LBM's next generation of leaders will get their say soon when the ProSales/Dealers Choice Four Under 40 Class of 2018 speak out during the ProSales 100 Conference this coming Feb. 28-March 2 in San Antonio.

This year's winners are: Brandon Kujawski, vice president of Charlotte/Triad markets, Carter Lumber; Julio Meza, contractor sales associate, TW Perry; Chris Rivers, vice president of operations, Parker’s Bulding Supply; and Codi Beane, sales associate, Dealers Choice Distribution. They will comprise a panel on millennial attitudes and future LBM leadership that will be moderated by Bill Myrick, former head of American Builders Supply and ProBuild and who, at age 36, was COO of 84 Lumber.

Polar Explorer Ben Saunders
Leading Authorities Polar explorer Ben Saunders

The ProSales 100 Conference traditionally kicks off with a mind-expanding keynoter. For 2018, it'll be polar explorer Ben Saunders, the third person in history to ski solo to the North Pole and was leader of a 105-day roundtrip journey across Antarctica to the South Pole and back. He has covered more than 3,700 miles on foot in the Polar Regions since 2001. His appearance at the ProSales 100 Conference will take place just weeks after he made the first solo, unsupported, and unassisted crossing of Antarctica.

Attendees also can look forward to these sessions:

  • The annual mergers and acquisitions session features Chad Crow, CEO, Builders FirstSource; Ruben Mendoza, president and CEO, Foundation Building Materials; and David Dittmer, CEO of TAL Holdings, the holding company for Tum-A-Lum Lumber; and Steve Swinney, CEO, Kodiak Building Partners. Michael Collins, a principal at Building Industry Advisors and ProSales' "Big Deals" columnist, will moderate.
  • The CEO panel will include 2018 Dealer of the Year Robb Wilson of Wilson Lumber, SRS President Dan Tinker, Hayward Lumber COO Paulo Sitolini, and Tibbetts Lumber Chairman Kyle Hooker.
  • Consultant Jason Forrest will explain why so many companies' training programs fail and give tips on how to make them succeed.
  • Winning over employees is a big part of implementing lean operations. To that end, consultant Scott Morrison will look at recent lean projects implemented at BMC, Shaw/Stewart Lumber, and Shepley Wood Products, including how they persuaded workers to embrace the changes.
  • What will it take to get more women into construction supply? Assistant editor Marisa Mendez will explore this and related topics with Natalia Dittmer, marketing director, TAL Holdings LLC; Ann Marie Chilcutt Miller, owner, New Home Building Stores; and Thea Dudley, vice president of financial services, SRS Distribution.
  • Mark Boud, chief economist at Metrostudy, will give his group's forecasts for 2018.
  • "Cutting Through the Digital Noise: Navigating Strategies for Online Marketing" is the theme for a session to be led by Scott Ericson and Jennifer Swick of Wheelhouse 2020, a consultancy based in Portland, Ore. "Relationships always have and always will be the foundation of the LBM business: as an industry we like phones and faces," Ericson and Swick say. "However, it is also important to recognize that evolving technology and communication tools are changing customer habits, the way they buy and the way they interact with LBM companies. With limited resources, recognizing a return on the investment means distilling what is really important for your customers and acknowledging which stage your company is at in the digital progression."

Registrations so far to the conference reveal a list of audience members that's as distinguished as the people on the agenda.

The signups include executives from Builders FirstSource, BMC, National Lumber, TW Perry, Stine Lumber, US LBM, Curtis Lumber, Mill Creek, Star Lumber, Huttig, Timberland Lumber, LMC, Parr Lumber, HDW, Cassity Jones Lumber, McCoy's Building Supply, Oldham Lumber, Orgill, West End Lumber, Do it Best, Foxworth-Galbraith Lumber, Kimal, Gypsum Management and Supply (GMS), Palmer-Donavin, Brand Vaughan, Your Building Centers, the Lester Group, Parker's Building Supply, J.P. Hart, Espy Lumber, Yoder's, Allen & Allen, Holmes Building Materials, Ritter Lumber, Tindell's, Big Creek, Heister House Millworks, and Ridgefield Supply.

Such an attendee list assures the 2018 ProSales 100 Conference will remain a boutique event that's more of an opportunity for conversation than a classroom. But that's not to say the three-day event won't have its share of learning, opportunities, too.
The event is open to dealers and distributors; only vendors who sign up as sponsors can attend. To register, visit here. To become a sponsor, contact Dan Colunio.