LUMBERYARDS

Eco Building Products CEO points to momentum

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Anticipating big moves ahead for the company, Eco Building Products president and CEO Steve Conboy sent out a letter to the company’s shareholders Tuesday, providing a status update heading into the second half of the year and the mainstream national market as a whole.

"We now are gaining national attention with national supply chain via our primary client, a Major Big Box retailer," wrote Conboy.

Among recent developments, ECOB is operating under a lean, "supply-only" business model that’ll provide coating services and special order sales for Eco Red Shield protected lumber.

Eco is also bracing for increased demand in the second half of the year, which is prompting the company to expand its supply chain capacity.

"We have positioned the company to scale as product demand grows," added Conboy. "We represent a breakthrough opportunity in a $100B worldwide industry, which is central to infrastructure development, while providing an ecologically friendly solution to key unmet needs in the space."

Among its methods for scaling are direct to consumer sales via the aforementioned big box customer, pre-packaged home infrastructures, and a high-margin affiliate program in which Eco will supply coating equipment and application chemicals to lumber manufacturers.

The company is also moving ahead with its aim to become a cash-flow positive business by reclassifying certain liabilities and increasing its access to capital, and it’s gearing up for the big shift with a shift in branding as well.

"In our opinion, we feel that in order to be most effective in the manufacturing and distribution of a cost-effective, defensive lumber product, we change the perception that Eco Red Shield is a luxury commodity, and instead use targeted marketing and education to appropriately instruct the marketplace that Eco Red Shield is a critical component to large infrastructure planning going forward, and not using Eco Red Shield is exposing end users and insurance companies to significant additional safety risk and rehabilitation expense," added Conboy.

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GE expounds on its micro-kitchen concept

BY HBSDEALER Staff

GE is releasing more details regarding one of its newest and most exciting projects, part of a new partnership with MakerBot and TechShop that will serve as an incubator of sorts for innovations in the appliance space.

“As we watch what’s happening in the U.S., there’s a clear trend toward smaller, more efficient living spaces,” said Lou Lenzi, director of industrial design for GE Appliances. “There will always be a need for larger appliances for existing homes; however, we can’t ignore the growing need in urban environments. GE Appliances is excited to tackle the design challenge of creating micro-kitchen concepts that help people maintain or enhance their lifestyle in substantially less square footage.”

Among the concepts is the monoblock, which seamlessly integrates cooking, cleaning and refrigeration into the cabinetry. A second design uses a drawer-based system to stow — and make available — various appliances as needed, including a microwave oven, conventional oven, convertible refrigerator and freezer, and dishwasher. It will also include an induction or radiant glass cooktop, downdraft ventilation system and kitchen sink with disposal.

According to the company, GE is the first manufacurer to have its own micro-factory production facility, which is called FirstBuild and is located in Louisville, Kentucky. There, GE will prototype, manufacture and sell small batches of the micro kitchens later this year.

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Trex lauded as a top workplace

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Trex Company was among those honored by the Washington Post in its 2014 Top Workplaces annual feature.

Recognized for its leadership, pay and benefits, training, diversity and workplace flexibility, Trex also stood out in large part thanks to its commitment to maintaining strong compensation for its employees in the midst of the economic downturn.

"Trex’s leadership strives to provide a desirable workplace through its company practices and policies," said Jay Rudolph, senior director of human resources for Trex. "In the face of a sluggish economy, where cutting benefit programs in order to save money is more the rule than the exception, Trex has stood strong for its employees. Best-in-class products are created by best-in-class people. Striking a balance between the needs of the company and the needs of our people has resulted in low turnover and high employee satisfaction."

Trex employees can avail themselves of competitive pay, an incentive bonus program, full medical, dental and life insurance, a 401(k) plan with a one-to-one company match up to 6%, Employee Stock Purchase Plan, tuition reimbursement for continuing education and an employee discount program on Trex products.

Starting with 36 employees in 1993 — 11 of whom are still there today — Trex currently has over 600 employees.

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