“Why Don’t You…”

President's Message

“Why Don’t You…”

As I talked to people throughout the week at BCMC, I kept hearing things that led me to conclude there’s a lot more unity in the industry these days. Both component manufacturers and suppliers were positive about not only how their own businesses were doing, but also the direction our industry is going. I don’t think that’s an accident.

Many years ago, when my business partner Richard Brown first got involved in SBCA (then called the Wood Truss Council of America), he’d come back from meetings and tell me what they had talked about and the decisions they had made. Some of it wouldn’t make sense to me, and I’d sit and tell him how I thought they should do things differently. “Why don’t you…” would be the start to a lot of my sentences.

Fortunately, Richard is a patient man. He took the time to explain to me why one thing or another wouldn’t work and how they had thought through things to arrive at the conclusions they reached. They had an approach back then that persists today of setting aside emotion, talking through issues, and finding the right solution. It’s an approach that has served the association and the industry well for over thirty years, and one that has fostered a sense of unity among us.

Those discussions with Richard remind me that it’s hard to appreciate SBCA’s approach to solving problems if you aren’t taking part in the process of hashing through ideas. From the outside, I always thought I had a better answer; usually that was because I was missing key pieces of information.

Just last week I got a call from Josh Hendricks, who asked if we had ever considered Huntsville, Alabama for BCMC. I checked with SBCA and found that the BCMC committee had looked at Huntsville and discovered there wasn’t enough hotel or convention center space. Josh pointed out that the convention center has been renovated recently, and a number of hotels have been built over the past few years. That’s valuable information we wouldn’t have had if Josh hadn’t raised the issue. Huntsville’s a beautiful city, and definitely a place we need to re-evaluate.

That’s the power of engagement. Every member can bring a fresh perspective and new ideas. If there’s something SBCA has done that you don’t agree with, or if there’s an issue you think SBCA should be doing something about, don’t sit on the sidelines. Give me a call, come to a meeting, reach out to your local chapter or contact SBCA staff. We need to hear your point of view, and you might need to hear ours. Together, we can find more effective solutions than we’d ever discover on our own.

I’ll leave you with a story my dad once told that I think applied to me when I used to argue with Richard after SBCA meetings. One morning there were three birds who gathered up some worms. They flew over and sat on a pump handle to eat those worms. After the first bird was done eating, he flew off and died. In the same way, the second bird finished eating, flew off and died. But the third bird stayed right where he was, digested his worm and did his business before flying away and living the rest of his long life. The moral of the story? Never fly off the handle when you’re full of it.