“I’m not an inventor. I just want to make things better.”
— Daniel Ek, co-founder of Spotify
In his editor’s letter, James Anderson shares his personal insights into the importance of the LBM Century Club, a program to recognize lumberyards that have survived and thrived for more than a century. We created that club because it didn’t exist, and we believed that it should.
In 2016, when we announced the first LBM Strategies Conference, several people asked me if our industry needed another event like this. After all, there were already two well-established national conferences that had been around for decades. Why launch another? The answer was the same as the answer I gave in 2003 when we launched LBM Journal: I believed we could deliver a better experience for our audience and our advertisers. Here’s how:
LBM pros as presenters. I’d attended hundreds of industry events since joining the industry in 1990, and without exception, the presentations given by genuine LBM pros connected better with their peers in the audience than professional speakers with little to no knowledge of our industry. Being on stage with a microphone may have been outside their comfort zone, but talking with peers about topics they’re passionate about was real, and it was gold.
More dealers than sponsors. I recall several events over the years marketed as dealer networking events where dealer attendees were seriously outnumbered by sponsors. As a business owner, I understand the desire to maximize revenues with sponsorships. But when vendors outnumber attendees, the vendors are frustrated, and attendees are denied the peer-to-peer networking that they want. Lose/lose isn’t a sustainable model.
Seamless networking. The more time we spend with others, the stronger the connections. From my view, the smartest events I attended were those that kept people together as much as possible, including quality meals, coffee breaks, and cocktail receptions. The more that was included, the less reason for people to step away, and the more likely people are to connect.
When we sat down to craft the first LBM Strategies Conference, we talked about the best events we’d ever attended, and what made them so strong. Then, we took those ideas, and talked about how we leverage them to create a better experience for our dealers and sponsors. As a result:
- Every person who takes the stage during the LBM Strategies Conference is a genuine LBM pro.
- We strictly limit the number of sponsors, so that there are far more dealer attendees. Win/win, for dealers and sponsors.
- Our registration includes breakfasts, lunches, coffee breaks, and cocktail receptions. This year, it also includes a tour of National Lumber’s main yard and millwork facility.
Today, just five years after its launch, LBM Strategies is the leading national conference serving our industry. The reason is because we listened to what you wanted, then worked hard to deliver something to meet your needs. Thankfully, you responded.
If you think you’ll be ready to travel by this fall, please mark your calendar to reconnect with your fellow LBM pros in Boston, October 13-15. Hope to see you there!
— Rick Schumacher
Executive Editor & Publisher