Posted by & filed under Lumber Person of the Year.

 Lumber Person of the Year Robert A. Kelly, Torno Lumber

Robert Kelly got his start in the lumber and building material industry after seeing an ad in the Wall Street Journal headlined “Lumberyard for Sale in Seacoast Town.” “Immediately, I had a vision of a horse drawn wagon delivering rough-hewn beams to the docks and thought, ‘That’s for me.’” At the time he was working for the government during a period known as Watergate, and, as he tells it, absolutely nothing was happening.

Being an economist, Bob was trained how to run a country, not a company. After calling the seller of the lumberyard, Bob went to the library and got the Harvard MBA catalogue to find out what he needed to know. It took about a year to complete the sale, but since he was about the only person naïve enough to be interested in the going-bust seacoast company, the seller didn’t have a better alternative to him.

Ironically, Bob purchased Torno Lumber one month before the oil crisis of 1973. Since every penny he had, including the proceeds from the sale of his house in Virginia, went into the downpayment for the business, the beginning was a particularly interesting time for the company. The lines to the gas station next door were such that Bob had to post two employees on the street just to keep their entrance and exit open.

“After two years of struggling, I concluded that I couldn’t turn my seacoast lumberyard around. The exit strategy that I was contemplating was simply to leave the keys in the door at the end of the day and not return. Before I could execute my plan, sales suddenly jumped 20%, so I decided to keep the keys,” he says. “If there was any unearthly reason for this introduction to small business life, maybe it was something like my needing to be humbled before rewarded.”

Bob lists as one of his great achievements successfully defending himself in an age discrimination case. “Despite warnings to the contrary from both the State of Connecticut and the federal government, I chose to defend myself,” he says “Just about every night for almost three years I prepared written responses to the interrogatories sent by the EEOC. I was frequently up until 3 a.m. while facing 7:30 classes in the morning. Nonetheless, I ultimately prevailed against the law firm representing the plaintiff as the EEOC determined the suit to be without merit.”

After completing his Bachelor of Science from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1963, as opposed to his classmates who sought employment in the federal government’s “people-to-people” programs, after a year of graduate school, the Marine Corps certified him as a lieutenant in its “people-to-pieces” program, as he describes it.

When Bob served in the U.S. Marine Corp. Reserve (USMCR), he was an Infantry Officer. While serving in Vietnam, he was wounded four times. His last wounds were so severe that he was in and out of the hospital for more than three years for his recovery. He was wounded on the last day of his tour and honorably discharged. When his Vietnam obligations were over in 1967, he returned to graduate school and earned his Ph.D in Economics from Georgetown University in 1970.

Born in Woonsocket, R.I., one of Bob’s first childhood memories was the raucous celebration that followed the surrender of the Japanese that ended World War II. He also has fond memories of skipping school on a regular basis, Boy Scout camping trips, the Civil Air Patrol, and being an altar boy with nothing but good things to say about the priest he assisted—particularly since Bob’s call to service frequently allowed him to arrive at school late.

“I had a mother who used her life to give me a chance for a better life,” he begins about his family life. “Have a wife who has tolerated me for 47 years, prays for my soul, which she considers to be her employment, and who dreams of someday living in an apartment over the grand ballroom of Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World. Have a son, who, unfortunately, I raised to think for himself, and a daughter who I think hung the moon. Also, have four grandchildren. My daughter, Erin and her husband, Matt, will take over my company, though she has shown little interest in hastening the arrival of that day. Having children 4 and 6, has put her training program on a slowly moving path. My son-law, Matt refers to himself as the company SLOB (son-in-law of the boss). Since Matt and Erin came on board just as the financial crises of 2008 began, maybe the crises was their version of needing to be humbled. If, in fact, they, and not our federal government, were responsible for the crisis, I apologize to all of my building materials vendors and fellow lumber dealers, I am truly sorry. I also have been blessed with some long-term employees who I would be proud to be known as the father of.

“When I began at Torno and knew so little (not much has changed), apparently, very few of the salesmen calling on us advised their bosses to cut their losses with us. Of those vendors who rationally chose to refuse us service, I admit to note with some measure of satisfaction that most have closed their doors. During my 40 years of dealing with the many vendors who support the NRLA and LDAC, I have had very few (not zero) negative experiences. For the most part I am saddened whenever I learn that we have lost the services of one of the salesmen who call upon us. The fact that they have chosen to cast their lot with the building materials industry, may not reflect well on their decision making abilities, but I am pleased to have cast my lot with them.”

In his spare time, Bob enjoys exercise because he finds physical exertion to be pleasurable. He also likes to end his day with a little reading for pleasure—history, philosophy, and mathematics are what capture his interest. Bob is also a self-described inveterate do-it-yourselfer, which he enjoys thoroughly “despite a lack of any particular talent,” as he puts it. However, Bob’s favorite pastime consists of exercising his dog and cutting brush on a piece of property that he owns in Newtown.

Bob spent 30 years in the Economics Department at Fairfield University trying to, “lift the veil of ignorance and to prevent young people from enjoying the college experience,” he says. He is also a member in good standing (i.e., I pay my dues on time) of the American Legion, the Purple Heart Society, the Second Marine Division Association, India 3-9 Association, and Leathernecks of Connecticut. “This latter organization exists for the sole purpose of celebrating the glorious birthday of the United States Marine Corps on Nov. 10 of each year,” he says. Bob has also been a member of NRLA and Lumber Dealers Association of Connecticut since 1973.

Bob’s philosophy of life is “to always do whatever my wife tells me to do,” he says. “I have also long considered the words of Ignatius Loyola, that a happy life is one that is lived in loving service to others, as an appropriate philosophy of life. Most recently, I have read that the key to happiness in life is to laugh a lot and to think dirty thoughts. I am considering this as my new philosophy of life. I also believe that there will be plenty of time to rest and catch up on sleep after death.”

The guiding principle of Bob’s life, and the one that he has tried to instill in the people he works with, has been the IIDUU (pronounced “I do”) principle. He describes it thusly, “If you are asked to do something by someone in authority over you that you cannot identify as immoral, illegal, dangerous, unfair, or unkind (IIDUU), then you are to do it. And otherwise stand your ground and be prepared to fight like hell.”

The Lumber Dealer’s of Connecticut wishes to Congratulate and honor Lumber Person of the Year Robert Kelly.

 

 

Posted by & filed under Events.

LDAC Past Presidents Dinner 2013

On Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, the Lumber Dealers of Connecticut held its annual past president dinner at the Inn at Middletown. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were served, which was followed by a sit down dinner. There were 25 attendees, including the oldest living past president from 1967 Verne Spear. Other past presidents in attendance were Harry Taylor (1977), who still works at his lumberyard H.H. Taylor & Son, Andrew Perry (1981), Ken Roos (1984) of Branford Building Supply, David Miner (1990) of Miner’s, Inc., Mike Laureno (2000), Greg Branecky (2002) of Miner’s, Inc., Dave Bitso (2008) of Reeb Millwork, and Lorraine Miner (2013) of Miner’s, Inc. Board members toasted and thanked the past presidents’ years of service to the association.

Posted by & filed under Webinar.

December 4, 2013 2:00pm EST

Disaster Preparedness with David Hawley, Cornell Cooperative Extension

Webinar Wednesdays 2013-14
Natural or man-made disasters can have a substantial impact on the safety and security of forestry products and economic health. One effective way to reduce the impact of disasters is through education, stressing steps to improve disaster preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery. This course will help these business owners plan for and manage disasters that may occur on their operations, and encourage these businesses to actively adopt planning and preparedness actions.
TARGET AUDIENCE & LEVEL: DEALERS/OWNERS, Intermediate/Advanced

Posted by & filed under Webinar.

LBM Economic Forecast with Dr. Ed Seifried,

Seifreid & Brew

November 13, 2013 2:00pm ESTWebinar Wednesdays 2013-14
Dr. Seifried will review current economic conditions with an eye on forecasting economic growth for the
remainder of 2013 and 2014. We all know that while the Great Recession of 2007-09 is officially over and that
the recovery is now formally underway, something seems to be missing. This economic recovery has lacked the
robustness associated with past economic recoveries.
TARGET AUDIENCE & LEVEL: DEALERS/OWNERS, Intermediate/Advanced

Posted by & filed under Scholarship.

Congratulations to our 2013 Scholarship Winners:

Jessica Baldizon

Sponsored by Ring’s End Inc.

Attending Fairfield University

Eric Branecky

Sponsored by Miner’s Inc.

Attending Marquette University

Molly Funk

Sponsored by The O.L. Willard Company

Attending Bryant University

Emily LeGeyt

Sponsored by A.W. Hastings & Co.

Attending Quinnipiac University

Posted by & filed under Webinar.

Affordable Care Act Informational Overview – From the Employees & Employers Eyes – with Kirk Shoen,

Cornell Cooperative Extension

November 20, 2013 2:00pm EST
The new federal health care law called the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will soon change the way that businesses and/or employees will obtain their health insurance. Some employers will be mandated to provide health insurance for their employees. Others may want to offer insurance to assist in employee retention since there will be a tax penalty for any non-insured individuals. To answer concerns regarding how ACA will directly impact you, Cornell Cooperative Extension in partnership with Community Health Advocates is providing this webinar to help answer some of the following questions:

  • What does ACA mean for individuals and businesses?
  • How do I know what I am supposed to do for my business?
  • Who can I talk to if I have issues with finding a plan or purchasing insurance?
  • What is the Individual Exchange for sole proprietors and individuals?
  • What is the Small Business Health Options (SHOP) Exchange, how does it work and where can I find it?

TARGET AUDIENCE & LEVEL: ALL

Posted by & filed under Legislative, Newsletter.

 

This is the first publication of NRLA’s Regulatory Newsletter. This newsletter will be published twice a year and update members on recent regulatory changes as well as upcoming changes. While every state has their own regulatory changes, this newsletter will focus on regulatory issues that cross state lines. NRLA hopes that members find these newsletters informational and useful for their business.

 

 

DOT Hours of Service Changed

New truck driver hours-of-service regulations took effect July 1. The rule requires drivers to take a 30-minute break before driving more than eight hours and limits the use of the 34-hour restart to reset a driver’s weekly clock in two ways: The restart can only be used once a week (every 168 hours), and it must include two consecutive periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. Any driver that has not completed their 34-hour restart by 12:00 a.m. on July 1 must adhere to the new HOS restart regulation.

 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published a “visor card” outlining the changes to truck driver hours-of-service regulations, which may be downloaded here.

 

 

Victory on NLRB Union Ambush Rule

NRLA and NLBMDA helped win another regulatory victory for their members. On May 7, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., struck down the controversial National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule requiring businesses to post notices that were virtually “directions on how to unionize.” NRLA & NLBMDA are members of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), which was a party to the lawsuit.

 

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Affordable care act changes

(1) The Affordable Care Act (ACA) included an employer mandate, which required companies with 50 or more employees to provide healthcare coverage for their employees. The mandate was set to go into effect on January 1, 2014. The Administration announced that this mandate would be delayed for one year until 2015.

This is an enormous victory for businesses, which have been lobbying for a delay. Please note this delay does not affect or delay the individual mandate.

(2) The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) announced that it would delay for one year an option under the SHOP exchanges that would have allowed employers to select a certain benefit level and then allowed employees to choose among a variety of plans at that level. That option now will not be available until 2015. Until then, a company can still choose an insurance plan in the exchange, but employees will have to sign up for coverage through the carrier chosen.

 

 

 

Changes to the FMLA

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently published final regulations clarifying several amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). To review a detailed article summarizing the final regulations, click here.

 

The DOL’s final regulations take effect on March 8, 2013. As a covered employer, a company must ensure that its FMLA policy be consistent with these new regulations. Accordingly, we recommend that companies consider replacing their current FMLA policy with the updated policy.

 

The DOL also issued a new FMLA workplace poster. You can find the new poster here, and it should replace the old one no later than March, 2, 2013.

 

The DOL has also updated the model FMLA forms. Here are links to the updated forms: WH-380-E, WH-380-F, WH-381, WH-382, WH-384, and WH-385.

 

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OSHA Crane operator licenses

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced that it will extend the compliance date for the crane operator certification requirement by three years to Nov. 10, 2017. The proposal would also extend to the same date the existing phase-in requirement that employers ensure that their operators are qualified to operate the equipment.

 

NRLA members were getting ready to deal with this new certification requirement, but the delay allows NRLA and NLBMDA to continue to work with OSHA to get questions concerning articulating knuckle boom exemptions answered as well as a clearer definition as to what certification requirements these trucks will require.

 

 

Hazard communications

OSHA is starting to implement new Hazard Communication rules and moving to the Global Harmonized System (GHS). By December 1, 2013 all employees must be trained on the new label elements and Safety Data Sheets (SDS), formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).

 

Over the next two plus years, all businesses will also have to comply with the new GHS labels and replace all of their SDS sheets. By June 1, 2015 all employers must be in full compliance with the new GHS rules and by June 1, 2016 all labeling and SDS sheets must be updated to the new GHS standards.

 

The GHS standard is being adopted so that hazardous materials can be identified internationally. The requirement to have proper GHS labels and SDS sheets falls on all employers. SDS sheets cover a wide variety of products; everything from soaps, cleaning products, even wood (as sawdust is combustible).

 

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Safe Water Drinking Act updated – Sell off date for products

The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act (RLDWA) goes into effect on Jan. 4, 2014. The law sets new standards for the amount of lead allowed in plumbing products connected to potable water sources. The current law allows for up to 8% lead, but the new law requires a reduction down to 0.25%. Click here to be brought to a site that will help identify whether the products you have are compliant or not. Anything that is above 0.25% should be sold off before Jan. 4, 2014.

 

 

 

CDL Drivers

(1) The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a final rule in late 2008 creating a single electronic medical record database known as the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) for CDL drivers. As a result, CDL drivers need to complete a self-certification form and submit a current medical examiner’s certificate to their respective State Driver Licensing Agency (SDLA), such as the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). CDL drivers who do not self-certify and/or do not keep their medical examiner’s certificate up-to-date may lose their CDL status.

 

Each SDLA has its own self-certification forms, submission process, and additional information about the rule online. To access the information, visit the Government Affairs section of the NRLA website, click on your respective state on the left side, and then click on useful links.

 

(2) In February 2012, the Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established a National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (National Registry). The rule requires that all medical examiners who conduct physical examinations for commercial motor vehicle drivers complete periodic training and testing, and register with the National Registry. By May 21, 2014, all motor carriers and drivers are required to use medical examiners that are registered with the Agency’s National Registry. To access the FMCSA’s National Registry, visit National Registry.

 

(3) While many states are passing laws that allow for the medical or recreational use of marijuana it is important to note that marijuana use is still illegal under federal law, even for medical purposes. CDL drivers hold federal licenses and are required to adhere to federal DOT requirements. If a driver holding a CDL license tests positive for marijuana, he/she will have to complete the required return-to-work process.

 

Posted by & filed under Newsletter.

LDAC Welcomes All-Time Manufacturing

 

NRLA is proud to announce that All-Time Manufacturing has recently joined its lumber and building material family as an associate and retail yard. All-Time Manufacturing was founded in 1946 by three brothers, the Brodies, and was an early American innovator in no maintenance products that included marine windows, blinds, storm windows and doors, vinyl coated chain link fence, aluminum railings,and shower enclosures.

Working with General Electric, All-Time Manufacturing led the way in the use of insulated glass in high-altitude aircraft, and the company still makes superior-quality insulated glass for use in its high-quality vinyl and aluminum windows.

All-Time Manufacturing has entered its third generation as a family-owned and operated American manufacturer focusing on product excellence and service. All-Time has shipped to customers as far away as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and has continued to innovate with a range of products including no-maintenance vinyl, steel, and aluminum railings, porch enclosures, custom vinyl windows, high-quality vinyl and aluminum fencing, pergolas, gates, and more.

“At All-Time we take pride in the quality of our products and only use high quality materials such as UV-resistant virgin vinyl or rust-free aluminum alloys in our manufacturing processes,” said Rob Brodie, owner. “We manufacture our windows, doors, fences, railings, and other products to exceed industry standards. Customizable options and designs are available upon request.”

 

Another Successful LDAC Lobby Day
April 17, 2013


LDAC members at the Connecticut State Capitol.

LDAC Legislative Chair Greg Branecky hosted another successful lobby day in Hartford. Ten LDAC members started their lobby day off with the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Connecticut before hosting their own meeting and then gathering with about a dozen lawmakers off of the chamber floor. LDAC lobbied on the issue of a construction trust, product liability, and opposing proposed budget tax increases.


LDAC members held their lobby day partly in conjunction with the
Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Connecticut
.

A construction trust would make it so builders who have committed fraud are unable to hide behind bankruptcy protection. If fraud was committed, then their debts would not be dischargeable in bankruptcy court.

Product liability reform would make it so that retailers are held accountable for their own liability.

Currently, if a retailer is included in a product liability lawsuit, they may be forced to pay the entire settlement – even if they are only found liable for just a small portion of the claim. Product liability reform would make it such that if a retailer is found liable, the amount of liability would be determined and they would be required to pay the percentage of the claim for which they were found liable.

LDAC is opposing budget proposals that include sales tax, property tax, and utilities tax increases. While the budget needs to be balanced, LDAC does not believe that Connecticut can continue to use budget gimmicks and ask for continued tax increases while also proposing increased spending.

 

CT Members Meet With the Department of Revenue Services
By Greg Branecky, Miner’s Inc.
LDAC Legislative Chair

Joe Cecarelli, Marshall Collins (our Lobbyist), and Greg Branecky recently met with the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) to explain Lumber Dealers of Connecticut’s position on the Sales Tax Home Weatherization Products exemption, which we believe has out lived its usefulness.

The Sales Tax Exemption on Home Weatherization Products originally went into effect Nov. 25, 2005 through April 1, 2006, and was subsequently extended to May 31, 2007, at which time the legislators made it permanent. The exemption cost the State $8.2 million dollars in lost revenue during 2012 and is projected to result in $8.5 million in lost revenue for 2013.

We explained to DRS why this exemption is outdated. All major window manufacturers offer Energy Star rated windows. New home construction and most remodeling projects are using Energy Star’s windows. Additionally, we discussed how long it takes the retailer to calculate the sales tax on home weatherization, which ranges from 1 to 5 hours monthly.

The meeting went very well. They understood why this exemption is out dated. Our hope is that DRS will examine the exemption and eventually remove it. This would result in the state having additional revenue, sparing small business additional burdensome sales tax.