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Made-in-the-USA profiles: The builder

BY Ken Ryan

What began quite innocently as a pet project turned into a national movement for Anders Lewendal, the Bozeman, Mont., builder who has since gained wide acclaim for constructing a house made entirely from U.S.-made products.

Initially, Lewendal set out to build an “efficient, affordable and environmentally healthy” home for a client whose daughter has cystic fibrosis. In researching the building materials and parts required for the project, Lewendal was struck with this idea: Why not go for all-American parts and materials.

The U.S.-made house was built with more than 120 products from 33 states. Everything from the nails, screws and bolts, to the steel, staples and bathtub was made in the U.S. Even the dishwasher – a Whirlpool product – was made at a U.S. factory. 

In the end, the only product Lewendal said he could not find from U.S. sources was a door chime. His solution? A doorknocker, which was made in America.

Chris Ogle, purchasing manager at Kenyon Noble Lumber & Hardware, Bozeman, Mont., provided the vast majority of building materials for Lewendal’s project.  “We were surprised at how many building materials are made in the U.S., although it’s not something we had ever really monitored before,” Ogle said.

The most difficult product to find was drywall screws, according to Ogle, who eventually tracked down a Nevada distributor.

The Bozeman-centered “Made in the U.S.A.” project struck a chord. Lewendal was featured in scores of  newspaper and magazine articles, as well as a segment on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, in which a reporter and film crew followed Lewendal throughout the process.

By Lewendal’s account, 30 million people have heard about the “Made in the USA” project either through the media or Internet searches. “I never thought it would grow to this point, but I’m glad it did,” he said. “This is an exercise we hope will manifest itself into a movement.” 

Lewendal does not build every house with American-made parts. That would not be feasible. What he is seeking is incremental change. “I think we could solve this recession if everyone shifted just 5 percent of their purchases to U.S.-made products,” he said.

Lewendal scoffs at the notion there is no manufacturing left in the U.S. “What I’ve learned is there’s a lot of value in American companies,” he said.

He is not alone in that thinking. Kenyon Noble has been similarly moved by the Made in the U.S.A. experience. “It was an eye-opening project for all involved, a worthwhile effort,” Ogle said. “Since then, we have directed our purchasing managers to look into buying more products from American-made companies.”

 

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s.lelejaleaja says:
May-20-2012 09:06 am

I am interested in this topic
I am interested in this topic and would like to find out some more information as my friend need information on this topic. Do you have any other articles about this? Jim

R.REASBECK says:
Feb-13-2012 11:59 pm

Great coverage on this house
Great coverage on this house that is setting the standard. I'm doing my part, I created a website for Made-in-USA Products www.USAonly.US . With over 25 years in the window business, I know the up's and down's of what it means to be in the construction trades. The video for Ander's house is posted on the home page. The only way we get our economy back is to support American Manufacturers , buy local and step away from the imported stuff. With almost 1000 companies , my site lists companies by CATEGORY, by STATE OF ORIGIN, by ALPHABET,and by WORD SEARCH. Every time we add a company we post the number of employed Americans. So as of today, 47,291 folks depend on making a living by supporting the companies on www.USAonly.US . Please check out the site and help, "GET AMERICA BACK IN BUSINESS"

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BlueLinx partners with Weyerhaeuser in New England

BY Brae Canlen

Atlanta building products distributor BlueLinx has announced an agreement with Weyerhaeuser to become the independent distributor of Weyerhaeuser’s engineered wood products in New England, including Trus Joist, TJI joist, TimberStrand LSL, Microllam LVL, Parallam PSL and TJ Rim board. The agreement is effective Feb. 13, 2012.

"We used a rigorous process to select our New England distributor," said Jeff Rettig, Weyerhaeuser region manager for the Northeast. "BlueLinx emerged as the best fit for this market based on its operational capabilities, alignment with our local strategy, and strong reputation and relationship with our current New England customer base."

The agreement applies to the New England market and does not impact BlueLinx’s strategy or approach in other markets, the company said. The New England market is defined as Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and upstate New York. As a distributor of building products in many regions across North America, BlueLinx currently operates four facilities in the New England market with distribution centers in Bellingham, Mass.; Portland, Maine; Burlington, Vt.; and Buffalo, N.Y.

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IP acquires Temple-Inland

BY Brae Canlen

International Paper (IP) has announced the completed acquisition of Temple-Inland, which will now become a wholly owned subsidiary of IP. Under the terms of the transaction, each issued and outstanding share of Temple-Inland common stock will fetch $32.00 in cash, including the assumption of approximately $700 million in Temple-Inland net debt. The total transaction value is approximately $4.5 billion.

The deal, which started as an unsolicited bid, became a hostile takeover and was then delayed by government regulators, comes with certain conditions. IP and Temple-Inland must agree to sell three containerboard facilities, in Central California, Tennessee and possibly Kentucky, to satisfy competitive concerns of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Antitrust Division.

Without these divestitures, consumers would pay more for containerboard and corrugated boxes, the DOJ said in a prepared statement.

“Corrugated boxes made from containerboard are used to ship more than 90% of all goods nationwide,” said Sharis Pozen, acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division. “With the mill divestitures, the transaction can proceed, and American consumers and businesses across the country can be assured that competition is preserved in this important industry that is vital to the U.S. economy.”

International Paper is a New York corporation headquartered in Memphis, Tenn. IP owns and operates 12 containerboard mills and 133 box plants that convert containerboard into corrugated boxes in the United States. In 2010, IP reported revenues of approximately $25.2 billion, with its North American Industrial Packaging Group, which produces containerboard and corrugated products, accounting for $8.4 billion.

Temple-Inland is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Austin, Texas. Temple-Inland owns and operates seven containerboard mills and 53 box plants in the United States. In 2010, Temple-Inland reported revenues of approximately $3.8 billion, with its corrugated-packing business accounting for approximately $3.2 billion. Temple-Inland also produces lumber, gypsum board, fiberboard and other building materials.

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