Support the NLBMDA

Lampert Yards is doing it.

Ferguson Lumber is doing it.

Zarsky Lumber is doing it.

They’re supporting the National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA). We should all be doing it.

Speaking at the 2010 ProDealer Industry Summit—co-hosted by the NLBMDA and Home Channel News—Lampert Yards CEO Dan Fesler did the math.

There are 24 words in the Pythagorean theorem, he pointed out.

There are 179 words in the Ten Commandments.

And there are 26,911 words in the U.S. government regulations on the sale of cabbage.

“That’s why we need an organization like the NLBMDA,” Fesler said. “All legislation is bad, and what we really do is work to make it better. You’re either at the table having a discussion, or you’re what’s for dinner.”

During the NLBMDA’s transition ceremony, incoming chairman Joe Collings of Indiana-based Ferguson Lumber accepted the ceremonial gavel. Then, in a smooth radio voice—the kind of voice a politician would give his right arm for—Collings delivered the definitive argument for a strong, national association of lumberyards.

“The NLBMDA was founded to give dealers a national presence, clout with lawmakers and advocacy with regulatory agencies on a federal level,” he said. “To be the voice as well as the muscle needed to professionally represent membership in the unique environment of national government.”

Cases in point:

The NLBMDA pushed for and won exceptions to OSHA rules governing articulating boom trucks—exceptions that will save dealers, on average, thousands of dollars each.

The NLBMDA has taken legal action to support dealer interests against a woefully inept EPA lead remediation program.

The NLBMDA continues to push for Innocent Sellers Fairness Act. (And to show the need for a national voice on this topic, see “Toxic Drywall: Building a case”.)

“During the following year, you will see the association continue to build upon its unwavering founding principals, by continuing to be a first-class advocate for its members in governmental affairs,” Collings said.

Next year, Cally Coleman Fromme, of Victoria, Texas-based Zarsky Lumber, will take the gavel from Collings. She already has advice for LBM dealers: “Come to the table. Contribute. Be a part of the conversation to make a difference,” she said. “Let your voice be heard.”

Of course, the regional associations are the backbone of the lumber industry, providing guidance, networking, knowledge and support on the local level, where the rubber meets the road.

There exists a shining example of a successful organization composed of regional bodies, connected by a strong national federation. It’s called the United States of America. More than two centuries of peaceful power transfers and hundreds of millions of people enjoying the blessings of liberty and democracy through a combination of state and national organizations.

Support the NLBMDA. It’s the American thing to do.