What Do a Truss Plant, Capitol Hill & Camden Yards Have in Common?

SBCA members gathered in Baltimore earlier this month for a packed few days of lobbying, learning, business and banter.

A group of members flew in a day early and, before the meeting kicked off, caught the train to Washington, D.C. to meet their legislators. In those meetings, they shared the industry’s concerns about the impacts of softwood lumber and steel trade actions, as well as reinforced the need for immigration policy reform.

“It was a fantastic chance to get out there and renew some old acquaintances,” said SBCA President Jack Dermer.

“It re-instilled our energy and passion to go up there and tell our story,” added Carl Schoening of Eagle Metal. “I highly recommend it to everybody. You should do it, and I think that we should continue doing it as a group.”

“I had good meetings with all of my representatives, and I think I’ll get one of them to visit our plant, which will be a great opportunity to have one-on-one time with them,” reported board member Gene Frogale. “I think this is an enterprise that you have to stay after. It’s tough to, with one meeting, have those guys understand our industry and really grasp our issues. I think it’s something we have to continue to do. The continuity is crucial.”

This OQM centered on opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, including a tour of the Shelter Systems Limited plant in Westminster, Maryland. “It was just a great opportunity to share ideas,” remarked Dermer. Case in point: the tour prompted a conversation during the board meeting about machine guarding and other safety tips that led members to share their best practices for preparing for OSHA inspections. Members agreed that kind of exchange is a key benefit of getting together.

“If you get all the top industry experts to walk through your plant and don’t get ideas from them,” noted Darren Hedrick of Trussway Manufacturing, “shame on us!” There was general agreement among the board that future OQMs should feature a tour of a component manufacturing facility or another operation from which CMs could potentially gain insight.

Attendees also had time to divvy up into focus groups and dive into topics that covered key industry issues including developments in the lumber market, shifting of risk and greater responsibility onto CMs and a the impacts of a more automated manufacturing process. The information discussed provided direction to SBCA staff for tasks that include safety improvements and our library of online resources and best practices.

Several industry suppliers provided analysis of market and raw material trends, including a potential ban on the importation of steel.

Finally, the Board unanimously approved the nominating committee’s recommendation of Mike Ruede to serve as SBCA’s secretary next year and president in 2020. The Board also agreed to expand SBCRI’s scope to allow it to conduct third-party quality assurance inspections for customers who have requested these services to help meet code compliance requirements. It was observed there are significant synergy opportunities between SBCRI’s testing capabilities and quality assurance services.

Did you know all members are always invited to board and committee meetings? Join us at the next OQM in July, and get up to speed on SBCA activity by joining the next exec call on July 21. RSVP to president@sbcindustry.com for details!

The real “home run” of the event was an evening at Camden Yards, where members continued to network and enjoy the camaraderie of the SBCA community while watching the Baltimore Orioles defeat the Pittsburg Pirates in extra innings. “It was a really fantastic opportunity to sit down and chat, get to know one another and share some ideas,” said Dermer. The Board agreed that similar activities will be on the agendas of future meetings – so keep an eye out for the agenda of the next OQM!

Thank you to Platinum sponsors Alpine, Modu Tech and SBCA Capital Area, as well as Silver sponsors MiTek, Simpson Strong-Tie and California SBCA, for providing box suites at the Orioles game.