At age 14, Robert Horne Jr. took his first job at a lumberyard, stocking shelves and waiting on customers at Weymouth Lumber in Weymouth, Mass. With the industry in his blood, he dedicated the next 24 years of his life not only to his own individual and corporate sales goals and success but also to leadership, mentoring, and developing a culture of future growth in the industry at large. From serving as a member of the board of directors and as president of the Harry L. Folsom Hoo Hoo International Club #13 in Boston to contributing to committees for the Massachusetts Retail Lumber Dealers Association and the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association (NRLA), Horne never lost his zeal for industry outreach despite his busy duties as an outside sales rep for BB&S Treated Lumber of North Kingston, R.I.

On July 14, 2003, Horne lost a two-year battle with brain cancer, leaving his family and industry peers alike with the memory of an industry leader who will never be replaced. “He understood that to serve the people of this industry was an honor, and with that honor came a responsibility to do the job the right way,” says Heidi Longton, conference and meeting chair for the NRLA.

According to Longton, Horne was instrumental in the foundation of the Northeastern Young Lumber Execs (NYLE), an opportunity for young men and women in the industry to have their own educational and social forums as part of a larger quest to develop future leaders of the industry. Horne also played a lead role in creating the “Chips Award” (which has been renamed the “Robert J. Horne Jr. Chips Award” in his honor), presented annually by NYLE to a person who has been instrumental in promoting the professional and/or personal development of young people within the building materials industry.

In March 2004, Horne's friends held a fund-raising tribute attended by more than 600 industry peers and bringing in more than $225,000 to establish an educational fund for Horne's three sons. PROSALES pays tribute to Horne's legacy by likewise honoring his memory with a special Hall of Fame Salesperson of the Year designation.

Special Report: PROSALES Salespeople of the Year