The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
If Ralph Waldo Emerson is right, and I happen to think he is, then there was a whole lot of mind stretching going on in Boston in mid-October. That’s when more than 200 LBM pros from across the U.S. came together for the LBM Strategies Conference to not only learn smart strategies and success stories from others, but also to share their ideas and insights on some of the toughest challenges facing our industry. Something powerful happens when industry pros who are not only at the top of their game yet understand that there’s still much they don’t know, all get together in the same place.
The fact that this event had record attendance, and despite many companies being busier than ever, spoke to how important and valuable it is to connect, live and in person, with others. I’m a big believer in the power of technology to help us work better and smarter, but having attended a number of virtual events, including our own online version of LBM Strategies in 2020, there’s no doubt in my mind that live-and-in-person cannot be replicated in the digital realm.
While the event was hosted by LBM Journal, this was not our event. All we did was open the door…the people on stage and in the audience made the magic happen. Of the 24 presenters, 17 were dealers and distributors. When they got on stage, they shared their company’s secret sauce. What they do, how they do it, and why it sets them apart from their competition. With so many companies struggling to attract, hire, and retain good people, Jennifer Zuern and the team from Zuern Lumber, and Bill Hayward from Hayward Lumber shared how they make their companies a great place to work. Jim Smucker shared how the team at Keim is preparing for the opposite of a white-hot market. John Perna shared how Hamilton Building Supply leverages its home-grown membership program to drive profits and value. Greg Templeman shared how Sunpro takes the emotion and subjectivity out of pricing. Sunny Bowman talked about how Dakota County Lumber’s focus on “The Perfect Delivery” sets the company apart from larger pro dealers. And so on…
We are all fortunate to belong to an industry that’s rich with good, smart, successful people who want to share what they know and to learn. And one great way to tap into this priceless resource is to explore the Events tab at LBMJournal.com. In addition to the LBM Strategies Conference 2022 and NAHB’s International Builders Show in February, there’s a host of other events where you can learn, stretch, and connect with other LBM pros.
In the words of the great Zig Ziglar, “If you’re not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”
— Rick Schumacher
Executive Editor & Publisher