-By Rick Hess, Chair, NFBA Board of Directors-
The year 2013 is now in the history books, and 2014 brings us challenges to face—and goals to achieve—in both our businesses and our organization. NFBA has in place a strategic plan to help us all meet our goals and be a part of the construction growth that many organizations are forecasting.
Our organization, just like our own businesses, must get out of the cost-cutting mindset and be prepared for growth. Rather than asking “What costs can I cut?” we must be asking “How can I increase revenues?” Given the past several years that we in the construction industry have faced, this transformation of mindset won’t be easy, but it’s crucial. And we must put post-frame construction at the front of mind for all potential customers.
In order to achieve these goals, your board of directors is working very diligently on our strategic plan. Some of the major focus areas for 2014 are membership, education, our annual expo, the technical and research agenda and the expansion of our customer base through the Post-Frame Market Initiative.
Membership will continue to be a key focus in 2014. We need to continue adding value to NFBA membership through establishing new programs like the Gail Miller Safety Recognition Program and the Supplier Marketplace (now live on the NFBA’s website), while strengthening existing programs and offerings. The redesigned Post-Frame Advantage website (www.postframeadvantage.com) scheduled for release later in 2014 will offer an improved lead-generation system and further advance our industry as a whole as well as the prospects of individual member companies.
The Frame Building Expo, with its opportunities for education, is another way to add value to NFBA membership. In April 2013 about 30 people met at NFBA headquarters in Chicago to begin work on this year’s expo. Attending the meeting were representatives from the builder community, suppliers and NFBA staff. This productive meeting resulted in a very successful 2014 expo, and we will hold a similar meeting this spring so that we sustain our momentum in making changes that add value to membership.
Our goal is to increase membership by 20 percent by the end of 2015. With focused effort, this goal is within our reach.
Those of us who were able to attend the Frame Building Expo in Nashville in March had an amazing time—the event was chock full of opportunities for learning, gaining new perspectives and networking. The expo’s theme—“Building Quality: Connecting People, Products, and Purpose”—really came to life.
Keynote speaker Mike McKinley inspired attendees to tackle the challenges of improving their businesses and making effective use of their key assets. Special workshops on productivity, construction selling and safety added depth to the wide range of educational sessions led by expert presenters. I know those who attended will join me in thanking the Convention Planning Committee members for their dedication to delivering an outstanding expo. Our continuing efforts to make the expo more dynamic and include even more hands-on learning opportunities will capitalize on the great start made in 2014.
As always, the opportunities to network at the expo with colleagues in our industry were tremendous. We thank our supporters who made the hospitality events possible, as well as the companies who exhibited, gave product demos, led Expo LIVE! sessions and sponsored the high-striker activity and nail-pounding and screw-driving competitions. Our expo sponsors are listed on page 7. Please support them, our exhibitors and all those who support our industry—they deserve our backing.
Read more about highlights of the 2014 expo in the article on page 5, and find photos and summaries on nfba.org.
I hope that you are making plans now to attend next year’s Frame Building Expo—to be held February 18–20 in Louisville, Ky.—and take advantage of all the expo offers.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our retiring board members: Kevin Wiggam of Wiggam Lumber, Bob Meyer of Perma Column Inc. and Bryan Wolford of Postframe Works Ltd. These three gentlemen gave countless hours of support over many years to help promote the post-frame industry. Without board members like Kevin, Bob and Bryan, this organization would not be where it is today.
I also want to say congratulations and welcome to our newest board members: Matt Greiner of Greiner Buildings Inc., Fred Mancusi of Plyco Corporation and Sean Tighe of American Building Components. I know their input and service will be beneficial to the organization, and I look forward to working with them.
I promise to keep you informed about other NFBA initiatives and developments in the months ahead through these articles in Frame Building News. My goal, and the board’s goal, is to serve you, our members. Your comments and suggestions are very valuable, so please continue to pass them on. And thanks for being partners with us in our efforts to advance the post-frame industry.
Rick Hess is chair of the NFBA Board of Directors and general manager of the Specialty Division of CB Structures, Inc., New Holland, Penn.