By CMs, for CMs

President's Message

By CMs, for CMs

Truss manufacturing is in my blood. My father started one of the first truss plants in the country at Anderson Lumber Company, in Easton, Maryland in 1955. I started working in the truss business at the age of twelve. I worked summers and after school until I finished high school. I left the industry briefly to explore a career in the computer industry before returning to work for companies like Trussway and Shelter Systems of Texas. In 1993, I opened my own company, American Truss Systems, here in Houston.

The Structural Building Components Association (SBCA) is also in my blood. Because of my origins, I grew up with and around many of the people who helped form the Wood Truss Council of America (WTCA) in 1983 (which became SBCA in 2008). I knew a lot about this organization long before I attended my first board meeting in 1999.

That said, there was plenty that I didn’t know. When I first started participating in our association, I wasn’t always sure who was in charge or how decisions were made. As with anytime you’re on the outside looking in, it’s easy to make assumptions. You never know what really goes on at a meeting until you attend. You don’t realize what mis-perceptions you have about people until you get to know them. As my participation in
the association increased, I got to know everyone. Many of my closest friends have been made during (and immediately after) SBCA board meetings.

What has become very clear to me in the last few years as I’ve served on the Executive Committee is that SBCA is an organization that is run by component manufacturers (CMs). Suppliers provide valuable perspective, and association staff do a great job of bringing our ideas to fruition, but at the end of the day it’s the CMs actively engaged in the organization who set its direction and establish its value. We should control our own destiny, and this organization is our best opportunity to do so.

A good example is the new set of design and installation best practices on the SBCA website. These guidelines are the result of several CMs working with association staff to identify the most efficient and effective way to address code-related issues our industry faces on a daily basis. These strategies aren’t necessarily the only way to deal with an issue, but they’re what CMs, collectively, have found to work best. If you haven’t scoured this page to find a solution to your nagging problems, put this magazine down and go look. If you have an issue that isn’t covered, let me know and we’ll get working on it.

As I said, it’s impossible to understand how things work when you aren’t involved. That’s why I want to make it easier for every CM to learn about what SBCA doing, how we’re doing it, and why we’re doing it. Starting in January, I invite any CM member to call in to our Executive Committee teleconference on the fourth Friday of the month.

It will give you a chance to get to know the committed CMs who are part of that group. Call in, ask questions about the association, and give us your thoughts on what more we can do to help you out.

Finally, as I’ve learned over many years, there is no substitute for meeting face-to-face. This year, I want to meet as many CMs in person as I can, starting with those who attend the Executive Leadership Summits we have planned for 2017. These gatherings are your opportunity to meet fellow CMs, identify issues the association needs to be tackling, and offer your thoughts on the direction our industry should be taking. Keep an eye on the website; we’ll post event dates and details as soon as we have them.

I look forward to serving as president of SBCA, and I hope to see and talk with you sometime this year.