Jake Frantzen
Nexstar member Tammy Ferris breaking through a board held by Keith Mercurio while Nexstar Training Manager Julian Scadden and the crowd cheer her on.

Nexstar Network leads members to breakthroughs at annual meeting

March 30, 2016
Motivational speaker Les Brown closed the first day of the meeting by having the audience set three goals Forty Nexstar Strategic Partners gathered at the Loews Atlanta Hotel for a reception-style tradeshow Integrated throughout the course of the two-day meeting were member-to-member challenges

ATLANTA – At Nexstar Network’s 2016 Owners Spotlight meeting, the focus was on changing belief and overcoming personal limits in leadership. At “Leadership Unleashed: Smashing Your Personal Limits,” Nexstar members made breakthroughs they will take with them for a lifetime March 23-24 at the Loews Atlanta Hotel.

Speakers inspired self-reflection

In the morning on March 23, David Rendall, author of “The Freak Factor,” asked members to lean in to what makes them different, because what makes them weird also makes them wonderful and what makes them weak also makes them strong. He spun the idea of negative and positive personality traits, asking the crowd to think of them as simply traits. The way we perceive them is what matters.

Motivational speaker Les Brown closed the first day of the meeting by having the audience set three goals: a personal goal, a financial goal and a goal for social contribution. Les shared his story of being labeled cognitively disabled as a child, and the teacher who asked him to challenge that label and become more than that.

“In order to do something you’ve never done, you’ve got to become someone you’ve never been,” he said. “Become a no-matter-what person. There’s nothing as powerful as a made-up mind.”

Bob Gates, owner of Alpine Climate Control in Sheridan, WY, has been a Nexstar member since 1999. This Owners Spotlight was the first event he had been to in a while, and he said got many takeaways on the first day.

Nexstar President and CEO Jack Tester opening the meeting with Frank J. Blau Jr.’s story. Photo: Jake Frantzen.

“I learned to optimize what I’m good at and find strength in what I’m not,” he said. “I’m always impressed with the quality of events Nexstar puts on.”

Adventure racer and firefighter Robyn Benincasa kicked off the second day of the meeting, March 24, with a tour around the world: She shared stories of her challenges with adventure racing teammates to illustrate how these can be applied in everyday life.

She graciously allowed Nexstar to include pages from her upcoming, not-yet-released book in the meeting workbook, so members were able to take the ideas from her speech and immediately apply them to themselves and the teams in their businesses. They used the included evaluation to rate where their teams are now and how they can be improved.

Expert trainer Rod Hairston took the event home. He told members that to change, they would have to step outside of their comfort zones—they would have to consciously decide to take their beliefs to the next level. They would have to learn to get into a state of fight, rather than flight.

And then, the wooden boards came out. Rod led the crowd in an exercise meant to solidify the mental work that had been done over the past two days by breaking through an obstacle—literally. Every member in attendance broke through a board with his or her bare hand, to the uproarious cheering of their peers and the Nexstar staff.

Cindy Gibbs, office manager at Randy’s Electric in Maple Grove, Minnesota, found the experience to be outstanding, especially in that it involved everyone.

“I wanted to escape and not make a fool of myself, but I went through with it,” she said. ““The beauty of it is, we’re all in the same spot.”

Strategic Partners cocktail reception

Forty Nexstar Strategic Partners gathered at the Loews Atlanta Hotel for a reception-style tradeshow on March 23. Members enjoyed catered hors d’oeuvres and beverages while networking with the partners at tabletops. Nexstar extends great thanks the Strategic Partners who sponsored the event: Barnett, CallSource, Goodman, Honeywell, Johnson Media, Lennox, Noritz, Pristine Air, ReviewBuzz, Rheem/Ruud, ServMan, ServiceTitan, WinSupply and Wolverine Brass.


The meeting was structured around the four keynote speakers, but integrated throughout the course of the two-day meeting were member-to-member challenges. Each member was seated in one of three teams: red, blue or green. At each seat was an electronic clicker, so members were able to answer individually when a question was posed to the group.

Nexstar Director of Training Keith Mercurio facilitated the games, which surveyed the crowd about the keynote presentations and other main takeaways from the event. At one point, team “captains” from each team were called up to the front of the room to represent their teams in the competition.

Laurie Michl is customer service manager at Radiant Plumbing & Air in Austin, Texas. She’s a new manager, and Owners Spotlight was her first Nexstar event. She said the owners brought her and another manager to the meeting so the two of them could be brought into the owners’ vision.

“I wasn’t expecting the group participation but was very impressed,” she said. “It was an inspiring and motivating event!”

The prize for competing was five chances to be randomly selected for a free Super Meeting registration. Super Meeting is Nexstar’s other annual meeting, to be held Sept. 28-30, 2016 in San Diego, California. The red team ultimately won the competition, and five winners were selected from the members in attendance!

Frank J. Blau Jr. signed copies of his book

At the meeting, members had the chance to meet with Nexstar Network founder and industry influencer Frank J. Blau Jr., and have him sign copies of his book. “Soaring with Eagles: The Life and Legacy of Frank J. Blau Jr.,” was written by Ellen Rohr and Helena Bouchez and is now available on Amazon. The book details Frank’s life and accomplishments, from his roots as a plumbing material salesman’s son to his rise in the home services industry and the creation of Nexstar Network.

Nexstar Legacy Foundation raised more than $20,000

The Owners Spotlight crowd was honored with an introduction to three Troops to Trades scholarship winners: James James, Ryan Smeltz and Theronda Bruce. They spoke about how winning the scholarships changed their lives and careers for the better. Theronda has not been hired yet, but when Keith Mercurio asked the crowd who would like to have her as an employee, several members jumped out of their seats to volunteer. Thanks to the generosity of Nexstar members, the Nexstar Legacy Foundation was also able to raise more than $20,000 during the two days of the meeting.

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