How to Get the Industry’s Young Professionals Engaged

Originally published by the following source: SBC MagazineOctober 3, 2019
by Mindy Caldwell with contributions from SBCA Staff


SBCA’s Emerging Leaders Committee welcomed two new members in September.

Shawnee has been an effective recruiter for Big C because of her connections to local schools and her experiences as a past intern for the company.

Shawnee Gunnett is a structural estimator for Big C Lumber Structural Building Components in Dowagiac, Michigan. She was a recipient of the 2019 Emerging Leaders Scholarship and has been very involved in the work of the committee over the course of the past year. Shawnee has studied construction since her freshman year in high school and “fell in love” with the components industry during an internship with Big C during her first year of college. When asked what motivated her to get involved with SBCA, Shawnee says, “it was the perfect place for me to make connections and find mentors who are willing to teach me a thing or two from their experiences. Being involved will help me grow as an emerging leader while the industry changes going forward.”

Shawnee is stepping up as a leader in her local market as well. Now almost three years into her career with Big C, she says that one of the most rewarding parts of her current position are “the opportunities I have to learn new things about our industry and the support I receive for being involved with our local high schools and their advisory boards.” She will be sharing some of her insights into effective workforce development at BCMC later this month. Check out the session, “Kids of Today, Employees of Tomorrow: Best Practices for Developing a Local Workforce.”

Josh Dermer says he “grew up in the industry working for the family business” and over the course of the last 17 years at American Truss LLC in Houston, Texas, “has spent time performing every job.” He currently leads the design department and says he finds it rewarding to be a part of “designing and manufacturing the best product possible for all of our customers!”

Through his engagement with SBCA, Josh has been part of revolutionizing the industry through the development of SBCA’s new Digital QC Program.

Josh says he was motivated to get involved in SBCA “to stay informed and learn what new products and ideas are coming to our industry.”  As the QC manager for American Truss, that drive was how Josh got involved in the alpha-stage development of SBCA’s new Digital QC Program. Josh will also be presenting at this year’s BCMC in Columbus as part of the session, “Revolutionizing the Industry with Digital QC,” where attendees will hear how new technology and digital management will help all truss plants involved with the program to continuously improve their operations.

Along with the work on QC, Josh says another valuable part of being engaged in SBCA has been attending the leadership training seminars that the Emerging Leaders Committee organized as part of Open Quarterly Meetings (OQM) this year. “It’s opportunities like these that have me excited about participating in OQMs and other SBCA events like BCMC and committees,” he explains. “Participating in this way will help me be a better leader within my own organization and ensure our continued success.”

The Emerging Leaders have planned a variety of events at BCMC 2019 to raise money for scholarships and other opportunities to assist qualified applicants with expenses related to attending SBCA Open Quarterly Meetings. Join members of the committee to show your support and raise money for this fund by:

  • Attending Casino Game Night on Tuesday evening and entering the 50/50 raffle.
  • Running or walking in the 5K on Thursday.
  • Participating in Top Chord Golf, Drive-a-Nail, and the Trike Races near the SBCA booth (#906) during show hours.
  • Taking time to meet current SBCA Emerging Leaders to learn more about the work of the committee and how your company can get involved.

If you or someone from your company is interested in joining this committee, you can find more information on SBCA’s website. Entries for 2020 Emerging Leaders Scholarships are due November 15, 2019.

For additional information and commentary on SBCA’s Emerging Leader involvement, please read the following articles: