LUMBERYARDS

Weyerhaeuser’s Simons says innovation will win

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Las Vegas — Weyerhaeuser CEO Doyle Simons says he’s encouraged by the recovery in the home-building  and LBM industries. But it’s too early celebrate. 

In an interview with HCN in the Weyerhaeuser booth at the International Builders’ Show here, Simons also talked about the importance of product innovation and market education.

After a year in which housing starts fell just shy of the million mark, the Weyerhaeuser internal forecast calls for about 1.1 million starts in 2014. 

"It is encouraging to have a supportive market in place," Simons said. "I still think we have a lot of runway in front of us. If you look at long-term average of 1.5 million, 1.6 million, 1.7 million — 1.1 million feels a lot better than we were four or five years ago, but I still think we have a lot of runway ahead of us." 

Simons, who came to Weyerhaeuser from Temple-Inland, said the topic of LBM product scarcity in the face of a potential rising demand is a valid concern, but Weyerhaeuser is doing what it can to mitigate potential problems. "I can tell you we’re making sure that we’re spending the capital and we’re focused on reliability in our mills, so that we’re running our mills better," he said. "That will result in more product." 

The company also began the process of restarting operations at its Evergreen, Ala., mill, which was closed during the downturn. "By May, we think we’ll be making product out of that mill." 

On the topic of new product innovation, Simons says its part of the company’s core value.

"We spend a lot of time and effort and resources on research and development," he said. "And I think one of the key competitive advantages that Weyerhaeuser has is innovation and the ability to make new products."

Getting the market to accept innovation is made easier.

"It always takes a little longer than you think it would," he said. "But I’m convinced that if you make a product that either makes housing better or the builder’s life easier, and if you educate customers, they’re going to do what’s ultimately in their best interest. But it does take time. It does take effort. It does take resources."

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Universal Forest adds Mary Tuuk to board

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Universal Forest Products has announced that Mary Tuuk, executive VP corporate services and secretary of the board of directors of Fifth Third Bancorp, was elected to its board of directors at the Jan. 30, 2014, meeting. Tuuk’s election expands the UFPI board to 10, including eight independent directors.

Tuuk began her career at Old Kent Financial, where she served as senior VP, corporate secretary and legal counsel until Old Kent was acquired by Fifth Third in 2001. Since then, she has held numerous positions at Fifth Third Bancorp, including executive VP and chief risk officer.

As executive VP of Corporate Services, she is responsible for the legal, compliance and government affairs functions. She also has had leadership responsibility for the growth and strategic direction of major lines of business at Fifth Third Bank of Western Michigan. 

“Mary’s vast experience in banking, compliance and strategic development will be a huge asset for growing our success at Universal Forest Products, and her values and integrity reflect all that we’re looking for in a board member who will help lead us into a prosperous and vibrant future,” said board chairman William G. Currie. “We are pleased to have her expertise, perspective and counsel at the board table.”

Tuuk received her bachelor’s degrees in business and music from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., and her master’s degree in business administration and juris doctorate from Indiana University. She was named one of the “25 Women to Watch in Banking” by American Banker magazine each year since 2008.

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PulteGroup launches ‘Built to Honor’ to recognize veterans

BY HBSDEALER Staff

PulteGroup has launched Built to Honor to provide new homes to 20 wounded veterans and their families in 2014. 

Built to Honor is PulteGroup’s program for the construction and donation of mortgage-free homes to returning military personnel who have been injured during their term of service.  The program works in partnership with Operation Finally Home, a nonpartisan/nonprofit organization that identifies veteran candidates, and helps bring together builders, contractors, manufacturers and sponsors throughout the country.    

"We at PulteGroup are forever grateful for the countless sacrifices our service men, women and their families have made defending our freedom," said Richard J. Dugas Jr., PulteGroup chairman, president and CEO.  "We’ve long been in business to make lives better, and thanks to our size, expertise and trade partnerships, we can help make a difference for our nation’s veterans by simply doing what we do best … building homes."

In 2013, PulteGroup constructed nine homes under its Built to Honor program for delivery to wounded veterans and their families in its Pulte Homes and Centex branded communities in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina and Texas.  In 2014, the home double will more than double its effort to provide more than $6 million worth of new homes.   

"We at Operation Finally Home are humbled by the continued support and generosity of the PulteGroup," said Russell Carroll, Executive Director of Operation Finally Home.  "PulteGroup’s commitment to provide 20 wounded veterans and their families with homes in the coming year is a true testament to their strong belief in supporting America’s veterans."   

For more information about Built to Honor, visit pultegroupinc.com/builttohonor or follow Twitter: @BuiltToHonor.

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