Changing the world

Letter from the editor

When I first joined the LBM industry in 1990, I knew next to nothing about wood and building materials. In fact, I fully expected my first position, a two-month contract position as an editor at the former Retailer of building materials magazine, to be my last. To say it’s not what I expected would be a gross understatement. Indeed, as this two-month introduction drew to a close, I felt I had found my home. Luckily, I was invited to stay (which made my half-baked plan to just refuse to leave pointless).

What grabbed me was the community. The people and companies that make up this industry were not in business for profit alone. They were there to help build their communities, to work with builders to make people’s dreams of home ownership come true. And the sense of pride in building companies where employees are not just human “resources”, but human beings working together for a common purpose.

In the weeks since LBM Strategies 2022 was held in Denver, this concept of an LBM community has only grown stronger. Here are just two reasons why:

Kevin Hancock explored this concept further in “Humans at Work,” his keynote address at the LBM Strategies conference. Kevin is passionate about the power of shared leadership and how it drives deep employee engagement. It’s a message that resonates strongly in an industry that struggles to attract and retain the right people. And, since Hancock Lumber has been named Maine’s Best Place to Work for nine consecutive years, there’s clearly something to be done.

On the operations side, John Marshall and Robb Wilson of Wilson Lumber shared the crisis management plan that was created in 2019 to deal with events such as destructive weather and fires, and which was tested immediately with the COVID pandemic, material pricing and supply chain emergencies, and more. They shared not only what they did, but also how they did it and how it helped their business.

Kevin, John, Robb and the 20 other speakers at this year’s event aren’t doing it for the money (which is good because they’re not paid). They do this because they have experiences and insights that can help dealers like them…other members of the LBM community.

It’s no coincidence that the song that played at the start of LBM Strategies 2022 was Eric Clapton’s “Change the World”. When the right people come together to talk about how doing the right things for the right reasons is a direct path to a greater outcome, the LBM community, of which you are a part, can change the world. On behalf of the LBM Journal team, thank you for allowing us to be part of it.

—Rick Schumacher
Editor-in-chief and publisher

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