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4 Questions with 40 Under 40: David Qualls

In June, LBM Journal introduced its 40 Under 40 awards. Now we’d like to introduce you to the members of the class. Our interviews spotlight the 40 Under 40 members’ LBM experience, thoughts on attracting young people to the industry, and visions for the future.

David Qualls, Regional Sales Manager, Parr Lumber

David holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a dual concentration in leadership and marketing from Eastern Oregon University. As a former employee at Lowe’s, David won the chairman’s circle award while a store manager back in 2017. Before joining the LBM industry, he worked for a national furniture company and finished as the No. 2 store in the nation out of over 600. David is also a graduate of Leadership Salem, a year-long leadership program put on by the Salem Chamber of Commerce. Since taking over as Regional Sales Manager for Parr, the team’s sales volume has grown by 71%.

How did you become involved in the LBM industry?
My background was originally in retail. I accepted a job as a store manager for Lowe’s in 2016 and that is when I began to learn how fun the LBM industry can be. In 2020, I was recruited by Parr Lumber to run a lumberyard. This was my introduction to the full LBM business.

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I learned a lot about the business early on and became involved with as many LBM organizations as possible to help learn. I found this industry sort of by accident but I have never looked back as it is an incredible industry to build a career. I was surrounded by a wonderful group of mentors that helped me learn and grow, which helped move my career forward where I now lead sales teams. I am having so much fun— I plan to be in the LBM industry for the rest of my career.

What is your favorite part of your job?
The relationship part of the business is my favorite part. From vendors and customers to employees, I have built more long-lasting relationships in the LBM industry than I have in my previous career. There is something special about the LBM industry and the relationships we build.

What advice would you give to companies looking to attract young professionals like yourself?
Don’t be turned away by someone because they don’t have experience in our industry. Look for prospects that are outgoing, smart, and ready to learn. It is much easier to train someone in product knowledge and processes than it is to be a leader or a sales professional. Recruit from other industries. Retail professionals are quick learners and can add value quickly. Get to know your local Career Technical Education programs, it has been a great recruiting tool for Parr.

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What is your personal mission statement?
I lead with the idea that my legacy won’t be defined by my personal accomplishments and the awards that I have won throughout my career, but rather by how many people I have positively impacted and helped to achieve their goals and dreams. I have a true servant leadership’s heart and I get great joy from helping people succeed in their life and their career. We are only given one life on earth and my mission in life is to help as many people accomplish their goals as I can and to have a positive impact on anyone that I have the pleasure to know. I believe that growth never stops and I owe it to myself to continue to educate myself and my team and grow every day.

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