Obit: Michel E. Dowling
Lumber and building material industry veteran Michel E. Dowling, 68, of Marana, Arizona, died unexpectedly at his home. The cause of death was congestive heart failure.
Born in Rhode Island, Dowling entered the WT Grant’s organization’s management training program after college. He served as a hard goods buyer, remaining in that position until the Grant store’s demise in 1976.
Joining Emco Enterprises, he advanced to become the company’s executive VP and national sales manager with his primary focus on the promotion and sale of the Emco Forever Door as well as other Emco building products; he served in that capacity until his retirement.
He is survived by his wife Liane (Ludwig) of 46 years; two daughters, Liane White and Gretchen Manzo of Arizona; two sons, Michael E. Dowling Jr. and his wife Jill of Illinois, Brian Dowling of Arizona; and grandchildren, Cameron, Finnegan, Michele and Madison.
He also is survived by sisters, Ann Rita Petelle and Jean Carey, both of Massachusetts, and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
Emco is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Andersen Corp.
Masonite swings to profit in Q2
Masonite International Corporation announced steady sales growth of 8.2% and a net profit for the second quarter of 2014, putting the company back in the black after it suffered a loss in the same quarter last year.
Net sales increased by $37.1 million to a total of $490.2 million for the three months ended June 29. Masonite largely attributed the growth to a 5.5% increase in average unit price and a 3.4% increase in unit volumes.
Net income came in at $5.6 million, up from 2013’s loss of $1.2 million.
Fred Lynch, president and CEO, remarked upon the improvement in adjusted EBITDA, which increased 31.6% to $44.1 million, marking the company’s highest figure for the metric in five years.
“Previously announced price increases, a slowly improving U.S. housing market and tight operational cost control allowed us to deliver our strongest quarterly results in five years,” said Lynch. “While we believe we have not yet obtained a fair return for the high quality products and services we provide, the improvement in adjusted EBITDA margin we achieved during the second quarter suggests the balanced set of strategies we have been pursuing is moving us in the right direction.”
Masonite also noted the June 6 explosion in its South African Estcourt Mill, which led to the halting of production lines for several weeks. The mill is still running at approximately half the desired output, but the estimated adjusted EBITDA impact rests between $6 million and $7 million.
Imagination beats Internet as project starter
Pinterest and other home design-related websites are tremendous new tools for home improvement, but there’s still no substitute for the homeowner’s own imagination.
That’s one of the many possible interpretations to new research released by the Home Projects Council. The group’s survey of 585 homeowners shows the homeowner’s own imagination as first on its list of resources that homeowners prefer for inspiration. After Imagination (46%), comes Friends & Family (39%), Internet (39%), home improvement retailers (26%) and Magazines (25%).
(Click the image below for a larger version.)
“The survey revealed some surprising insights regarding the resources homeowners turn to for help with home improvement projects,” said Frank Owens, VP marketing for the Quikrete Companies, a founding member of the HPC. “I don’t think the results necessarily discount the value of any resource, especially when you consider that consumers access multiple sources of information before making a purchase. However, the survey is a strong indication that relationships with family and friends, and local stores as well as personal experience are proven project assets and remain invaluable today.”
While imagination leads in phase I, or inspiration, of a home project. The survey also studied three other phases of home improvement projects. “Friends and family” is the leading option for education/instruction. “Home improvement retailer” is the top choice for selection. And when asked how homeowners’ prefer to share their project success, the leading choice was “Tell friends and family directly.”
For more information, visit: facebook.com/HomeProjectsCouncil.