President's Message: Going Back to Our Roots

SBCA Magazine,

SBCA state chapters can offer a lot of value

Prior to the formation of SBCA in 1983 (then called the Wood Truss Council of America), component manufacturers (CMs) formed loose-knit state and regional organizations to connect, share ideas, and give their fledgling industry a collective voice. Over the years, these groups became more formal and independent state chapters of SBCA and provided vital connections between local markets and the national organization.

Gene Frogale

Through the prolonged housing downturn, many of these chapters scaled back their activities or ceased to function altogether. As our industry emerged from those difficult times, many chapters have continued to remain mere shadows of their former selves. I strongly believe it is time for this to change. I’ve been blessed to be part of the Capital Area Chapter of SBCA, which continued to be a vibrant chapter despite the downturn. We have all benefited from our investment in the chapter, and I would like all CMs to have a similar experience.

I believe the greatest benefit of the chapters is the opportunity to engage with other people in the same profession. This isn’t about sharing your “secret sauce”; it’s about talking with and learning from people who speak the same language and have a shared experience. Our business is challenging enough. No one should be going it alone when a state chapter offers the ability to share problems and find solutions together.

This isn’t about sharing your secret sauce, it’s about talking and learning alongside people who speak the same language and have a shared experience.

State chapters also give us opportunities to gain knowledge specific to our industry that we can’t get anywhere else. Whether it’s talking through how building code changes may affect truss designs, or how to handle requests from local building departments, you can gain important insights by talking it through with your peers.

SBCA will be bringing two unique initiatives to chapters this year. The first is providing live demonstrations of SBCA’s powerful Digital QC software for tablets. This is a game changer. Chapter meetings provide the perfect venue for these types of demonstrations. We are also going to share valuable regional and metro market share data that SBCA has acquired from Home Innovation Research Labs as part of our new partnership with them. You can’t get this data and analysis anywhere else!

Capital Area golf outing

Gene (far right) and his assistant, Rhonda Leppert (second from left), stand with the wounded veterans who benefited from the resources raised through the golf outing organized by the Capital Area Chapter of SBCA.

Speaking of building codes and market share, chapters play a critical role in giving our industry a strong voice in local markets. Whether it’s by talking to building departments, fire departments, or lawmakers and regulators, our industry’s perspective is taken more seriously when it comes from a collective group like a chapter, as opposed to an individual company.

In my opinion, chapters are also about having fun together. The Capital Area Chapter of SBCA hosts an annual golf tournament that is always well attended. It’s great to get out on the course and spend a couple of hours with competitors, suppliers, and customers. If golf isn’t your thing, you can go skeet shooting, or fishing, or attend a sporting event. It doesn’t really matter what the event is, as long as it gives you the chance to get out of the office, gain some fresh perspective, and develop a friendship or two.

Finally, I believe chapters can also help us focus our attention on something bigger than ourselves and our businesses. For several years, our chapter’s annual golf outing has raised money to benefit Operation Finally Home, an organization that builds mortgage-free homes for wounded veterans and their families. It is an incredibly important mission that our chapter members have gone the extra mile to help fulfill. Whether it’s raising money for veterans’ groups, participating in Habitat for Humanity builds, or being a mentor in Boys & Girls Clubs, the chapters can give us an opportunity to give back to the communities we help build every day.

SBCA chapters provide many benefits and are a great way to get engaged without having to invest significant time, travel, and financial resources. SBCA staff is making it easier than ever to participate in your local chapter events or even serve in leadership. If you want to get involved in a chapter, or help your chapter become more active, please reach out to SBCA. We would love to get you started.

About the Author: Gene Frogale, SBCA President