Working at a lumber store may not be the ‘typical’ route to working in construction, but 84 Lumber, one of the country’s largest private building materials suppliers, believes working for the company is “anything but typical” and is using October’s ‘Careers in Construction Month’ to promote that fact.
"It's no secret that the construction industry is facing a severe shortage of skilled workers,” said Ken Kucera, vice president of installed sales and manufacturing at 84 Lumber. “What's less known is that the way into construction may not always be with a builder or contractor."
Primarily known as a materials supplier for single- and multi-family residences and commercial buildings, 84 Lumber also operates component plants, door shops, installation centers, and wood product shops. In an October 5 news release, the company said it also offers kitchen and bath design services and working at one of its stores can be an immersive learning environment.
"Over the last decade, construction jobs have steadily increased, even during economic downturns," said Kucera, who leads 84 Lumber's strategy and implementation for growing the components manufacturing business across the country.
"The need for skilled workers is showing no signs of slowing,” he added. “What's really key for the next generation are the opportunities — a career in construction doesn't have to be limited to a job site; it requires workers with many different types of skill sets and career goals."
The company said that building a career is possible with any level of education and that 84 Lumber offers internships, mentorships, and good management trainee programs, all leading to a career in roofing and related construction jobs.
"If you're good with your hands, great; if you have a way with people, consider sales,” Kucera said. “Any background or talent has a place in the construction industry."
Company associate Chris Cox, a divisional installed sales manager at 84 Lumber, highlighted the diverse career paths available at the organization, which began in 2003 when he transferred from Coastal Carolina University to study Construction Management at Horry Georgetown Tech in Conway, S.C.
The company said he started as an intern at Centex Homes and quickly progressed to become a field superintendent. In 2008, after Pulte Homes acquired Centex Homes, Cox continued his career as a superintendent, this time in Charlotte, N.C.
Following his years of industry experience, Cox moved to 84 Lumber in 2012 and, during the past 11 years, has received three promotions, establishing a rewarding career with 84 Lumber.
"Every day is something new; the construction industry changes almost daily," said Cox. "It's the change that motivates you daily, and the best part is, you can be part of the change, too."
The construction industry, which includes roofing, offers hands-on experience and visible results — a unique form of job satisfaction. 84 Lumber highlighted how completing projects that “positively impact” communities offers “…a sense of accomplishment that fuels people's passion” for construction.
"What I love most about my job is the opportunity to build and lead special teams that exceed both internal and external customer expectations,” Cox added. "84 Lumber has always put its people first. Our culture drives us to work hard, exceed customer expectations, and collaborate as one team across all departments," said Cox.
For information on career opportunities at 84 Lumber locations across the country, click HERE.