Sometimes one plus one equals more than two. For example, in April PROSALES became the official publication of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA). This partnership of the industry's leading association and leading magazine resulted in three major benefits to the industry: information and press coverage that taps into and is supported by the more than 8,000 member companies that the NLBMDA represents nationwide; collaborative research and projects focused on promoting the long-term health of the construction supply industry; and—drum roll please—the merger of the two best networking and education events for pro dealers: the NLBMDA Industry Summit and the PROSALES Executive Summit.

We definitely plan to stir up a lot of industry excitement as we prepare to kick off this new joint event—the NLBMDA/PROSALES Industry Summit—which will take place Sept. 23–25 in Palm Beach, Fla., at The Breakers Hotel. The three-day conference, which dovetails NLBMDA's 88th annual meeting, is expected to bring together more than 250 of the nation's top dealers to share ideas, network, and participate in an educational program that will help attendees find solutions to today's most pressing business challenges and identify ways to map the road ahead with viable strategies to launch new business ventures, improve profitability, and establish collaborative partnerships.

Titled “Critical Paths: Opening Avenues to New Business Opportunity,” the NLBMDA/PROSALES Industry Summit will focus on the top challenges now faced by pro dealers. It's time to face it: The good old days of straightforward stock-and-sell are fading fast. The demand for more products and services has never been higher, and the road to profit has never been longer as the stretch of the supply complex controlled by LBM companies continues to expand across traditional boundaries.

If you're looking to explore these emerging business patterns and spend time discussing the issues with your peers, we have a full lineup of sessions planned for the Summit. It will be headlined by Rick Kash, co-founder of Spectra Marketing, an expert on growth and business strategy, and the author of “The New Law of Supply and Demand,” and Rick Davis, president of the The Leaders Group, a leading authority on sales training in the construction supply industry, the contributor of our monthly “Sell Sheet” column, and the author of “Strategic Sales in the Building Industry.”

Additionally, the event will include panel discussions with builders and dealers exploring topics including the keys to unlocking new sales growth and what builders and remodelers want most from their suppliers in terms of products and services. The NLBMDA also will be hosting a meeting of its Risk Management Committee that is open to all attendees.

When you add it all up—the education sessions, the networking events, and the opportunity to participate in special NLBMDA meetings—this is the best opportunity you will have all year to gather new information and ideas that will help your business thrive.

Lisa Clift, Editor