A dealer well-versed in the law
Meet the incoming chair of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association
Bob Sanford, the incoming chairman of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, remembers very clearly the thunder bolt that sparked him to seek out a legal education. It came in the form of a lawsuit directed at his family business – Sanford & Hawley of Unionville, Conn.
The suit was brought against the lumberyard back in the mid 1980s for selling second-generation fire-treated lumber that turned brittle due to a defect in its treatment – through no fault of Sanford & Hawley. The lumber was used in five prison buildings, which all had to be rebuilt. And the dealer that has served Connecticut since 1884 was hit with a $60 million lawsuit.
“It was staggering,” Sanford said. “I remember reading the lawsuit that said ‘the defendant Sanford & Hawley knew or should have known …,’ and I thought ‘How would we ever have known the treatment was defective.’”
Ultimately, with representation from Lumbermen’s Mutual and after four years of litigation, the case was settled for far less than the $60 million sum. A relative success story, but it was still an expensive and frustrating experience for the company.
“That case was one of the solid reasons I decided I was going to go to law school and learn more about the law and how all this nonsense worked,” said Sanford, who received his law degree from nearby University of Connecticut. The lawsuit was also one of the reasons Sanford is passionate about tort reform and the Innocent Sellers Act, one of the NLBMDA’s marquee legislative efforts.
As the incoming chairman of the NLBMDA and an experienced participant of the legislative committee of the Lumber Dealers Association of Connecticut (and the 2008 LDAC Lumber Person of the Year) Sanford feels strongly about a number of issues affecting the industry.
There are banking regulations, for instance.
“I think some of the recent roll back and easing of regulations has been beneficial, particularly as it relates to the Dodd-Frank Act,” he told HBSDealer. He explained that an unintended consequence of the act has been to accelerate the mergers of large banks, while at the same time placing excessive burdens on smaller, community-focused banks – the ones that have stood by the construction supply industry during tough times and “understand local builders,” he said. “It would be unfortunate to find ourselves in a place where all we have are big banks.”
There’s also the matter of international trade, an issue in which Sanford stands with the NLBMDA on the side of free trade. The association has consistently called for more focus on negotiations with Canada to reopen the pipeline of critical Canadian softwood.
“I’m certainly a big proponent of free trade,” he said. “Tariffs have been extremely detrimental. Price stability is critical for housing. Unstable prices are not good for builders, not good for lumberyards, not good for anybody, and as the costs have escalated in the last 18 months, I’m sure it has deterred some building.”
Sanford came to his role as incoming chairman of the NLMBDA in the usual fashion – networking with current members. Past Chairman J.D. Saunders of Economy Lumber in Campbell, Calif., is credited as the successful recruiter.
Sanford will officially take his title from current Chair Rick Lierz, of Boise, Idaho-based Franklin Building Supply at the upcoming ProDealer Industry Summit. (The Summit is hosted jointly by the NLBMDA and HBSDealer.)
Another event that Sanford champions is the annual Legislative Conference that brings dealers from around the country to learn, network and meet their representatives in Washington, D.C.
“I’ve been going to that conference since the 1990s and I’ve only missed one year,” he said. “It’s definitely an event that’s worth the time and effort and energy. Sometimes you feel like you’re hitting your head against the wall, particularly with legislators who don’t necessarily see business interests all that clearly. But it’s still important for them to hear our message and our thoughts.”
Like all NLBMDA chairs before him, Sanford is a lumber dealer first and foremost. He operates the business with the help of his brothers Frank and Ted, who handle sales and operations, respectively. Bob’s children Robert and Abigail have also shown interest in the business, giving the company confidence in its succession planning.
“I tell my children it’s absolutely a fantastic opportunity for you, but you need to have a passion for it and if you don’t, then run the other way,” he said.
The company’s flagship store in Unionville – “The Red Store on the Corner” – has more charm than most New England art or antique galleries. The Roaring Brook actually runs through the heart of the complex which includes cedar-clad barn building with a showroom on the second floor and drive-through lumberyard facility.
Sanford expressed admiration for his Connecticut competitors – a list that includes Ring’s End and Ridgefield Supply. And his company is a big believer in sharing information through roundtables and store visits. “There’s nothing like having another lumber dealer walk through our yard and give us constructive feedback, and there’s nothing like walking through another yard to see how they operate,” he said, during a tour of the Sanford and Hawley distribution yard.
The sharing of ideas will factor heavily in his approach to his new role at the NLBMDA: “I think the big goal I have is to continue the work of my predecessors — helping the dealers, suppliers and manufacturers understand the value of the association and the benefits of participation.”
New 18V D-handle jig saw from Milwaukee Tool
Increased blade speeds aid in minimizing chipping and bucking.
This August Milwaukee Tool is launching a new 18V D-handle jig saw that harnesses M18 FUEL technology for a best-in-class combination of power, blade speed, precision, and run-time.
The M18 FUEL D-Handle Jig Saw’s PowerState Brushless Motor and RedLink Plus Intelligence combine to deliver higher sustained blade speed than 7amp corded for clean and controlled cuts with the power to cut hard materials. Also available will be an M18 FUEL Barrell Grip Jig Saw, coming November 2018.
When it comes to jig saw performance, quality of cut is critical. Increased blade speeds aid in minimizing chipping and bucking for cleaner cuts, decreasing the overall time and cost spent sanding and reworking material. The M18 FUEL™ D-Handle Jig Saw features Milwaukee’s industry-leading PowerState Brushless Motor which delivers sustained speed at 3,500 SPM to create clean and controlled cuts. The RedLink PLUS Intelligence electronics communicate seamlessly with the motor to constantly monitor speed and power to maintain this consistent blade speed in tough materials, from hard woods to metal, without stalling or bogging down.
With all this speed and power at hand, the jig saw features a variable speed trigger, giving users greater control through the cut – whether straight or curved. To further increase accuracy, Milwaukee designed the M18 FUEL D-Handle Jig Saw with a new internal mechanism and upgraded blade clamp and roller guide to maintain stability through cuts.
When equipped with the M18 RedLithium XC5.0 Battery Pack, the M18 FUEL D-Handle Jig Saw can cut through up to 105 linear feet of 3/4” laminated particle board, delivering a full day’s work with less trips to the charger.
Later this year, Milwaukee will also introduce an M18 FUEL Barrell Grip Jig Saw, which will deliver equal performance to the D-Handle Jig Saw. Engineered with the same key M18 FUEL™ components, the Barrell Grip also shares the same technology and upgrades as the D-Handle. Unique features will include ambidextrous on/off switches and a 6-speed dial with a specific auto-controlled start mode.
Tando adds ‘Graphite’ to cladding line
Graphite expands the stained shake line beyond current wood-like browns to an earthy, deep gray.
Tando’s Signature Stain has added a new color, “Graphite,” to its cladding line.
Manufactured by Derby Building Products Inc., Graphite expands the stained shake line beyond current wood-like browns to an earthy, deep gray. Graphite joins Signature Stain’s original colors of Fawn, Bark and Acorn, capturing the natural hues and variations of stained wood.
Signature Stain’s Graphite offers the beauty and authenticity of stained wood but without the continuous maintenance or upkeep. Tando’s Signature Stain is the perfect solution for home exteriors, with a lightweight design for fast, easy one-person installation.
“Our new color, Graphite, answers a need we’ve heard from both contractors and homeowners for a popular deep, dark gray stain,” said Ralph Bruno, CEO, Derby Building Products. “It works well with the mixed material trend as a gable or dormer accent, along with virtually any type of siding or cladding.”
Tando Signature Stain offers natural beauty by incorporating a true, semi-transparent wood stain into its patented process, for a strikingly realistic stained wood look.
Each of the colors offered in the Signature Stain line looks as authentic and earthy as colors found in nature, according to Derby Building Products. Like all Tando products, Signature Stain by Tando products are impervious to moisture, making them perfect for roofline or ground applications.
Based in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, Derby Building Products is the parent company of the Tando pro channel building products brand.