Volume 45, Issue 7 - September  2006

In the News

Truth Hardware Debuts New Look
The new logo of Truth Hardware of Owatonna, Minn., isn’t just a visual update with a catchy tagline. The company says it is a critical component of Truth’s integrated strategic communications program to let the door, window and skylight market know that there’s a new Truth Hardware—one that has significantly changed the way it does business.

The program, which will be rolled out over the coming months, is rooted in a commitment to unleash the resourcefulness of Truth’s employees and empower them to listen to what their customers really want. The result will be a more flexible and responsive approach to customer service, according to information from the company.

The program was recently unveiled to customers with a refreshed logo design and new positioning statement “better from every perspective.” The new logo mark retains the strong typeface that customers recognize while incorporating a simplified graphic to better convey its products. A new signature color—a rejuvenating and refreshing shade of green—signifies the company’s renewed commitment to its customers. The positioning statement anchors the logo mark and articulates the essence of Truth’s new approach to customer service and product development.

“It’s no longer business as usual at Truth Hardware,” said Greg Wobschall, president. “We took to heart what our customers were telling us: that we make great products but they want to work more collaboratively. As a result, we have reinvigorated our employees and will be communicating the new face of Truth in everything we do…”

In June 2006, Truth Hardware launched a new ad campaign to convey its more flexible, resourceful and responsive outlook. The campaign features a series of four ads with bold, dynamic graphics and the declaration to its customers: “You’ve Spoken. We’ve Listened. The New Truth is Here.” A companion website for the ad campaign, thenewtruth.com, details the changes that have taken place at Truth and features case studies with “change-making” Truth employees.

S&P Architectural Products Relocates
S&P Architectural Products Inc. (S&P), a South Florida provider of impact-resistant doors and windows, has announced plans to relocate its corporate office and warehouse facilities to a new 24,000-square-foot building. 

The move will double the company’s existing space.

Roper Brothers Lumber Expands Facility
Roper Brothers Lumber Co. Inc. in Petersburg, Va., plans to buy Taylor Brothers Lumber Co. in Lynchburg and Bedford, Va.
The transaction was expected to close at the end of July. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

With the addition of Taylor Brothers’ revenue of approximately $33 million, Roper Brothers’ revenue will be more than $190 million, according to a press release. The combined companies will have more than 500 employees.

Barry Brockwell, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Roper Brothers, says that Taylor Brothers has been an extremely successful independent pro-dealer and has established itself as a market leader in Lynchburg. He added that the addition of the Lynchburg and surrounding markets complimented Roper Lumber’s Virginia presence and would provide a platform for further growth in the western portion of the state.

Lyndon Millwork Loses One Building to Fire
A fire destroyed most of a building of Jeffersontown, Ken.-based Lyndon Millwork. No one was injured in the fire, which destroyed a building containing a workshop, a storage area and a small office, according to a report in the Courier-Journal.

Nearly 30 firefighters fought the blaze, and when they were called in, firefighters noticed “a brilliant stream flowing off the property into a stream that feeds into Chenoweth Run,” said Jeffersontown fire chief Jack Reckner in the article.

According to the article, the Jeffersontown sewage treatment plant, which is downstream, was told about the red liquid which contained paint, lacquer and staining materials. Officials determined that there was no public health threat.

Lyndon Millwork’s owner declined to comment in the article.

Triad Offers Equipment Finance Program
Triad of Alda, Neb., has made an agreement with Axis Capital Inc. to provide financing for all three of Triad’s product lines, including wall panel and sub-component equipment (wood framing), wall panel equipment (steel framing) and stair building equipment.

Established in 1996, Axis Capital Inc. provides equipment leasing services for businesses nationwide. Headquartered in Nebraska, Axis Capital Inc. has additional offices in New York, California, Texas and Colorado.

Fortifiber® Welcomes a New Northeastern Distributor 
Fortifiber Building Systems Group™ of Reno, Nev., has welcomed Russin Lumber Corp. as a new distributor of its weather-resistive barrier and flashing lines. 

“We are vertically-integrated in the siding business, which is why we have decided to take on a line of WRBs, housewraps and flashings,” said Walter Hock, Russin’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Adding Fortifiber’s high-quality moisture-control products to our current product line-up lets us offer a more complete building envelope solution to our customers, and solve more problems. It is a perfect fit for what we do.” 

Russin will carry Fortifiber’s moisture-control flashing line, and weather-resistive barrier products. 

“We’re proud to be associated with Russin Lumber,” said Jim Rossner, Fortifiber’s director of marketing. “Our companies share a similar focus on product quality, complete solutions, technical support and customer service.” 

MiTek Announces Three Strategic Acquisitions

Chesterfield, Mo.-based MiTek Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. company, has announced that it has finalized three strategic acquisitions during the past three months. 

MiTek Industries purchased Robbins Engineering Inc. of Tampa, Fla., which offers a complete line of connector products, truss manufacturing and material handling equipment, truss design and plant management software, and also provides licensed professional engineering services. Under the agreement, Robbins will continue to operate as a separate company and will maintain its brand, software, engineering support services and manufacturing facilities. 

MiTek Canada Inc. acquired the connector plate division of Jager Building Systems, a Calgary, Canada-based manufacturer and distributor of connector plates and engineered wood products. The company will be called Jager Metal Products and will operate independently under the auspices of MiTek Canada. 

Hardy Frames Inc., a wholly-owned MiTek subsidiary since 2001, acquired Morgan Sheet Metal Inc. of Huntington Beach, Calif. Morgan had been the sole manufacturer of Hardy Frames’ products for the past seven years, including the Hardy Frame® Panel, Hardy Frame® Brace Frame and their accessories. The Hardy Frame panel is a pre-fabricated shear wall system used primarily in regions such as California, where seismic or high-wind shear conditions present serious design challenges in residential and commercial construction. 

Collectively, the three acquisitions are designed to broaden the company’s range of products and services while deepening its market presence in the building component manufacturing industry across North America, said Gene Toombs, MiTek’s chairperson and chief executive officer.

MiTek has operations on five continents, employing more than 2000 associates, with more than 350 in the St. Louis area.

WDMA’s Green Goals and Environmental Stewardship 
A revised environmental stewardship statement released from the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) renews its focus on material-neutral, earth-friendly building. 

“The new statement embodies WDMA’s support for protecting the environment and making effective use of all material resources,” said Jeffrey Lowinski, WDMA acting president. 

Lowinski said the statement was updated to include all materials used in the construction of its members’ products, not wood only, and to broaden the organization’s support for programs fostering environmental stewardship. 

The Environmental Stewardship Statement of Beliefs is posted at www.wdma.com under “About WDMA.” 

AAMA Task Group to Develop Voluntary Standards
To ensure more reliable window and door performance in the most extreme wind-driven rain conditions, testing is being evaluated by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) to assist in the development of a voluntary standard specification that includes a permissible level of water penetration during these extreme events. Last fall, the AAMA Southeast Region formed a Hurricane Water Penetration Standard Development Task Group, with the specific objective of addressing the water control issue, according to Dean Lewis, certification manager for AAMA. 

“In the mid-1990s, AAMA was instrumental in developing hurricane performance standards for impact-resistant windows which were incorporated into building codes for Florida and other coastal regions,” says Lewis. “The first priority of those codes was to upgrade structures in order to prevent damage from excessive winds and windborne debris. The ability of newer structures, which utilize impact-resistant windows and glass doors, to better withstand hurricanes has been clearly demonstrated over the last two years,” summarizes Lewis. 

AAMA is again taking a leadership role in standard-setting, recognizing that a limited amount of water infiltration through a window or door must be anticipated in hurricane conditions. Cycling test data is being gathered to measure indoor/outdoor pressure differentials due to hurricane wind-gusting and turbulent wind flow, according to Lewis. “At this preliminary stage, the permissible quantity of water that actually passes the inner plane of the product is targeted to be no more than two ounces after 300 pulsating wind cycles. This translates to approximately two ounces of water every ten minutes during a 100 mile-per-hour hurricane,” explains Lewis. “Although it is possible to design a window or door that is leakproof under the most severe conditions, AAMA’s goal is to balance performance requirements with realistic design considerations—and manufacturing costs,” concludes Lewis. 

Milltech Inc. Receives SHARP Award
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced that Milltech Inc., a millwork producer in Aurora, Colo., has received OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) award. The company now joins the 29 companies in Colorado and approximately 800 companies in the United States that have achieved SHARP. 

Milltech specializes in the manufacture and installation of all millwork products. Currently, the company employs 15 field workers and approximately 60 workers in manufacturing. 

Under the direction and guidance of Frank Rolfes, general management team, and Renaldo Zeigler, safety coordinator, Milltech has implemented proactive measures in an effort to reduce injuries and illnesses. These measures include an active safety committee, daily stretching exercises, random drug testing and an open-door policy for employees to discuss new safety topics each month or as necessary. Milltech has installed red florescent lights in the ceiling to indicate where each fire extinguisher is located and installed an intrinsically safe dust collection system. 

According to OSHA safety consultant Greg Gress, Milltech is well on their way of sustaining an exemplary safety culture. 

Additionally, Milltech has successfully participated in a comprehensive safety and health onsite consultation survey conducted by the Consultation Program at Colorado State University and no hazards were identified. Due to these efforts, the Colorado Consultation Program nominated Milltech Inc. for SHARP recognition. 

For this accomplishment and recognition, Milltech will be removed from OSHA’s Programmed Inspection list from May 2006 through May 2007. This exemption recognizes that an effective safety and health program is in place and that their occupational injuries and illnesses are below the national levels. 

Milltech is the only Denver-based producer of doors in history to receive the SHARP designation, Gress said. Milltech employees were presented with the SHARP award in a presentation on July 7, 2006.

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