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PLM and ILM launch new website

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Pennsylvania and Indiana Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Companies have launched a new website: plmilm.com.

The new site includes navigation and information improvements, and also reflects the affiliation of PLM and ILM, which occurred in the fall of 2013.

According to Steve Firko, PLM/ILM senior VP marketing and field operations: “PLM and ILM have consistently maintained longstanding relationships with customers, striving to remain ahead of changes in the industries we serve and provide the most up-to-date information needed to protect our customers. The new website reflects this goal and once again proves why ‘together, we’re better’.”

When entering the website, visitors are greeted by a scrolling banner that highlights current company initiatives and pertinent customer information. The new layout provides for easier navigation through both old and new information.

According to Firko, the website more closely aligns with the company’s mission to be recognized as the premier insurance provider serving the lumber, woodworking and building material industries. The information previously available to customers has been combined and enhanced to create a more interactive and resourceful place for current and prospective customers, along with their insurance agents and brokers. 

“The new website focuses on providing customer service the way our customers want it,” Firko said.

The website offers mobile device compatibility, easier navigation, updated information and improved resources all meant to improve the user experience.

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Do it Best LBM exec to retire

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Do it Best Corp. announced the retirement of one of its senior leaders while also transitioning another proven executive into a new position.   

Effective Oct. 24, Do it Best VP of Lumber and Building Materials Quent Ondricek will retire his position, while Gary Nackers, currently director of program development for LBM, will move into that role, effective Sept. 15. 

Nackers joined the co-op in 1999, and has served in a number of roles of growing responsibility and geographic scope. After starting as a territory manager on the sales and business development team, a series of promotions within the department led to his position as national sales manager in 2008, which he served at until assuming his current role in early 2012. Overall, he has more than 30 years of experience in the home improvement and hardware retail industries. 

“While it won’t be easy following the example Quent has set in his career, I could not be more excited about the opportunities ahead for independent entrepreneurs in the home improvement industry,” said Nackers. “I look forward to working with our incredible LBM team and, most importantly, continuing to help our members grow and succeed.”

Ondricek had a lengthy career at Our Own Hardware, before joining the Do it Best Corp. team when those two co-ops combined in 1998. He came on board as a regional sales manager for a newly created territory, serving in that role for three years before a promotion to national sales manager in 2001. He was named VP lumber and building materials in 2002. Overall, he has more than 40 years of experience in the hardware and LBM industries.

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Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Aug. 1, 2014

*Western – regional species perimeter foundation; Southern – regional species slab construction.

Crow’s Market Recap — A condensed recap of the market conditions for the major North American softwood lumber and panel products as reported in Crow’s Weekly Market Report. 

Lumber: Sales activity in the SPF lumber market remained lackluster, eroding mill order files and forcing producers to lower quotes in some instances. Thursday’s moderate gain in futures gave some buyers and excuse to participate. Prices in Southern Pine maintained the same direction they have now taken for the past several weeks. Stronger gains appeared in 2×4 and 2×6 #2, with mills able to push those prices as much as $20 higher. Wide width pricing remained weak. Producers reported a quiet week of sales on the dry side of the Coastal species lumber market. Quotes were lowered early in the week. Meanwhile, green Doug Fir prices remained solid. Most Inland lumber producers are content to call the market flat or unchanged, taking modest volumes of orders and keeping the market tidy. Some discounting, however, has occurred. Reports indicate declines in most Fir-Larch and Hem-Fir #2&Btr dimension lumber. In Radiata Pine, neither New Zealand nor Chile acceded to the wishes of discounters, both countries keeping their prices stable. A volume of Ponderosa Pine in both 5/4 and 6/4 Mldg&Btr was sold, and a good volume of both 5/4 and 6/4 #3 Shop entered the books. Major activity took place in Ponderosa Pine #2 Commons, resulting in sizable discounts on some items. Most of this action came from mills needing to reduce sizable inventories. Inland Cedar producers report that the market is perhaps best in D Select, with #3 firm. Producers of Western Red Cedar accepted a more pedestrian pace that late July and August usually bring. Buyers continued to purchase after selling enough volumes from their yards, but new orders often consisted of highly specified mixes.

Panels: OSB market direction went mostly sideways or down this week, making the situation seem like a broken record. Prompt wood is available, and most order files only go out a week or two. A few producers pulled off the market, which had little to no impact. Sales activity at Southern Pine plywood mills settled down after last week’s surge. More lead times moved into the week of Aug. 25 or beyond. Wholesalers purchased much less than the week prior but remained bullish. Western Fir plywood producers succeeded at wringing $5 to $10 more out of sheathing market after watching much of the price momentum established the week prior dry up. Canadian plywood markets sobered up this week, with no price movements since last Friday’s jump to nearly $500 for Toronto 3/8” spruce. Inventory was reported short in the pipeline and activity strong on the retail level. But distributors took a breather, reeling in purchasing activity this week. Stronger shipments than expected for the month of July surprised some particleboard and MDF producers. Other than normal sales, most sources reported an uneventful week.

For more on RISI, click here.  

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