Ones to Watch May/June 2021

August 19th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

Q&A

With: Blake Huang, Marketing Manager for Plastpro

The Effects of COVID-19 on Marketing

How effective have you found digital tools to be, in lieu of in-person trade shows?

“In this industry we are used to a lot of human interactions, because that’s how business is done … it’s all about relationship building, so it’s hard … It’s been really difficult over the past year for us to turn things around and find ways that actually work, compared to what we’re used to doing. When it comes to trade shows, it’s especially hard. I can’t speak for others, but [for us] all of the virtual trade shows haven’t been effective.”

What do you think are some of the primary obstacles?

“People in this industry aren’t the most tech savvy. They just aren’t.”

How about video conferencing? Do tools like Skype and Zoom continue to work for you?

“My calendar has never been so full of meetings, because people automatically say okay let’s get on Zoom … However, the longer this has drawn out, the less effective those things have been. After a certain point, the overall vibe that we got from builders was that their energy felt drained. Suddenly, they didn’t want to talk about work. They just wanted to talk to people.”

Do you expect the industry to continue using these tools and other digital strategies?

“I don’t think that the digital strategies we’re currently focusing on will stay, because everyone can’t wait to get out. And the industry has been set in its ways for decades. Behaviors are hard to change. It might change things permanently for things like meetings—maybe we won’t go back to as much travel for those. But overall, I think the industry is going to go back to the old way we did things.”

So, you don’t feel that the current environment will permanently impact in-person events?

“No. I think when it comes to trade partners and professionals, they’re going to still rely on trade shows and physical samples.”

What about consumers—do you think they’ll continue to rely more on websites?

“People want to get their hands on things. They might shop online, but they’re going to head over to Home Depot or a showroom to see and feel things.”

Executives

Paradigm Selects Head of Cybersecurity

Paradigm appointed Daniel Creed vice president of cloud and information security. Creed is an information security and cloud computing professional with more than 25 years of experience building and managing teams, officials for the Middleton, Wis.-based software and technology provider said, from the Department of Defense and NASA, to the University of Wisconsin, they added, helping organizations design some of the “most robust and complex information and security systems and networks in the world.” Creed now oversees Paradigm’s cloud technology and information security operations.

Builders FirstSource Completes CEO Transition

Builders FirstSource Inc. announced the appointment of Dave Flitman as CEO. The appointment follows the retirement of former CEO, Chad Crow.

“I would like to thank everyone who supported me throughout my career at Builders FirstSource,” said Crow. “When I joined BFS more than 20 years ago, it was, of course, much smaller, having only completed a few acquisitions at that time. I could not have dreamed this company would be where it is today …”

Flitman has more than three decades of experience leading distribution businesses across multiple industries. Prior to its merger with Builders FirstSource, he served as president and CEO of building materials provider BMC.

Loewen Introduces VP of Market Development

Loewen Windows and Doors appointed Dan Brezine its vice president of market development. Brezine brings building industry knowledge and experience to his new role, officials said, having spent a decade at Kohler Co. and most recently serving as director of sales, dealer channel, for Kichler Lighting.

In his new role, he is responsible for market development planning and implementation to further grow Loewen’s national sales network.

Marketing

Quanex Hires Murray as North American Director of Marketing

Quanex Building Products named Cristina Murray its new North American director of marketing. Officials say Murray brings significant experience driving brand awareness and “achieving market excellence in the B2B marketplace.” She has 20-plus years of experience, most recently including at PPG Industries. Over the course of her career, she has worked in sales, business development, product development and customer service, and has led marketing communication efforts.

Murray has garnered a number of awards over the years, including a 2018 Crain’s Cleveland Business Award for Marketing, a Most Influential Women award by the Women’s Industry Network in 2017, the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network Athena Champion Award in 2014, and the Goodguys Woman of the Year Award in 2011.

“Not only is she a leader and team player, but she also brings fresh and innovative ideas to the table that we’re excited to implement across the organization,” says John Sleva, president of NACC, Quanex Building Products.

Sales

YKK AP America Hires Hauer as Sales Rep for Florida

YKK AP America added Tom Hauer as a residential sales representative for the Florida market. Hauer comes to YKK AP with more than 25 years of sales experience and performance-driven sales leadership, officials said. In his new role, he is responsible for building relationships with door and window dealers in an effort to deepen the company’s customer relationships and develop sales within the state of Florida.

Most recently, Hauer served as Florida regional sales manager for CMI Limited Co., where he built and sustained customer relationships with contractors, developers, and engineers, more than doubling annual sales growth.

Corporate

Promotions and a New Hire at Chelsea

Chelsea Building Products announced four promotions and one new hire including in marketing and management. The company added Mike Hoydic as its Southeast regional sales manager for doors and windows. Hoydic has more than 20-years of experience in the fenestration industry, officials said, having worked for various suppliers and several PVC extrusion companies. In his new role, he is responsible for working with existing customers as well as partnering with new door and window fabricators within the region.

In the marketing department, Jessica Funwela was promoted to marketing projects coordinator. A graduate of Saint Vincent College, Funwela joined the company’s customer service team in 2015, and in 2018 took over inside sales for the Everlast siding program. In her new role, she manages projects and programs within the marketing department.

Eric Eisenhuth, Greg Herbster and Jayson Richardson each were promoted to management positions. Eisenhuth has been with the company’s product design department since 2018 and now serves as manager. Herbster was promoted to business development manager for doors and windows. A graduate of Indiana University, officials say he joined Chelsea as a sales trainee in 2008, after which he was assigned the Southeast region as a regional sales manager. Richardson was promoted to Midwest regional sales manager for doors and windows. He joined the company in 2019 as a sales trainee, after which he was promoted to managing customers and acquiring new business for the Midwest region. Prior to joining Chelsea, he worked in specialty pharmacy inside sales.

Associations

NLBMDA Elects New Leadership

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) elected a new leadership team. Jim Bishop, owner of Kansas-based Vesta Lee Lumber Company, was elected chair, replacing outgoing chair Bob Sanford, president of Sandford and Hawley in Connecticut.

In addition to Bishop, Mark Zemrowski, chief operating officer of Indiana-based Von Tobel Corp., was elected vice chair. Bob Sanford, president of Sanford and Hawley Inc. in Manchester, Conn., became Immediate past chair, and Sandy Zelka, chief financial officer for New York-based Curtis Lumber Co., was elected treasurer.

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