Banks reducing lending to builders in an effort to improve their balance sheets edged out the Republican Party's election resurgence as the Top LBM Story of 2010, while US LBM president and CEO L.T. Gibson was chosen by voters as this year's Most Significant Person in LBM, according to the results of a vote held by ProSales that were announced today.

The crackdown by banks received 494 votes of the 1,985 online ballots cast for top story over the past two weeks compared with 444 votes for the GOP's regaining control of the House of Representatives. The third- through fifth-place finishers received virtually the same support, with Apple's release of the iPad getting 289 votes, the government's tax break for new homes receiving 286 votes, and dealers closing facilities nationwide garnering 284 votes.

Participants were encouraged to vote as often as they wished, and they definitely did so in the voting for top individual. A total of 4,179 votes were cast in that race, and Gibson received 92% of them, or 3,880, plus 104 of the 122 write-in votes.

Trailing far behind in second place was Dan Tinker, chief operation officer of SRS Acquisitions, the fast-growing roofing dealer. He received 147 votes. ProBuild CEO Bill Myrick, Tart Lumber head Craig Fritsche, ABC Supply CEO David Luck, and President Barack Obama each received around 45 votes.

The vote totals for the Top Story:

  • 494 votes: Banks, under pressure to improve their balance sheets, reduce lending to builders and toughen terms for dealers.
  • 444 votes: Republicans win control of the House of Representatives, numerous statehouses and governorships.
  • 289 votes: Apple unveils the iPad, several firms upgrade the smart phone.
  • 286 votes: The federal government's tax break for new-home purchases leads to a surge in sales, then a drop.
  • 284 votes: Dealers close hundreds of facilities nationwide.
  • 212 votes: 84 Lumber struggles to refinance its debt, in part by seeking federal loans.
  • 204 votes: EPA's lead-paint rules take effect.
  • 188 votes: Shingle prices fail to drop despite housing's continued slump.
  • 158 votes: Stock Building Supply buys two Top 20 companies, then ousts its president.
  • 70 votes: ABC Supply acquires Bradco Supply, moves to top of ProSales 100.
  • 53 votes: Wide-scale poaching of sales reps takes place nationwide.
  • 46 votes: NLBMDA leads effort to blunt impact of OSHA's new rule on cranes.
  • 25 votes: Cerberus fails in its bid to buy the rest of BlueLinx and privatize the distributor.
  • 122 votes: Other

The vote totals for Most Significant Person:

  • 3880 votes: L.T. Gibson -- Head of US LBM continues expanding year-old operation that likely ranks today among construction supply's Top 15 firms.
  • 147 votes: Dan Tinker -- COO of SRS Acquisition continues acquiring roofing facilities nationwide, retains status as nation's fastest-growing construction supply firm.
  • 49 votes: Bill Myrick -- Former 84 Lumber exec becomes CEO of ProBuild.
  • 47 votes: Barack Obama -- And Ben Bernanke. And Timothy Geithner. And Congress, OSHA, EPA, and all the parts of federal government that collectively influenced home purchases, bank lending, interest rates, and regulations.
  • 43 votes: Craig Fritsche -- Head of Tart Lumber in Sterling, VA, becomes favorite of Republicans, hosts GOP leaders when they unveil their "Pledge To America."
  • 42 votes: David Luck -- CEO moves ABC Supply to top of ProSales 100 by orchestrating the acquisition of Bradco Supply.
  • 30 votes: Dan Fesler -- Recently departed NLBMDA chairman proved to be one of the association's funniest--and most effective--leaders.
  • 29 votes: Joe Appelmann -- Stock Building Supply's chief leads company through Chapter 11 reorganization, acquires yards in Texas and Arkansas, gets replaced.
  • 25 votes: Maggie Hardy Magerko -- 84 Lumber chief's bid for federal loans, revelations regarding dealer's borrowing at 18% reveal shaky state of America's biggest private LBM chain.
  • 19 votes: Michael O'Brien -- National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association president helps revive the organization, plays key role as the industry fends off OSHA's new crane rules.
  • 15 votes: Tom Wolf -- Chairman and CEO of Wolf, the York, Pa.-based distributor that expanded its footprint, dropped AZEK, and increased its sale of private-label goods.
  • 31 votes: Other

The election was promoted to readers of ProSales Business Update but was open to anyone who could find the link to the online survey. It wasn't intended to be a representative poll of the LBM industry as a whole.