Raising the voice of the Lumberyard
It’s a long way from Boise, Idaho, to Washington, D.C. But that hasn’t kept Rick Lierz, the president of Franklin Building Supply, from joining industry colleagues in each of the past three years to push the LBM agenda on Capitol Hill.
Lierz is the incoming chairman of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association. And while he describes his interest in politics as “normal size,” his appreciation for the work of the NLBMDA, and particularly the annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., is clearly extra large.
In an interview with HBSDealer at the 12-location lumberyard company’s Boise headquarters, Lierz pointed to the multi-faceted value of participating in the NLBMDA. One reason is simply to experience the process of working with colleagues from around the country to achieve common goals.
“The NLBDMA Legislative Conferences are tremendous,” he said. “Not only are they interesting, but they’re also a lot of fun. And I’ve found it personally valuable. In my very first year, what I came away with was a completely different sense of what goes on on Capitol Hill and in Washington — in a positive way.”
In fact, he’s found them so valuable that Lierz has begun bringing Franklin Building Supply colleagues to get a taste of the lobbying and the learning at the conferences. “I want to get more leaders of all different ages to go back and experience that,” he said.
Another reason to get involved in the NLBMDA is the sheer importance of the work at hand and the implications of government regulations. “I think it’s very important that we have a voice in Washington for our industry,” he said. “Consider that dozens of other industries are doing the same thing, all day and every day. The more people we have involved, the bigger impact we have.”
Everyone has their individual list of hot-button policy issues, and Lierz shared a handful that sit at the top of his list. There’s the mortgage interest deduction, which he feels is very important to the industry as Congress tackles tax reform. “Everything is on the table, and that’s a big deal,” he said.
Given the frequency of frivolous lawsuits, he also describes himself as passionately supportive of the Innocent Sellers Fairness Act. And the softwood lumber trade agreement is another big deal to dealers, who feel an agreement between the U.S. and Canada is needed as a remedy to extreme pricing volatility. “Anything we can do to take what is clearly an uncertain buying proposition to start with and make it more certain is helpful,” he said.
And also, the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule continues to impact lumberyards’ ability to work on remodels.
[See the NLBMDA’s 2017 Legislative Agenda here.]
Franklin Building Supply was founded by Rick's father Dick Lierz in 1976. Today the company operates 12 yards, plus two truss plants, six door shops and five design centers. In April of 2016, the company became 100% employee-owned through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.
Lierz will officially begin his term as NLMBDA chair during the NLBMDA officer installation dinner, one of the highlights of the ProDealer Industry Summit slated for Oct. 17-19 in Phoenix, Ariz.
As NLBMDA chairman, he follows in the footsteps of Scott Yates of Denver Lumber, and current chair George Lester of the Virginia-based Lester Group. Both men have offered Lierz advice about leading the NLBMDA, and Lierz’s main message hammers on the theme of participation.
“Get involved in the lobbying,” he said. “Get involved with the legislative end of it. My hope is to convince as many people around the country to join that. It’s a singular experience, and it provides glue to membership.”
Promotion at McCoy’s Building Supply
San Marcos, Texas-based McCoy’s Building Supply promoted a “home-grown” manager to the role of corporate controller. Joshua Whitley, a 17-year veteran of McCoy’s who began his career with the company as an accounts payable clerk while attending Texas State University, was named corporate controller.
McCoy’s employs more than 2,000 people and operates 86 stores and two millwork facilities in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi and New Mexico. And the rise of Whitley reflects an emphasis on efficient information systems within the company.
“During the first few years of Joshua’s employment, we were working hard to have a fully integrated 3-way match system that tied the Point-Of-Sale system to the Account Payable module of our software,” said Rick Neal, senior VP and CFO. “While implementing the integration, Joshua was a big part of helping me develop the system and I quickly realized his ability to process the system side of accounting into logical and well thought out processes.”
Whitley became senior accounting manager in 2011, assistant controller in 2014, and a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) in 2015. “It’s been fun to watch Joshua’s career at McCoy’s and the way he has masterfully taken on more responsibility with each of his job assignments,” said CEO Brian McCoy. “Joshua is a home-grown leader who takes on every challenge with expertise and enthusiasm.”
“It’s a blessing to have been a part of McCoy’s growth,” says Whitley. “I’m excited to mentor and lead the fine team we’ve assembled within accounting as we build upon our sound accounting systems and processes to provide accurate and timely financial information for our company’s decision makers.”
84 Lumber earns spot on Forbes list
For the second consecutive year, 84 Lumber was named to Forbes’ 2017 List of America’s Best Midsize Employers. The list identified 300 companies.
Companies were selected based on an independent survey conducted by Forbes, in partnership with Statista.com, an online statistics database and consumer research firm. Statista surveyed 30,000 employees working for large or midsize firms. Participants were asked to anonymously recommend and rate their employers. Employees were also asked about various work factors, like pay, diversity or avenues to advancement.
“Our people are the best people in the world,” said Maggie Hardy Magerko, president and owner of 84 Lumber. “This ranking is a reflection of the dedication and commitment displayed by our leadership team and associates every single day.”
84 Lumber, appears at the 227th spot on the list.