LBM Advantage wisdom for the NextGen

LBM Advantage — the national LBM buying group powerhouse — launched its NextGen Initiative last week with a conference in Nashville, Tenn.

LBM Advantage dealers from around the country met to learn about business finance, human resources, insurance, sales and marketing.

“The mission of NextGen is to provide value to the next generation owners and key leaders of our membership through education, networking and peer development opportunities,” said Paul Dean, executive VP of marketing for LBM Advantage. “The conference was a tremendous success in terms of achieving that mission.”

And the students seem to agree.

“This was an awesome, empowering event” said Rebecca Dengler of Bay City, Mich.-based Sequin Lumber Co. “I am so grateful and humbled to have shared this experience with our industry's best and brightest.”

Conference attendees heard from key industry leaders, including John Smith, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company, who led an evening session on transitional leadership.

“Leaders have to love what they do and have a passion for, or they shouldn’t do it at all,” Smith explained. “They’ve got to lead from the front, ethically, with integrity and transparency or they won’t earn the credibility that is necessary to be effective.”

Smith also affirmed commitment to national industry associations and political action committees, stating: “When you don’t have a seat at the table, you will end up on the menu."

LBM Advantage NextGen conference

Other speakers included:

  • LBM Advantage executive VP Tom Molloy;

  • Randy Goruk, former Trus Joist executive, who conducted multiple sessions on leadership, communications and learning how to grow business from the actions of others; and

  • LBM Advantage human resources manager Kellianne Lundgren, who walked students through the basics of cooperative structure and programs, as well as through an in-depth review of human resources best practices for hiring, recruiting and compliance.

Lisa Geth, credit manager at Guardian Building Products, and Brian Meisenheimer, senior VP of National Cooperative Bank, collectively focused on business finance, operating ratios, cash flow, credit and collections, and maintaining healthy banking relationships.

A dealer’s perspective was presented by Jim Davis, president and CEO of LBM Advantage member Barron’s Lumber in Gaithersburg, Md. Davis led a discussion on how to create dynamic and strategic dealer growth — a highly popular topic among the students. Davis demonstrated how a targeted sales approach with incremental margin improvement will create a sustainable growth result instead of simply reducing expenses.

“Jim’s presentation was phenomenal,” said Corey Page of Reeves Hardware in Clayton, Ga. “He’s one of us and knows what we’re going through.”

LBM Advantage created its NextGen leadership development initiative to address the business succession issue that is so prevalent in our industry.

“Our mission is to provide a competitive advantage for our members” said Jim Davis, who is also LBM Advantage’s vice chairman of its board of directors. “By developing these future business leaders, NextGen provides great value, giving dealers the ability to compete.”

NextGen will continue to deliver more curriculum in tandem with upcoming events, including LBM Advantage’s Fall Conference in October in Atlanta and during the buy group’s Annual Meeting & Trade Show in February 2018 in Orlando, Fla. Other plans include webinars and field tours hosted by industry mills and manufacturers.

LBM Advantage is a member-owned forest products and building materials cooperative composed of the industry’s premier independent LBM retailers and maintains locations in New Windsor, N.Y.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Smithfield, N.C.; and Monroe, La.