President's Message: Innovate and Prosper

SBCA Magazine,

Gene Frogale

I am a firm believer that in order to succeed you can’t stay still. If you aren’t constantly looking out for the next best thing and figuring out how to use it to improve your business, you’ll eventually find yourself without customers. Your competition is always evolving, whether it’s the truss plant down the road, the turnkey framer in the field, or the builder customer who decides to take matters into their own hands because you can’t give them what they want. As I take the role of president of SBCA this year, I want to focus on the ways in which the association can help our industry innovate and prosper. To me, that starts with engagement.

I’ve been chair of the Membership Committee for several years, and I know that most of our members join either to get a discount in ordering SBCA publications like the jobsite package, or to get a discount on their BCMC registrations. Those are absolutely excellent reasons to join the association! The jobsite package is the best and most cost-efficient risk management tool available. BCMC is the best place to learn about the latest equipment, be exposed to many great ideas, and have a chance to gain a broader perspective out of the office. If you went to BCMC this year, or in any recent year, I want to strongly encourage you to not stop there.

Construction at a jobsite

Our company is constantly evolving the products we offer. The wall panels we supply today are more innovatvie and labor-efficient than what we supplied just a few years ago.

BCMC only lasts a few days, it’s not nearly enough time to have all the conversations you need to have with your fellow component manufacturers (CMs) and suppliers. It’s not enough time to ask all the questions you need answers to, and not enough time to build the kinds of lasting relationships with non-competitors who will open your eyes to things you never would have thought of yourself. I believe the greatest strength of SBCA, and its biggest return on investment, is its ability to connect you with other bright people who do exactly what you do.

The easiest way to get more engaged is to get involved in a local chapter. Local chapters are the best place to gain market intelligence and gain a broader voice when addressing code enforcement issues or potentially damaging code change proposals.

The next easiest way is to attend one of SBCA’s open quarterly meetings (OQMs). These meetings are open to everyone! They are simply the most effective way to build relationships and gather new ideas. My business has been transformed through the friendships I’ve made over the years attending OQMs, and I know anyone can have the same experience if they start attending these meetings. I think this message is getting through to others because I’ve seen a lot of new faces at the meetings in 2021. Stop trying to do it all yourself. Come to the OQMs, learn from non-competitors, go back and transform your market. It’s that simple.

Beyond getting more of you at the OQMs and engaged in your local chapters, I want more CMs to become members of SBCA. I said it at BCMC and I’ll put it in black and white here: there are approximately 800 non-member CMs in North America and I want to get 100 of them to join SBCA by the end of my presidency. I know it’s an incredibly aggressive goal, but I believe it’s doable. I also think it’s vital.

While it may seem counterintuitive, the better my competition does, the better I do. The better we all are at meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations, the more opportunity there will be for everyone to get more work. That’s why I want more CMs as members of SBCA and more members to be actively engaged in the association. Together, we improve our ability to identify and embrace best practices. Together, we spur more investment in research and development by our supply chain, leading the faster technological advancement. Together, we identify problems and threats faster and find ways to overcome them more quickly. We innovate far faster together than we would apart.

Our industry originated offsite construction, the idea of taking a part of the construction process and moving it to a manufacturing facility. For a long time this approach had very little competition, and that allowed our industry to grow rapidly and become the preferred method of framing in most parts of the country. But the days of providing a roof truss package and leaving the rest of the building to others is quickly becoming outdated. Builders and land developers are always looking for more efficient solutions.

If we don’t provide the solution for them, someone else will. If we don’t innovate, we will die. I believe with all my heart that SBCA is vital in bringing us together to drive that innovation. So in 2022, plan to get more engaged, and help us identify CMs who need to become members and join us on this journey.

Author: Gene Frogale, SBCA President