Jeff Faircloth and Emily Trevino of Jim Carpenter Co., Fredericksburg, Va.
Jeff Faircloth and Emily Trevino of the Jim Carpenter Co., Fredericksburg, Va.

Our industry has been both a curse and a blessing for Tony Misura in recent years. He’s been cursed because, as one of America’s leading headhunters for LBM operations, the staff purges at dealers across the nation during the housing crash forced huge numbers of talented young people to leave our business, thus making it hard for him to find people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who would be candidates to move into executive roles. But that shortage has also been a blessing, because it means that LBM firms have had a hard time searching on their own, so they need to turn to Misura for help.

Misura spoke recently to a group of dealer executives about our industry’s talent crisis, and his message boiled down to this: Mr. CEO, you need to work harder at recruiting. Volunteer at groups like the local home builders association that will provide reasons for you to interact with people in construction and construction supply. Create programs that will make your company more attractive. And take care to avoid blinding yourself to good candidates because of personal biases.

One of the best recruiting tips I’ve heard was from the president of Lee Resources International, who said that you should consider anyone who provides great service. I saw that idea fulfilled in Fredericksburg, Va., when I visited the Jim Carpenter Co., part of the Lester Group of lumberyards. There, general manager Jeff Faircloth introduced me to Emily Trevino, who was just completing her first year in inside sales. Faircloth hired her because he was impressed by her great attitude and quality service she displayed every morning running a McDonald’s drive-through line.

We can’t deliver recruits to your door, but we can help you groom the talented ones to become leaders. This month, we launched online a project called “Four Under 40,” in which we invited dealers to nominate their best prospects for the chance to win a free trip to the ProSales 100 Conference in New Orleans on Feb. 25-27, 2015. There, they’ll get to meet and learn from many of the nation’s best leaders in building material supply. It’s an education unlike any other available in LBM today. You have until Oct. 15 to enter.