For Limeberry Lumber and Lumberplus, success means going beyond the popular industry motto of being “about the people.” Extraordinary growth has sent these two Indiana pro dealers, the winners of the 2005 National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association award for Excellence in Human Resources for firms with fewer than 50 employees and more than 50 employees, respectively, on a mission to completely revolutionize their approach to human resources. For Corydon, Ind.–based Limeberry, a 2003 yard relocation has brought more space, more opportunity, and a greater need for a staff focused on the “passion” and “personality” that vice president Scott Limeberry says will define his company as it moves into the future. For Lumberplus—which did not even have an HR department two years ago—hiring veteran HR talent has allowed the Crown Point, Ind.–based dealer to explode into a high-spirited, growth-oriented company where employees have empowerment and ownership of their careers and the company's success.

Following on the heels of Brazil, Ind.–based Timberland Home Center, one of the award winners in 2004, it looks like Indiana is beginning to spawn a dynasty of firms perennially achieving an industry best-in-class when it comes to managing people. “I do think it has to partly be that all of these individuals are also in the leadership structure of their state association as active volunteers,” says Tim Murphy, executive director for the Indiana Lumber and Builders' Supply Association. “It helps hone their leadership skills, and they are rubbing elbows and rubbing off best practices, as well.”

To be sure, these two Hoosier State independents prove you don't have to be a huge corporate entity to have progressive ideas when it comes to human resources, recruitment, and retention.