Passing the gavel in Savannah

Savannah, Ga. -- At a gathering of 200 pro dealers and suppliers here, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) board of directors introduced a new leadership team headed by Chuck Bankston, president of Bankston Lumber in Barnesville, Ga. The Oct. 24 installation was held during the ProDealer Industry Summit, a three-day event jointly sponsored by the NLBMDA and Home Channel News.

Bankston replaced outgoing chair Cally Coleman Fromme, executive VP of Zarsky Lumber Co. Reflecting on the decades she and her family have operated their Texas chain of lumberyards, which Fromme will soon take over, the first woman to serve as an NLBMDA chair said: “We stick around [because] we love it. We can’t help it.”

Incoming chair Bankston recalled his failed attempt at getting a job as a lifeguard at the town’s public pool. Working in the family lumberyard -- he’s the fourth generation -- appeared to be his destiny. “My dad never pushed me into getting back into the family business,” Bankston said. “He always let me make my decisions on my own. [But] he installed in me conservative core values that drive everything I do today.”

The NLBMDA bestowed service awards on Carlos Guilherme of Weyerhaeuser, Harold Baalmann of B&B Lumber, and the Oklahoma Lumbermen's Association.

BMC was awarded the Home Channel News “Pro Dealer of the Year” award at a dinner sponsored by Weyerhaeuser. CEO Peter Alexander said he wanted to “thank the senior management team who’s lifted a lot of timbers to get us to where we are.” The 88-location pro dealer, which successful reorganized under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, has watched its sales rise 44% this quarter compared with last year, he said.

“Our goal is to be the industry benchmark,” Alexander said.

Other officers installed by the NLBMDA at the event include:

• Chair-elect: Chris Yenrick, Smith-Phillips Building Supply, Winston-Salem, N.C.
• First vice chair: J.D. Saunders, Economy Lumber, Campbell, Calif.
• Second vice chair: Scott Yates, Denver Lumber, Denver
• Treasurer: Linda Nussbaum, Kleet Lumber Co., Huntington, N.Y.
• Manufacturers & services Council Chair: Roger Dankel, Simpson Strong-Tie, McKinney, Texas
• Federated Association executives chair: Paula Siewert, Northwestern Lumber Association, Minneapolis

The PDIS conference continues today with three educational sessions, a golf tournament and an evening networking party.