PODCASTS

Mark Russell of Millard Lumber: Honoring The Legacy of A Family Business

Mark Russell of Millard Lumber: Honoring The Legacy of A Family Business

 

Mark Russell joins Kip and Graham to discuss his role as being part of the third generation of Millard Lumber and how he balances continuing the best practices he was taught while also adapting to the ever changing marketplace to continue to allow his family business to prosper.



 

 

Podcast Participants:

Graham: Product Director Concora
Kip Rapp: CEO Concora
Mark Russell: Marketing Development Manager at Millard Lumber

 

Graham:

Hello everyone and welcome to the Concora Corner, a podcast dedicated to bringing you interviews with folks working in the AEC and BPM industry. I’m one of your hosts, Graham Waldrop, a director of product here at Concora. Today on the show we’re talking with Mark Russell, market development manager at Millard Lumber. Mark is part of the third generation to work at Millard Lumber and has been working there for 26 years. Mark takes us through his sales process, what he looks for in his salespeople, setting expectations appropriately, and accountability to his team and himself, and how that’s created a winning formula for Millard to continue to prosper. We hope you enjoy today’s interview with Mark, but before you begin, here’s a quick word from our CEO Kip Rapp.

 

Kip:

Wanted to thank everyone again for listening to our podcast, and if you’re interested in learning more about Concora, we help building product manufacturers get specified and purchase more by providing a great web experience that is bolted to your website and makes it easy for architects, engineers and contractors to do business with you online. Yeah, we’d like to think about it as three things, it’s a good web experience, good content and good tools, and we have tools such as submittals, sustainability, projects showcases or anything needed by your design community to help specify and purchase products. Again, we’d be more than happy to show you a quick demo and you can go to concora.com, read case studies and see how other customers have grown sales with our partnership.

Hey Mark, it’s been almost a month since we last talk and I’m looking forward to this. And the topics that we were talking about earlier definitely comes up quite a bit, and for our listeners, I think your experience and what you all do and how to help when business with commercial building projects and architects and contractors and certainly there’s ways on how to do this and then people have best practice and other people struggle a bit. So I really appreciate you spending the time today and sharing some of your stories, and how we start these off is if you can just introduce who you are, Mark, what you do, what your company does and what makes you different.


Mark Russell:

Sure, yeah. I’m Mark Russell, the company I work for is and Millard Lumber Incorporated. I’ve been with the company full-time 19 years, if you count my part-time years, it’d be 26 years to date myself a little bit.

But what we do is we sell cabinets, we also have a custom cabinet division. We sell, I mean, just regular building materials, sliding windows, roofing and then for the most, I mean, a lot of what we do as well is manufacture roof trusses, floor trusses and wall panels for both residential and commercial contractors. A lot of the wall panels, commercial contractors utilize not as much as the residential side.


Kip:

Got you. And it’s a family business, right?


Mark Russell:

Correct. Yes. I’m third generation.


Kip:

Oh, I was talking to a guy yesterday who was fourth generation, and he was saying 1% of these businesses maybe go to fourth generation.


Mark Russell:

Yeah. With our first born, we found out the sex of the child and we knew it was going to be a boy. So I told my dad, “Hey, fourth generation.” And my dad’s comments, “[inaudible 00:03:46] him as far away as possible.”


Kip:

Yeah. Well, that’s funny. Yeah, it’s quite interesting because the other day I was talking to a fourth generation, and he got into the business early and definitely had the passion for what they’re… And they were creating cheap metal products for HVAC, and we’re going to be doing a podcast with them in a few weeks, but it’s something special about that. And I’m sure there’s good things and bad things like working with your family. But did you always think about you wanted to be in this business or did you have an epiphany one day in grade school? Where you said, “I want to work with my family.”


Mark Russell:

I mean, mainly I greatly admired my grandpa and what he did and when he passed away early, when I was 10 or 11 when he passed away and then pretty much made up my mind then that as long as, I mean, the opportunity allowed itself, that I would be working for the company that he created.


Kip:

Yeah. And did you start young and in high school or…


Mark Russell:

Yeah, I started as soon as the labor laws in Nebraska allowed.


Kip:

Soon as you could walk?


Mark Russell:

So I was started out when I was 16 and then worked part-time throughout high school and then college and then started on full-time after that.


Kip:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). And you’re, I think I remember you saying you’re more on the sales side today, right?


Mark Russell:

Today. Yeah. My current role right now is managing our sales staff. At one of our locations, we have what I call it two and a half locations, because our location down in Kansas only sells cabinets and then interior doors and trim, so millwork items.


Kip:

Got you. Okay. And did you start off in sales or did you start in your operations or…


Mark Russell:

Sort of sales, I started off being a cashier [inaudible 00:05:51] accountant, so I’ve held many different hats throughout my career here. And this is one that I’ve just finally landed on and feel that it is my calling to work with. And for the most part, my team says they appreciate me, but on a daily basis, just like every other boss.


Kip:

Yeah. Yeah. And just, I know this was a little off topic, but being a sales leader and having a team, you mentioned they appreciate you. What have you learned on managing a team and what to do and what to not do, I guess?


Mark Russell:

Making sure… I mean, I hold them accountable as well as holding myself accountable to what I tell them that I will do. And I also hold them accountable for them telling me what they will do and then follow up and just keeping an open line of communication to where they feel that they can approach me with any things. I mean, sometimes I’ve had one employee come in and talk to me about his marital issues. So I feel honored that they are comfortable enough to talk to me about that, but then also tell them that, “Hey, I’m not a licensed counselor. Take what I’m telling you as it is, if it helps, I’m grateful if not, I’m sorry.”


Kip:

Yeah, well that certainly is interesting. And I appreciate what you’re saying is with the accountability, and not only them, but yourself. And I get that. I think where it’s an open enough relationship where it’s not just about work, right? It’s about being able to have a genuine relationship that work. And nowadays work is a lot more different versus maybe 30 years ago where it was a little more, “Okay, you got to wear a tie or something, or you have to come in and follow our protocol.” And I think with what I hear across other place, especially with COVID, it’s a blend work and life, and I think if people feel comfortable and be genuine and authentic, so it sounds like based on that example that you have a good team there that you’re your family business that you encourage that.


Mark Russell:

Yes.


Kip:

Yeah. That’s cool. So awesome. So, yeah. As you mentioned, you’re in sales and you have a wide variety of millwork products, and do you manufacture all those, did you say, or is there some that you buy?


Mark Russell:

Ones that we manufacture, I mean, we do have a custom cabinet division, and then also we hang all of our interior doors we pre hang them and then some exterior doors as well.


Kip:

And part of what we talked about earlier in the podcast is that, I assume in your role, you are trying to build relationships in business with all sorts of the design community. I imagine for you it could be the architects, the building owners, if it’s residential, I’m sure there’s developers or builders, right. So maybe we can look at… Well, let’s say, what’s the kind of ideal would you want to get in there early with the architects and just kind of build that relationship first or is there a difference?


Mark Russell:

For a commercial, yes, it helps to get in with architects early. So that way they know the products that we offer and supply, and that way they can either try to spec those out in the plans that they draw. And then also if the investor or developer of whatever the plan that they’re drawing for their customer, if a customer asks, well, “Hey, who should I take this to, to start getting pricing?” If we have a good relationship with the architect, then obviously they mention us so that we have for better type of getting the job since architect has recommended to use us and our products and what we provide, as opposed to just going out and going to any type of company that can provide the materials to build the type of building that they’re looking to do.


Kip:

Let’s say I wake up in the morning and I’m like, “Okay, I got a winsome business.” Do I talk to the developer first or do I talk to you? I mean, what’s some maybe interesting ways? Because it was interesting because you talked about you are talking to multiple constituents in that project or building project they may be working on now or in the future. Did the get that influence? So can you speak more to that?


Mark Russell:

Sure. If I catch wind of a project that is going to be happening, obviously, I mean, me trying to reach out to the developer first before they even start drawing plans helps. So that way I can let them know the services that we offer and what we can do. So that way they can then let me know what architect they will be working with, and then I can get in with that architect to work with them on as I’m sure we’ll touch on later, value engineering, some of the ways of how that structure gets built to save not only the developer money but save the architect money too.

So that way the architect doesn’t have to, of course, I don’t know. I mean, architects might get mad. And sometimes because they do like redrawing plans because they can charge again. But to try to minimize that for the developer, them not having to pay the architect again to make some changes on the plans. They appreciate that.

 

Kip:

So the if you catch when, as you mentioned with the developer and you’re able to influence that sometimes I imagine, or you’re not, do they always or sometimes tell you, “Hey, here’s the architect we’re working with, go talk to them.” And is there an influence that the developer has or are they more pointing you off to the architect?


Mark Russell:

They’re the money behind it, so they have a lot of the influence on it. And if we start creating a great relationship up front, of course, they’re going to get prices from other people. Because it’s just good business to try to make sure you’re building it as affordable as you can, but if I start a relationship out front with them, they’re more willing to, even if we’re not the lowest bidder to work with us as opposed to just awarding it to the person that has the cheapest price.


Kip:

So now as you mentioned, in your example, you’re now with the architect and you talk through this kind of value engineering. So what would be a nice approach there, because it sounds like in your example, you identify who the architect is. There’s maybe a project that you’ve identified that could potentially be valuable for what you do. And now you’re… So could you maybe talk us through that discussion or that process with the architect?


Mark Russell:

Sure. Yeah, we work with them to let them know depending on what load capacity each floor is needing, depending on the size of the structure, we work with them on letting them know instead of doing the standard either 16 inch on center spacing or 19 inch 0.2 on center spacing, we can beef up the floor trusses with some more sturdy structural lumber. So that way you can get it at 24 inches on center. And yeah, that higher grade lumber is a little bit more expensive, but since you’re spacing them out a little bit further, it ends up saving the customer money on the backend on that.

And then we can also work on using certain type of lumber as well in certain walls that are load bearing to minimize how much load those walls have to carry when moving forward.


Kip:

Sure. So that’s cool. So what you’re mentioning is that you’re educating that architect and in that case with the spacing of the trusses or beams that you’re talking about?


Mark Russell:

Yeah.


Kip:

And with the higher quality product could mean they need less of those. Right? And which then overall saves them money?


Mark Russell:

Correct. Yes.


Kip:

Yeah. That’s really cool. I don’t know if this is like a per project thing, but is there like go-to differentiations like that, that you can educate the architect or does it have to come down to understanding what they’re doing before you advise them on something?


Mark Russell:

A lot of times it has to come down to what they’re doing and exhibits only say a two story building, then the floors wouldn’t have as much bearing needed on them. But then if you get to the highest we can do in our areas that we service with a wood structure is four stories high. So that’s the tallest where you can do with a wood structure. So once you get going to a four story building, obviously there’s a lot more load being put on that first floor and such.

So we have to work with them, but a lot of the architects that we’ve worked with understand and typically draw the same type of buildings back and forth. So once they understand and we educate them on what they need to do and how, they can start incorporating that in the plans that they draw moving forward.


Graham:

Mark, I was curious about your process as a sales leader when bringing a board a new salesperson, what’s that ramp up process like, how involved are they in terms of getting into the sales cycles? Do they have to master the products that you’re selling before they start started getting out into the field? What’s that process like and how do you try to build a relationship with a new salesperson?

 

Mark Russell:

When we onboard a new sales staff, it obviously it depends on the knowledge that they have prior to being hired with us. And what I do if they don’t have any knowledge of the construction industry, first, I work with them to… I mean, at first the training processes, they’ll work with our front counter sales to understand the software that we use. And then the data entry that they do. And then I moved them to inside sales staff where they do a little bit more extensive data entry on their end. Then they move to our estimating team and design team to where they can learn how structures are built, why they use the products they use and where, and then I start working on slowly incorporating them through some of our existing customers.

And I work with them side by side until they feel comfortable enough to, I would say, have me throw them out to the wolves, work on either cold calling or just work on some customers that we already have an existing relationship with.


Graham:

Cool. Yeah, I think that sounds great in terms of being able to build them up before sending them loose. And another thing I liked about what your process is, is weighing them work with your designers, or at least be able to get knowledge around what your designers do and things like that. Does that continue throughout your departments, that people are collaborative and communicative with each other and people are learning from other departments that they’re not in?


Mark Russell:

Yeah. And we try to do as much cross training as possible. Especially somebody that isn’t familiar with the construction injuries. So that way they understand how our products are made, why they’re made the way they do. And what I also tell our sales team, “You don’t know the answer, just let the customer know.” “I’m not sure, but I will find out and get back to you,” and don’t try to lie to them and bring it. That’s something that’s most frustrating in me growing up and being in this industry my whole entire life. I go to say a box store and ask a question and the person in the aisle gives me an answer and I’m like, “You’re completely wrong. Don’t lie to me. Just say, I’m not sure I’ll go find out and I’ll get right back to you.”

As opposed to trying to BS and lie to me about it. That’s something that I strongly enforced our sales team not to do, because your credibility goes down really quickly if they know you’re not telling the truth. And as long as you’re honest with them and tell them you don’t know, but you’ll go find out. And then that helps you grow as a person in increase your knowledge on your end as well.


Graham:

Right. And that can burn a bridge before it’s even built. For sure.


Mark Russell:

Exactly.


Kip:

I know that goes back to your other example, Mark, with being able to differentiate, because you certainly have a deep knowledge in this industry. And I talked to other leaders and that’s what really helps them define their companies because they can provide a deeper set of advisement because of the expertise. Is that what I’m hearing for what you guys are doing?


Mark Russell:

We’re extremely, I would say, lucky to the tenure that we have on staff is extremely high with our design staff. I think the average tenure with our design staff is they’ve been with us 13 years designing. So that helps. And then there’s, I mean, especially things that I learned new all the time, because obviously there’s ever changing as far as new trends, new ways to do things and new products out there to where you can offer better ways to construct either a new residential house or apartment building or hotel complex. There’s just always new innovations going out there for us to learn and start using.


Kip:

Yeah. And in your sales ramp process, and you mentioned all the areas to help train and mentor your new salesperson from the front counter to inside sales. And how long does that normally take right where they’re kind of like out there in the wilderness with the wolves, is that like a year or six months or does it depend, or…


Mark Russell:

It depends on how fast they pick up on everything and how comfortable I feel with letting them go off on their own. Sometimes in the past it’s been just two months, sometimes it’s been four months. Sometimes it’s been six months to a year, it just depends on how fast they’re catching on and the learning style that they do. That’s one thing that I do in my interview process upfront, ask them, what’s your best way to be trained and how do you feel that you’ve grasped everything?

I mean, some people are more visual. Some people are more audio, some people just need literature to go through and read, some people just need a few quick tutorials as far as videos, it just depends on the person. But majority of the time, I would say on average, they’re off on their own within four to six months.


Kip:

Yeah, and I get what’s really important to your company is as you mentioned, the accountability and the authenticity, and as you alluded to with the honesty. Are there things beyond that that are maybe deal breakers that after a while you look at the person you’re saying, “Well,” sometimes it’s performance, sometimes it is personality. It could be, but is there things like that, hey, the level of coaching and mentorship is maybe not going to work. Is there anything that you would like to share there?


Mark Russell:

Yeah. When I go out and have an introductory meeting with a new salesperson, with a few customers, I like to see how they interact with the customers, how open they are. Because obviously being an introvert, you’re not going to be that good at sales. You have to be outgoing and willing to speak. So if the customer is asking most of the questions and the new hire isn’t, I feel that there’s not a good fit there. Obviously I like to try and pick that up when doing the interview. Unfortunately, people aren’t a hundred percent themselves during interviews. So there’ve been some times where I’ve made a hire and I’m like, “Okay, this isn’t going to work out. Would you be interested in this?”

I mean, I try to keep them employed with the company as much as possible, but then sometimes there’s just not roles that they would work out or that we even have openings for.


Kip:

Yeah. Well, that’s a good point. So you’re saying one of the key ones is their ability to be proactive and ask questions. And I mean, Mark, you seem a bit, I pegged your personality as somewhat of an introvert and you’ve learned to sell, right. Is that right? Are you more of an introvert?


Mark Russell:

I would say depends on the crowd or a situation I’m put in. A lot of times if I know somebody, then yeah. I can talk all day with them. If I’m new to them, I do have a little bit of more of a standoffish personality, and I would feel that majority of people do, but obviously great salesman, they can go up and talk to anybody in the room and not worry about it. I like to make an example, like when I’m… I deal with a lot of nonprofits in our area and when we have either galas or dinners, yeah. You gravitate to a lot of people that you already know to speak with, but a huge extrovert, especially if they’re in sales is going out and talking to every single person in the room.

And I’d like to call them a politician salesman because they’re shaking everybody’s hands and getting to know everybody. So that way they can have somebody either vote for them or buy from them.

 

Kip:

Yeah. I mean, I’m actually an introvert and it’s kind of the way I’ve defined it. And what I’ve read is, it’s like where are you go to unplug and relax? Right. Like, so find one that relaxed, just go by myself, stare at the computer, read a book or watch TV or something, and where extroverts, they’ll unwind in front of a crowd, right. That gets them energized. So I’ve coped with that because I think in business environments and even family environments that you have to like pick up certainly these secondary skills where you’re that hybrid. So for you, how did that work?

Did you have to learn certain kind of traits that might be a little out of character where you’re shaking everyone’s hand, or you’re meeting those strangers, right? Because I can imagine, I’m assuming when you’re younger, my style was very shy and introverted. Then I learned quickly and I want to be successful in there in the business, I got to do things a little differently. Right?


Mark Russell:

And you having hit the nail on the head with our industry. But as far as you grow with age and you start to mature a lot more, you understand you can get out of your shell a little bit more and not have to be the shy one. When I started in sales earlier, before I became into the sales manager role, that was many years ago, and me trying to cold call, that was hard. Me reaching out to people that I had no idea who they were and to talk to them. And then especially when I would be able to set up meetings with them, I would just be somewhat speechless. And these people are like, “Why would I buy from you if you don’t even talk to me?”

And so I finally grew and understood what it takes to get out there and sell and gain people’s trust and business. So it’s hard. And that’s one thing that I try to, when I hire a new person, sales staff, make sure that they’ve been in sales before. So that way it’s not a whole grooming process. It helps if they’ve been there before, but if I feel that somebody will be successful in it and they haven’t been in sales before then, yeah. I’ll take a chance.

Graham:

So, Mark your company has been around as you said, three generations, which is awesome. The longevity, you don’t see that very often. I think out of all the people we’ve talked to so far in the show, it’s definitely the longest tenured company. But obviously with having that longevity, you have to be able to evolve. So now that you’re the third generation and your family working for your company, what did you do specifically, especially when you got into a managerial position, did you do to help evolve the company, but still retain, what made it successful?


Mark Russell:

I tried to… I mean, if something is not broke, you don’t try to fix it, but obviously with ever changing world of technology, building products, there has to be a way to have people comfortable with change. And that’s one thing that I stressed before I even became into the sales management role and talking with people than our company is. Yes, nobody likes change, but sometimes change is good.

So you have to be open to ideas and not shut them down all the time. And the one thing that I don’t like hearing is, “Boy, we always done it this way.” Yeah great, but if we do it this way, it can help improve.

And it would make us be more efficient and take less time, less money, less hours of the people having to do it. So just making sure that we instill a culture within our company of change is good and making sure that people aren’t set in their old ways and they will accept different alternatives to different ways of doing things.


Graham:

Right. So I imagine that’s a really important part of the interview process when you’re bringing someone on, is making sure that they’re a culture fit.


Mark Russell:

Sure. Yeah. It’s hard to gauge at times, but this new hire that will start with us on the 22nd, when I have an interview with them for a sales role, and sometimes interviews only the last half hour. Because I know that they’re not going to be a good fit or 45 minutes, but when I had this interview and we spoke for two and a half hours, I somehow knew that yeah, he’s going to be a good fit. Of course, time will tell once he comes on, but it’s all about communication and being honest with everybody in the company. As long as you’re willing to admit to a mistake and own up to it and not point fingers, I feel that that shows a lot as to who you are as a person and being able to yeah. Say I screwed up, I’m sorry. And that’s huge in our industry too. And our customers greatly appreciate that. Somebody owning up to it and not trying to pass the buck on somebody else.


Kip:

Yeah. That’s interesting because your last statement with, I screwed up and take accountability is definitely, I think some of that is personality, right? Where people are, are they humble? Are they modest? Because you run into a lot of personalities and it’s me being a leader, it’s the hardest thing is to hire people. And some of that is you got to know what you want to hire for as a culture. And we’re not perfect. And we’re looking at a mix of culture and personality, right. Skill. I appreciate the one thing you said, it’s like, yeah, if you really think there’s a fit, then you have to spend more time with them. Like you mentioned, it’s two and a half hours, and it’s such an unfair process because you do this interview and it’s like, you have 30 seconds spot or 30 minute spots and maybe it’s a 60 minutes’ spot, and then you make a decision that affects your company, right?


Mark Russell:

Yeah.

 

Kip:

And you don’t want to let them go. Because you mentioned that it’s kind of an investment and a partnership. And I know maybe the U.S. corporate style’s a little different now where it’s not as a loyalty kind of thing, where versus 50 years ago, what they do in Japan, where it’s almost like generational employment. But it appears that you still try to help them out. Because it’s both people’s decisions that this can be a good bet. So I do appreciate that. And as Graham was mentioning before, you were talking about technologies and I was talking to another guy, he said, yeah if it’s not broke, don’t break it. And then, or if it’s, if it’s not broke, break it. Right.

So there’s like two perspectives there. And I did talk quite a bit Mark with other lumber manufacturers and with the inflation of wood. I didn’t want to talk about that a little bit. Because I don’t know. Right. And I think we’ve talked about the prices of wood going up dramatically over the last year. Why is that? Why is wood going up?


Mark Russell:

One course, everybody blames everything on COVID nowadays. So that’s what the mills are doing. Obviously, when COVID first hit a lot of mills shut down because they weren’t wanting to have a lot of their staff infected by it. And so that hurt the supply of the industry. And then what we feel, I mean, we haven’t really got solid answers out of the mills or lumber suppliers, but what we feel is a lot of people that weren’t taking vacations and they have money set aside for these vacations, they’re sitting at home, working at home. Well, we’ve always wanted to do this remodel projects and then they move forward with that a remodel. And then the government kicks in some extra money as well, if you’re within those ranges of income. So remodeling went a little bit crazy last year in ramped up.

And then also with the low interest rates, money’s cheap. So people are looking to build because it’s a lot cheaper to build. And then also what we’ve found is people being able to work from home, they’re moving to more rural areas and not spending this rent on these expensive apartments in the middle of the city, when they can have a mortgage and their mortgage payments cheaper than the rent that they were doing. So, I mean, new construction went crazy. So it’s been a lot of things. It’s been hard for us too, because trying to make sure that we get all of the material that we need within a timely manner. Right now, I know that we’re on allocation with a lot of our suppliers. So we just try to make sure we can get it. And then with the weather that we’ve had, that hasn’t helped out either.

I mean, the freezing in Texas, the multiple hurricanes that we had in 2020, and then along with all the fires that happened, we’ve never seen prices like this for as long as they have been. And what we do is we communicate with our customers and let them know. There’s no way that you can survive if you keep the prices where you’re used to selling them, you’d have to increase your prices with your customers and then either put an escalation clause within your contracts or make sure that you’re covered before selling a project to one of your customers.


Kip:

Yeah. And so, based on what I’m hearing, it’s a mix of the supply side of either COVID mill shutting down fires, hurricanes, and then it makes up the advanced side because of COVID everyone wants to move and fix up their house. And is that what you’re saying then? A little bit of both?

Mark Russell:

Yeah.


Kip:

Yeah.


Mark Russell:

Yeah.


Kip:

And it was also interesting, you were mentioning of the interest rates and then a lumber being more. Because obviously building things are more costly for homeowners, but are you saying then the interest rates are helping to offset that?


Mark Russell:

Yeah. And one way that one of my friends that’s a realtor, put it in a good perspective for me, as far as he said, what he tells his clients that are looking to build a new house. Yeah. “Right now you’re going to be spending anywhere from 15,000 to $30,000 more in lumber for your new house that you’re building. But if you wait until a lumber goes down, most likely interest rates are going to be higher. So you could be spending $100,000 more on your 30-year mortgage as opposed to the 15 to 30. So that said, what would you rather do spend 15 to 30 or a hundred?” And most likely people are going to choose, hopefully.


Kip:

I’ll say one. Yeah. That’s a good way of seeing it and seems to make a lot of sense. And just, I think appearance even with the home improvement projects, you probably that need to be able to improve your living since you’re working there, makes a lot of sense too. Right. So yeah, let’s just one last topic with Mark, is Graham alluded to there’s like technologies that are in your ability to change as a culture with the company. Is there anything like from a technology nowadays from either the lumber industry from treating to milling or whatever that makes the wood product much more viable versus maybe before?

Because I was talking to for example, I was talking to a stainless steel company. And they were talking about stainless steel, really just one of our podcasts and how they were doing an offsite fabrication. Right. And that really made the cost of installing stainless steel railings and go down. So is there anything in your products and your lumber that can help with making what a more viable product or efficient or cheaper or better?


Mark Russell:

Yeah. I would say a case by case basis, but for the most part there is with technology coming out, they are able to make any engineered wood product stronger and more durable by the way that they’re compressing the materials that they’re putting together in. So that way they can also make it cheaper as well. So in order to make something work within the building, we can incorporate a lot of those new products to help out our customers build cheaper with the new technology. I wouldn’t call it fake lumber because it’s still lumber, but the way that they engineer the products can make them a lot more sustainable and structurally sound that we can use.


Kip:

Yeah. I’m thinking of spam, right. It lasts for a hundred years. So the spam of wood.


Mark Russell:

Sure.


Kip:

Well, good stuff, Mark. I think we can wrap up and I really appreciated your story around your family being third generation, how you hire, how you’ve promoted change, and just certainly the culture that you have there with the authentic, the humility, the honesty, and then your walk through ways that you can talk to architects and contractors and what you’re doing and make a difference through solving their problems. And then lastly with the price of wood and then the technology. So definitely sounds like a great place to work. And if people wanted to reach you Mark, or your company, how could they?


Mark Russell:

They can go to our website which is www.millardlumber.com. And that has our career page. And then also has a contact page on there as well. And people feel free to call and have our receptionists just ask directly for me, she’ll patch you through.

Kip:

Good stuff. Well, again, thanks for your time. I appreciate it. And I’m look into finishing our podcast and telling the story to our larger community. So I appreciate it. Thanks.

Mark Russell:

No, thank you.


Graham:

All right, folks that wraps us up for today’s show. So you can find our podcast on Apple podcast, Spotify and SoundCloud by searching for the Concora Corner. And if you’d like to, we’d love a rating and a short review, if you listened on Apple, any feedback is appreciated on any of our shows that are coming out and, or just the show in general, or if you just want to say hello. You can find out more about Concora and our services @www.concora.com. We’re on Facebook @facebook.com/concoraLLC. We were on twitter @concora, and you can find us on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/concora. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

 

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