Joseph Collings, CEO of Ferguson Lumber, Rockville, Ind., took office late Wednesday as the 92nd chairman of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) with a stark assessment of the current housing industry and strong confidence that the group and its members will prevail.

"Our industry is in a state that I dare say none of us here have ever witnessed before," Collings said during an installation dinner at NLBMDA's annual meeting, held in Orlando, Fla. "This recession, which has strangled the residential building market, has hung on longer than any other in history. ... I'm not here to depress you, or to remind you that we are operating in challenging times. But we have been here a long time--some of us over a century--and we have provent that we are a hardy, focused, and talented industry. And we will be successful. If you didn't believe that, you wouldn't be here."

Collings succeeds Dan Fesler of Lamperts, St. Paul, Minn. Cally Coleman Fromme of Zarsky Lumber Co., Victoria, Texas, became chair-elect. When she takes over next year, Fromme would become the first woman in NLBMDA history to serve as chairman.

NLBMDA also split its vice-chair position in two, naming Chuck Bankston of Bankston Lumber Co., Barnesville, Ga., as first vice chair and Chris Yenrick of Smith-Phillips Building Supply, Winston-Salem, N.C. as second vice chair. Linda Nussbaum of Kleet Lumber Co., Huntington, N.Y., was named treasurer, while Carlos Guilherme of Weyerhaeuser Co., will head the Manufacturers and Services Council and Chris Quinn of the Kentucky Building Materials Association will lead the Federated Association Executives group.

Looking ahead, Collings said NLBMDA will remain "a first-class advocate for its members in government affairs," a communicator of important information, a developer and marketer of services, and an educational resource. He did not name any specific new objectives or programs.