This month PROSALES, which is already widely read by our 8,000 member companies, becomes the magazine that represents the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association.

This partnership will benefit all of us: It gives our association a national platform to share what is happening in our 21 state and regional organizations, and it gives Hanley Wood, an award-winning publisher of many building and construction trade magazines, a link to the rich history of our association.

The NLBMDA was formed in 1916, but the local groups were formed earlier, and some of our predominantly family-owned member firms have been in business for six generations. Our companies are the ones on Main Street, the ones that the churches and the Little Leagues and Habitat for Humanity go to for support.

But we estimate that we've reached only about half of the potential dealers in the market, and we'd like to count the rest among our membership, too. With PROSALES' circulation—36,000—we have an opportunity to make others in the industry more aware of the association and what it can do for them. This relationship with PROSALES magazine will help us reach companies we may never have reached before.

Through this partnership, the NLBMDA will have another forum to offer educational programs, safety and regulation updates, and news on personnel concerns, liability issues, and new laws and programs being considered in state capitals and in your nation's capital.

We hope that PROSALES readers who are not yet members of the NLBMDA will read about our efforts, see something of value to them, and join this association.

The staff at the NLBMDA will meet regularly with PROSALES' editorial staff to discuss industry trends and share industry news and issues impacting our membership. We'll be suggesting ideas for articles—for example, health care costs, estate tax relief, and bankruptcy reform (a few of NLBMDA's legislative priorities for 2004)—and perhaps point out companies that are doing innovative things. We also expect to invite association members and industry experts to be guest columnists from time to time. As for the Hanley Wood staff,we hope to draw on their expertise in various segments of the industry—home builders, remodelers—to give our readers a wider view of the building landscape.

Coming from an association background, I have seen the merits of having multiple ways to communicate with members. I spent 10 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and 12 years as executive vice president for governmental affairs at the International Sleep Products Association.

Building a community, a sense of being part of something bigger, is crucial to the success of an association. And the building materials industry is so very relationship-oriented. The more ways we have of reaching people, the better off we will be, both as an association and as individual enterprises.

When I joined the NLBMDA last June, the one real missing piece of the puzzle was to have a national magazine that was well respected and run by a professional organization. PROSALES and Hanley Wood fill that void.