New Hampshire dealer honored
The New Hampshire Retail Lumber Association named Dan Keith, of Selectwood in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, as its 2017 Lumber Person of the Year. The award recognizes an individual for significant contributions to the lumber and building materials industry as well as to his or her local community.
Keith’s career in the industry began in 1973, shortly after his discharge from the Navy, at a now-defunct company called Mammoth Mart Lumber. A few years after his initial foray at Mammoth Mart, Keith reentered the lumber industry through a Navy job-training program at Grossman’s Lumber. He worked his way up to general manager before winding his way through several other stops around the industry, including a brief New York detour at Lloyd Lumber, a return to Grossman’s, a stint as an operations manager at Coastal Forest Products, and some time on the sales side at Groleau Millwork in Laconia, NH.
In 1989 Keith joined Selectwood at their old brick warehouse on the Lamprey River with a single loading door through which lumber had to be hand-carried. Selectwood moved to a bigger, more modern facility in Portsmouth in 1995 and Keith is still there to this day, overseeing operations as general manager.
Keith’s been on the NHRLA board of directors for the past eight years, including two as president; he also serves on its legislative committee. He is also engaged in several professional groups, including the New Hampshire American Institute of Architects, Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, Western Red Cedar Lumber Association, and Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau.
Keith expresses his feelings about his career succinctly: “I enjoy my job because I am in an industry which is still honorable. There are very good people in all aspects: manufacturers, wholesalers, independent reps, and retailers.”
Honors for Maine dealer
Jim Murphy of Riverside Millwork Center in Auburn, Maine, was named 2017 Lumber Person of the Year by the Retail Lumber Dealers Association of Maine. This award recognizes an individual for significant contributions to the lumber and building materials industry as well as to his local community.
An active member of RLDAM, Murphy’s career started in 1987, when he began working for a general contractor. One thing led to another when his employer built a facility for a pre-hung door company and he was hired him away to manage the place. Unfortunately, a housing slump forced the facility to close, leaving Murphy at a crossroad.
“At the time, I had four kids under the age of six and absolutely no money,” Murphy recalls. “But with a very understanding wife and some help from a couple partners, I purchased the assets and started my company.” Riverside Millwork Center has been his life’s work ever since.
Murphy’s involvement with the lumber and building materials industry runs deep. He has served on the board of the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association, as well as serving as vice president and president of RLDAM. Additionally, Murphy chaired several committees and served as treasurer of the organization’s political action committee and on the legislative committee.
Outside of the LBM world, Murphy was selectman and board chairman for the town of Bowdoin (where he lives), and has served on the town’s Board of Appeals since 2005. He is also involved with the Lewiston-Auburn Chamber of Commerce and sat on the board of Maine School Administrative District 75 in the 1980’s.
Murphy has been married to his wife, Jane Kearney, since 1980. They have four children, five grandchildren, and another on the way. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and working around his homes, both in Maine and Florida.
As a small business owner, Murphy finds that the challenges are more than worth the rewards – which go beyond financial. “It seems the older I get, the more I enjoy it,” he says. And his guiding principles are short and to the point: “Work hard, keep your word, be loyal, and value loyalty in others.”
A unified Meek’s names a new CEO
Meek’s has long operated as a tale of two companies – one division in California, and one in Missouri. But with Charlie Meek promoted to the role of Meek’s CEO, the $325 million lumber and building material dealer is essentially unified, and looking to benefit from the synergies of combined operations.
The Springfield, Missouri-based company with a second office in Sacramento, California, announced Friday morning that Charlie Meek will take over as CEO immediately. This move marks the culmination of a plan to unify management of both divisions under one national CEO. Carrie Meek, also a 4th generation family member who had led the West Coast division, will take on a new role as Chairwoman of the Board. The board also includes Corporate CFO Michael Meek (4th generation) and 3rd generation family leaders Bill and Terry Meek.
The dealer operates in four states—Arkansas, Missouri, California and Nevada—and includes 46 full-service lumberyards and nearly a dozen ancillary locations including distribution centers, installed service outlets and more.
Driving the decision to consolidate are retiring family members, obvious synergies, and the opportunity to take advantage of Meek’s size and geographic footprint. The company had previously operated under two divisions with separate, decentralized management teams because of distinct geographic footprints and family business dynamics.
“I am very excited for Meek’s; this is an excellent management team, with complementary strengths. There is no doubt in my mind that the opportunity for this blended executive team to work closely with each other is going to produce outsized results. Collectively, we have worked very deliberately to develop and begin implementing a comprehensive strategy which will allow Meek’s to continue its growth as a leading building products supplier” said CEO Charlie Meek.
Carrie Meek added, “Combining our two divisions allows us to leverage opportunities as one company. I am thrilled we will have Charlie’s passion and extensive experience leading the charge. He has a great team who will share best practices from both divisions and the unanimous support of the board.”
In addition to Charlie and Carrie Meek, other key executives are:
• Mike Meek – CFO
• Matt Blair – President of West Coast Operations
• Eric Sachse – General Manager of Retail Operations, Midwest
• Tom Buckner – General Manager of Special Operations, Midwest
The company will reach its 100th anniversary in 2019.
Meek’s originated in Lockwood, Missouri, where Charles C. Meek opened the company’s first lumberyard in 1919; but it wasn’t until the early 1930s that Charles C. Meek, Jr. relocated the business to its current headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, and in 1947 opened the first Meek’s yard on the West Coast, in Northern California.
In 2014, the company was recognized as the Home Channel News Pro Dealer of the Year during the ProDealer Industry Summit, hosted by the National Lumber and Building Material Dealer Association and Home Channel News, the forerunner of HBSDealer.
The move to consolidate and operate as a more unified Meek's has been on the drawing board for a while. "We've always talked about the opportunity of doing something like this," said Sachse. "The Meek family began discussing it seriously earlier this year and decided it was time."