barge, head of regulatory affairs, Philip Morris
  • Jamie Dunning, vice-president sales, Mars Chocolate
  • Bryan Donaghey, chief executive, Whyte & Mackay
  • Martin Glenn, chief executive, United Biscuits
  • Jonathan Kemp, commercial director, AG Barr


SWA president Asim Sarwar, managing director of United Wholesale (Scotland), who will open and close the conference, said: "We have a particularly strong business programme this year but our conference goes further than that - it's a valuable networking opportunity but also a family-friendly event with a varied social programme for everyone to enjoy.

"This is an incredibly important year for Scotland and SWA members, with the support of suppliers, should be looking to capitalise on the opportunities that high-profile events such as the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup will bring."

Bookings for the conference, taking place at Crieff Hydro in Perthshire from 13-15 June, are now being taken although you are advised to book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Please direct all enquiries about the conference to Kate Salmon or Margaret Wilson on 0131 556 8753, or by email to the SWA. You can also find full details and a booking form for suppliers here.