In November 2000 I toured three BMHC lumberyards and a components plant in Denver. I was researching my first cover story for ProSales, and it was the first of hundreds of visits and interviews with pro dealers in virtually every state. At each stop on my nearly seven-year ProSales journey, I have met outstanding businesspeople with unique personalities and equally unique approaches to the business of building material supply.

That journey comes to a close this month as I move to a new challenge: working for Multifamily Executive and Developer magazines, sister publications of ProSales. Of course, multifamily construction is only a jobsite away for an increasing number of pro dealers, and I fully expect to continue to cross paths with many of you.

Chris Wood Many of my new multifamily contacts are extremely interested in things on the supply side, and as I converse with them and give the elevator speech on what pro sales is all about, I've keyed in on some favorite issues and notable people in our industry that have impressed me over the years. It's impossible to list them all in this final column, but I'd feel remiss if I didn't give a departing shout out to a few of my own personal pillars of pro sales:

The BMHC Business Model Competitors are just now saying that BMHC has a giant first-mover advantage with its SelectBuild division that provides construction services to big builders and leverages the distribution expertise of BMC West. The dip in the residential construction market hit San Francisco?based BMHC hard, but make no mistake: The big builders will be back, along with their thirst for partners that can add value.

Johan van Tilburg Looking for progressive and proactive industry leadership? Look no further than the president of Knoxville, Tenn.?based Tindell's, who epitomizes the small dealer/big thinker pro sales persona. Engaged in install, technology, manufacturing, and, most importantly, the success and future of the industry itself, when van Tilburg talks, people listen–and rightly so.

Hayward Lumber If BMHC has the upper hand when it comes to construction services, Hayward is equally light years ahead when it comes to sustainability and green building. A solar-powered truss plant, one of the first FSC chain-of-custody programs in the country, and an EnviroSmart green product marketing program are mere highlights of the steps Hayward is taking to assist and engage the construction community on the key issues of sustainability that will transform the industry for years to come.

Jay Curtis A Socratic gadfly who loves to question prevailing business mind-sets, the president of Curtis Lumber in Ballston Spa, N.Y., can be a challenging person to get to know. He's outspoken and upfront, and is never content to hide disdain for an industry trend that he does not like. But he's also not afraid to try anything once (sometimes twice), and he is the ultimate pro sales team coach. His company is motivated, direct, and engaged with fulfilling the needs of a diverse mix of customers. If you ever want the scoop on something, give Curtis a call. Looks are not deceiving: Curtis is as straight a shooter as they come.

Looking through my long list of dealer contacts and subscribers, I can call out great things about virtually every shop, and indeed I have learned much, both personally and professionally, from one and all. I've been humbled by the complex and challenging job that you do and the honest and straightforward manner in which it is done. The best part about my move to Multifamily Executive and Developer is that I'm still right down the street, so to speak. My contact info remains the same.

If there is anything I can ever do for you, for your company, or for the greater pro dealer industry, please don't hesitate to give me a call. So long for now, and thanks for everything.