Tom Bartram began his career in the LBM industry after taking a part-time summer job in college. And he never looked back.
That initial part-time position at Community Lumber & Hardware in Lakeville, Conn. would be followed by a 42-year career in the industry. Today, Tom is the Lumber Dealer Association of Connecticut’s Lumber Person of the Year.
That part-time summer job was good to Tom. It not only introduced him into a career in lumber and building materials, but it was during that time he also met his wife Sharman. They were married on May 5, 1979, Cinco de Mayo —and were fortunate enough to stay in their hometown and build a home in 1985. They recently purchased and renovated Tom’s childhood home. Living there has brought Tom “full circle…..back where I started”.
Tom’s mentors include Mike Turnure, of Community Lumber & Hardware, and Ed Herrington, of Herington’s. Tom became a full time employee at Community in May of 1976 and worked in store sales, as a branch manager, yard manager/dispatcher and eventually in contractor sales. After Mr. Turnure’s passing, the company was purchased by Herrington’s where Tom continued in contractor sales and eventually moved to his present position as an architectural representative.
Tom says he, “developed a strong work ethic from both of my parents.”
“I enjoy working for an independent, family-owned business,” Tom says.
Looking back on his career, Tom remembers his first encounter with technology. It was a fax machine that used thermal paper. After faxing an order, the company would receive a confirmation in the mail several days later…..how things have changed.
Among Tom’s achievements and milestones are serving as chief of the Sharon Fire Department from 1988-1991. Presently, he serves as a Litchfield County Fire Coordinator, assisting eight local departments; and serving as president of the Sharon Fire Department. He continues to be involved in fire department training as an instructor for the County fire school. Four generations of Tom’s family have served with the fire department, with Tom volunteering for 43 years.
He is also a certified construction product representative (CCPR), allowing Tom to provide American Institute of America (AIA) seminars about products, installation techniques, and best practices.
Tom holds a bachelor of science in meteorology from Lowell Technological Institute (now UMass Lowell). Continuing as a student, he took the very first engineered lumber course provided by the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association. Other studies include building materials estimating and energy conservation courses.
“Take advantage of education, stay current, and be knowledgeable, as competition is keener than ever,” Tom says.
Giving back to the community continues to be one of Tom’s passions. He currently serves on the Town of Sharon Board of Finance and was a town Selectman during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Tom presently serves on the Salisbury- Sharon Resource Recovery Authority, providing joint municipal solid waste and recycling services for the two Towns. Other areas of Tom’s service include sitting on the Sharon Day Care Board of Directors and serving as a trustee at St. Bernard’s Roman Catholic Church.
Born in Sharon, Tom has been a lifelong resident of the town. Tom is a history buff and enjoys holding conversations about the subject. In fact, his daughters Emily and Erin are both history majors. Emily is an archivist for the Archdiocese of Hartford and holds a master’s degree in library science while Erin is completing her doctorate in American History and currently teaches history at the University of Hartford. Tom’s family include his sisters, Mary Ann who lives in Illinois and Kathy who resides in Arizona.
Tom’s advice to other dealers includes, “Have good relationships with your suppliers and support volunteer efforts in your local community.
“ I am grateful for all those who have helped me personally and professionally along the way and I hope I can do the same for those that follow.”