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Concert raises $2.4 million for wounded soldiers

BY Ken Clark

A Kix Brooks concert event for Operation Finally Home hosted at the Las Vegas House of Blues by American Country Countdown and manufacturer LP Building Products rallied building industry attendees to commit an estimated $2.4 million toward homes for wounded soldiers. The concert was held during the International Builders’ Show. 

During the event, eight builders from around the nation representing cities such as Nashville, Tenn.; Amarillo, Texas; and Charlotte, N.C., pledged to join Operation Finally Home in their mission to provide mortgage-free homes for wounded soldiers across the United States. American Country Countdown and LP Building Products recently announced plans to support Operation Finally Home in the construction of homes for six wounded veterans in the next two years. Pledged support from eight builders will allow for further expansion of these plans. 

“The sense of community in our industry has always set us apart. I’ve never seen it more evident than when I watched these builders come forward to offer their time and resources in order to provide homes for our nation’s veterans,” said Rick Olszewski, executive VP specialty products, sales and marketing. “LP Building Products is honored to be a part of an effort bringing together so many companies and people across the industry in support of these wounded heroes.” 

The first American Country Countdown/LP Building Products-sponsored home will be built in Las Vegas for wounded soldier Army Cpl. Christopher Bales, a Purple Heart recipient who served two tours of duty — in Iraq from 2007 to 2008 and in Afghanistan in 2010. 

Born out of the Bay Area Builders Association Support Our Troops effort, Operation FInally Home was founded by Dan Wallrath in 2005. Daniel Vargas, a retired U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant, runs the organization out of New Braunfels, Texas. The program provides custom-made homes to wounded and disabled veterans as well as to widows of the fallen to help them get their lives back on track.

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Masco reports strong growth in fourth quarter

BY Ken Clark

Taylor, Mich.-based Masco Corp. said cost reduction played a role in what it described as a "strong" fourth quarter that provides momentum for the year 2013.

Sales were up 9% to $1.89 billion for the quarter. The company narrowed its fourth-quarter net loss to $87 million, compared with a net loss of $573 million in the fourth quarter last year.

"Our solid fourth-quarter results reflect the successful execution of our strategic initiatives, including leveraging our brands, reducing our costs, improving our Installation and Cabinet segments and strengthening our balance sheet," said Masco`s president and CEO, Tim Wadhams. "Our sales and margin growth represent strong performance across all of our operating segments, including a return to profitability in our Installation segment. We believe this momentum will continue into 2013." 

The company offered insights into the fourth-quarter performance of its various home divisions: 

  • Plumbing Products` net sales increased 10%, fueled by strong performance in North America and internationally;
  • Decorative Architectural Products` net sales increased 11%, driven by growth in core products and new programs;
  • North American Cabinetry`s sales increased 13%, and operating margins improved;
  • Installation and Other Services achieved profitability for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2008; and
  • Other Specialty Products` net sales increased 6% and segment margins expanded, reflecting share gains and profit improvement initiatives. 

For the full year, the company’s net sales increased 4.4% to $7.7 billion. The company posted a net loss of $114 million, compared with a net loss of $575 million in the same quarter last year. 

The company also said that in early February, it determined that its Danish ready-to-assemble cabinet business is not core to its long-term growth strategy. Masco plans to dispose of the business unit, which had sales of approximately $250 million in 2012.

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Whirlpool, Habitat build hope in Benton Harbor

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Whirlpool and Harbor Habitat for Humanity have completed construction on the homes built in partnership with Tynisha Murphy and the Patterson family, dedicating the homes in a ceremony that took place Dec. 8. The builds took place on side-by-side lots in the Harbor Shores community of Benton Harbor.

"We couldn’t be happier about our long-standing partnership with Whirlpool Corporation," said Erin Hudson, executive director of Harbor Habitat for Humanity. "The dedication of the company and its tireless volunteers has truly made a difference in our community and in communities across the country."

Through this build, and the volunteer hours the family put in, Patrick and Brunetta Patterson have achieved their goal of home ownership — improving the living situation for their three daughters and two grandchildren. The Pattersons, who are actively involved in their local church, Our Center for Better Living, never believed that would be possible.

"We are extremely thankful for the opportunity to become homeowners," said Patrick Patterson. "It has been an absolute pleasure to work side-by-side with these volunteers. Without Habitat for Humanity and Whirlpool, our dream never would have become a reality."

The build is part of Whirlpool-sponsored Habitat builds that took place throughout the United States in 2012.  Whirlpool also sponsored homes in Amana, Iowa, Clyde, Ohio and at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.

Whirlpool has been a partner of Habitat for Humanity International for 12 years, supporting Habitat’s work in 240 countries and sponsoring more than 100 homes since the partnership began in 1999. In that time, the company has donated a range and Energy Star-qualified refrigerator to every Habitat home in the United States and Canada, totaling more than 140,000 appliances. Whirlpool also supports and participates in the annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project and is the first corporation to provide on-going donations to Habitat for Humanity ReStore resale outlets, helping to raise an additional $4.6 million for the organization.

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