CEO Strategist - Rick Johnson - Consultant, Speaker, and Strategic Planning Expert for the Wholesale Distribution IndustryContact CEO Strategist Rick Johnson Wholesale Distribution Expert, Speaker & Consultant

Endorsements & Testimonials

Here’s what some of the satisfied clients have to say about their experience with CEO Strategist founder Rick Johnson. Rick has worked closely with these clients and their leadership teams, helping them learn what they needed to do to get their businesses on the fast track to greater market share and increased profits.

They are just a sampling of Rick's success stories, and he is proud to have played a part in their transitions, and their success.


Rick’s mentoring and self improvement materials have been instrumental in the improved effectiveness of our Sales organization which has helped us to increase our U.S. sales by an average rate of 30 percent a year in each of the last three years. Rick has a strong and practical background in the electrical industry in both distribution and manufacturing. His stuff works – try it!”

Bill Hammond
       CEO, Hammond Electric

“Having acquired an existing distributorship, CEO Strategist/Rick Johnson helped me maneuver through two key areas of my business–sales growth planning and evaluating my team. Rick’s focused target account methodology helped us leverage our strengths and earn more money from ‘low-hanging fruit’ with existing customers.  By identifying and acting on under-performing personnel, I conserved cash flow and infused new enthusiasm into the remaining team.  Since working with Rick we have achieved double-digit sales growth and achieved positive cash flow.  I could not have done this without Rick’s help and insight.”

         Hi-Watt Inc.

“We are a 40-year-old company that had started on an unbelievable death spiral due to economic conditions and shareholder disputes. Rick Johnson helped identify the changes and strategic paths necessary to regain control. Now, two years after Rick’s involvement, we are remarkably successful and the leader in served markets. Today, calling Rick a consultant would be a gross injustice! He brought industry knowledge, best practices, and real-world solutions to the complex and intricate challenges we faced. With an initial meeting conducted on site, and monthly teleconferences, he gained first-hand knowledge of our challenges and brought solutions to us that were not always visible from our vantage point. We’re very fortunate he has coached our team.”

Thomas Marino
    Exotic Automation & Supply

“Rick Johnson doesn’t mince words, and he doesn’t try to be your friend just to make you feel good. We hired him to help us, not to give us a Hallmark moment. He digs deep for the problems, feeds them to you straight, and tries to get you to be honest with yourself so you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and do what you have to do to get your business back on track. Rick is a teacher, an instigator, and a coach all rolled into one. He was the mirror that we were afraid to look into. He got us to look... not just at what we had become, but at what we could become.”

Tim Traynor
Dolan & Traynor, Inc.

“We had the individuals in place at the management level, but we needed a ‘team’ focused on a common vision. Through the strategic planning process Rick helped us break down silos, become empowered, develop respect for one another, agree upon our core competencies, and develop a vision for the future.  We have continued to uphold that vision for the past three years and continue to develop and follow through on initiatives that allow us to reach our goals.  Rick rocks!”

Angela Visner
   Dir. of Human Resources
ETNA Supply

“Florida Food Service recognized the need to create a long-term strategy for success. After several failed attempts to create a good plan, we contacted CEO Strategists for help. CEO Strategist was very effective at showing us how to create a plan with a team approach. Rick was able to combine the knowledge and resources of a very diverse group of long-term employees and management personnel into a team. The team was very excited to be part of the process of mapping our future. We believe CEO Strategist is uniquely qualified to help any company define its long-term strategy with an approach that gets everyone on board.”

Joel Islam
Florida Food Service

“Thanks to the leadership of Rick Johnson, we developed a strategic plan that delivered a 30-percent increase after our first year.  Rick’s professional approach inspired us to take action on a number of long- term projects without sacrificing performance on day-to-day activities.  I strongly recommend using Rick to reach the next level of performance in your company.”

Mike Brown

“To create a strategic plan, leaders in our business not only need vision, but the ability to plan and implement. We found Rick Johnson’s CEO Strategist to be the best choice to not only test our vision, but also lead in the development, support, and implementation of our most current and successful strategic plan. This plan and Rick’s guidance have helped take OrePac to new heights of success.”

Doug Hart
OrePac Building Products

“Rick has been transforming the modern sales force at the grass-roots level. His style of writing, coaching and training are from real-world knowledge of what it is like in the trenches of today’s distribution industry.”

Mike Abeling
Consumer Pipe

“Rick’s energetic style helped to refocus and re-energize our customer service/inside sales personnel on a very successful 'Outcall Program.' His program created a win-win outcome for the company, its employees, and our customers. He trained each of our employees with the knowledge and the tools to break down barriers and be successful selling. I list Rick’s book ‘Lone Wolf to Lead Wolf–The Evolution of Sales’ as recommended reading for my Introduction to Sales and Sales Management class at Columbia College.”

Marc Kaplan
Fast-Rite International, Inc.

“CEO Strategist brought new life to our company. Rick’s guidance in creating our strategic plan to increase revenue growth, profitability and sales got everyone excited. CEO Strategist has put us on course for the future and has the whole team thinking in new ways to reach our goal as a company.”

Joel E. Tokar
Vice President of Marketing

“Heat Controller Inc. is a family-owned company entering its eighth decade of supplying HVAC equipment to distributors and wholesalers under the trade names of Comfort-Aire and Century. Rick has proven success working with family businesses, and has been a tremendous help to our shareholders in creating focus. His expertise came shining through in getting our shareholders to reach a consensus on the goals and vision they wanted. Rick not only guided the development of non-financial objectives for the company such as Employer of Choice, World Class Service, Succession Planning, Communication, and Trade Partner Management, but he also helped us focus on financial expectations such as  profitable growth and performance measurements such as debt to equity and return on sales. The end result was the Shareholder 'Vision for the Future,” which we could share with our strategy team. This shared vision became the platform to build our strategic plan around. Understanding our shareholders’ vision has created a greater level of success-oriented energy throughout our company.”

Don Peck
President & CEO,
Heat Controller Inc.

“Distribution companies aren’t always run based on logic and best practices. Sometimes they operate on emotion, tradition, and denial.  If you are concerned that your company may be functioning in the latter mode, you need Rick Johnson!  Rick has the intelligence to quickly size up your situation, the experience to provide quality solutions, and the communication skills to convince your company to take action.”

Russ Smaston

“I use Rick’s books’ and notes for all of my sales meetings, especially with all sales managers and general managers.  I recommend Rick’s books and resource materials to our staff.  I also purchase them for the entire group!  He is right on target with sales and marketing strategy issues and I highly recommend his work.”

Mike Maharg
OrePac Building Products

 “There’s no doubt that Rick Johnson’s Strategic Planning process is defining a more successful future for our company. The process lead by Rick cut right to the issues that were important to our business, then followed a very efficient course for developing action plans, implementation, and follow up. It works!”


“The incorporation of metrics into our sales effectiveness action plans and utilizing Best Practices has been a vital tool during monthly review meetings with our sales staff.  It’s not the old numbers game any more.  Quality activity in today’s market needs to be tracked and supported.  Rick’s influence on this process has been very instrumental. It’s really working.”


“Rick was a sensational resource helping our company develop a strategic plan. He also was great helping us execute and establish accountability in the process.

  Kevin Breen

“It is important to note that while many consulting companies are able to provide the technical expertise necessary to address sales, operational, and financial problems, CEO Strategist adds a most-important variable in that they are able to evaluate a company’s overall ‘personality.’ Therefore they can develop a plan of action coordinating the existing working relationships of the employees along with the technical requirements necessary to achieve the client’s profit objectives.”

Ed Spar


Testimonials from Rick’s Speaking Engagements


“A really good, ‘down-to-earth’ presentation. Don’t ever give up that style! I learned a lot.”

Attendee HVAC Industry
Counter Conundrum Seminar


“Great content, great style, informative and fun. I enjoyed attending and learned quite a bit about effective sales management.”

Karen Berkemeyer
Ceramic Design


“You really hit the nail on the head! I’m going to schedule our entire management staff for this session. Leadership and mentoring is such a difficult process. Your message was invaluable.”

building supply distributor


“I couldn’t give you a 10—nobody gets a 10—but you are easily a 9.5! I really enjoyed your session on inter-relationships with distributors."

Regional Manager
Cooper Bearings


“Rick really gave us reason to think outside the box. It wasn’t exactly what we wanted to hear, but it sure was what we needed to here. Clearly an eye opener that calls for action, presented in a fashion that holds your attention.”

  Vice President of Sales,
Lumber Distribution


“Your no-nonsense approach to best practice is so refreshing; I appreciated your real-world application of sales management principles.”

CEO Supplies


“When it came to developing and implementing our strategic plan, Rick set me and the company on a straight and narrow path. Our key managers took a leadership roll in the process. Each manager took ownership of the plan and is held accountable for its success.  It’s working and the entire team is excited about the results we are getting.”

Jim B.
     Design Element

Contact the CEO Strategist to start putting more profit in your business today!