Our Vision & Principles
Our vision is to have buying groups become the most successful resource for independent business growth in the world.
Our principles for ethical success are integral when starting and managing buying groups. We harness trust in our buying groups by doing what we say we will do. We only invest our time, skills, and financial support into buying groups where we can create a nurturing environment for all parties involved, and add value to all parties involved.
Ian Gray, President & CEO
Ian Gray is President and CEO of Buying Group Services Inc. (BGS). He was educated at the Ivey School of Business (Executive MBA Program) and the University of Saskatchewan (Honours Bachelor of Commerce.)
He began his career at Canadian Co-operative Implements Limited advancing to Assistant General Manager in 1986. After a year of employment in Japan, Ian accepted a position with ProfitMaster Systems and then moved to Dimensions Retail Systems in 1991. After a successful transition, he was named President and CEO where he helped position the company as a nationwide player in the Canadian Building Materials industry. In 2000, Ian and the executive team at Dimensions launched LBMX Inc., a technology firm focused on buying group solutions. In 2009, Ian started Buying Group Services allowing him to apply the technological advantages of his former firm in the day-to-day operations of the purchasing co-operatives he was creating.
In his current role at Buying Group Services, Ian’s focus is on starting and managing purchasing co-operatives. BGS has successfully launched three group purchasing co-operatives that they manage on a day-to-day basis. They have also assisted several other groups launch their own group purchasing organizations. Ian is recognized as one of North America’s leading experts on Buying Groups and Purchasing Co-operatives.
Ian’s personal interests include travel, painting, golf, curling and camping. He is also involved in local charity work and is the former board chair of Junior Achievement London & District, an organization committed to helping young people to become entrepreneurs and learn about business from doing.
Morgan Williston, Chief Operating Officer
Morgan Williston, CPA, CA has taken on the role of Chief Operating Officer where he will utilize his diverse industry background to drive Buying Group Services’ extensive growth through efficient, reliable, and collaborative operation.
We are excited to have Morgan aboard as he adds to the already impressive strength of the BGS team by bringing with him an intimate understanding of business operations of all sizes.
Throughout his 16-year career in both the public and private sectors, Morgan has developed and executed several successful, large scale growth plans and restructurings to become something of an expert at creating business structures that help generate successful and repeatable growth. He was also humbled to be recognized in 2017 as one of London Ontario’s Top 20 Under 40.
While a CPA by trade, Morgan is, by definition, not your prototypical accountant. Not only does he possess a strong analytical presence, but he has combined his financial acumen with an obvious entrepreneurial spirit and insatiable thirst for learning. A perfect fit for our team here at BGS as well as our Member and Supplier network.
Outside of work, Morgan spends his hours doing basically anything social. He loves to golf and spends much of his time on various charitable initiatives. The most near and dear of which is volunteering on the board of Merrymount Support & Family Crisis Centre. Morgan is also actively involved with the board of the London chapter of Financial Executives International and loves to spend time with his family.
Brian Hermiston, Principal & Special Projects
Prior to joining Buying Group Services as General Manager of the Fenestra Purchasing Co-op and a Principal of BGS, Brian Hermiston, was a principal with BH Group, a consulting firm focused on buying groups and purchasing co-operatives. Brian has significant experience and knowledge in working with these kinds of organizations, based on a thirty-five year career in the retail and wholesale sectors. He is also well versed in member issues having owned and operated a lumber and building material retail operation for over twenty-five years, in which a Buying Group was instrumental in the success of his business.
Brian is closely involved in the Atlantic Canada business community. More recently he has served as President of the Eastern Kings Chamber of Commerce; is a former member of the Atlantic Provinces Innovation Council; winner of the Arthur Saffron Volunteer of the Year Award; and a board member of the Community Business Development Bank of Canada. He has also consulted throughout Atlantic Canada, working with organizations such as Saint Mary's University, Chambers of Commerce, Human Resources Development Canada and numerous firms in the private sector.
Rob Bortolussi, VP Finance
Rob has an extensive background working with start-ups and early phase companies from an administrative and financial aspect.
After obtaining his CA (CPA) designation Rob moved to the private sector working directly with individual entrepreneurs in many industries to assist in commercializing their visions into strong businesses.
His success is due to great organizational and time management skills, and by creating a team of employees that all share the same vision and dedication to the success of any organization.
Heather Olthoff, Operations Manager
Heather Olthoff is the Operations Manager at Buying Group Services, and has over 20 years experience in administration and customer service. Her vast experience is in performing a variety of administrative and staff support duties for various departments, all of which have required a range of skills and knowledge of organizational policies and procedures.
At BGS Heather is responsible for ensuring and improving the performance, productivity, and efficiency of departmental operations through the provision of effective methods and strategies.
Heather acts as a liaison between distributors and suppliers in all client buying groups and purchasing co-operatives contracted with BGS. In addition to managing the day to day operations of these groups’ invoicing system, Heather manages the support system for all incoming requests from the groups’ distributors and suppliers.
Heather’s strong attention to detail, solution-oriented approach, and adaptability make her an excellent part of the BGS team.
Jean-Francois (J.F.) Kogovsek, General Manager, Fenestra Purchasing Co-op
Jean-François (J.F.) is the General Manager of the Fenestra Purchasing Co-op. He is also implicated in the management team of the Fenestra Purchasing Co-op.
Accomplished MBA in Management from Université du Québec à Montréal and President of Maxam Marketing, Jean-François Kogovsek is recognized across North America in strategic and operational marketing for the window and door industry. In addition to his main business as a consultant and rich with over 35 years of experience in the industry, he was Chairman of the Education Committee at Fenestration Canada from 2009 to 2016 and acted as an industrial intelligence advisor for the Association of Glazing and Fenestration of Québec (AVFQ) from 2010 to 2016.
J.F. is an excellent communicator, a lecturer at various universities and is the author of numerous conferences and trainings.
Keith Addis, General Manager, Fullarton Group
Keith Addis brings over 30 years experience in the Promotional Products industry to the Fullarton Group. He has been on both the distributor and supplier sides where he ran his own distributorship for 18 years, along with several years on the supplier side.
On the distributor side, Keith ran his own distributorship for 18 years, and worked for well-known supplier, Victorinox Swiss Army, where he worked with National Accounts in the Central U.S. territory. On the supplier side, Keith held the VP Sales position for ESP Canada where he worked with distributors throughout Canada and the U.S.
Keith has also served on the industry’s PPAI Volunteer Supplier Committee and works with charity foundations such as Relay for Life and Kids Against Hunger.
Keith’s duel experience, along with a solid management background, will help him in his role as General Manager to the Fullarton Group. Keith understands the challenges faced by distributors and how to develop a partnership with a supporting supplier base. In addition, his focus on providing the group with best practices, networking events and developing the tools to provide an ongoing foundation for successful partnerships with our distributors and suppliers will help lead to Fullarton’s success.
Mark Clanton, General Manager, N1 Buying Group
Mark Clanton is the General Manager of the N1 Buying Group - a buying group client managed by Buying Group Services. In his current position, he manages both the supplier and member side of the N1 Buying Group.
Mark has an entrepreneurial and car wash industry background. He owned his own successful tobacco business for 8 years and then transitioned into his current industry of Car Wash / Chemical industry where he spent the past 12 years working on the supplier side of the car wash business with two of the largest chemical suppliers in the industry. Prior to joining BGS, his last position was Distribution Sales Development Manager for the Midwest U.S. and Western Canada with Zep Vehicle Care.
Mark’s deep experience working with manufacturers and distributors provides authoritative, insider knowledge that is beneficial to BGS and its clients.
Mark keeps active by volunteering for his church, MDA, scouting and other local groups.
Michael Reale, Business Development
Mike carries out business development and recruitment efforts for Buying Group Services’ buying group and non-buying group clients. With 10-years of customer service experience and direct contact with clients, customers, and management; Mike has developed a well-rounded experience in communicating with individuals in various sales scenarios. His experience is evident in his success with his role at Buying Group Services.
Mike is currently obtaining a degree in Digital Marketing.
Tracey Copeland, Program Specialist
Tracey's diverse background ranges from scientific research to retail management to strategic marketing communications. Her hands-on experience combined with her B.Sc. in Physics and Professional Certificate in Marketing ensure that she brings a unique perspective and skill-set to Buying Group Services. Customer-focused and open to new challenges, she has a passion for continuous learning, collaborative problem-solving and peer mentorship.
Tracey comes to us most recently from 3M with a proven track record of meeting or exceeding targets--both independently and as a contributor or leader of cross-functional teams--in a highly technical industry that spanned both B2C and B2B markets. Her projects and campaigns have been recognised by 3M, both in Canada and globally, as well as by the national industry association Electro Federation Canada.
Brandon Vander Heide, Marketing & Business Development
Brandon carries out the marketing initiatives and represents the Buying Group Services brand and the brands of our buying group clients as authoritative resources in their industries. He also develops and carries out integrated marketing campaigns and assets for our buying group clients. Before joining the BGS team, Brandon spent time working with a luxury resort on the front-of-house team and has been a marketing asset to select small businesses in the London, Ontario area.
Brandon has earned Diplomas in Business Tourism and Business Marketing from Fanshawe College and Lawrence Kinlin School of Business.