If you are willing to embrace change, you are destined to travel many different business paths during your career. As a dealer, that can mean anything from developing new manufacturing capabilities to finding new customer bases. But regardless of how you choose to map the road ahead, if you're planning to remain at the front of the competitive pack, you need to keep moving—and to do that you need good information.

Our job is to provide that information with the best resources to help you track industry trends, understand new market developments, improve operations, and identify benchmarks. And to do that we must make changes, too, and this year we are taking a quantum leap in forwarding that mission. Starting this month, PROSALES becomes the official publication of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA), a national organization that represents 8,000 member companies through 21 federated regional and state associations across the country.

As a result of this partnership, you'll be getting a lot of new information from the pages of PROSALES each month. Look for more coverage of political issues, profiles of outstanding LBM companies, updates on NLBMDA events, and regional association news. Think of it as your inside fast track to the most influential and informed organization of dealers in the construction supply industry.

With a mission to promote the success of America's lumber and building material dealers through advocacy, information, cooperation, and innovation, the NLBMDA's objectives include interpreting and disseminating information on government actions, industry trends, market conditions, technological developments, and economic issues affecting the industry. At PROSALES, we look to leverage this expertise and active involvement in forwarding our industry's interests, and in return we offer an avenue for the NLBMDA to strengthen its message and reach out to more dealers—to our more than 36,000 qualified subscribers.

We also plan to bring more dealers together by merging our two industry events, the PROSALES Executive Summit and the NLBMDA Industry Summit. The new conference, the NLBMDA/ PROSALES Industry Summit, will take place Sept. 23–25, 2004, at The Breakers hotel in Palm Beach, Fla., and will dovetail the NLBMDA's 88th Annual Meeting.

Titled “Critical Paths: Opening Avenues to New Business Opportunity,” the conference will provide in-depth panels and keynotes to help you improve sales and operations, and show you how to develop and implement viable strategies to launch new business ventures, improve profitability, and establish collaborative partnerships. Addressing issues including growth and consolidation among builders, business process engineering, construction services, and sales force development, the event 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 Demand and Supply,” and Rick Davis, president of The Leaders Group, a leading authority on sales training, and author of “Strategic Sales in the Building Industry.”

The true power of great business partnerships comes not from the ability to collaborate for the benefit of the parties involved, but from the opportunity to incite change and positively impact an entire industry, such as ours, as a combined force. We plan to take hold of that opportunity and work to continually strengthen the information, resources, events, and services available to your business.

Lisa Clift, Editor