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Changing the world

Publisher Letter

When I first joined the LBM industry in 1990, I knew next to nothing about lumber and building materials. In fact, I fully expected my first position, a two-month contract position as an editor with the former Building Material Retailer magazine, to be my last. To say that it’s not what I expected would be a gross understatement. Indeed, as that two-month introduction drew to a close, I felt I’d found my home. Fortunately, I was invited to stay (which made unnecessary my half-baked plan to simply refuse to leave).

What grabbed me was the community. The people and companies comprising this industry weren’t in business purely for the profit motive. They were in it to help build their communities, to work with builders to make people’s dream of homeownership come true. And the sense of pride in building companies where the employees weren’t just human “resources,” but humans working together for a shared purpose.

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In the weeks that have passed since LBM Strategies 2022 was held in Denver, that concept of the LBM Community has only gotten stronger. Here are just two reasons why:

Kevin Hancock took a deep dive into that concept in “Humans at Work,” his opening keynote presentation at the LBM Strategies Conference. Kevin is passionate about the power of shared leadership, and how it drives deep employee engagement. It’s a message that resonates strongly in an industry that’s struggling to attract and retain good people. And, since Hancock Lumber has been named a Best Place to Work in Maine for nine consecutive years, clearly there’s something to it.

On the operations side, John Marshall and Robb Wilson of Wilson Lumber shared the Crisis Management Plan that was created in 2019 to deal with events like destructive weather and fires, and which was tested immediately with the COVID pandemic, material pricing and supply chain emergencies, and more. They shared not only what they did, but how they did it, and how it has helped their company.

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Kevin, John, Robb and the other 20-plus speakers at this year’s event don’t do it for the money (which is good because they’re not paid). They do it because they have experiences and insights that can help dealers like them…other members of the LBM Community.

It’s no accident that the song that played as LBM Strategies 2022 got underway was Eric Clapton’s “Change the World.” When good people get together to talk about how doing the right things for the right reasons is a direct path to a bigger bottom line, the LBM Community, of which you are a member, can change the world. On behalf of the LBM Journal team, thank you for letting us be part of it.

— Rick Schumacher
Executive Editor & Publisher

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Registration is now open for the LBM Strategies 2024 Conference