Faces of the Industry: Josh Hendrickson


Faces of the Industry: Josh Hendrickson

Wilson Lumber • Madison, Alabama

Hendrickson familyHow’d you get into this industry?

I got into this industry completely by chance. I applied for a job while working my way through college. I was six months from getting my bachelor’s degree in business administration and accepted a position with a national LBM working the inside sales counter, loading trucks, and overseeing inventory on the sales floor in Alabama. Although I only had a degree and no construction experience, I was hooked right away. I was previously self-employed as an owner of a landscaping company and foreclosure management company, so I was attracted to the sales position. Today, I have been in outside sales for 13 years, with a focus on wood trusses since 2013.

What’s your favorite part about being in this industry? What could you do without?

One of my favorite parts about this industry is problem- solving. I enjoy being the solution for my clients and establishing a rapport to become an integral part of their team. Every project has its own set of challenges and I always strive to address these challenges head on. One of our company mottos is to “Be the Buffalo, and charge directly into the problem.” Buffalo always charge into a moving storm because they know that’s the quickest way through.

I can honestly say that I enjoy every day I come to work, and I wouldn’t trade any part of it. If I can stay open-minded and learn something new every day, it’s always exciting and fun.

What’s your company, market, or SBCA chapter focused on right now?

Currently, like everyone else, we are focused on labor. It has been a real struggle the last few years, with the last six months being especially tough. The company has recently taken a different approach, offering a financial incentive to employees who bring people onboard, and who stick around for a certain number of days. We are using recruiters more than we used to, reaching out to friends and family, and talking to schools with little to no luck. This challenge hits us from all sides, internally and externally, from supply to framers in the field. We also are focusing on education in the field now more than ever; with an increasingly new workforce, we must stay in front of them with the tools they need to be successful. We do a lot of cross- training and make sure employees learn different aspects of the facility. We also take employees out into the field on repair jobs and have designers see the jobs they designed so they better understand the process.

What challenges do you see for the industry in the future, and what should SBCA be working on now to meet those challenges?

I see labor continuing to be an issue. I feel the industry must become more attractive to younger workers. Academia has told students that higher education is the only path to a career beyond high school. After spending over a decade in construction, I have seen that we are losing people every day to jobs that just are not the right fit for them and they would be extremely successful in our industry. We need to be in high schools, middle schools, community centers, youth groups, and anywhere else to let people know construction is still a great place for a career. It’s not just swinging hammers.

When you’re not thinking about trusses, what keeps you busy?

When I am not at work, I am spending time with my wife, Susy, and three children, Evy (5), Rowan (1-1/2) and Eliza (8 weeks). We are always spending time with friends, family and there is usually a BBQ around. I have participated in BBQ competitions the past ten years, winning a few local competitions and placing in the top 15 in large competitions. Teaching my children about cooking and gardening has been a big part of the time we spend together. When a weekend presents itself, I also try to get in the woods and put some miles on the trails. I have been fortunate to see many national parks and backpack sections of the Appalachian Trail. I am currently on my sixth home remodel in ten years. Although I am going to take a break from remodeling for a while, I still have projects from time to time that I squeeze in.

About the Author: TJ Jerke tackles local, state, and federal issues that impact the daily operations of component manufacturers, and explores what they can do to advocate for their needs in the marketplace.