FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Do it Best Corp. has announced the retirement of one of its senior leaders while also transitioning another industry veteran into the position. Effective June 1, Vice President of Lumber and Building Materials Gary Nackers will retire from his position and Russ Kathrein will move into that role.
Nackers joined the Do it Best team in 1999, first as a territory sales manager and then regional sales manager for the northeastern United States. He then located to the Do it Best world headquarters when he became the company’s national sales manager. By 2011, he was promoted to the LBM director of program development where he led a major reorganization in building materials which prepared the team for addressing the housing recovery. Nackers was promoted to vice president of Lumber and Building Materials in 2014. Since that time, he has led the team through some of the most tumultuous years in the LBM industry’s history.
“It’s going to be tough to say goodbye to an industry that’s been a central part of my life for nearly 40 years,” Nackers said. “I am tremendously blessed to have spent much of it alongside the committed LBM team at Do it Best. Most importantly, though, it’ll be the opportunities to serve our member-owners and help them grow their businesses that I’ll miss the most.”
“Gary’s commitment to driving growth for our members has been a critical part of our success as an agile, world-class LBM partner,” said Do it Best President and CEO Dan Starr. “Of course, any transition like this brings its own range of emotions. While we are certainly sad to see an executive team member with Gary’s vast industry knowledge retire, we are equally excited to have someone with Russ Kathrein’s reputation stepping into this important leadership position.”
Kathrein joined the company in 2020, most recently serving as an LBM business development manager. In this role, he has worked to grow sales and market share for the LBM division, as well as develop new and existing LBM relationships with member-owners. Kathrein has more than 30 years of experience in the forest products industry, leading truss plants, door shops, and pro dealer operations. He served as CEO of a large independent LBM dealer with more than a dozen locations across Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. He also brings experience in management, sales, and business development with the major national dealers in the industry, as well as experience as a co-op member. An LBM Journal columnist, Kathrein has been an in-demand industry speaker and served on the board of the National Lumber and Building Materials Dealers Association (NLBMDA).
“In addition to his extensive experience and insights, Russ brings his well-deserved industry credibility to this important leadership position,” said Starr. “His background on both the dealer and distributor sides of the business will serve our team and member-owners very well as part of our LBM total solution.”
“I’ve admired and respected Do it Best throughout my career, so I couldn’t be more excited to lead the industry’s best LBM team here,” Kathrein said. “The dramatic success that the Do it Best team has achieved this year in overcoming the lumber and panel volatility proves there’s never been a better time to be a Do it Best dealer — and that the LBM team is standing ready to help drive our members’ growth in the years ahead.”