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John Stephenson named chief marketing officer at CalStar

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Sustainable masonry manufacturer CalStar Products has appointed John Stephenson as its chief marketing officer. Stephenson spent more than 25 years in marketing and management roles for window and exterior product manufacturers.

“With its innovative technology and game-changing sustainability, CalStar has quickly transitioned from a start-up to an industry influencer,” Stephenson said. “I am thrilled to be joining a business with such a positive mission, and I’m looking forward to seeing the impact CalStar can have in the commercial building landscape.”

Stephenson comes to CalStar following nine years at Ply Gem, where he served most recently as senior VP marketing and previously as president of the Kroy Building Products division and president of the Great Lakes Window division. He also spent 15 years at Milgard Windows, as marketing director and as a general manager.

“Along with his intimate knowledge of the exterior products category, John brings unmatched brand leadership, determination, and creativity, along with an enthusiasm for translating emerging tools into opportunities for our customers in the B2B space,” said CalStar CEO Joel Rood. “His reputation as a leader and a change agent will play a vital role in CalStar’s continued exploration of new products and services that are critical to our next stages of growth.”

Recently, the company opened its second manufacturing facility in Columbus, Mississippi. The Columbus plant will manufacture all of CalStar’s masonry lines, which are made using up to 81% less energy.

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Rail disruptions hurt LP performance

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Nashville, Tennessee-based Louisiana-Pacific reported first-quarter sales of $445 million, a 16% decline compared with the year-ago quarter. 

Like most building-material companies with construction-related customers, the winter weather was cited as a drag on the company’s performance. 

“The severe weather across much of North America in the first quarter took a toll on building activity and logistics,” said Curt Stevens, CEO. “The rail transportation systems in both the U.S. and Canada were in disarray in the first quarter, which caused unplanned downtime at our operations, increased inventory and late shipments and negatively affected our reported results.”

Loss from continuing operations was $14 million, compared with income from continuing operations of $65 million in the same quarter in 2013. 

"With better weather, we are hopeful that housing starts will accelerate to the forecasted level of 1.1 million for 2014,” continued Stevens. “Our current order files are much stronger than we have seen over the last several quarters, and our customers have a positive outlook for the rest of the year.”

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Simpson Strong-Tie sees opportunity in DIY

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Las Vegas — Simpson Strong-Tie is reaching out to the DIY customer with easy-to-assemble work bench kits and also ideas to empower the typical homeowner. 

Here at the National Hardware Show, the Pleasanton, California-based fastener giant was displaying its DIY Done Right boxed kit work bench, as well as DIY-focused brochures and marketing materials to help connect retailers with consumers.

According to David Larson, national accounts manager, DIY represents a huge market in which to grow for the generally pro-oriented company. He estimates that DIY spending accounts for about 10% of the company’s sales, compared to 90% pro — though its’ a difficult ratio to measure.

The company’s brochure DIY Done Right brochure positions the use of Simpson Strong-Tie connectors and fasteners as the "professional way" to handle DIY projects. The same brochure offers ideas and hints for storage units, work benchs, trellises, fences and decks.

"DIY is the way to go these days," the brochure states.

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