LUMBERYARDS

Chris Yenrick accepts the gavel as 2014 NLBMDA chairman

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Outgoing NLBMDA chairman Chuck Bankston took some time at the open of the ProDealer Industry Summit to formally pass the gavel to Chris Yenrick, who will replace him as chair in 2014.

"I hope I won’t have to use this too much," quipped Yenrick as he accepted the gavel from Bankston.

Yenrick, who is president of Smith Phillips Building Supply in Winston-Salem, N.C., stressed the importance of succession planning, grassroots activism and pulling younger generations into the aging industry.

"We need to find young people to replace [older grassroots advocates] and fight for our place on the Hill," he said. "I want to make sure that this business is viable for [my son] down the road."

Yenrick recounted his own entry into the industry, which began when he ended his military service and took a job at a lumberyard through his father-in-law. It felt like a natural fit, he said, so it came as no surprise when he discovered that his grandfather had also worked at a lumberyard. "It was in my blood," he said.

Yenrick highlighted the organization’s ongoing efforts to pass the Innocent Sellers Protection Act, its success in passing the exemption in the OSHA crane law, its work with Habitat for Humanity and the Helping a Hero program, and his intentions to continue strengthening the association’s relationship with the NAHB.

"I look forward to working through the NLBMDA to increase the awareness and involvement of independent and national chain dealers to present a strong and united front to advocate for business conditions that will be conducive to our long-term success," said Yenrick in a statement. "Lumberyards and our industry have a time-honored tradition of serving a vital role in the American dream of home-ownership. NLBMDA is our voice to help preserve that role into the future."

Yenrick has previously served at the federal level with NLBMDA, and regionally with the Southern Building Material Association.

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Expert sees positive signs, still

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Nashville, Tenn. — A few months ago, John Burns described himself as a raging optimist. Today he’s just an optimist.

That was one of the observations from the real estate consultant’s presentation at the ProDealer Industry Summit. The fundamentals of the housing recover are solid, he said. But in the sales office, sales and bargains and price drops surged in September. A survey showed 10% of builders surveyed dropped prices, from zero in the previous month. 

So much of the real estate market, of course, is regional. And the top three regions showing real estate strength are northern Florida, the Southwest and Southern California.

"I think the future for this industry looks bright," Burns said. The industry has moved ahead of retail distress and is looking ahead to normal levels of resale activity as construction increases steadily.

"Demand, supply and affordability fundamentals are solid, but trends are worth monitoring carefully," he said. 

Burns attacked a couple of ideas — especially the idea that consumers are moving back to the cities, a myth he described as extremely "overhyped." The growth of the urban core, he estimated, as a mere 5% of overall housing growth. "The big growth is still in the suburbs." 

Burns also suggested that people should ignore reports that smaller houses are gaining momentum. The reality is consumers want bigger houses, he said, and builders are naturally incentivized to build big houses. 

The ProDealer Industry Summit, sponsored jointly by HCN and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, concludes Oct. 25.  

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Owens Corning’s insulation category finds Q3 success

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Owens Corning reported growth across the board in the third quarter of 2013, especially in its insulation category, which delivered its best quarter in six years with a profitable year to date. 

Net sales for the quarter were at $1.32 billion, up from $1.28 billion on a year-over-year basis.

The company reported net earnings of $51 million, compared with $44 million during the third quarter of 2012.

"We delivered improved year-on-year performance in each of our businesses," said Mike Thaman, chairman and CEO. "Based on our year-to-date performance, we are maintaining our outlook of at least $100 million of adjusted EBIT growth." 

Thaman also noted that the company’s roofing business did well in terms of margins, with 20% EBIT margins on flat revenue. Meanwhile, insulation was at its ninth consecutive quarter of EBIT improvement. Composites didn’t fare as well, due in part to manufacturing performance and lower volumes, though they improved EBIT by $10 million over 2012. 

The company expects a 2013 outlook of at least $100 million growth in adjusted EBIT.

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