5 questions for Clint Darnell, vice president of CT Darnell/Sunbelt

Clint Darnell
Clint Darnell has decades of experience in design and construction, including pre-engineered buildings, rack-supported buildings, and racking systems in the building material industry throughout the United States and Canada. Darnell manages national accounts from initial design through project completion. His primary goal is providing the highest level of customer service while delivering projects that are consistently on budget and on time. He and his brother purchased the company in 2008, and he has been the vice president ever since. Darnell is a graduate of the University of Georgia and a licensed contractor in a number of states.

Q:With a continued need for housing and remodeling in most markets, what do you see as the biggest challenge facing LBM dealers?

A: Balancing inventory vs. supply chain issues. While this has been getting better, certain inventory items such as windows and doors still have long lead times. Engineered wood was also experiencing delays, but that has also been getting better.

As a result of these long lead times, dealers were sometimes taking whatever they could get—taking more inventory than needed on certain products that they would then have to hold on to in their yards for an extended period of time.

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Q:The flipside of that question: What do you see as the biggest opportunity?

A: The dealers that adapted and reacted quickly to the changing market conditions to better meet customer needs are benefiting.

The dealers that have strong relationships with their builders and suppliers were able to limit the negative impact of supply chain issues. On the supply side, the dealers that had long term relationships with their suppliers were prioritized and had inventory shipped when it was available.

Q:As lumber and building material dealers are continually finding ways to do more with fewer team members, how can CT Darnell/ Sunbelt products help boost efficiencies?

A: That’s our entire mission and goal at CT Darnell/ Sunbelt. We develop solutions for each specific situation. When we design or remodel a lumberyard, we always strive to eliminate waste, make the labor more efficient and safer and create a better customer experience.

Products like our Power Bin systems, portable millwork racks and rack supported storage buildings make products easier and safer to move and access. These help save on labor costs, waste, space and improve work conditions for the yard while creating a better customer experience. That’s what we’ve done for companies like Zuern Building Products and Design Center (focus on millwork racks), Ganahl Lumber, and McCoy’s Building Supply.

Q:Materials handling and storage systems seem to be an area in which many dealers only consider when building new facilities. How can CT Darnell/Sunbelt benefit current yard storage?

A: We do much more work on existing facilities vs. green fields. Green fields are easier to build on vs. existing facilities.

With an existing location, you’re dealing with all its existing conditions, whether it’s existing property lines, grade issues, restrictions from the city, or restrictions on setbacks. Each project has its own set of challenges, but since we’ve worked on over 1,250 lumberyards nationwide, chances are we’ve come across at least once any challenge a dealer may have.

Q:CT Darnell/Sunbelt’s business has evolved to offer more than just storage solutions. How has your role as a general contractor aided the LBM community?

A: We’ve always integrated storage solutions, but of course, as a general contractor, we can control more of the project. I think it makes clients more comfortable to deal with one company for everything.

Our 5 Questions feature gives LBM businesses the opportunity to provide their expertise by answering relevant issues in the LBM industry.

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