Every once in a while within lucky associations, a member will surface who has a tremendous amount of talent, knowledge, enthusiasm, and, more importantly, is willing to share his or her wisdom with others. The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) considers itself extremely fortunate to have many members from the entire building materials industry such as this who work together to improve not just their own company but the industry as a whole. At its core, members like these—members joining forces with others to accomplish what they could not do by themselves—are the magic behind every successful association.

Since NLBMDA's inception in 1916, dealers have recognized that by pooling their talents more could be accomplished at the local, state, and national levels. Today, NLBMDA represents more than 8,000 of America's building materials dealers, progressive dealers from the smallest companies to the largest regional and national chains. These members look to the association to represent them in the legislative and regulatory arenas, provide statistics and trends analysis, develop training to educate their employees, keep them safer, and, just as important, to provide dealer networking opportunities.

The success NLBMDA has achieved over the years has grown out of not only the enthusiasm of our members, but also is the direct result of our partnerships—relationships with the state and multi-state LBM associations and with industry manufacturer and service companies. Early on, dealer-leaders of this association recognized the knowledge and vested interest their suppliers brought to the table. To guarantee an active role for suppliers, NLBMDA established the Manufacturers and Services Council (MSC) in 1990. MSC representatives are active partners in every facet of National's activities, including the Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and every working group. MSCs have been working participants in strategic planning, membership recruitment, government affairs, the National Education Program, safety training, policy and planning decisions, and a number of industry-specific issues. MSC's participation is an integral part of every NLBMDA event, and MSC members are an integral part of NLBMDA!

What companies participate in this Manufacturers and Services Council? They're the companies that provide dealers with doors and windows, wallboard, dimensional lumber, engineered and treated lumber, molding, insulation, sheathing, siding, flooring, software, buying groups, fasteners, and much, much more. Most important, they're companies that seek greater exposure to dealers, have a desire to meet potential new customers, or simply want to contribute to the only national association that focuses on dealer business issues.

Together, by pooling their collective talents, dealers and MSC members make this association a viable player to represent the LBM industry. If you'd like to join our growing and enthusiastic industry community, we'd love to hear from you.

Best wishes for a prosperous 2005!

Shawn Conrad is president of NLBMDA. 800.634.8645 E-mail: shawn@dealer.org