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The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same.

This is an essay by Mike Ruede as part of the ongoing “President’s Message” series in SBCA Magazine.

Nineteen years ago we found ourselves in a similar spot.

The week of September 11, 2001, I sat down to write my second message for SBC Magazine (then called WOODWORDS) in my first term as president of the association. It’s so hard to believe almost nineteen years have passed since that day but as I read what I wrote in that message, the memories and grief came flooding back. There was such a national sense of helplessness in that moment, not entirely unlike what we are experiencing as I write this in mid-April 2020.The parallels go much deeper though.

Back in 2001, I was celebrating the culmination of a multi-year effort to reorganize our association by bringing together separate but related interests under one umbrella. We did this with one clear goal in mind, “to advance the use of all structural building components in construction.” Today, we celebrate the completion of our multi-year effort to realign the scopes of work between SBCA and the Truss Plate Institute (TPI) and to ensure that component manufacturers (CMs) will control their own destiny when it comes to our products and how they are utilized in the field. That realignment effort paved the way for us to create a strategic plan and reinforce our core vision to have, “the building industry use high quality building components provided by SBCA member companies.”In the last nineteen years, so many things have changed in our industry.

The design software we use has advanced significantly, the fabrication equipment we use has become more automated, and the expectations of our customers have expanded many times over. We have the ability to play a much bigger part in the construction industry than we did back then; we only need to seize the opportunities in front of us.I’ll tell you what hasn’t changed in all that time: the reliability and professionalism of our trade association.

I noted in my 2001 message: “WTCA keeps plugging away in the background, so much so that we may not be aware of it. Our association is always available and working on legislative, training, fire, code, technical, legal, and other issues. WTCA is taking steps to protect and defend you and your business from these types of situations, while at the same time advancing the use and distribution of our products to our customers. We barely know that WTCA is avail-able until we need it, but isnʼt it nice to know that even though we havenʼt been focus-ing on WTCA, it continues to do the very things that are important for our industry?”

I could say the exact same thing today. SBCA continues to plug away behind the scenes, constantly working to protect our best interests and promote the expanded use of our products. SBCA is a great source for everything from design best practices and risk management to online training and workforce development.

Whatever you need, whenever you need it, SBCA is there for you.Isn’t it nice to know that no matter what happens, from a national tragedy to a global pandemic, our association remains a constant we can rely on?

If you haven’t taken advantage of this great organization, now is a perfect time to reach out to SBCA staff as you look for ways to recover and then grow into the future.

Mike Ruede, SBCA President

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