Drexel inspires "Rock Star" thinking

Chicago - While accepting the 2018 Pro Dealer of the Year Award at the Pro Dealer Industry Summit, Drexel Building Supply President Joel Fleischman delivered a passionate message about the future of the industry -- "Dream bigger." The idea referred especially to attracting the next generation of leaders, and also about confronting head-on  the labor shortage impacting much of the lumber and building material industry.

Surrounded by about a dozen "unsung heroes" of Drexel Building Supply -- employees from a variety of departments who were  each selected to attend the Chicago summit by their co-workers back in Wisconsin, Fleischman urged LBM executives in the audience to consider new ideas, new people, new methods of serving customers and helping employees.

The ProDealer of the Year recognizes a lumberyard company that shows high performance combined with the willingness to adapt and embrace the best practices and best values of the LBM industry. The selection is the combined responsibility of HBSDealer and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association.

In his acceptance speech in Chicago, Fleischman challenged the industry to step up its game when it comes to finding new talent.  “The next rock stars are your barista on Saturday night, the guy who serves you your coffee,” Fleischman said.

One of the hot topics at this year’s Pro Dealer Industry Summit was employee recruiting and retention. And one of the conflicts the industry is facing is the ability to pay a competing wage to potential employees who might choose another industry over a career in the LBM world.

“Pay them more!,” Fleischman told the audience. “I challenge you guys to pay tomorrow’s rock stars like they ought to be paid.”

Drexel Building Supply is based in Campbellsport, Wis., and operates seven locations in the state. The company's slogan is “Supplied. Happiness,” and Drexel Building Supply is among a new generation of pro dealers who maintain a strong focus on company culture. Quality service, materials, and expertise start from the inside, according to the company's philosophy.