Director's Message: Opportunity of a Lifetime


Director's Message: Opportunity of a Lifetime

I’m honored to serve as SBCA’s new executive director.

I have always loved components. Whether it was pestering the assembly workers as a child in my family’s truss operation or panelizing walls in high school during the winter for my grandfather’s upcoming spring builds, like many of you, I have always appreciated and embraced the concept of “offsite construction” long before it was trending.

It’s with that love in mind that I step into the role of executive director for your association, SBCA. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to work with component manufacturers (CMs) from around the United States and Canada to collectively improve our industry for all. Components represent an opportunity for builders to deliver homes and other structures more efficiently with regard to both time and cost. I’m excited to offer my expertise, energy, and attention to assist everyone in enhancing their businesses, expanding the use of trusses and panels, and advancing light-frame wood construction through even greater use of all structural building components. 

I firmly believe CMs are in an excellent position in the construction supply chain today to provide offsite construction solutions that make sense for builders as they strive to meet the needs of their local markets. As we all know, how structures are built in my home state of Montana differ from how they are built in Louisiana, Florida, California, or Quebec. Those differences may often be subtle, but it’s important for CMs to have the ability to articulate those distinctions through unique value propositions within their local markets. 

That value proposition is something each CM must choose and create on their own, but SBCA is in a great position to make the process less daunting. As an organization that monitors and engages in the well-being of CMs across the country, SBCA has a strong grasp of what other CMs are trying and what works and doesn’t. We are here to help CMs with challenges, both big and small, and to share those successful approaches with everyone. Two examples that immediately come to mind are lumber and building information modeling (BIM).

Recently rising lumber costs put CMs in a difficult position, both from a working capital perspective and with respect to contract risk as they had to sell long term bids with short term input cost security. SBCA can help in this situation by increasing awareness of current market conditions while simultaneously educating members on associated contract risks and best practices to mitigate those risks.

Similarly, BIM represents an opportunity for CMs to learn from the success of other CMs. Our industry stands in the best position in the supply chain to capitalize on the benefits of BIM on projects of any scale, leveraging the proprietary design software produced by our supplier partners. While others may design or draw projects, CMs model projects within their everyday processes. Being required to show a project will work in the field drives a hyper-accuracy of results and information that has significant potential to streamline downstream material and trade activities if used in that way. 

Opportunities for collaboration like these and others within the grasp of CMs energize my outlook toward this industry and I remain extremely optimistic about what the next several years will bring to CMs. I’m as invigorated now about components and offsite construction as I was all those years ago when I was learning about the possibilities in construction using wall panels and floor and roof trusses!  
Thank you for this opportunity. I’m looking forward to working together to strengthen the component industry. 

Jess Lohse, SBCA Executive Director