LBM co-op cites generational advantage

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LBM co-op cites generational advantage

In addition to the integration of ENAP, PAL and IBSA into the single lumber dealer co-op knonw as LBM Advantage, the Windsor, N.Y.-based buying group describes as a major achievement its creation of the Advantage NextGen program for future leaders.

The program was rolled out in 2018, and has grown quickly, according to the co-op, fueled by attention on the increasing age of management within the industry, and the need for succession planning.

Jimmy Newman, VP of finance at Oxford (Ala.) lumber & Ace Home Centers captured the spirit of the NextGen program in his description of his decision to stay in the family business.

Jimmy Newman

"Late 2017, I made the decision to return to the hardware and lumber company my grandfather, Charlie Newman, founded in 1958,” he said. “It was only a few months after returning that I found myself at a large annual trade show listening to a key executive speak about the bleak workforce trends in the Hardware and LBM industry. Sitting beside my father, a second generation owner, I listened to the speaker describe less-than-average new workers entering the field and an aging workforce who possessed 99% of the hardware and LBM experience.  At that moment, I realized that my recent decision to leave my role as a 26-year-old Market President (0f a financial services company), to learn the business from my father presented a huge opportunity. I realized that the opportunity to learn the industry and strengthen the relationships developed by those before me was so valuable, I could be an accomplished executive at a much earlier age and control my career path. Most importantly, I realized how much more meaningful and rewarding my life could be working with some of the greatest people I could ever imagine."

Paul Dean, Advantage’s Director of Marketing said: “The mission of NextGen is not only to develop future leaders, but more importantly to deliver value to our members and give them a greater competitive advantage through these developed employees and new owners.”

LBM Advantage describes very high interest in the program. The first NextGen Leadership Conference attracted 55 attendees. In year two, the co-op expects 100 attendees at the second NextGen Leadership Conference  May 20-22 in Roanoke, Va.

Kolby Dukes, a fourth generation member of Dukes Lumber in  Laurel, Del., who sits on the NextGen Steering Committee said: “Nowhere else except the Advantage NextGen events can I find others just like me to share challenges and ideas. It’s a great program.”