Gingrich addresses PDIS
Chantilly, Va. — Newt Gingrich kicked off the ProDealer Industry Summit last night with a wide-ranging talk that covered education, geopolitics, the economy and American culture. Although Gingrich is a strong believer in the strength of the U.S. economy — “We’re still the best system in the world for attracting capital,” he said — the former Speaker of the House criticized Washington legislators and members of the executive branch for ignoring warning signs at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, being indifferent to the declining educational standards of U.S. high schools and stunting the growth of small businesses by passing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Gingrich also shared his thoughts on the bailout bill, which the U.S. Senate was deliberating just a few miles to the East. “[It’s] pathetic and undesirable but better than having the market crash,” Gingrich said. He added that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson “ought to resign. He’s a disaster.”
Attendees of the three-day conference, sponsored by the National Lumber and Building Materials Dealers Association (NLBMDA) and Home Channel News, asked Gingrich questions about the Georgian conflict, the Bush presidency and the emergence of China as a world power. They also posed for photos with the frequent TV political commentator.
The NLBMDA annual leadership dinner and awards dinner, also held last night, witnessed a changing of the guard as Harold Baalmaan, outgoing chairman of the NLBMDA, spoke of a tumultuous year “[where] we were forced to look inward and re-evaluate our goals and our purpose.” Incoming chairman Paul Hylbert stressed the need for LBM dealers to get involved in legislative and regulatory issues, at both the state and federal level.
“The future and success of this organization depends upon … what you do. We need you to be intensely involved so this industry has a strong voice,” Hylbert said.
The conference, held at the Westfields Marriott, continues today with a golf tournament benefiting the City of Hope and the HCN ProDealer of the Year awards dinner.
Companies, professional groups urge Congress to pass rescue plan
The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) today called on the leaders of Congress to resume work on a bipartisan financial rescue plan to address the severe credit crunch that threatens the stability of the economy and the housing market in particular.
“The failure to pass a bipartisan rescue plan yesterday sent Wall Street into a tailspin that will reach all the way to Main Street,” said NLBMDA president and CEO Michael O’Brien. “We are calling on Congress to get back to work and to not adjourn until a plan is put in place.”
Liquidity in the market and access to credit are essential to reviving the housing market and strengthening small businesses. Failure to enact a rescue plan will lead to further destabilization of the markets and the housing economy.
“Resuming negotiations is the only responsible course of action, and we call on our Congressional leaders to act swiftly,” O’Brien said.
Federal Way, Wash.-based Weyerhaeuser joined the chorus of professional voices urging Congress to take action on the issue.
In a statement, Weyerhaeuser president and CEO Dan Fulton said: “Weyerhaeuser urges members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to support legislation that will re-instill confidence and stability in the financial markets. The current tight credit market is a significant barrier to functioning capital markets, new home construction and capital-intensive businesses,” he said.
“This further aggravates the impacts of the already depressed housing market, which is a significant market for Weyerhaeuser — from timberlands and residential wood products businesses to our home-building companies. The ability to grow all of our businesses, including cellulose fibers, requires access to a healthy banking system in order to promote economic growth. Passage of legislation is vital to the health and preservation of jobs in all sectors of the economy of the states in which we operate and the nation. We urge Congress to act swiftly.”
The National Association of Home Builders, a group that has been pushing for a number of housing and mortgage market legislative issues over the past year, also chimed in.
During its board of directors meeting in San Diego, the leadership of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) unanimously “called on Congress to act now before conditions deteriorate to a point that could trigger a global financial meltdown,” according to a statement.
“We agree with Fed Chairman Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Paulson that immediate steps need to be taken to stem the financial crisis. The financial markets are in turmoil, and the flow of credit has been severely curtailed for housing and other sectors of the economy,” said NAHB president Sandy Dunn. “There’s no time to waste. Congress must pass legislation as soon as possible.”
ProDealer Industry Summit kicks off today
The ProDealer Industry Summit kicks off today in Chantilly, Va., bringing together lumber and building materials dealers from across the country.
The event, presented jointly by the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association and Home Channel News, kicks off with keynote speaker Newt Gingrich on Oct. 1, followed by the NLBMDA’s annual leadership dinner and awards ceremony and a silent auction to benefit the Innocent Sellers Fund, which aids the NLBMDA’s efforts to protect pro dealers who are sued for products they did not manufacture, design or alter.
On Oct. 2, the Industry Summit will get in gear with a golf tournament benefiting the City of Hope, followed by HCN’s ProDealer of the Year dinner.
Oct. 3 will usher in a host of education sessions and panel discussions, including:
• “Housing Industry Outlook,” with Ivy Zelman, CEO, Zelman & Associate, offering a real-time overview of the volatile housing market.
• “Are You Ready For The Recovery?” In this session, leading economists and analysts continue the discussion on home-building trends, non-residential construction, builder consolidation, commodity pricing, and preparing for the turnaround from a financial and operations perspective. Moderated by: Ivy Zelman, CEO, Zelman & Associates; Panelists are Joshua Rosenbaum, Executive Director, Building Products, UBS Securities; Paul Jannke, SVP, Wood & Timber, RISI.
• “Energy Star: What’s Next?” – This session will address why the rules of home building have changed, and how builders and their suppliers can ramp up product offerings to address this new paradigm shift. Sam Rashkin, National Director for the Energy Star for Homes Program hosts this session.
• Keynote Builder Luncheon – Jerry Howard, EVP & CEO, of the National Association of Home Builders, addresses attendees – he has more than 20 years of association experience and a lifetime in the housing industry.
• “The Supply Chain Revolution” – In this session, home builders are taking a hard look at construction methods, plans and materials to see how they can reduce costs. Skus must be rationalized and suppliers have to prove their worth. Hosting are Tony Callahan, Senior vp, National Purchasing, Planning and Design, Beazer Homes; Ed Hudson, Director, Market Research Division, NAHB Research Center; Paul Hylbert, CEO, ProBuild; William Whiddon, Partner, Building Technology Inc.
• “Running a Tight Credit Operation” will address best practices in tough times, including a discussion of strategies to improve accounts receivable, when to extend or cut off credit, and how to double check a credit report and evaluate a new client. Hosting are Annie Catmull, Attorney, Walker Wilcox Matousek LLP; Diana Perenza, vp and credit manager, Florence Building Materials.
Check back at homechannelnews.com throughout the week for updates as the ProDealer Industry Summit gets underway.