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Five Questions with: Tom Ellerbrook, Fastenmaster

Tom Ellerbrook is director of sales for FastenMaster. Over the last 10 years, he has led a team of more than 30 salespeople throughout the U.S. and Canada. FastenMaster’s pull-through sales approach drives brand awareness and advocacy with professional contractors and channel partners in the LBM Industry.

Q: With new construction and residential remodeling still strong in many markets, what do you see as the biggest opportunity for LBM dealers?

A: Education, Education, Education. LBM dealers are in a unique position to educate their pro customers on topics ranging from how to successfully run a small business to new products that will save them time on the job. It’s difficult to differentiate yourself on the products you supply, so differentiating the services you offer is a prime opportunity. As an LBM dealer, what are you doing to add value to your pro customer and their business beyond the retail transaction? Educating the pro and helping them improve their business will gain you loyal, lifelong customers who will keep coming back for new ideas and the latest information.

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Q: The flipside of that question, the biggest challenge?

A: In the short term, supply chain issues will continue to cause problems for manufacturers, dealers and ultimately the pro customers. It will continue to be critical that communication stays strong between the different parts of the supply chain process. In the long term, recruiting and retaining talent will continue to strain our industry, and LBM dealers are in the center of this challenge. Diversity in the labor force at LBM dealers will become more essential to maintaining a productive team over the long term.

Q: What advice do you have for dealers who are trying to navigate supply chain challenges?

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A: If I had the answer to that question, I wouldn’t have to answer the rest. I’d be getting a job with the highest bidding LBM dealer in the country right now! Communication and trust. Communicate with your vendors and trust that they’re doing everything within their power to get you the product you need. Over-communicate with your customers so they can plan accordingly, and you can build trust with them. It’s important to remember that we’re all in this together.

Q: What one or two product trends are having the biggest impact for your company and your dealer customers?

A: We’ve seen a huge growth in composite decking as outdoor living spaces are getting much higher use due to COVID-19 lifestyle changes. Contractors are looking for premium solutions to enhance the value of customer homes. At the same time, they want products that are faster and easier to install to compensate for smaller and less experienced crews. Plus, these products must deliver those benefits without compromising performance.

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Q: Today’s construction fasteners are more specialized and sophisticated than ever before. What innovations should dealers watch for from FastenMaster?

A: We’re focused on improving the businesses of professional contractors. From our people to our products, that’s always been our mission, so we’re constantly testing the boundaries of our product offering and looking for new and innovative ways to make it a reality. We will continue to improve the productivity of contractors by introducing threaded fasteners that do the job both faster and safer than bolts, metal connectors, and other traditional fastening methods. From new fasteners and tools to groundbreaking innovations, we’re excited about what’s to come from FastenMaster in 2022.


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