BPD May 2021

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Building Products Digest

MAY 2021



REDWOOD Composite can’t compare. Like the foods we buy, when it comes to decking, we want natural and real.

Redwood is always available in abundance of options. So stock the shelves! Unlike mass-produced and inferior products, Redwood is strong, reliable and possesses many qualities not found in artificial products. They maintain temperatures that are comfortable in all climates. Redwood Empire stocks several grades and sizing options of Redwood.

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Wolmanized® pressure-treated wood is the ideal material for building raised garden beds because it’s natural, will last for years and looks great. Find out more at WolmanizedWood.com.


May 2021 Volume 40 n Number 5

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Building Products Digest


MAY 2021



REDWOOD Composite can’t compare. Redwood is always available in abundance of options. So stock the shelves! Unlike mass-produced and inferior products, Redwood is strong, reliable and possesses many qualities not found in artificial products. They maintain temperatures that are comfortable in all climates. Redwood Empire stocks several grades and sizing options of Redwood.

Call us at 707.894.4241 Visit us at buyRedwood.com




RedwoodEmpire_DECKING+PRODUCTS_COVER_8.25”x 8.75”.indd 1 Digest 5-21 Layout.indd 1


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n Building Products Digest n May 2021



Like the foods we buy, when it comes to decking, we want natural and real.




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ACROSS the Board By Patrick Adams

Weak men

t was many years ago that—by chance coincidence—I sat down for dinner with a couple of interesting guys. I was there to meet one of them on business, and he brought along a friend of his. A quick meeting turned into a long night over dinner and countless stories of the past chapters of our lives. By the end, his friend left me with a hug and said, “We must have been brothers in a past life. Stay in touch.” He was an unassuming guy, but one who was instantly likable, kind to everyone and always with a smile. After what seemed like a hundred questions peppered at me, I turned the tables and heard stories about his career in U.S. Special Forces and as a fighter in the UFC, but also his love for painting and playing music. But he talked most of his family and serving them throughout all of this. We have kind of kept in touch the way people do these days, admittedly mostly through social media. He recently sent me something that stopped me in my tracks and I haven’t stopped thinking about since. It was simple, yet if you knew him, you would know that he is very deliberate in his words and uses them wisely and sparingly. This is what he said: Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. Weak men create hard times. He said we need strong men again and that while it feels like recently we may have been in hard times, that the hard times are yet to come unless strong men make an effort to create truly great times. And that was it. As he does, he left it there to ponder its meaning for each of us. What is a “strong man” and what are “good times”? I’ve been poor and gone without, yet these were some of the best and most memorable times because life was simpler then. There have also been times of blessings and bounty which have felt like the hardest of times as I wondered whether I would be strong enough to get through them. But, this perhaps is the very essence of what he meant. Perhaps as a country we should not be measuring “good times” by the stock market, and “hard times” by unemployment numbers or interest rates. Perhaps being able to play golf during the week or go on an exotic vacation does not instantly mean “good times.” Perhaps feeling like every day at work is a battle where you have to fight for every inch is not “hard times.” Perhaps there is another “index” that we should measure ourselves by? The bigger question, however, is what is a “strong man” and what is a “weak man”? It is not my position to judge or define these things. Through the chapters of my life, I have


made many mistakes, which have led to knowledge that hopefully minimizes the number of things I can screw up going forward. Instead, it is up to us to judge for ourselves what we are. Are we strong, or are we weak? What do we stand for and is our mission to create good times for those around us, or just for ourselves? Are we working to make our homes, our community, our country a better place or are we simply looking for the scoring record in the big game? This weighs heavy on me as we try to raise our children in this world. I strongly believe that hard times create strong men. I grew up in hard times and I hope when people remember me, they can remember times when I was strong and helped to create good times for those around me. I hope that my children somehow grow up to be strong in spite of possibly not knowing what hard times actually are. But, that reminds me that this was the same individual who bluntly responded to me during that dinner that “hope is not a strategy.” I am honored to work in an industry full of individuals I would define as strong men (including many, or perhaps most of the women in this industry). They serve as role models and my compass when I am unsure what I should do. I also feel that we are largely being led by weak men and in spite of what the stock market reports, I feel at times we’ve lost our way. I know it’s up to each of us to do better and serve as role models to those around us. Thank you for allowing us to serve you and thank you for all that you do to create good times for us all.

Patrick S. Adams Publisher/President padams@526mediagroup.com


n Building Products Digest n May 2021


FEATURE Story By Carla Waldemar

Michigan dealer serves as co-op’s prototype t’s perhaps an unlikely place for $4-billion-a-year co-op Do it Best Corp. to unveil the prototype for its compelling new store design program: small-town Vassar, a dot on the mitten-shaped map of Michigan, nestled in the fold where the thumb meets the hand.


Do it Best’s New Store Design The new Vassar Building Center marks the introduction of Do it Best’s exciting new store design program. Cherie Jacobs, Do it Best store development manager, noted that it had been “15 years since we rolled out our last store design program, and customers and their expectations have changed.” The aim of the program is making the stores more enjoyable to visit for a broader range of customers. “We want to get the customer to stay longer, shop longer, and spend more to help our members grow their profits,” Jacobs said. Through new signage, displays, materials, icons, an easy-to-take-in and navigate layout, and a modern, neutral color palette, Do it Best hopes to create a story customized for each member, one that connects the retailer and its history to the community and its customers. The name and further details of the program should be announced shortly, and available for members to evaluate at Do it Best’s fall market in Indianapolis.


n Building Products Digest n May 2021

The town started out as a logging community, then spawned some factory work for the auto industry. “It’s very, very conservative,” explains Mike MacKay, who owns Vassar Building Center: “No McDonalds.” But these days, its counterchange farmers have discovered a new cash crop: marijuana. For hemp and oil, of course. Long before that—back in 1957, to be exact—a couple of gents launched a small lumberyard here, plus another in a town 10 miles down the road, which they soon divested in order to concentrate on the Vassar market—“a stronger community, larger customer base.” They proceeded to build up the outfit, for which Mike’s father-in-law drove trucks. In 1985 his boss told (not asked) his driver, “You’re going to buy the business!” Which he did. “My wife and I lived across the street from it, running an auto body repair shop, when her father—Vassar’s owner—was diagnosed with cancer. It forced me to take the reins. This,” Mike emphasizes, “was not expected! It was 2005, during the downturn, and I had to learn the business the hard way. I had to navigate it through some pretty tough waters, starting”—ouch—“with reducing staff from 40 to 25. And I was the one who had to have those discussions. “We had to be super-responsible, super-conservative, which we still try to be (though that’s harder to maintain, now that times are good again.)” That’s Michigander-speak for “We built a brand-new home center.” It doubled the size and scope of Vassar’s SKUs and Building-Products.com

added to categories like lawn & garden and kitchen & bath, plus a show-stopping paint destination called The Color Bar. “Our building just wasn’t big enough for our sales, limiting our growth capacity,” Mike continues. “So we started planning a remodel.” At that fortuitous moment in time, a lot next door came up for sale after its owner’s death. And an adjacent warehouse for a dollar-store operation also popped up on the market: “Higher ceiling, cement and steel rather than [our] wood.” In other words, a vast improvement. To add to their lucky stars, Do it Best happened to contact Mike to suggest using his company to roll out a brand-new prototype for future stores—an OMG moment. “What does that entail?” was his pick-me-up-offthe-floor reaction. Vassar would be required to commit to a tight construction deadline—but soon after it was agreed upon, the COVID virus hit and threw all schedules out the window. “We ended up coming up with a beautiful design,” Mike reports. “Things they wanted to try, plus things we’d wanted. They hired a company to come up with strategies for displays, for sightlines. Some were new to them, others represented new ways of thinking—like strategies for end caps. We then had to commit to set up certain products in certain places. Factors like height became part of the marketing and retail strategy, and what they told us would happen… did happen.” In other words, Vassar morphed from an atmosphere that was, as Mike allows, “male-oriented and intimidating to women, to one that draws lot more couples and women. We added categories specifically for that, like in the K&B department, where women come in for ideas. We doubled all categories in the home décor department, and we’re still learning—still moving things that don’t work. Customers are ‘shopping’ now, not just running in for one specific item and then out.”

not merchandise piled high. We place one or two of each item up front and the rest are in the back. We learned you don’t have to show everything. It’s a clean shopping experience. Most guys won’t care, but women want it clean, with wide aisles, organized, easy to shop, easy to buy.” They are not impressed to discover, “Oh, I see you have 20 of those….”

The nicer retail feel extends right down to the endcaps. Mike shares, “Before, the endcaps were promotional, they were all about the deal. Now we have ‘storytelling endcaps.’ They are set back, lower, wider and showcase different products. One has about five birdhouses—one for hummingbirds, one for finches—with different

VASSAR president Mike MacKay has overseen a complete overhaul to expand not only its square footage, but also its appeal to a wider range of customers.

The Redesign

The changes started on the outside. “They proposed a look that would be more inviting, color palettes that were more in-trend, awnings, lighting, even updated fonts in the Do it Best logo,” Mike says. “Once inside, you can see a long ways into the store. There’s Building-Products.com

OUTDOOR GRILLS was the most greatly expanded department—and has been one of the busiest. May 2021 n Building Products Digest n


THE COLOR BAR welcomes customers to Vassar Building Center, which sees paint as its next big opportunity for expansion.

foods and a picture with a bird. They’re very graphical; they tell a story. They’re interesting, they pull you in and give a different experience. They might not even show a price.” Vassar still has its share of promotional endcaps for exceptionally good deals, but they’re supplemented by about five storytelling displays. In fact, the whole store now tells a story—the story of Vassar Building Center. Much of the new signage and wall graphics are specific to Vassar and its history. “You walk around and see the people who were here, the old buildings, and a big graphic of the team now. It tells our story. There are statements about trust, loyalty, customer service. (The signage is) more intent on talking to the customer and more about the store.” Convenience and service were prioritized. Customers don’t want to wait in long lines. There are now four checkout stations, instead of one. There are also multiple stations throughout the store where shoppers can find help. “Just look for the yellow pendants and the yellow signs,” Mike advises. “Yellow signifies service.” The added space and the broader customer base allowed creating two huge departments from categories that had been afterthoughts, the first being workwear. “We wanted to get Carhartt, but couldn’t due to a deal with other stores in the region,” Mike reveals. “So we brought in Ariat— workwear with a western flair, steel-toed cowboy boots, jeans. We also expanded another line, Berne, a Carhartttype product. A large portion is workboots—Danner, Muckboot, Irish Setter. We stock a tremendous amount. Customers can come in and try them out.” An even bigger expansion came to their once-paltry outdoor grill department. “We had Traeger and two or three


n Building Products Digest n May 2021

Webers, but didn’t have room for Big Green Egg. Now we do,” Mike says. “We also added Blackstone, more Webers, and an even higher end line, Napoleon. We are staying away from the commodity-type grills.”

Making It Happen

So how do you finance a 20,000-sq. ft. makeover? By another of those right time-right place coincidences. “We were just ready to commit, when our local bank shut down. But just then, a person from another bank called on us. ‘We need a bank!’ I told him. ‘We’ve got a big construction project.’ ‘We’ll work with you,’ he said: ‘Don’t worry.’ It was settled by a handshake.” Which now meant ramping up the employee count. Vassar was operating with a staff of 35, down from 48 before the downturn. “Turning to Facebook doesn’t work for us—our culture, our values are different. One way is, our vendors know we’re always looking for good people. So do our employees. They know a good fit. For instance, recently a man walked in and announced, ‘They tell me I should work here.’ We didn’t have any openings but, oh my gosh, he was so nice! We had to have him in front of a customer. It was a good fit, a lifelong decision. We’re looking for ‘forever’ employees who’ll retire here.” Why do they stay? “It’s a cliché,” Mike is the first to admit, “but it’s because we treat them like family. Really good communication. Flexibility in scheduling. My dispatchers do everything they can to accommodate a kid’s soccer game or whatever, even if it means being shorthanded. People like to work in a place like that—like I was treated, too; I left my family business to come here. “We pay as much as we possibly can, making it superBuilding-Products.com

hard to leave. I also make a point of walking around, like, ‘Got your Christmas tree yet? How was your weekend?’ I sit back and listen, show caring. Even among those that have left us, half have later returned.” What’s good for retaining staff is good for retaining customers. “Contractors like us because we make sure their day’s activity is made easier by doing business with us. They could pick anybody, but we become extensions of them. It isn’t one big thing [we do], but a combination of all the little things. For instance, we recently made the wrong delivery; our salesman screwed up and the customer was disgruntled. So we decided to buy him a new Carhartt jacket. It wasn’t ‘How do we budget that?’ We just did it. And he’ll remember that; it cements a relationship. And relationships matter! Without him, we’d be one less contractor. We deliver, we bill, we answer phones and everything else on time. It makes it easier [for them] than using the next guy.” Under COVID, those contractors, which provide 75% of Vassar’s business, are doing remodels and decks because locals are not selling and moving—rather, hunkering in place but improving where they hunker. “We’ve added carpeting, flooring and drywall. Plus, adds Mike, “We’re serving more walk-ins. The store is jam-packed with folks we’ve never seen before—and that began even before we opened the new building. It’s been an eye-opener.” It’s also provided some learning experiences, like it or not. “We’re changing our model. It’s not the best use of our staff to put the best people at the cash register—a bad use of talent. We need them walking the floor, so we need to bolster the number of part-timers at check-out instead. The new building allowed for a lot more inventory, a total change for us, and sometimes it’s hard to re-educate the

staff. We know enough,” he laughs, “to know we don’t know enough.” Clearly Mike loves it here and will be around for, well, forever. “I love the challenge of being the best. Yet, like in athletics, there’s younger competition coming up. I’m like a coach. I can’t do by myself, so I’m teaching a team of all-stars. (However, one of the challenges is, how do you develop all-stars out of ‘normal’ people?) “So what I’m doing is, looking all over for good staff. We just hired someone who came from a veterinary clinic—a customer of ours, plus related to one of our drivers. He’s not a builder, but a good listener, easy to talk to—caring and compassionate. So we’ll train him. And that’s my challenge: to train a team of all-stars. It also helps to have partnerships with our vendors; they like to deal with us and we want to respect them, too, to foster good relationships in the long-term.” But, beyond forever? Mike is not leaving it to chance. He has a son starting out in the business on the ground floor (okay: the yard) just as Mike did, and a store manager who’s put in 10 years of valued service. “My goal,” Mike states, “is to set up the company for longevity after myself, so it will be still strong, its values still its values, and a valuable asset to the community. It’s a culture, and we try to instill that in everybody.” Carla Waldemar cwaldemar@comcast.net

Reclaimed Wood Paneling & Flooring We are a small business in Southeastern Pennsylvania that manufactures and sells a variety of Reclaimed Solid Wood Paneling and Flooring products. Discover the difference.

Reinholds, PA Building-Products.com


717-723-9614 May 2021 n Building Products Digest n


INDUSTRY Trends Trex Outdoor Living Forecast

What’s hot in outdoor living

HGTV expert lends her insight ow, more than ever, outdoor living is in! While homeowners have increasingly invested time and money into their yards in recent years, 2020 saw interest in outdoor living spike to unprecedented levels as homeowners everywhere adjusted to a new normal by reimagining how to use and enjoy their exterior spaces. As a result, the outdoor living design trends for 2021 have never been more inventive. “The COVID-19 pandemic has prioritized how we view and use our homes,” said Leslie Adkins, vice president of marketing for Trex Co. “With people spending more time at home, outdoor space has never been more important. It’s where we start our days with a morning cup of coffee, where we enjoy some much-needed fresh air over an al fresco lunch break, where we relish a change of scenery after a day of screen fatigue, and where we can visit safely with friends and family.” Each year, Trex captures input from consumers, contractors, retailers and industry insiders to compile its annual Outdoor Living Forecast. For 2021, the brand teamed with celebrity designer Alison Victoria, star of HGTV’s Windy City Rehab, Rock the Block, and Ty Breakers, to identify five trends expected to shape the outdoor living landscape in 2021.


1. Outdoor Offices HGTV PERSONALITY Alison Victoria shared her thoughts on the results from Trex’s annual Outdoor Living Forecast.


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Among the top trends predicted for the coming year is the emergence of outdoor workspaces. With working from home and remote learning expected to continue well into 2021, Building-Products.com

WITH THE BOOM in outdoor structures, Houzz is calling 2021 “the year of the pergola.” (Photos courtesty of Trex)

contractors report increased interest in outdoor spaces that can comfortably and functionally accommodate professionals and students. Requests for stylish sheds and backyard cottages are on the rise. Pergolas, too, are in high demand. In fact, leading home design site Houzz is calling 2021 “the year of the pergola” due to their versatility and affordability. A relatively easy addition to any deck or yard, a pergola creates the look and feel of an outdoor room while adding a distinct architectural element. Of course, its main purpose is providing shade—essential for enhancing visibility of laptop screens and devices, as well as offering cool relief on hot days. “When it comes to backyard design, pergolas remain on-trend due to their limitless design possibilities,” notes Victoria. “They are great for adding definition—and drama—to any deck.”

2. Expanded Elbow Room

During the past year, our homes have become offices, classrooms, fitness facilities, and rehearsal spaces. It’s no wonder many homeowners (and occupants) find themselves suffering from cabin fever and desperate for some extra elbow room. One simple solution is to optimize the space beneath an elevated deck, an often overlooked area, by adding an under-deck drainage system. Designed to divert water away from the foundation, systems like Trex RainEscape protect Building-Products.com

a deck’s substructure from moisture and create dry space underneath the deck surface that can be used for any number of purposes—from storing seasonal items to serving as bonus living space outfitted with everything from furniture, accessories, lighting and entertainment components, to workout equipment, toys and games for at-home “recess,” or even a dance floor, mirror and ballet bar!

3. Take the Plunge

Another trend driven by the pandemic has been the dramatic increase in residential pools, spas and water features. Between travel restrictions and indefinite closings of community pool facilities, homeowners across the country are taking the plunge and installing swimming pools, hot tubs, and ponds in their backyards. To give these additions a finished look, surround them with low-maintenance composite decking, which won’t rot, warp, stain or fade and never needs sanding, staining or sealing.

4. Luxury Staycation

Fueled by the drastic decline in domestic and international travel over the past year, homeowner interest in replicating the sophisticated style and comforts of a luxury hotel or resort in their homes has continued to grow. From plush towels and perfectly plumped pillows to outdoor accents like composite cladding, fire tables, water features,

and industrial railing, commercially inspired designs can give any home environment the essence of an extravagant staycation. “Homeowners are finding inspiration in commercial settings like upscale hotels and restaurants,” Victoria comments. “Outdoors, this trend is seen in modern railing styles, such as Trex Signature Railing. The durable, low-maintenance aluminum railing collection delivers sleek sophistication in a range of designs, including horizontal rods, mesh panels, and glass inserts.”

5. Give It a Try with DIY

The DIY category exploded in 2020, encouraging homeowners to roll up their sleeves and tackle even the most challenging projects—a development experts expect to continue in 2021. Industry analysts are predicting DIY home projects and repairs will shift from a trend to long-term habit with ambitious DIYers turning to YouTube and sites like Decks.com for inspiration, motivation and how-to tips—saving time and money, and earning some serious bragging rights. “If you can use a hammer and a saw, you can upgrade your backyard with composite decking,” states Victoria. “Building or resurfacing a deck with Trex is a doable DIY project that can be completed over the course of a weekend or two with just a little know-how and the help of a few friends.”

May 2021 n Building Products Digest n


INDUSTRY Trends By Mark Simmers

Decking preferences vary by region s families continue to invest in their outdoor living spaces, we see several trends emerging from different regions throughout North America. Across our network of dealers and Wolf PRO contractors, we looked at what’s trending this season.


What’s Your Region’s Color?

The Northeast region of the U.S. gravitates toward Harbor Grey, a solid gray, with light color tone. For example, in New Jersey many of the docks by the shore are being constructed with complementary grays which drives this color popularity. The southern regions like North Carolina and Georgia favor warmer colors such as Sand Castle or Amberwood. And when we look at the coastal regions of Florida, a staggering 52% of decking was a shade of gray. Some of the colors are driven by style, while others may be more related to the overall homes style or reflective of HOAs. Interestingly, Canadian provinces, territories and the Northwest U.S. are on the deep, dark and natural color spectrum. They are all-in on Black Walnut and Onyx and often paired with Silver Teak. These darker colors are typically used to picture frame the deck and contrast the home’s colors. It’s not just about choosing a singular color but selecting two contrasting or complementing colors—one for the majority of the deck and one for the accent color—to set your deck apart with visual points of interest.

GRAYS such as Wolf Serenity Decking’s Harbor Grey are the most popular option in multiple regions of the country.


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Unique Board Placements Draw Attention

When it comes to customization, color is only one piece of the deck design puzzle. Board layout and orientation can create strong visual points to create a distinct feature element, which is often influenced by the builder, their experience, and preference. Some builders have created their own custom elements to brand their services. Always keep in mind, that boards must be laid in a way that breaks up the expansion and contraction which can be done a couple of ways. Staggered butt joints and use of breaker board are the most popular. An emerging trend we’re seeing in the upper Midwest is decking laid at a 45-degree angle, corner to corner, instead of the traditional perpendicular or parallel to the home boards. On the East Coast, we see a lot of curving deck boards driven by the landscaping trends. In Ontario, builders have used unexpected patterns creating a “wow” factor and personality to the outdoor space. Like architectural differences by territories, we also see a difference in the rim boards, or fascia, used on decks. The East Coast typically integrates white trim for the stair riser, while the Western and Northern regions use matching deck board end to end. This is typically driven by the desire to achieve balance with the home’s trim and its design. Multi-level decks are a growing trend seen mostly on the West Coast and Northern regions, typically driven by the surrounding terrain to take advantage of skylines and views. The skirting used around decks also varies regionally. For example, homes in the Northwest often choose lattice skirting because these homes feature a basement or have a walkout, so the space under the deck is open. Homes in the Northeast, which may be built on a slab, results in a deck that is low to the ground. This has contractors opting for decking as the skirting to create a clean look. Regional trends in outdoor sanctuaries vary from railing and lighting, to pergolas to outdoor cabinetry and fire features, and the choices are seemingly endless for homeowners. Homeowners in different regions gravitate toward vastly different trends, so it is important to be aware of what may be better received by customers. One thing is for certain, be it flat gray or variegated gray, this color is here to stay and a clear winner across all regions. – Mark Simmers is senior vice president of sales for Wolf Home Products, York, Pa. (www.wolfhomeproducts.com). Building-Products.com

PRODUCT Spotlight By Steve Getsiv

RED BALAU is a vibrant choice for both outdoor and indoor structures built to last.

US builders increasingly turning to tropical hardwoods Yellow balau emerges as trendy option lready expected to begin with a downturn, 2020 accompanied an unprecedented set of challenges that impacted nearly every building phase. The pandemic not only shuttered or delayed thousands of projects, but resulted in the layoff of approximately 26% of the country’s construction workers, according to an Associated General Contractors of America survey. This is on top of the shortage of the very supplies needed to complete projects. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index over 70% of contractors experienced a shortage of at least one material and over 30% reported a shortage of lumber during the fourth quarter of 2020. These problems were further compounded by lumber prices that soared more than 170% between last April and mid-September per the National Association of Home Builders—and are now even higher. As for the causes? The stay-at-home mandates ordered by many states created a buying-frenzy among homeowners who decided to put their hard-earned vacation and travel money into the upgrades of homes that in many cases they couldn’t leave anyway. At the same time, the wildfires that riddled much of the Northwest also greatly reduced the high-grade lumber supplies produced in Oregon and Washington. Other supply chain challenges included the fires that ravaged South America’s tropical forests as well as the decades-long bee-



n Building Products Digest n May 2021

tle infestation that’s plagued the Canadian lumber industry for the past decade. Even the German mills cut back on the production of their beech wood supplies given the country’s ongoing problems with drought and pests. This is on top of the near crisis of transportation costs caused by increased demand, lack of equipment, surcharges for international and domestic shipments and high fuel prices. As a result, many American builders and suppliers have expanded their search to Europe and Asia to meet their growing lumber demands. This includes turning to durable, tropical hardwoods like yellow balau as a high-grade alternative to exotic products like ipe, teak, cumaru, walnut and mahogany.

Yellow Balau

Produced primarily in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, yellow balau has been used throughout Europe, Australia and New Zealand for the past 30 years for outdoor projects ranging from the building of decks and fencing to the construction of pergolas and other outdoor structures. That’s primarily because European builders in many cases have been far more practical about the specification of lesserknown woods, which actually rival the durability, aesthetics, physical properties and pricing of the hardwoods traditionally used in the U.S. Normally free of blemishes and knots, yellow balau is highlighted by its stunning blend of golden-brown, purBuilding-Products.com

NORTH AMERICA is a prime candidate to sample yellow balau from Southeast Asia, which has broken into Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

plish-brown and red undertones and hues. Over time and if left unfinished, the hardwood will also age beautifully with either a deep brown finish when kept oiled or a gray patina that’s similar to ipe. Yellow balau will initially appear lighter in color but will darken to a medium honey brown once exposed to UV. Applying a high-quality, oil-based stain will help retain the natural color but many users prefer to let it age naturally to a silver patina. Yellow balau takes dark brown and medium brown stains very well. Red or mahogany stains tend to give off an orange cast. Furthermore, yellow balau is an incredibly sturdy, strong and durable hardwood that is naturally resistant to decay, insects and fungus. For this reason, it is ideal for both residential and commercial applications performed in demanding oceanfront and marine environments. As an example, it’s even been used in Europe to build ships, boats, bridges and boardwalks.

Assessing the Alternatives

Given the current state of the lumber industry, North American builders will increasingly need to assess the high-grade, exotic products available to them on a consistent and timely basis. Unfortunately, American builders do not typically use anywhere near the number of tropical hardwoods that are employed throughout the European building marketplace. However, this will have to change if the industry is to stay competitive, productive and busy. The abundant supply of high-quality tropical wood that was once accessible across North America a few years ago will not likely return anytime soon. As a result, yellow balau is just one prime example of the exotic alternatives that not only provide long-lasting, beautiful results, but are also readily-available from leading U.S.-based distributors and suppliers. – Steve Getsiv is president and CEO of Nova USA Wood Products, Portland, Or., a leading supplier of high-quality hardwood products and accessories (www.novausawood.com). Building-Products.com

May 2021 n Building Products Digest n


PRODUCT Spotlight By Stephanie Ornelas

GLASS DECKING is commonly sold and installed in sections or frames.

Break through with glass decking he idea of walking on glass can be thrilling. Yet questions come to mind: Is it safe? Is it easy to clean? Is it easy to install? Glass features can add sophistication, simplicity, and style to any build. But how exactly do glass floor elements play out in outdoor living? “One common myth is that glass floors can only be used inside,” says Mike Foti, president of Innovate Building Solutions, Columbus, Oh. “This is definitely not the case. One surprisingly popular use of glass flooring is as a decorative—and functional—decking material. Glass decks are used to move light from one floor level to another. With glass floor panels installed into the deck, light can still pass through to the basement.” Foti went on to explain that glass flooring can also become an outdoor showcase feature by incorporating LED lighting around the floor at night. Understandably, another myth about glass floors in decking is the idea that they are slippery and unsafe to walk on, especially when it rains or snows. According to Foti, in most cases, glass floors are made with either a sandblasted or patterned ceramic frit top surface, which provides traction control even when the glass is wet. “If a



n Building Products Digest n May 2021

glass floor does not include a top surface treatment it most likely will be slippery to walk on when wet,” Foti said. Companies like Jockimo Decorative Architectural Glass and Glass Flooring Systems create products designed to address such issues. Jockimo’s Crystal Clear GlassGrit anti-slip glass flooring panels were recently installed on a wooden deck in Los Angeles. The panels flooded the space below the deck with light, which was exactly what the homeowner was looking for. Skyfloor’s Glass Deck System consists of a non-slip surface specially designed to meet or exceed the ASTM safety standards. The company offers 24 different tested anti-slip textures, including its proprietary Seeded Organic top layer, which is the only ultra-clear texture available that’s suitable and safe for wet exterior conditions. Another possible customer concern is privacy, or what Foti calls “the skirt factor.” Says Foti: “If you’re worried about someone looking up through the lower level below and invading someone’s privacy, don’t fear. There are tons of glass options that come in obscure glass that help secure more privacy.” One myth that can’t be debunked however is the fact that Building-Products.com

glass floors are harder to clean, mainly because it’s much more time-consuming. “You know what you’re getting yourself into when you opt for an all-glass floor,” said Ohio builder Frank Bates. Folks want that sophistication. They want that ‘wow’ factor in their homes. So, with that, comes more care and maintenance. This is why many times you’ll see decks with only partial glass flooring, or maybe one section. They’ll spend more of their time on the wood or composite side of the deck, and maybe they reserve the glass area for more formal gatherings.” Foti explained that it’s a growing trend to see only half CONSTRUCTION IS aUNDERWAY on a with new TFL plant in Klamath Falls, of a deck or even small portion glass flooring. Or., to meet growing demand in the West. Speaking of trends, he touched on a few growing fads when it comes to glass elements—features like glass Wilsonart Expands TFL in West stairs and incorporating such elements with fire and water W i l s o n When a r t E n ag i client n e e r e d wanted S u r f a c to e s kick h a s b itr o up k e n a notch, g r o u n d Foti o n features. aexplained ne w t h e r how m a l l y hef us took e d l his a m i rushing na t e ( T F water L ) f a c and i l i t y rock i n K l feature a m a th F a l l s added ,O r . structural glass stair treads. “These treads not and E x p e c t e dyou t o tob e look f u l l y through o p e r a t the i o n a glass—but l b y J u l y are 2 0 2 safe 1 , t h to e only allow n e w f on a c i because l i t y w i l l they f e a t u have r e a aq u ceramic i c k -c y c l glass e p r e frit s s , w top h i c surface h w ill walk significantly increase its production and sturdy side-supporting aluminumcapabilities brackets,” on he the said.West C oa When s t. it comes to installation, Los Angeles deck builder “ O Reed u r o f agreed f e r i n g s that h a v glass e g a flr ooring n e r e d is t r e defi m e nitely n d o u s a s diff u p erent p o rt Craig from of both specifiers andanfabricators,” said Ron Ubertini, type breed, but not out-of-reach design element. V P -p r o any d u c high-end t m a n a g e deck, m e n t . you “ T F need L i s ato k partner e y p a r t with o f t h the a t “Like offering, and this next expansion is a continuation of our right suppliers and manufacturers who stand behind their s t r a t e g y t and o e n educate a b l e u s you t o m about e e t g their r o w i noff g erings,” d e m a n d hea n said. d b e tte r products serve ouralways customers.” “I’ve said that if you’re a deck builder, you’re already designed to think outside the box. So, extra Lowe’s Upshould in the elements likeBulking glass flooring be a West fun challenge for T o m e e t f a s t -g r o w i n g d e m a n d f r b u i l d i n gIt’sm all a t e about ria ls , the hardiest and most creative of decko builders. L o w e you ’ s H ocan m e do I m to p r o set v e myour e n t projects C e n t e r s , apart M o o r from e s v i l l the e , N rest.” .C ., w ill what in v e s t $ 1 .7 b illio n to u p d a te its s u p p ly c h a in — w ith m u c h o f

the expansion centered across the western United States. O v e r th e p a s t 1 8 m o n th s , L o w e ’s o p e n e d m o re th a n a d o z e n facilities, including in Riverside, Ca. O v e r th e c o m in g y e a r a n d a h a lf, th e c h a in is e x p e c te d to o p e n 5 0 m o r e c r o s s -d o c k t e r m i n a l s , s e v e n b u l k d i s t r i b u t i o n centers, and four e-commerce fulfillment centers. It recently in k e d d e a ls fo r n e w d is trib u tio n s p a c e in C a lifo rn ia , A riz o n a a n d W a s h in g to n , a m o n g o th e r s ta te s . I n O c t o b e r , L o w e ’ s o p e n e d a W e s t C o a s t e -c o m m e r c e fulfillment center in Mira Loma, Ca., said to improve two-day d e liv e rie s . L o w e ’ s h a s l e a s e d 1 1 6 , 9 3 4 -s q . f t . i n a n e w i n d u s t r i a l p a r k in Gilbert, Az., to open a distribution and fulfillment center in e a rly 2 0 2 1 . I t r e p o r te d ly a ls o a g r e e d to le a s e 1 .2 m illio n s q . f t. a t th e Benaroya Pacific Northwest Regional Logistics Center in W in lo c k , W a .

Second-Hand Lumberyard Reopens st

After being closed for nearly nine years, E.R.I.C. Building Supply, Flagstaff, Az., has reopened with a new owner. C o n s tru c tio n in d u s try v e te ra n D a rw in D a h o z y p u rc h a s e d th e b u s in e s s a n d in v e n to ry , a n d re o p e n e d in e a rly O c to b e r a fte r a m o n t h o f p r e p p i n g t h e l o n g -v a c a n t s p a c e . H e a d m i t s t h e i r c u rre n t c o lle c tio n o f u s e d , re c y c le d a n d d is c a rd e d b u ild in g m a te ria ls w ill re q u ire m o re tim e to o rg a n iz e , s o in itia lly w ill b e c lo s e d o n M o n d a y s th ro u g h W e d n e s d a y s a s it c o n tin u e s to “clean up and organize.” D a h o z y , 4 9 , m o v e d to th e a re a tw o y e a rs a g o lo o k in g to MOST GLASS decks are made with either a sandblasted or patterned bceramic u y o r frit s t a top r t h surface i s o w n forb traction u s i n e s scontrol , a f t e r when a c a the r e e glass r a s isa wet. w e ld e r a n d re s id e n tia l/c o m m e rc ia l fe n c e r.

Deck Building Solutions • 866-767-1850 • www.suredrive.com • sales@suredrive.com Building-Products.com 32 n The Merchant Magazine


November 2020

May 2021 n Building Products Digest n 21 Building-Products.com

MARGIN Builders By Chase Moritz

DOCK features Envision Distinction composite decking in Rustic Walnut.

Beyond the deck How to sell composite decking material for other projects wo-plus decades after composite decking first entered the market, and several advancements later, many LBM dealers and their customers understand its advantages—the look of wood but no need for regular paint-


ing and staining, no concerns about insects, and resistance to rotting, cracking, and warping. And because of this resilience, composite materials are fast becoming a go-to material for projects outside of traditional applications.

ENVISION’S Distinction, Inspiration and Expression composite decking collections are approved for use as cladding.


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Here are a few ways to help your customers think beyond the deck while increasing your composite sales. • Cladding. Composite is a hot option for siding, providing the warm look of wood without the maintenance concerns. The resulting open-joint cladding systems create a unique aesthetic, with wider gaps and deeper shadow lines. Dealers should keep in mind that not all composite deck materials are approved for use as cladding, so confirm with your manufacturers before selling it for those applications. In addition, open-joint cladding systems typically have special needs for weather barriers and flashing, such as greater UV resistance, due to increased exposure versus traditional siding. • Accent pieces. Composite benches and planters can add beautiful accents and elegant storage to the outdoor living space. With so many colors and Building-Products.com

styles to choose from, builders and remodelers can create accents that blend in or stand out, depending on the desired visual effect, while ensuring the same performance levels. • Play. Building pros can frame a sandbox, create playground decks and walkways, or even build a matching cornhole set out of composite. The material holds up to even the most vigorous play—and eliminates worries about splits and splinters. • Municipal fencing. Adding fencing around municipal structures such as

wind turbines, water/sewer treatment plants, and power transmission towers is not a new idea, but having to continually repair and rebuild every few years is expensive and labor-intensive. With little to no maintenance, composites can save crews time and tax dollars. • Docks. Composite decking’s moisture resistance makes it an ideal surface for docks and boat platforms. • Framing and inlays. Within deck projects themselves, designers and installers are getting more creative, as well. Your customers can try using con-

trasting colors or direction changes to visually designate dedicated areas or spaces, such as a border for the hot tub, an outline for an outdoor dining table, or a “rug” in the sitting area. As with any new application, you and your customers should check with your manufacturer’s rep about any special modifications or installation techniques that may be needed for projects beyond traditional decks. – Chase Moritz is director of marketing-decking for Envision Building Products (www.envisiondecking.com).

Composites Key in on Cladding For years, home designers have been specifying the use of hardwood decking as exterior cladding. Now composite decking manufacturers want a piece of the action, extending their warranties to cover cladding applications or introducing new products similar to their decking but configured with a rainscreen for moisture protection, specifically so it can be used as cladding. Deckorators recently had its MBC (mineral-based composite) decking—including its Voyage, Vault and Frontier decking and picture frame boards—approved for use as wall cladding in horizontal, vertical and angled applications. “Our MBC decking has gained a loyal following in the deck contractor community, and we’re excited to announce the approval of a cladding application,” said Chris Camfferman, managing director of marketing for Deckorators. “Now builders can get the style, unmatched structural integrity and superior warranty of MBC decking for even the toughest exterior applications.” Over the last year, other WPC decking manufacturers have introduced dedicated cladding and rainscreen products, including Fiberon’s Wildwood, Fortress Building Products’ Apex, Trex Cladding, and NewTechWood’s European Siding. DECKORATORS has extended the warranty on its Voyage composite decking to cover its use of cladding, including now horizontal (upper) and vertical (lower) applications.


May 2021 n Building Products Digest n


OLSEN on Sales By James Olsen

Yes, no, maybe so The Quotron lets the customer side-step their question, which sends the message that it is OK to side-step, which the customer will continue to do all the way through the sales process until we get to end and then the customer will sidestep these salespeople again with a “Maybe So” at closing. Master Sellers are not adversarial. They just ask their question again with an easygoing tone. This sends the message that we are in a partnership relationship and that it is not OK for our customers to dodge our questions. any sellers spend their lives presenting product and waiting for the customer to decide. At every “Y in the road” in the sales process, they are passive participants, waiting for the customer to give them an order without asserting any influence on the decision. The problem with this approach is it works, thus many sellers have the attitude, “It’s working this way, why would I change?” It works, just not as well as promoting ideas and solutions, stating why they are a good deal for our customers, and asking them specifically and directly to buy from us. Sellers, who are passive, are afraid of conflict. They view the sales process as adversarial—“I’m trying to sell it for as much as possible and the customer is trying to buy it for as little as possible.” Master Sellers view the sales process as a partnership where ideas flow back and forth between equals. Master Sellers focus on promoting products and ideas to their customers that bring them value. They are willing and able to advocate for these ideas without being pushy or argumentative. They know that if they do that, commissions will come. Master Sellers are in the “Yes/No business” while timid sellers are in the “Maybe So” business.



The challenge of a prospect call is to qualify our potential customer to see if we are a good fit. One of the biggest mistakes sellers make in prospecting is failure to qualify on volume. When we fail to qualify on volume, we wake up one day with an account box full of accounts that are too small. Small accounts take the same amount of time and effort to service as big accounts and are more difficult to sell. (A small account can’t afford to “test us out” with a trial order.) Quotron: “About how much of the 2x4 are you using per month?” Customer: “We use a fair amount. It varies.” Quotron: “OK.” Master Seller: “Approximately how much of the 2x4 are you using per month?” Customer: “We use a fair amount. It varies.” Master Seller: “I know you don’t know exactly how much, but could you give me a ballpark amount?”


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Ninety percent of our competition isn’t asking for the order. Customers don’t want or like to say no. This is why Master Sellers are the Yes/No relationships with their customers. When we don’t ask for the business, we send the message that we don’t want it. Many sellers are confused by this concept. “I didn’t say I didn’t want their business!” Not asking for the order is the same as not inviting someone to our party. We didn’t say, “Don’t come,” but we sent a clear message with the lack of an invitation (to a party or to do business). Quotron: “I’ve got a car of ABC studs I can get into you for $750/MBF. Whadya think?” Customer: “Looks good. Thanks for the quote. I’ll get back to you.” Quotron: “OK.” Master Seller: “Good morning, Julie. I just picked up five trucks of 2x4 16’s. I can work with you on shipment, they are out of XYZ sawmill, which we love, and the price is fantastic. How many would you like to put on?” Customer: “What’s the price?” Master Seller: “That’s the best part, Julie. We can pick these up for $950/MBF, which in this market is a smoking deal, so how many would you like to put on?” Customer: “I’ll take three.” Master Sellers ask for the order in a relaxed, natural way. They also ask for the order twice in two sentences, which is more than the struggling seller will do in a month.

James Olsen Reality Sales Training (503) 544-3572 james@realitysalestraining.com Building-Products.com

TRANSFORMING Teams By Paige McAllister

Performance management during COVID-19 OVID-19 has made many aspects of employee management difficult. Now, one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, employers are having to adapt to the extended repercussions of the COVID-19 workplace. One persistent challenge is effective performance management, including performance appraisals and disciplinary action. Performance management suffers from distance, reduced face-to-face interactions, changing job duties, and increased absences. While it may need to look different than your typical performance management process, it is important to communicate your performance goals and hold employees accountable, especially if you have not done so in a while. If, given the circumstances, you are unclear as to your performance goals for employees, now is the time to focus on those. You can’t hold people accountable for their performance if you do not know what you need. And, if you changed your usual procedures due to COVID-19, as with any temporary adjustment, your performance review process can be modified now and returned to your usual timing and format when possible. Performance appraisals, also known as performance reviews, are typically done once a year either on the


Q. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to make changes to our paid time off policy. While we normally do not allow carry-over, we did give our employees the option in 2020. Now that people are able to travel again to use time off, can we go back to our previous practice?

A. Yes. Paid time off policies, along with most employment policies, can be changed at any time as long as they remain compliant with applicable federal, state, and local laws. If you had to make a temporary adjustment due to particular circumstances (such as a worldwide pandemic), you can rescind that revision at any point or implement an all-together different option. Even if you did not specifically state the change was temporary you have the right to make the revision. Whenever you make a policy change, you should give employees advanced notice. Not only is it required in some states but notice is always a good practice to ensure employees understand expectations and allowances. Also, if employees have already made plans under the former policy, try to accommodate as much as possible. 26

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employee’s anniversary date or on a date based on the company’s seasonal demands. While many employers delayed appraisals in 2020, they should now find new effective and fair ways to evaluate employees. Moreover, now may be a good time to evaluate a more pro-active and frequent form of performance feedback given the challenges that remote work and business disruptions create. If your performance management system wasn’t working before, it’s probably not working now. Time to look for alternatives. Disciplinary action including warnings, suspensions, and terminations should be conducted and documented as incidents occur throughout the year. While this is an uncomfortable responsibility for most managers during normal times, disciplinary action has become even more difficult during the pandemic as employers seek to minimize additional disruptions and added tensions on top of the stress of COVID19. But it has to be done. Both performance appraisals and disciplinary action require similar approaches and considerations to be effective and productive: • Evaluate the job duties employees are actually doing, not what they were hired to do or had been doing prior to March 2020: Be fair but be firm. If the employee’s unacceptable performance, behavior or attendance is impacting co-workers or operations, you need to address it as soon as possible. You should not hold employees accountable for job duties they can no longer perform whether due to operational changes or mandated remote working arrangements. However, if they can and should be performing duties they are not, this should be discussed with the employee and, if Building-Products.com

necessary, addressed. Additionally, if an employee is doing more than expected, either in the office or at home, give them the proper recognition. • Be more lenient with poor attendance, especially if COVID-19-related: Attendance is an essential requirement of every job. However, most employees have had a greater than average number of absences in 2020 due to COVID19-related reasons. If possible, do not hold employees responsible for these COVID-19 absences when evaluating performance. Since some people have been hit harder than others, you should also not reward those who missed little to no time as it may appear as retaliating against those who need to take time off due to illness, childcare needs or because of mandated quarantines. And remember, many states have protected COVID-19-related absences. • Plan for future job performance: Advise the employee of your expectations and work with them to make necessary changes, especially if it will impact their childcare, commuting, etc. If giving an appraisal, use it as an opportunity to discuss the company’s future plans and how the employee will contribute to that future: Are you planning to bring employees back into the office or switch to a hybrid plan? Are you going to re-align job duties or eventually return to pre-COVID-19 job functions? If giving disciplinary action, clearly explain your expectations and the consequences (e.g., further discipline, suspension, loss of pay related to fewer duties, termination, etc.) if they do not correct the behavior in a timely manner. For example, if you are planning to stay remote, work with them to make the arrangement more productive for everyone. The more serious the issue, the more quickly you should proceed through the disciplinary steps. • Deliver face-to-face, even if by videoconference: Effective communication relies on verbal and non-verbal cues in order to be able to read each other’s reactions during the performance conversation. If you cannot meet in person, choose a video conferencing method as it is the next best option. Send the employee their completed performance appraisal right before or as you begin the call so you can walk them through it as they may not understand the subtleties if they read it first. And most importantly, listen to their concerns as there may be things affecting their performance that you may not have taken into consideration.


• Schedule a time to follow up: After you have completed the performance management meeting, ask if the employee has any questions. Offer them time to review the information and provide written feedback. Schedule a time in the near future to circle back and make sure everyone in on the same page moving forward. • Discuss status of pay increases: If you normally give pay increases with good performance appraisals, you need to plan on what increases are possible. If you’ve had a banner year, given the strains on the workforce, consider a more generous increase or incentive bonus. Or, if increases are not possible due to financial constraints, explain this to the employee as well as when you expect to give increases again. • Say it with me—Document, document, document: Documentation serves as a neutral, fact-based summary of the employee’s performance, behavior, and attendance as well as your expectations going forward. Whether giving an appraisal or a disciplinary warning, you must be able to prove that you communicated the employee’s actual performance or behavior, your expectations, and a plan for moving forward. You also need to prove that they received this communication, realized the rewards for meeting these expectations, and understood the impacts if they fail to meet them. Write everything up and have the employee sign it; if the employee fails to sign, have another manager witness you summarizing the conversation and have them sign as a witness. This document will help you accurately evaluate future performance or behavior as well as take more serious disciplinary action, including termination, if needed in the future. While the work-related impacts of COVID-19 will continue and evolve, Affinity HR Group will be here to help you navigate through all the impacts to you and your employees.

Paige McAllister, SPHR Affinity HR Group contact@affinityhrgroup.com

May 2021 n Building Products Digest n



A Special Series from Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association

By Jeff Easterling

Wood products are everywhere! I f we were to ask you to name five wood products, how would you answer? 2x4s? Flooring? Framing? That’s cute… and a nice little start. Truth is, wood and wood products (pulp, paper, etc.) are everywhere in our daily lives, all over the house, in ways you never dreamed! Take a deep breath, and let’s take a quick tour! Let’s start in the bathroom (we won’t be here long, promise): toothpaste, deodorant, activated charcoal, closet rods, tongue depressors, toilet plungers, bath towels, eyeglass frames, toilet seats, hangers, baskets, jewelry boxes, disinfecting wipes, shoe polish, and facial and bath tissue. Wait! Don’t forget about nail polish, makeup, perfumes, hair spray, and brush handles! Taking a long walk around the house, you might also run into garage doors, hot tubs, stairs, stair rails, paneling, shingles, doors, window frames, coat racks, dining room furniture, upholstered furniture frames, rocking chairs, end tables, coffee tables, beds, bookcases, nightstands, bureaus, shutters, lamp shades, mouldings, baseboards, furniture polish, and—look up—ceiling tiles! Stepping into the kitchen, there’s kitchen utensils, clocks, salad bowls and serving ware, rolling pins, toothpicks, match sticks, chopsticks, butcher blocks, knife handles, wine racks, spices (allspice, bay leaves, cinnamon cloves, nutmeg, orange blossoms, to name a few), cutting boards, recipe cards, sugar/flour bags, bottle/jar/can labels, cereal boxes, coffee filters, milk cartons, egg cartons, paper towels, grocery bags, paper cups, food additives, and those Friday night pizza boxes. Pop quiz: did you know pulp can be used in diet drinks and as a food texture enhancer? Good thing it’s an all-natural, green product! Let’s not forget the furry family members! Dog houses, pet bedding, and gerbil chew sticks are all made with wood products.


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QUICK! Name 100 items made from wood/wood byproducts, not including building materials!

What about the children and all their toys and collections of this and that? Crayons, sandboxes, backyard playsets, pencils, seesaws, model airplanes, popsicle sticks, rocking horses, puzzles, doll houses, yo-yos, dice, concert posters, poster board, kites, game boards, stickers, coloring books, paper dolls, baseball cards, tracing paper, playing cards, construction paper, and origami paper. Got a music lover in the house? Lots of wood representation there! Drumsticks, tambourines, wood blocks, speaker/amplifier cabinets, metronomes, xylophones, harmonicas, stage flooring, some piano keys, guitars, organs and organ pedals, oboes, bagpipes, banjos, clarinets, flutes/fifes, mandolins, violins, cellos, bassoons, and, of course, drums. Sports fans know where the wood is at! How about right there in hockey sticks, fishing boats, ping pong paddles, golf tees, sleds, football helmets, snowshoes, baseball bats, canoe paddles, bowling alley lanes, bowling pins, hurdles, parts of snowboards, skis, skateboards, and gunstocks of those air rifles.

It’s a beautiful day outside, so let’s check out the tool and gardening shed and the rest of the yard to see how wood is represented: tar, pitch, turpentine, tool handles, garden stakes, fencing, birdhouses, ladders, gazebos, trellises, cable reels, picnic tables, porch swings, landscape timbers, planters, concrete forms, birdhouses, woodworking clamps, work benches, trellises, and fuel for meat smokers (yum!). Everyone has a home office these days, and wood is all over the place! Tax forms, marriage licenses, birth/ death certificates, stationery, notebook paper, name tags, computer paper, books, envelopes, checks, mail, instruction manuals, calendars, diplomas, report cards, masking tape, wrapping paper, postage stamps, file folders, sticky notes, magazines, postcards, maps, phone books (remember those?), photos, newspapers, tickets, business cards, and even as part of that nice new LCD screen you bought for those never-ending video calls. And, of course, on Sunday morning, wood makes its presence known in pews, altars and hymn books. We cannot forget about outside the house! Ferryboats, truck and trailer flooring, propeller shafts, bearing for ships… all made with wood products. Rowboats, ship masts, and yardarms? Wood products. Railroad crossing gates, covered bridges, park benches, and billboards? You guessed it! Wood! Is there a more versatile building products that adds so much to our lives? No, there is not. Wood is the original green building product. It is natural and renewable, which is why we have learned how to integrate it into so many things! Look around you and see where wood makes an appearance. You’ll never run out of places to look! PS: We can’t leave without sharing three more wood uses: lobster pots and floats, merry-go-round horses, and artificial snow. Now we are done! – Jeff Easterling is president of Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Assn. Reach him at info@nelma.org.


ACS Adds Minnesota Dealers

American Construction Source has acquired sister companies Foley Lumber, Foley, Mn., and Milaca Building Center, Milaca, Mn., from owners Chris and Randy Kotsmith. Foley and Milaca will retain their existing brand names. “The ACS team welcomes Foley and Milaca to our national platform of service-oriented lumber and building materials locations,” said James Drexinger, CEO of ACS. “The Kotsmith family has built a great business over generations, and we respect the customer relationships they have fostered for the last 90 years.” “ACS’s technology investments and national scale will enable Foley and Milaca to better serve our customers for generations to come,” the Kotsmiths said. Based in Springfield, Mo., ACS operates more than 70 locations in nine states.

Hancock Purchases Maine Yard

Hancock Lumber Casco, Me., is acquiring Lapointe Lumber, a fourth-generation independent building materials supplier that’s operated in Augusta and Gardiner, Me., since 1947. “Expansion into this territory is a natural extension for us,” said Paul Wainman, Hancock president and CFO. “Our team looks forward to growing with Lapointe’s existing employee and customer base, helping carry forward their family’s legacy. The Lapointes have built an incredible business, but more importantly a reputation and culture that align with Hancock Lumber’s.” Hancock’s nine existing lumberyards, eight kitchen design showrooms, three sawmills, truss and wall panel manufacturing facilities, and timberlands will provide Lapointe with additional manufacturing and distribution resources that

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n Building Products Digest n May 2021

can be added to its existing product and service offerings. “Generational transitions in family business take careful planning and preparing,” said Lapointe Lumber president Peggy Lord. “When our family decided our next move would be to sell, it was imperative we sought out and selected the right partner to help bring Lapointe into the next generation. Thankfully our first choice was interested in learning more. Simply put, Lapointe Lumber is a great fit for Hancock Lumber and likewise, Hancock Lumber is a great fit for Lapointe.”

RoyOMartin Expands Capacity for Eclipse OSB Radiant Barrier

RoyOMartin is adding a new production line for Eclipse OSB Radiant Barrier at its Corrigan, Tx., facility. “As always, RoyOMartin strives to be on the cutting edge, increasing production to meet the growing demand of our products,” said Bobby Byrd, director of sales. “We recognize homebuilders value our Eclipse product, and we are working around the clock to meet the increased demand driven by building code changes and increasing housing starts in markets that utilize radiant barrier roof decks.” In the next few months, the completed production line will double the output of Eclipse OSB Radiant Barrier when running at full capacity. The new line is manufactured by Globe Machine Manufacturing Co. and equipped with a Black Brothers laminating station. “Eclipse has been an important value-added product for RoyOMartin since it was first introduced in 2003 at our Lemoyen mill,” shared executive VP Terry Secrest. “We have grown our capabilities over the past 18 years with efficiency improvements on the original machine, but in 2019 we realized the market was outgrowing our ability to produce enough radiant barrier. Our new Corrigan OSB LLC facility was the perfect location to add production capacity.”

DEALER Briefs Corry Lumber & True Value Hardware, Corry, Pa., was sold by longtime owner Dave Sample to the Sanders family, operators of the local Sander’s Markets. Universal Supply added a location in Paterson, N.J. Rankin’s True Value Hardware, Warrenton, Va., was purchased by an Ace Hardware franchisee. Northern Building Supply, Traverse City, Mi., has added a custom millwork operation, Northern Millworks. ACME Building Supply, Clanton, Al., permanently closed on April 30 after 63 years, with the retirement of owners Gary and Angie Godwin. Gerrity’s Ace Hardware has opened in Scranton, Pa. Jacobson’s Ace Hardware, Chippewa Falls, Wi., has

added a branch in Rice Lake, Wi.

True Value Hardware, Aiken, S.C., is closing after 62 years, to allow owners Lyanne and Det Haislip to retire. Home Depot has added new distribution centers in Fort Myers, Miami and West Palm Beach, Fl., with plans to open two more DCs in Miami next year. Building-Products.com

Russin Plans Finishing Plant

Russin has broken ground on a state-of-the-art factory finishing operation across the street from its main distribution center in Montgomery, N.Y. Called “RFF” for short, Russin’s factory finishing operation will continue to provide the market with industry-leading wood priming, top-coating and staining services for customers in its 13-state trading area. Russin has been offering factory finishing services since 1997 with a heavy focus on customization. Combined with its in-house milling capabilities, Russin Factory Finishing can offer virtually any wood species and profile, coated in a wide range of tones ranging from clear coats to opaque finishes. By partnering with major paint and stain companies such as Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams, Russin can say yes to just about anything, quickly. The new operation will also focus heavily on production of the company’s new Summit Rainscreen Systems, which offer a built-in rainscreen clip. The new plant is expected to be operational in October.

Texas Mill Gets Tech Upgrade

After years of relying on manual grading, Nix Forest Products, Timpson, Tx., is updating its planer mill with advanced technology to improve grade recovery and increase efficiency. Nix is installing USNR’s Transverse High Grader (THG) automated grading system with Deep Learning technology. It will increase the speed and accuracy of THG’s defect detection and enable the accurate identification of defects unique to a species, region or grade. Also being installed are a standard tilt hoist, Revolver Lug Loader, and Multi-Track Positioning Fence.

Milwaukee to Power Up New Facility

Milwaukee Tool plans a new manufacturing facility in Grenada, Ms., to meet growing demand for its power tools and accessories. Anticipated to open in late 2022, the $60-million facility will encompass 500,000 sq. ft.

SUPPLIER Briefs UFP subsidiary Sunbelt Forest Products finalized its acquisition of Spartanburg Forest Products, Greer, S.C., paying $16.5 million for property, plants and equipment, plus about $146.5 million for net working capital. The Rossi Group, Cromwell, Ct., and The Lyme Timber Co., Hanover, N.H., formed a joint venture to purchase Danzer’s Bradford, Pa., sawmill, dry kilns, and related assets, with plans to return the Bradford Forest Products facility to full production. Rossi will manage the mill and kilns.

MFM Building Products held a groundbreaking ceremony with local dignitaries and media on March 19 for its expansion.

MFM Undertakes Large Expansion

Marking its 60th anniversary, MFM Building Products has broken ground on a significant expansion project at its Coshocton, Oh., headquarters and manufacturing complex. The manufacturer of a full envelope of waterproofing and weather barrier products is adding nearly 50,000 sq. ft. to its production area and has purchased new production equipment to meet rising demand. MFM has been acquiring additional raw materials to ensure product availability for their customer base and the new facility will accommodate this additional inventory. The building is planned to be completed by the fall of 2021, and the new production equipment to be installed and operational by early 2022. Other aspects of the project include razing a building on the company property, constructing new offices in the main headquarters building, and adding a new, state-of-the-art research & development laboratory for increased quality control and new product development. An additional 20 fulltime employees will be hired as part of the expansion. “The expansion project is the result of continued company growth and the company’s commitment to meeting the needs of our customers today and in the future,” said president Tony Reis. “With this investment, we hope to introduce new waterproofing projects to our portfolio of existing waterproofing membranes. As an ESOP company, there is a lot of excitement among our employees as MFM continues to grow.”


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Neiman Enterprises is closing its 53-year-old sawmill in Hill City, S.C., due to inadequate timber supply. Rogers Lumber Co.’s sawmill in Orange, Tx., sustained minor damage in a March 26 fire and was expected to be off line for about a month. Manufacturers Reserve Supply, Irvington, N.J., is now distributing the full line of Tando products to dealers in New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, northern Delaware, New York’s Hudson Valley, and northeast Maryland. MRS has also begun distributing Fraser Wood Siding’s solid wood siding. Hawkeye Distribution, Sioux City, S.D., will sell Envision Building Products composite decking to

dealers in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

Palmer-Donavin, Columbus, Oh., added manufactured stone from ProVia to its exterior siding offering. The distributor currently stocks four profiles and 16 colors, and has quick access to all 11 collections and nearly 70 colors. Makita USA broke ground on a new 600,000-sq. ft. distribution/training/service complex in Hall County, Ga. Orgill has switched its fall dealer market, planned for Aug. 26-28 in Chicago, to an Online Buying Event that will run Aug. 16-27. Building-Products.com

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MOVERS & Shakers B. Manning, sales mgr., has retired after 45 years with Durgin and Crowell Lumber Co., Springfield, N.H. Travis Rogers has joined the sales team at Culpeper Wood Preservers, Culpeper, Va. John Spencer is now general mgr. of BlueLinx’s branches in Monroe, La., and Gulfport, Ms. Jack Maple has joined the sales team at Owen Lumber Co., Kansas City, Mo. Patrick Cashion, ex-SiteOne Landscape Supply, is new to outside contractor sales with Curtis Lumber Co., Queensbury, N.Y.

Gary Nackers is retiring June 1 as VP of lumber & building materials for Do it Best Corp., Fort Wayne, In. He will be succeeded by Russ Kathrein. Alex Moore was promoted to associate merchandise mgr. for paint & paint supplies. Ronnie Thomas is new as associate merchandise mgr. in power tools. Scott Tredway, ex-Old Monroe Lumber, moved to outside sales with Hackmann Lumber Co., St. Charles, Mo. Kimberly Salvo-Conlon, ex-Merrimack Building Supply, has joined National Lumber, Mansfield, Ma., as director of commercial millwork, doors & hardware.

Jordan Fowlkes is a new inside sales rep with Gates Lumber Co., Memphis, Tn.

Dave Flitman has been officially installed as CEO of Builders FirstSource, Dallas, Tx., coinciding with the retirement of his predecessor, Chad Crow. Scott Zook, ex-84 Lumber, is now with BFS, as Washington, D.C., area operations mgr.

Thomas Crutchfield, ex-House Hasson, is new to outside sales with CrossRoads Building Supply, Dothan, Al.

Nicholas Vidra, ex-Glecker & Sons Building Supplies, has rejoined 84 Lumber, Jacksonville, Fl., in outside sales.

Binit Sanghvi, ex-Builders FirstSource, has been appointed head of investor relations with Beacon, Herndon, Va. Christine Stroh Reddy is now executive VP, general counsel, and corporate secretary.

Tonie Garcia has been promoted to store mgr. of McCoy’s Building Supply, Del Rio, Tx.

Paul Ryan has been named president and CEO of LMC, Wayne, Pa. He succeeds John Somerville, who is retiring after 11 years of service to LMC.

Thomas Logsdon, ex-Lumber Liquidators, is new to sales at Shoemaker Lumber Co., Ocean City, N.J. Dan DeGaetano, ex-Liberty Roofing Center, is Shoemaker’s new kitchen designer.

Eric Gee is the new executive director of the Southern Forest Products Association. He succeeds Tami Kessler, who retired after 44 years with SFPA. Tim Sandlund has been promoted to director of marketing for Fortress Building Products, Garland, Tx. Andrea Hogan is the new CEO of Fencing Supply Group, Houston, Tx. Zack Rickman, VP of operations, Atlanta Hardwood Corp., Mableton, Ga., was elected president of the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association during the group’s recent annual meeting in Austin, Tx. Cassie Lewis, account mgr., Turn Bull Lumber Co., Elizabethtown, N.C., is now SCMA vice president.


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Nate Freeman, ex-BMC, is now warehouse mgr. at Professional Builders Supply, Charlotte, N.C.

Jerry Jehn was promoted to senior VP of doors, millwork and windows for Kodiak Building Partners, Highlands Ranch, Co. Jason Hegeholtz succeeds him as president of Kodiak’s Builders Millwork division, Mondovi, Wi. Scott Chaney joined SPAX fastener manufacturer Altenloh, Brinck & Co., Bryan, Oh., as Houston, Tx., regional sales mgr.-LBM. Tom Wylie is now regional sales mgr.LBM for the North Central area including Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. Creighton Barrel is handling the new guest registry service for Mungus-Fungus Forest Products, Climax, Nv., report co-owners Hugh Mungus and Freddy Fungus.



Invest in yourself—and your company—with NAWLA’s Executive Management Institute THE FOREST PRODUCTS industry learned a lot in 2020. We learned how agile we could be, how to seize the opportunities in front of us, and how to adjust our operations in a pandemic. Most importantly, we learned that the one thing we’ve been saying for years remains true to this day: Our industry is constantly evolving. Fortunately, NAWLA has a course designed specifically for senior leaders in the forest products industry to master and integrate tools and frameworks for leading their organizations in this ever-evolving business environment— the Executive Management Institute, or EMI.

Here’s why 2021 is the perfect year to take advantage of this top-notch, immersive education:

The Basics Held in conjunction with one of the world’s top-ranked business schools, EMI is a rigorous educational program designed for new and current senior leaders in the forest products industry. It will be held Oct. 24-29 at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Il. This small, intimate course is designed for attendees to have a personalized, immersive learning experience. Over the course of five days,

participants will explore case vignettes, participate in interactive lectures, share their personal stories and experiences, engage in dynamic readings, network with fellow industry executives, collaborate in small group exercises, and connect the dots through guided reflections. Plus, attendees will expand and strengthen their professional network within the forest products industry, gaining a cohort of next-generation leaders they can call on for advice and guidance for the rest of their careers. The program is organized around five themes: human capital, innovation, managing change, negotiation and strategy. It is designed so that attendees will leave the program having mastered the ability to: • Construct a theory of personal leadership within their professional context; • Assess their current leadership strengths and weaknesses; • Formulate and execute a personal plan to maximize leadership strengths and minimize weaknesses; • Recognize and implement best practices in team leadership; • Evaluate their own growth as leaders by employing active reflection; and • Integrate concepts learned in the program into their professional context. The ideal course participant possesses at least 10 years of management, supervisory or financial management experience (in any field), and is a current or incumbent senior leader of


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a forest products industry company or division who wishes to hone their leadership and management skills. Ask Tom Le Vere, president and shareholder of Weekes Forest Products, current NAWLA chairman, and EMI veteran: “More than 20 years ago, I had the good fortune to attend EMI. The binder from that 1997 course—and the insight I gained—have accompanied me throughout my career and served as a reference many times since. In addition to the highly valuable and relevant education I received, I established relationships with 20 classmates who remain not only friends but invaluable resources I can reach out to whenever I have a problem or a question.”

Why Now? NAWLA has spent the last few years revamping the program to ensure it’s the best it can be for our participants investing in the program. We’ve partnered with a top-10 business school and carefully adjusted the curriculum to make it relevant and challenging, giving our participants the best return on their investment. The program is


Allen Center at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management is the setting for NAWLA’s upcoming Executive Management Institute.

also designed in conjunction with experienced industry leaders who ensure the coursework is aligned with what’s happening now in the forest products industry. If you’re an owner or head of a company, you know that now is the time to invest in your employees. If your employees work hard, there is no limit to what they can achieve. But as your teams advance there’s a need for them to think strategically rather than operationally. EMI will train your rising stars to do just that. Plus, the program ensures you have the talent and skills

on your teams to take your company to the next level. Here’s another thing that remains true: forest products professionals are very good at adapting to change. By investing in yourself or your teams through the EMI program, you’ll ensure your company not only adapts but harnesses that change to fuel growth for the future. – Learn more and register for the Executive Management Institute by visiting nawla.org/EMI.

May 2021 n Building Products Digest n



Now is the time to build your best team By Bethany Doss WHEN I ASSUMED the role of NAWLA chair, my goal was simple: reminding each of our members how NAWLA brings value to their companies and employees. But I also aimed to ensure NAWLA spreads the word about how each and every one of us—whether NAWLA members or not—should be proud to work in this industry and to never forget how we stood tall in a year when many other industries struggled. Most of us had one of the best years in our careers in 2020, and it’s my belief that is by no coincidence. We learned a new phrase last year, “essential business,” and I hope it’s something we carry with us into the future. If there were ever a time to recruit and retain the next generation of leaders into the lumber industry, now is that time. We can no longer pretend we aren’t sexy—no more excuses. So how do we do this? This article got me thinking. It tells the story of how Tom Brady, after joining the Tampa Bay Bucca-


neers, recruited the three players who would make three of the touchdowns that helped cement the Buccaneers’ victory. Essentially, it’s a story about the importance of teams—and how critical it is for leaders to recruit and train the best “players” for our teams. I was especially struck by the idea of being an “A” coach teaching “A” players. This is such an important lesson for all of our leaders in the lumber industry to hear right now. What are you doing to bring the “A” players into your organizations? Our industry has had a successful year. There is no excuse to not recruit the star players in 2021. The money is there, the opportunity is there. Now is the time to build your best teams yet. It’s also important that if we’re recruiting the next generation of star players, that we do what we can to retain them. Millennials now represent the largest subset of America’s workforce, and they want coaches, not bosses. I think this idea transcends generations—I firmly believe people

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work for people, not companies—but it’s more important now than ever that we put this idea into practice. And don’t forget that NAWLA is here to help. We’re spreading the word about the benefits of working in our industry—and recruiting the next generation of lumber professionals—through our Careers in Lumber campaign. We’ve established a Young Emerging Lumber Professionals (YELP) group to support and educate the up-and-coming leaders in our industry. And we’ve built “10 Groups” for lumber professionals to connect with members who have like-minded interests. My 10 Group is part of the reason I became so engaged with NAWLA, and I still consider my 10 Group peers to be some of my most trusted colleagues and friends. Now is the time to seize the opportunity and build your best teams. And NAWLA has the community to help. – Bethany Doss is business manager for Capital Lumber Co., Healdsburg, Ca., and current NAWLA chair. Building-Products.com


Getting down to (essential) business during the pandemic By Alden Robbins REMOTE WORK was the saving grace for many businesses when COVID-19 hit, but it wasn’t an option for everyone in the forest products industry. At Robbins Lumber, for example, keeping our Searsmont, Me., sawmill up and running meant the vast majority of our team needed to be onsite—myself included.

Personnel Protections, Customer Configurations As a father to a child with respiratory issues, I was keenly aware of the importance of making the workplace as safe as possible so that employees’ families, too, would be protected. And as Robbins’ vice president and sales manager, I couldn’t not be at the mill every day. My personal, temporary solution was to sleep in a camper trailer in the driveway to my house during the initial weeks of the health emergency. True story! My wife and kids would put food on the doorstep, and I lived out of that camper without going indoors to my family for a month or two. The company’s solution, meanwhile, was to spread workers out within the plant, require face coverings, and focus

Robbins Lumber’s Maine sawmill aimed to create “surge capacity” to keep the wood moving even if certain markets slowed down.


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heavily on sanitation. As we instituted the necessary policies to create viable working conditions for the pandemic, I felt comfortable returning to my own home each night. Putting those measures in place made it possible to keep the mill humming; but, even though Robbins was still open for business, we had many customers who were less fortunate. At times, we had wheels on the ground carrying lumber to destinations that had been abruptly shut down—often by their state governments—and were unable to accept the scheduled deliveries. Those initial chaotic weeks involved getting hold of trucking companies and turning the loads around. Our priority then became to reduce inventory, which we had built up to a robust level ahead of what we expected would be another good sales year. To avoid getting stuck holding inventory that we couldn’t sell, we immediately cut back overtime—although I’m happy to report that no one lost their job as a result of this move. That was key, because we needed each and every one of those bodies—and then some. With Maine declaring forest products, packaging and lumber mills as essential businesses right off the bat, we were lucky to be in a position where everybody wanted our products. So even with some of our customers out of commission—temporarily, for most—we were able to aggressively sell into other avenues in order to keep wood moving. Our goal was to have some sort of surge capacity in case some of our other markets slowed down. We ship quite a bit of product, for example, into Pennsylvania, which basically came to a standstill when things went haywire. However, we also do a lot of business in Tennessee, where business largely carried on as usual. Having that geographic customer diversity, plus good relationships with those customers, is sound business; and it certainly helped Robbins Lumber to effectively manage this first year of the pandemic. At the same time, one of the biggest struggles has been simply having to say “no” to some business. It is in the nature of salespeople to want to help people and help resolve their problems; the last thing they want is to be the problem. There are customers who need more supply, and we just can’t get it to them. Trying to foster some understanding that the Building-Products.com

company is doing its best with the production on hand and that the landscape will improve eventually has been a tough order.

NAWLA Remains “Pandemic-Proof” Another big disappointment coming out of COVID was the cancellation of key in-person events, including Traders Market. Even last year, before the magnitude of the crisis was widely known, I made the crushing decision not to attend the 2020 Leadership Summit in Palm Desert, California. This is a gathering that I already look forward to, and last year was shaping up to be especially memorable. My father, Jim Robbins, Sr., was being honored with NAWLA’s prestigious Mulrooney Award, so we had done some sponsorship of the event and a bunch of family members were traveling to be present for the occasion. After a long Maine winter, we were also eager to taking advantage of the warm-weather location and had worked a major camping excursion into the trip as well. Despite the excitement and anticipation—and considerable financial expense—invested in this trip, we decided that the safest course of action was to stay home. However, one thing that COVID-19 couldn’t stop or shut down was NAWLA’s 10 Groups, which in my opinion represent one of the major strengths of the association. Because of my NAWLA 10 Group, I was able to communicate with my peers all over the country—from New York to Oregon— whether they were in urban or rural areas and whether they were in manufacturing or in distribution. Members all had different plans and different ideas, but that’s what 10 Groups


are all about: sharing information. We had a lot of calls and a lot of ideas circulating about how to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on your business. That’s where NAWLA’s 10 Groups came in handy—no, we couldn’t have some favorite events in person, but your networking forum can meet all the time, anytime. It’s pandemic-proof.

The Importance of Being Essential Something we often discuss at NAWLA, whether in 10 Groups or other forums, is how the building materials industry is essential. From everything from packaging to toilet paper to housing, it is absolutely necessary. Against the backdrop of this public health crisis, Robbins Lumber also saw a great deal of our low-grade boards going to packaging companies, which used them for medical supplies, including ventilators, that were critical to the pandemic response. I think that’s one of the biggest takeaways from the pandemic experience to date: in good times and in bad, there is a need for our products. When it comes to attracting future employment, lumber companies can sit there with a straight face and claim to be an essential business. And if you work in an essential business, you’re always going to have a job. Experts had warned that a pandemic was coming and have said that COVID-19 won’t be the last. So being an essential business that won’t be shut down during a future catastrophe is something that we as employers can promote. – Alden Robbins is vice president and general manager of Robbins Lumber, Searsmont, Me.

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Save the date for 2021 Traders Market

After substituting a virtual experience in 2020, the NAWLA Traders Market will return in-person Nov. 10-12 in Louisville, Ky.

AFTER TRANSFORMING the 2020 event into a virtual event experience, NAWLA Exchange, we are excited to host the NAWLA 2021 Traders Market in person again this year. The 2021 Traders Market is currently scheduled for Nov. 10-12 in Louisville, Ky. Louisville will be a perfect stage for members to network on and off the tradeshow floor, get a pulse on the industry through expert-led education sessions, and explore the bustling downtown.


About Traders Market Since 1996, Traders Market has held a unique position among lumber and building material tradeshows as the only one focused almost exclusively on the lumber supply chain. Unlike other shows, the exhibitors are almost always manufacturers of lumber and lumber-related products, not machinery or other equipment providers. No other lumber tradeshow provides this under one roof. And no other show provides better value if

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you want to sell a lumber product, find new suppliers or expand your networks. Each year our Traders Market attendees look forward to the following: • Tradeshow floor time to buy, sell and network with an array of companies making lumber and lumber products • Dedicated networking time outside of tradeshow hours • Meeting with NAWLA members from across the country in one location • Experiencing top-level education at the keynote session held during the opening luncheon “Traders Market is the premier event and, quite frankly, the reason we joined NAWLA,” says RoyOMartin’s Lori Byrd, chair of the 2021 Traders Market Committee. “We gladly and proudly do a sponsorship in conjunction with the Traders Market each year. It’s a great platform for customers and vendors to meet, get to know each other, negotiate contracts, and discover and promote new products. One of my favorite things is seeing the first-time attendees and their reaction and excitement to seeing the industry as a whole, and how they start planning or trying to make sure they get to come back the following year.”

Introducing the 2021 Keynote NAWLA is excited to announce its 2021 keynote will be Emmy Awardwinning speaker Mark Scharenbroich. Mix thousands and thousands of black leather, bandana-wearing, tattoo-bearing Harley-Davidson riders Building-Products.com

with a 100th anniversary and one beige rental car and the end result will be the perfect metaphor for connecting with others: “Nice bike.” Nice Bike acts as a powerful catalyst to help build stronger, more unified teams. The message inspires audience members to be more engaged and passionate about connecting with others. Mark will take Traders Market attendees for a fun ride on how to be effective at making meaningful connections in both your professional and personal life. His Nice Bike principle is supported by three strong actions: acknowledge, honor and connect. Mark has spent his career working in both industry and education


discovering how some of the best organizations and team leaders build a culture that encourages people to perform at a higher level through greater engagement. Part motivational speaker, part thought-provoker and pure comedic entertainer, Mark Scharenbroich will inspire, teach and engage attendees with Nice Bike. – To learn more, visit nawla.org/ tradersmarket. Keep an eye out for more information, including registration, to come soon. Keynote speaker Mark Scharenbroich will inspire, teach and engage wholesalers to kick off the 2021 NAWLA Traders Market.

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How to field a “directable” sales force By Dave Kahle NOT LONG AGO I was speaking at a national sales meeting for a large regional distributor. The regional vice president for the company’s primary manufacturer was at the meeting, supporting the efforts of his big distributor. At the coffee break, we struck up a conversation. “Three years ago, I was the regional vice president of sales for my company,” he told me. “At the time, I had 56 people in my organization—nine sales managers, and the balance—outside salespeople. Today, I’m still the regional VP. My sales are up and my gross margins are up. But, I have only 11 outside salespeople reporting to me.” “There has to be a story there,” I replied. “Yes,” he said. “We worked very closely with this distributor to turn over much more of the sales function to them. Since the distributor is doing more of the sales job, I didn’t need a duplicate sales force. We’ve increased our sales for both organizations, and taken sales costs out of the channel. It’s a win/win for everyone.” What a great example of one of the benefits of thinking differently and transforming your sales systems—for both manufacturers as well as distributors. It’s clear that both the manufacturer and the distributor involved in this situation had to change the way they thought about their sales forces, and had to transform the way their salespeople went about their jobs. It’s also clear that an essential component of this win/ win situation was both companies’ ability to field a directable sales force. Let’s define the term. The key word here is directable. It means that your sales force can be counted on to quickly, thoroughly and positively carry out your directions. Such a sales force is both rare, and incredibly valuable to the company. In fact, a directable sales force is one of the greatest strategic advantages your company can have. Why is it important? Here are three reasons.

1. It’s a means of distinguishing your company in a competitive marketplace. There once was a time, not so long ago, that you could distinguish yourself by providing good service, competitive prices, and good quality. Unfortunately, in recent years the bar has been raised, and those are no longer sufficient. They are necessary, but no longer enough to distinguish yourself from Building-Products.com

anyone. It’s likely that your customer thinks of your competitors as just as capable of providing good service, quality products and competitive prices as you. I understand that you think you’re better, but, frankly, that doesn’t count. What is important is what your customer thinks. And, the tendency to blur the differences between products and suppliers is a growing trend in the New Normal economy. Consider for a moment why you want to distinguish yourself in the first place. Isn’t it to build your business? To acquire new customers and to expand the business with your current customers? If you can no longer count on attracting business through the old principles, what can you use to acquire good customers, expand the business with them, and solidify relationships with key channel partners? A directable sales force.

2. A directable sales force can be your primary means of implementing your strategy. In our competitive environment, an environment which is moving faster than images on an MTV music video, you need to be able to create effective strategic plans, and then implement them. As your strategy shifts in response to the changes in your environment, you need to harness and focus the energy of your entire organization on constantly changing strategic goals and initiatives. Today it’s “grow market share,” tomorrow it’s “increase GP percentage,” next year it’s “penetrate key accounts.” Your ability to survive and prosper May 2021 n Building Products Digest n


in the new environment will depend on your ability to get your company to do what you want them to do—to carry out these new directions. And who are the primary group of people charged with implementing company directives? The sales force.

3. A directable sales force is the primary means of implementing key partners’ strategy. Carrying out your own strategic initiatives is only one part of this issue. If you’re a distributor, you need to have the ability to carry out your key vendors’ strategy. For example, if one of your key manufacturers decides to focus on increasing a certain product line, or penetrating a certain market segment, you need to be able to respond to that initiative, and be a reliable means of implementing those initiatives. In the example I discussed above, it was the distributor’s ability to implement the manufacturer’s strategy that gave rise to the opportunity for both companies. A Rare and Precious Commodity Unfortunately, a directable sales force is the exception, not the rule. Particularly among distributors, salespeople often give lip service to directions from above, and then go out and produce only minimum results. You can make all the commitments to key vendors you want, but if your sales force doesn’t do it, you’re not viewed as a reliable partner. Your relationship is in jeopardy. You can engage in strategic planning meetings and retreats monthly, but if your sales force doesn’t carry out the directions bubbling up through those meetings, you’re wasting your time. Too often, salespeople are stuck in the ruts of outmoded images of their jobs, reinforced by deeply ingrained habits. Many salespeople see themselves as “route salespeople,” making the same sales calls over and over again for years. Ask them to view their jobs differently and you’re liable to be frustrated with the lack of results. The habit is just too deeply ingrained to change overnight. Of course, you are often part of the problem. It’s likely that you’ve relied on hands-off, laissez-faire sales management. “Go forth and sell a lot!” may have been the extent of your direction to them. Coupled with a compensation program heavily weighted to sales or gross margin incentives, that sales management approach is a vestige of days gone by. Ask your sales force to do something differently, and they’ll go out and do what your pay plan rewards them for doing, regardless of your request. In that case, the problem is your system. You ask them to do one thing, but pay them to do something else. If you’re going to rise above the pack and survive and prosper in this economy, you need to overcome these issues and field a directable sales force.

On Fielding a Directable Sales Force Do you have a directable sales force? Take this short five question self-test to help find out. Select an answer to each question, and then refer to the results section to interpret your score. 1. To what extent do you provide measurable goals and expectations for your sales force? [a] We do an annual sales and/or gross margin goal. [b] We provide annual measurable goals for a number of specific performances. [c] We sometimes have temporary contests. [d] We did that once. [e] Never.


n Building Products Digest n May 2021

2. How often do you measure each salesperson’s performance on those goals? [a] Since we don’t have any goals, we don’t measure anything. [b] Monthly. [c] Quarterly. [d] Weekly. [e] Annually. 3. How often have you heard your channel partners (distributors if you’re a manufacturer, manufacturers if you’re a distributor) praising the effectiveness of your sales force? [a] You must be kidding. [b] It happens all of the time. [c] I remember once… [d] Never. [e] It happens occasionally. 4. To what extent is your sales force’s pay dependent on performance on measurable issues above and beyond just growth in sales or gross profits? [a] Say what? [b] Since we don’t have any goals, and don’t measure anything, we can’t possibly pay them for doing anything. [c] Less than 20% of their annual W-2 is dependent on their performance on issues above and beyond sales and gross margin. [d] Between 20 – 50% of their annual W-2. [e] More than 50%. 5. If an opportunity was presented to you that required every one of your salespeople to make a persuasive presentation of a new product in every one of their good accounts within the next three months, what is the likelihood that they’ll all actually do it? Be honest. [a] We’d get greater than 80% compliance. [b] 100%. [c] 50 – 80%. [d] Less than 50%. [e] You must be kidding. Now, add up your scores by assigning these numerical values to the answers you selected. 1. [a] = 8 [b] = 10 [c] = 6 [d] = 0 [e] = 0

2. [a] = 0 [b] = 8 [c] = 6 [d] = 10 [e] = 4

3. [a] = 0 [b] = 10 [c] = 4 [d] = 0 [e] = 6

4. [a] = 0 [b] = 0 [c] = 8 [d] = 10 [e] = 10

5. [a] = 8 [b] = 10 [c] = 6 [d] = 4 [e] = 0

If your score is in the 42– 50 range, congratulations! You probably have a directable sales force. Now you can focus on using that sales force to your strategic advantage. If your score is in the 34 – 41 range, you’ve got something to build upon, but a lot of work needs to be done. You’ve got a good shot at successfully transforming your sales force for the 21st Century. If your score is under 34, you better hope your competition is in the same range, or your days are numbered. You’ve got a lot of work to do. – Dave Kahle is a high-energy consultant and instructor who has presented in 47 states and 12 countries, and written 12 books, including his latest, The Good Book on Business. Reach him via www.davekahle.com. Building-Products.com

Thank You for Supporting Us Then and Now

A Proud Heritage Since 1881 Searsmont, Maine | www.rlco.com

NEW PRODUCT branding strategy will make Western Forest Products’ lines easier to purchase and specify.

WFP Rolls Out New Product Brands

Western Forest Products, Vancouver, B.C., is launching a new strategy of marketing WFP-branded products, making it easier for end-users to specify and purchase the products through their distribution partners. The rollout, covering all of WFP’s finished products, includes WFP Truestyle decking, paneling, trim & fascia, soffits and siding; and WFP Coast Timbers. “Branding our products will provide end-users and specifiers the confidence to purchase a lumber product they know and trust,” said Erik Ostensen, director of marketing. “Differentiating specialty lumber products through branding in a mostly unbranded sector will increase value for all our partners throughout the supply chain.”

Sister Dealers Join Forces

Raymond Building Supply has made space at its locations in North Port and North Fort Myers, Fl., for sister company Coastal Roofing Supply to sell roofing products. At both locations, Raymond will continue to provide lumber, windows, doors, millwork, decking and specialty building products. Fellow US LBM division Coastal Roofing

Supply will now offer metal, shingle and concrete tile for residential and commercial roofing. “Coastal Roofing Supply is an established name, trusted across Florida to provide in-depth product knowledge and the brands roofers trust,” said US LBM Southeast region operations VP James Martin. “This expansion demonstrates US LBM’s strategy of bringing market leaders together and leveraging the service and expertise of our local teams to deliver a wide-selection of superior building materials to our customers.”

Forklift Dealers Partner in Florida

Toyota Material Handling North America has launched a trial program to consolidate its Toyota Material Handling and Raymond dealer networks in Florida. Effective May 1, Raymond Handling Consultants, LLC and Southern States Toyotalift will be managed as one organization representing both Toyota and Raymond brands. Both have existing locations in Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville, Fl., and “have enthusiastically supported the new partnership.” “As we see the market evolving, it’s more important than ever to provide the widest selection of products, solutions, and expertise to help our customers become as efficient as possible,” said Toyota Material Handling president and CEO Jeff Rufener. “We will study the impact of this trial carefully and expect to learn a lot about how we can deliver a better customer experience.” “Our mission with this trial is to determine whether a twobrand, one-channel strategy in North America will allow us to more effectively leverage our strengths to better serve our customers,” said Raymond Corp. CEO Michael Field.

– Serving the industry for over 30 years – Phone:


• Fax: 864-699-3101

www.spartanburgforestproducts.com 50

n Building Products Digest n May 2021


NEW Products

High-Capacity Telehandler

Cobalt Drill Bits Milwaukee Tool is now a full-solution provider for step drill bits with the introduction of its new Cobalt Step Bits, designed to deliver up to 15X life in stainless steel and over 1,000 holes in mild steel. They feature an elongated dual flute offering, best heat management, and smaller steps to provide the smoothest drilling experience. The Rapid Strike Tip delivers up to 2X faster holes in stainless. Optimized for cordless drills, the 3-Flat Secure-Grip reduces bit slippage. Laserengraved reference marks allow users to easily stop on any size.

JLG Industries has expanded its telehandler line to include a new high-capacity model—the 2733. With 26,600-lb. maximum capacity, it is purpose-built to handle and haul heavy, bulky materials; load and unload trucks and trailers; and help maintenance and repair personnel work on larger fleet equipment. The model offers 33 ft. of maximum lifting height and an 8,000-lb. capacity at maximum reach for excellent capability throughout the entire load chart. A two-speed hydrostatic transmission with optional ride control and boom float improve load stability and promote smoother operation on uneven terrain. n JLG.COM (877) 554-5438

n MILWAUKEETOOL.COM (800) 729-3878

Heavy-Duty IC Lifts Mitsubishi Logisnext Americas is rolling out its new 22,000 – 40,000 lb. capacity internal combustion pneumatic tire forklift series. Spanning seven different capacities, four different wheelbases, and three load center options, these forklifts are customizable and equipped with features to help increase productivity, improve the operator experience and minimize downtime through ease maintenance and onboard diagnostics. Powered by a Cummins B4.5 Tier 4 Final diesel engine, they are designed to handle the toughest material handling applications, with a rugged mast, robust chassis, and thicker components for greater performance and reliability. n LOGISNEXTAMERICAS.COM/MIT (888) 648-5438


n Building Products Digest n May 2021

Flexible Forming Deck-O-Seal’s new flexible, forming utility board gives pool contractors the freedom to work in tighter spaces because it bends easily to form a smaller radius of 6 ft., ideal for circular installations like hot tubs. WF XBoard can work as a tile ledger in swimming spools and spas as small as 6 ft. in diameter. Made from compressed wood fibers, it is VOCcompliant and non-bituminous, and is available 10 ft. long, 1/2” deep, and either 4” or 6” wide. n DECKOSEAL.COM (800) 542-7665



Nature’s majestic pillars. Redwood is one of the strongest and fastest growing softwood species. It thrives in some of the most productive timberlands in the world. Redwood is known for its timeless durability without the use of chemicals. Due to its flawless formation, there has never been a Redwood recall. There is a grade of Redwood for every application, every budget, and every customer.

“Growing beyond measure.” Call or visit us today. Our family of Redwood timberland owners will continue to be your reputable and reliable source of Redwood.

Call us at 707.894.4241 Visit us at buyRedwood.com

To the Point

Ladder Safety Rest makes ladder use safer in accessing roofs and protects the roof from common ladder damage. Made from 300-flex steel and weighing just 11 lbs., the device secures to the roof with a plate held by four screws. The ladder fits between the hand grips and is held in place with No. 1 safety chain, to prevent the ladder from collapsing, sliding down vertically, or slipping from side to side.

Bosch’s new Strong Arm circular saw delivers corded performance from an 18v cordless 7-1/4” saw. Part of the ProFactor System, which pairs BiTurbo brushless technology with a Core18v ProFactor battery, it also features One-Touch depth-adjustment, connectivity via the Bosch Toolbox App, a 0-50° bevel range, electronic convenience brake for less downtime between cuts, and a 360° pivoting port directing dust away from the body when the tool is held in either hand.

Spyder Products has expanded its line of Stinger wood-boring bits to include brand-new brad point bits, as well as additional sizes and single packs of its power, auger and spade bits. Designed for wood, laminate and composite materials, Brad Point Bits feature a patented tip geometry that drills faster, virtually eliminating chip burn and producing exceptionally clean entry and exit holes. The dual-fluted design accurately guides the drill though deep holes, greatly reducing cutting friction and heat build-up. They come in a six-piece kit.


n BOSCHTOOLS.COM (877) 267-2499

n SPYDERPRODUCTS.COM (888) 471-2239

Saw Power Climb in Safety


n Building Products Digest n May 2021


The New SawTooth Point Low torque. Faster starts. ™







Make your customers’ jobs go smoother with industry-leading structural screws featuring our patented SawTooth™ point. Innovations such as serrated threads and vertical knurls reduce torque and eliminate predrilling, making your customers’ drives quicker and easier. To learn more about our code-listed Strong-Drive® fastener line, visit go.strongtie.com/strongdrive or call (800) 999-5099. © 2021

Simpson Strong-Tie Company Inc. SAWTOOTH18D

Elite Cedar Siding Coastal Forest Products has added bevel siding, trim and patterns to its Elite Western Red Cedar siding offering. Known for its exceptional quality, the Elite line-up will continue to include its popular prefinished WRC shingle products. The latest additions will provide greater design opportunities for their exterior siding customers. They will feature a variety of natural or prefinished options through Quality Wood Priming, a sister company of CFP. n COASTALFP.COM (800) 932-9663

Slide & Glide The new S100 Sliding Door System from C.R. Laurence’s Palisades collection features ultra-slim rails and large-scale panels for residential and commercial buildings. The system allows for expansive views while delivering exceptional structural and thermal performance with remarkable simplicity. It features slim 1-5/16” rails and stiles, 13-ft. maximum frame height, 7-ft. maximum panel width, and frictionless glide with precision-engineered stainless steel track. Standard finishes are black bronze anodized, satin anodized, black and white powder coated with 90% gloss. n CRLAURENCE.COM (800) 421-6144


n Building Products Digest n May 2021


DATE Book Listings are often submitted months in advance. Always verify dates and locations with sponsor before making plans to attend. Mid-America Lumbermens Association – May 4-6, Swing into Spring, Holiday Shores Resort and Bear Creek Valley Golf Course, Osage Beach, Mo.; www.themla.com. New Jersey Building Material Dealers Assn. – May 5, reception, Atlantic City Country Club, Northfield, N.J.; www.nrla.org. Northeastern Young Lumber Execs – May 6, virtual spring conference; www.nrla.org. Peak Auctioneering – May 8, LBM auction, Howard County Fairgrounds, West Friendship, Md.; www.peakauction.com.




Northeastern Retail Lumber Association – May 11-12, virtual spring leadership meeting; www.nrla.org. Sustainable Forestry Initiative – May 12-14, virtual annual conference; www.forests.org. Peak Auctioneering – May 15, LBM auction, Peak Auctioneering, Kansas City, Mo.; www.peakauction.com. Construction Suppliers Association – May 18-19, co-sponsored by Building Material Suppliers Association, Rick Davis sales team training, Atlanta, Ga.; www.gocsa.com. Rhode Island Lumber & Building Material Dealers Assn. – May 19, lobby day & dinner meeting, Providence, R.I.; www.nrla.org. National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association – May 19-21, virtual Industry Summit; www.dealer.org. Peak Auctioneering – May 20-22, online LBM auction, pick up from Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, Ky.; www.peakauction.com. East Coast Sawmill & Logging Equipment Exposition – May 2122, Richmond, Va.; www.exporichmond.com. Decorative Hardwoods Association – May 23-25, spring conference & 100th annual meeting, Sonesta Resort, Hilton Head Island, S.C.; www.decorativehardwoods.org. Eastern Building Material Dealers Association – May 27, clay shoot, M&M Sporting Clays, Pennsville, N.J.; www.nrla.org. Lumber Dealers Association of Connecticut – June 2, golf outing, Oxford Greens, Oxford, Ct.; www.nrla.org.

Building Products Digest

Peak Auctioneering – June 3-5, online LBM auction, pick up from Wilson County Expo Center, Lebanon, Tn.; www.peakauction.com.

The industry’s most read & trusted publication since a e sure all y ur ey sta re ei e t is leadin in r ati n res ur e

PA Timber Show – June 4-5, forest products equipment & technology expo, Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center, Pennsylvania Furnace, Pa.; www.agsci.psu.edu. Building Material Suppliers Association – June 8, intro to building material sales; June 9-10, blueprint reading & material take-off, Nashville, Tn.; www.mybmsa.org.

www.building-products.com ndustry s eadin

e s

n r ati n e site

eBPD Magazine

The industry’s most read and trusted publication… n at y ur fin erti s any ere

BPD eWeekly Newsletter

l t a ens in ur industry et t e deli ered t y ur in e ery ee

ttest ne s

Lumbermen’s Association of Texas – June 8-9, LUMPAC golf tournament & Texas unity dinner, Waco, Tx.; www.lat.org. Northwestern Lumber Association – June 9, Northeast golf outing, Eagle, Ne.; June 10, Iowa golf outing, Ames, Ia.; www.nlassn.org. Houston Build Expo – June 9-10, NRG Park Center, Houston, Tx.; www.buildexpousa.com. Peak Auctioneering – June 12, LBM auction, Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles, Il.; www.peakauction.com. Dallas Build Expo – June 16-17, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas, Tx.; www.buildexpousa.com. Peak Auctioneering – June 19, LBM auction, Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, Berea, Oh.; www.peakauction.com.

Bring Your Team On Board! Building-Products.com or info@526mediagroup.com 58

n Building Products Digest n May 2021

Retail Lumber Dealers Association of Maine – June 22, golf outing, Belgrade Lakes Golf Club, Belgrade Lakes, Me.; www.nrla.org. Peak Auctioneering – June 24, LBM auction, Peak Auctioneering, Kansas City, Mo.; www.peakauction.com. Building-Products.com


Introducing The Grader Academy by NELMA, a FREE interactive on-line grader training program. Built by the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturer’s Association as a grader training tool for Eastern White Pine and Spruce-Pine-Fir species, The Grader Academy is now available to the entire industry. *Learn about lumber grading standards *Test your grade rule knowledge *Play Above-Board, the real-time Grader Game *Compete with your friends and colleagues

Visit www.graderacademy.org to test your knowledge and skills at the lumber grading profession.

© 2017 NELMA

CLASSIFIED Marketplace


Rates: $1.20 per word (25 word minimum). Phone number counts as 1 word, address as 6. Centered copy/headline, $9 per line. Border, $9. Private box, $15. Column inch rate: $55 if art furnished “camera-ready” (advertiser sets type), $65 if we set type. Deadline: 18th of previous month. Questions? Call (714) 486-2735.




Shaver Reload, Statesville, NC

• Norfolk Southern Mainline Served • Easy Access to I-85, I-77 & I-40 • Company Owned Truck Fleet • Outdoor and Indoor Storage • 12 Acres Fenced with Security Lighting • 25+ years Reload Experience (704) 872-3148 • Fax (704) 872-3146 Email Tom Lakeman shavers.reload@gmail.com

IN Memoriam William Patrick “Bill” McNees, 69, president of Congleton Lumber Co., Lexington, Ky., died April 10. He started as a carpenter’s helper in 1973 and launched his own carpentry contracting business, McNees Construction, in 1975. He joined Congleton in sales in 2002 and rose to VP before being named president in 2017. He was named Lexington Home Builders Association Associate of the Year in 215. Alan Warren Smith, 52, lumber broker with Harrigan Lumber Co., Monroeville, Al., died March 27. He passed away about a week after being diagnosed with COVID. Andrea “Lane” Moorer Oswald, inside sales with Culpeper Wood Preservers, Orangeburg, S.C., died unexpectedly March 14. She was 52. She had worked for Cox Wood Preserving since before Cox was acquired by Culpeper in 2017. Peter “Paul” Meister, 85, former owner of Meister Log & Lumber Co., Reedsburg, Wi., died April 10 in Madison, Wi. After graduating from high school, he and his brother, Richard, joined their father’s sawmill business, M.E. Meister & Sons, which later became Meister Log & Lumber Co. They ran the company for years until Paul bought out his brother’s share. In 1987, he sold the mill to Midwest Hardwoods. Five years later, he helped his sons, Mark and


Matt, launch Meisters Forest Products in Endeavor, Wi., and later in Black River Falls, Wi. Arnold Earl Bruggeman Jr., 73, retired owner of Bruggeman Lumber, San Springs, Mo., died April 12 in Joplin, Mo., following a sudden illness. He entered the lumber industry in 1965, straight out of high school. He owned and operated Bruggeman Lumber from 2006 to 2017. William “Bill” Ploskina, 75, owner of Bill’s True Value Hardware, Arlington, Va., died Feb. 18. A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, he opened the store in 1979. His son, Sean Ploskina, who was named president of the business last year, is the new owner. Randall Thomas “Randy” Baileys, retired wood preserving industry leader, passed away Feb. 24. He was 66. He received a B.S. in wood science and technology and a Masters degree in forest resources from Penn State University. He worked as a technical representative for Koppers Co., Pittsburgh, Pa., and a quality control manager for J.H. Baxter, Eugene, Or., before joining Lonza Wood Protection, Conley, Ga., in 2005. He retired after 10 years as senior technical service representative with Lonza. Randy joined the American Wood Protection Association in 1985, and served in various leadership roles over the next 30 years. He also served on the Railway Tie Association’s education committee and was a primary instructor

n Building Products Digest n May 2021

for the Annual Tie Grading Seminar. In 2018, he was awarded AWPA’s Award of Merit.

NRLA Dealers Virtually Visit the Capitol

Over 100 Northeastern Retail Lumber Association members participated in NLBMDA’s virtual LBM Industry Advocacy Week, setting record attendance for both the regional and national groups. Constituents discussed with their elected officials the need for a new Softwood Lumber Agreement, the federal minimum wage increase, and COVID employer liability. NRLA set up 31 meetings with legislators’ offices across Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Appearances were made by Sen. Susan Collins (ME), Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-1), Rep. Paul Tonko (NY-20), and Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-22). “Whether virtually or in-person, the members of the NRLA always answer the bell to advocate on behalf of independent lumber and building materials businesses across the United States,” said Kirk Ives, NRLA director of legislative & regulatory affairs. “This year’s record-breaking participation demonstrated the strength of the LBM industry and its desire to play a pivotal role in advancing our collective legislative priorities.






PPG www.ppgprefinished.com

Beck America www.beck-america.com



Boise Cascade Building Materials Distribution www.bc.com/distribution

Cover I, 53

Redwood Empire www.buyredwood.com


Boozer Laminated Beam Co. www.boozerbeam.com


Robbins Lumber www.rlco.com


CMPC www.cmpc.com


RoyOMartin www.royomartin.com


Crumpler Plastic Pipe www.cpp-pipe.com


Seljax www.seljax.com


Culpeper Wood Preservers www.culpeperwood.com


Simpson Strong-Tie www.strongtie.com

Cover III

Do it Best www.doitbestonline.com


Snider Industries www.sniderindustries.com


Durgin & Crowell Lumber www.durginandcrowell.com


Softwood Lumber Board www.softwoodlumberboard.org


Elk Creek Forest Products www.elkcreekforest.com


Southern Forest Products Association www.sfpa.org


Everwood Treatment Co. www.everwoodtreatment.com


Spartanburg Forest Products www.spartanburgforestproducts.com


526 Media Group www.building-products.com


Sure Drive www.suredrive.com


Fasco America www.fasco-tools.com


Swanson Group Sales Co. www.swansongroup.biz


Great Southern Wood Preserving www.yellawood.com


Timber Products www.timberproducts.com


Jordan Lumber www.jordanlumber.com


TIVA Building Products www.tivabp.com

Cover II

Lonza www.wolmanizedwood.com


West Fraser www.westfraser.com/osb

Cover IV

Manufacturers Reserve Supply www.mrslumber.com


Western Forest Products www.westernforest.com


North American Wholesale Lumber Assn. www.nawla.org


Weyerhaeuser www.weyerhaeuser.com


Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Assn. www.nelma.org


Palram Americas www.palighttrimboard.com


Perma-Column www.permacolumn.com


Reclaimed Wood Paneling & Flooring

Reclaimed Wood Paneling & Flooring www.rwpf4.com

Deck Building Solutions • 866-767-1850 • www.suredrive.com • sales@suredrive.com

Welcome Aboard!

Reclaimed BPD is thrilled to introduce to our readers two Paneling first-time advertisers: Reclaimed Wood Paneling Wood & Flooring & Flooring, manufacturer of reclaimed solid wood products, and Seljax, specializing in estimating and 3D design software.

May 2021 n Building Products Digest n


FLASHBack 75 Years Ago This Month

Lumbermen returning to civilian

life—and their jobs in the lumber industry—were a frequent topic during 1946 in the pages of BPD’s sister publication, The California Lumber Merchant. The May 1946 issue, for example, tracked more than a dozen returning lumbermen, including Ralph Lamon, who was back at his father’s company, Lamon-Bonnington Co., Eugene, Or., after four years fighting overseas as a captain in the U.S. Army. Six years later, Lamon and his father co-founded Lamon Lumber, which he operated for 30 years. Ralph passed away in 2006 at age 90. Also in May of 1946, William Walker returned after three years in the Army, but not to his old job selling for Timber Products Co., Medford, Or. Instead, he and his old boss, TP sales manager Clessen E. Perry, broke off on their own and opened a retail yard, Perry-Walker Lumber Co. in Modesto, Ca. Similarly, the new Sherwood Forest Lumber Co., South Gate, Ca., was opened by Harry Horrocks Jr., just discharged as a lieutenant commander in the Navy; John Vosmek, who was with Dant

THE MAY 1946 issue featured Western Hardwood Lumber Co., Los Angeles, Ca., distributor of Veriply hardwood paneling and Roddiscraft flush hardwood doors.

& Russell before serving as a lieutenant in the Navy; and Gordon Dewart, ex-J.H. Baxter & Co. In other news of 75 years ago: • The redwood lumber industry was 18 weeks into a labor strike that brought 11 Northern California sawmills to a standstill. In January, 4,000 workers walked out, seeking a wage increase of 22.5 cents per hour. With operations idled and no resolution in sight, some of the facilities opted to begin extensive modernization projects.

The dispute would end up lasting five months before a compromise was reached to hike pay by 20 cents an hour. • Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. vowed that its subsidiary Wingfoot Homes planned to convert idled war plants into modular home factories. Its intention was to mass produce 48,900 two-bedroom homes each year, complete with bathroom and kitchen fixtures, built-in beds, closets, mirrors and cabinets, that would retail for under $2,500 apiece. • The Olympic brand made its debut with new prestained siding and roofing products from the West Coast Stained Shingle Co. of Seattle, Wa. Featuring the new stain developed by Creo-Dipt Co., West Coast Shingle introduced 16” and l8” double-wall siding, called Perfect-Fits, in five distinctive colors, as well as Olympic Tri-Lap roofing. The line was so successful that in 1950 Creo-Dipt changed its name to Olympic Stain Products, which in turn was acquired by PPG in 1989.

FIRST IN FLIGHT: A first in the history of lumber transportation was established at the Portland Columbia Airport, Portland, Or., when 3,000 bd. ft. of Douglas fir paneling was loaded aboard a National Skyways C-47 cargo plane for aerial shpment on the Flying Tiger line to Galveston, Tx. Considered the first aerial shipment of lumber in the continental U.S., the 5,000 lbs. of lumber was flown from Long-Bell Lumber, Longview, Wa., to Maurice Angley Lumber, Houston, Tx., in time for the annual convention of the Lumbermen’s Association of Texas. Proceeds from the sale were used to erect a memorial to Texas lumbermen who died in service during World War II.


n Building Products Digest n May 2021

• Three representatives of the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co., San Francisco, Ca., spoke at the most recent dinner meeting of the Sacramento Hoo-Hoo Club, demonstrating the latest innovations in telephone communications.


In today’s marketplace, ecommerce has blended in-store and online shopping into a seamless experience. Consumers can shop whenever they want – from wherever they are. As a Do it Best member-owner, you have a powerful, fully-customizable ecommerce tool to help you build a robust, localized dot com presence.

These features make it even easier to give our customers the convenient shopping options they expect, plus we’re getting more online business and foot traffic in our stores — it’s a win-win.

Do it Best has four game-changing features to help you meet the needs and expectations of your customers, including same day in-store pickup, member-sourced inventory, enhanced curbside pickup, and the all new Pick N Pack app to help your associates manage online order notification, retrieval and fulfillment. Do it Best ecommerce gives you the tools you need to reach your customers wherever they are and bring them to exactly where you want them to be — your growing business.

To learn more, call us today at 888-DO-IT-BEST (888.364.8237).

Douglas Wasiura


Sr. Vice President of Marketing & Ecommerce Valu Home Centers

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