Do it Best announces LBM leadership succession plans

Gary Nackers is retiring as vice president of LBM and will be succeeded by industry veteran Russ Kathrein.
Russ Kathrein et al. posing for the camera
Gary Nackers and Russ Kathrein

Do it Best Corp. announced that Gary Nackers, vice president of lumber and building materials, will retire from his position on June 1.

Nackers will be succeeded by industry veteran Russ Kathrein.

Nackers joined the Do it Best team in 1999, first as a territory sales manager and then regional sales manager for the northeastern United States. He then located to the Do it Best world headquarters in Fort Wayne, Ind. when he became the company’s national sales manager. By 2011, he was promoted to the LBM director of program development where he led a major reorganization in building materials that improved member service by better preparing the team for addressing the housing recovery. 

The executive was promoted to vice president of lumber and building materials in 2014. Since that time, he has led the team through some of the most tumultuous years in the LBM  industry’s history while never wavering in his support for the success of independent Do it Best member-owners. 

“It’s going to be tough to say goodbye to an industry that’s been a central part of my life for nearly  40 years,” Nackers said. “I am tremendously blessed to have spent much of it alongside the committed LBM team at Do it Best. Most importantly, though, it’ll be the opportunities to serve our member-owners and help them grow their businesses that I’ll miss the most.” 

Do it Best CEO Dan Starr said Nackers has played a major roll in Do it Best’s LBM success.
“Gary’s commitment to driving growth for our members has been a critical part of our success as  an agile, world-class LBM partner,” Dan Starr noted. “Of course, any transition like this brings its own range of emotions. While we are certainly sad to see an executive  team member with Gary’s vast industry knowledge retire, we are equally excited to have someone  with Russ Kathrein’s reputation stepping into this important leadership position.”


Kathrein joined the company in 2020, most recently serving as an LBM business development  manager.  In this role, Katrein has worked to grow sales and market share for the LBM division, as well  as develop new and existing LBM relationships with member-owners. 

The executive has more than 30  years of experience in the forest products industry, leading truss plants, door shops, and pro dealer operations. Kathrein previously served as CEO of Alexander Lumber with more than a dozen locations across Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. He has been an in-demand industry speaker and served on the board of the National Lumber and Building Materials Dealers Association  (NLBMDA).  

“In addition to his extensive experience and insights, Russ brings his well-deserved industry  credibility to this important leadership position,” said Starr. “His background on both the dealer  and distributor sides of the business will serve our team and member-owners very well as part of  our LBM total solution.” 

“I’ve admired and respected Do it Best throughout my career, so I couldn’t be more excited to lead the industry’s best LBM team here,” Kathrein said. “The dramatic success that the Do it Best  team has achieved this year in overcoming the lumber and panel volatility proves there’s never  been a better time to be a Do it Best dealer — and that the LBM team is standing ready to help  drive our members’ growth in the years ahead.” 

Do it Best Corp., a fully integrated hardware, lumber and building materials co-op has annual sales of more than $4 billion, serving thousands of member-owned locations across the United States and in more than 50 countries.