Nashville, Tenn. — LBM Advantage dealers from around the country met in Nashville last week to learn about business finance, human resources, insurance, sales and marketing, to kick off the first leadership conference of its NextGen initiative.
“The mission of NextGen is to provide value to the next generation owners and key leaders of our membership through education, networking and peer development opportunities” notes Paul Dean, Executive Vice President of Marketing for LBM Advantage. “The conference was a tremendous success in terms of achieving that mission.”
The students agree. “This was an awesome, empowering event” said Rebecca Dengler of Bay City, Mich.’s Sequin Lumber Company. “I am so grateful and humbled to have shared this experience with our industry’s best and brightest.”
Students heard from key industry leaders including John Smith, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company, who led an evening session on transitional leadership.
“Leaders have to love what they do and have a passion for, or they shouldn’t do it at all” explained Smith. “They’ve got to lead from the front, ethically, with integrity and transparency or they won’t earn the credibility that is necessary to be effective.”
Smith was among a line-up of speakers which included Randy Goruk, former Trus-Joist executive who conducted multiple sessions on leadership, communications, and learning how to grow business from the actions of others.
Speakers also included Advantage’s EVP Tom Molloy and Human Resources Manager Kellianne Lundgren who walked students through the basics of cooperative structure and programs, as well as through an in-depth review of human resources best practices for hiring, recruiting and compliance.
Other industry speakers included Lisa Geth, Credit Manager at Guardian Building Products and Brian Meisenheimer, Senior Vice President of National Cooperative Bank who collectively focused on business finance, operating ratios, cash flow, credit and collections, and maintaining healthy banking relationships.
Finally, a dealer’s perspective was presented by Jim Davis,President and CEO of Advantage member Barrons Enterprises in Gaithersburg, Md. Davis led discussion on how to create dynamic and strategic dealer growth – a highly popular topic among the students. Davis demonstrated how a targeted sales approach with incremental margin improvement will create a sustainable growth result instead of simply reducing expenses. “Jim’s presentation was phenomenal,” noted Corey Page of Reeves Hardware in Clayton, Ga. “He’s one of us, and knows what we’re going through.”
LBM Advantage created its NextGen leadership development initiative to address the business succession issue in the LBM industry. “Our mission is to provide a competitive advantage for our members,” said Jim Davis, who is also Advantage’s Vice Chairman of its Board of Directors. “By developing these future business leaders NextGen provides great value, giving dealers the ability to compete.”
NextGen will continue to deliver more curriculum in tandem with upcoming events such as Advantage’s Fall Conference in Atlanta this October, and during its Annual Meeting & Trade Show in Orlando, Fla. in February 2019. Other plans include webinars and field tours hosted by industry mills and manufacturers.