Home Channel News received numerous comments about a recent front-page article, “Homeland security: industry supports soldiers,” (Aug. 27 issue) about the charity Homes for Our Troops. The comments were positive, and personal.
“I’m a Vietnam vet, and this story is very dear to my heart,” wrote one reader. Several others—both inside the industry and out—told us they appreciated associate editor Lisa Girard’s article and the treatment we gave it.
Certainly, Homes for Our Troops is a worthy cause, and the idea of injured volunteers returning home is packed with emotion. But here’s another reason I think the story struck such a chord: our industry and the military are linked through the personal experiences of a high percentage of key players—and many, many more are connected to the armed services through sons, daughters and relatives.
(Full disclosure: my own brother Dan Clark, a truss manager for Chase Lumber, in Aurora, Colo., used to be in the 8th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army.)
Michael Cassidy is a former marine captain who has given a lot of thought over the years to the similarities between the military and the LBM industry. Today, he is senior vp within Pro-Build Holdings’ East Region, and he sees the two fields as closely related in many ways.
“They’re both physical industries,” said Cassidy, 44. “You’re moving stuff, you’re leading people, and ultimately you’re helping serve others. In the case of the housing industry, you’re helping people build a home.”
Military leadership translates to our industry as well, he said—but not the drop-and-give-me-twenty style that many people associate with boot camp. Cassidy learned early in his career as a Marine officer that getting things done in the field required communicating the mission, supplying the resources and, often times, getting out of the way. This team-oriented aspect of military leadership is crucial and often misunderstood.
“The myth of the ‘Yes sir, no sir’ single-minded culture does great disservice to those coming from the military,” said Cassidy. “The great thing about these folks in my experience anyway is that they aren’t intimidated by much and don’t mind occasionally telling you that you are wrong and just how wrong you are. That can be of great value to leaders.”
No argument here, sir.
We don’t have statistics on the subject. But the home channel-military connection increased by at least one Army veteran this month when Bill Addison joined Home Channel News. Addison was with his National Guard Unit in Korea just a few weeks ago. Now he’s covering hardware and tools for HCN.
You don’t have to have military experience to cover this business, but it doesn’t hurt.
Third-quarter earnings up at 3M
St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M had record third-quarter sales and earnings, with earnings growth of 7.4 percent to $960 million compared with $894 million in the same period last year.
The company had net sales of $6.2 billion, up 5.8 percent from $5.86 billion last year.
George Buckley, 3M’s president, chairman and CEO, said the company saw gains across all its business segments. In consumer and office products, 3M saw sales grow 5.9 percent to $898 million compared with $848 million in the same period last year. The company’s safety and security products business saw sales rise 10.9 percent to $766 million from $691 million last year.
“The strength of the 3M portfolio was evident in the third quarter as we again generated record sales,” Buckley said. “Geographic diversity was also an important factor. We continue to accelerate investment in research and development, sales and marketing and in simplification of our supply chains.”
3M has business offices globally, with operations in other industries including industrial and transportation; health care; display and graphics; and electronics and communications.
Weyerhaeuser to shutter three iLevel plants
Federal Way, Wash.-based Weyerhaeuser will “indefinitely curtail” operations at three iLevel building products plants because of “slow customer demand.”
The curtailments include an oriented strand board (OSB) plant in Drayton Valley, Alberta; an OSB plant in Wawa, Ontario; and a laminated strand lumber plant in Deerwood, Minn. Work will halt at the plants before the end of the year, the company said.
“The decline in North American housing starts has reduced demand for wood products, requiring us to rationalize our supply of OSB and engineered wood,” said Steven Rogel, chairman, president and CEO of Weyerhaeuser. “We remain committed to these markets. This move enables our remaining plants to better execute our customer strategies.”
The Wawa and Drayton Valley plants are two of nine OSB mills in the Weyerhaeuser system. Wawa has an annual production capacity of 470 million square feet of OSB, while Drayton Valley has a capacity of 415 million square feet annually, the company said.
The Deerwood plant can produce six million cubic feet per year of engineered strand lumber and is one of three such plants owned by Weyerhaeuser.