ProBuild expects to post $3 billion in sales this year, one-third less than in 2008 and about half what it recorded at its peak, the chief executive officer for America's biggest building material dealer has revealed.

But Paul Hylbert also signaled that the company is gearing up for better times ahead. Speaking Oct. 3 in Denver to participants at the fall conference of the Mountain States Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, he said ProBuild's employee count, which had shrunk from 21,500 at its peak to about 10,500 workers, is now back over 12,000, including more than 200 salespeople hired from competitors that had closed. "These people are adding a lot of volume to what we do," He also noted that ProBuild has closed roughly 125 facilities since its peak total of about 600; its most recent press releases say it has roughly 470 facilities today.

Hylbert indicated that the decline in sales from last year's $4.4 billion and the 2006 peak of $6 billion is a direct result of the housing crash nationwide.

Two-thirds of Denver-based ProBuild's sales come from top 100 markets. ProBuild is in 80 of them.