Vice President of Operations, Builders FirstSource (Huntsville, TX)
Casey Collum knows a vendor relationship going on 20 years is rare. It started in 1999 when he and his father opened Empire Truss. “I started working with Wood Truss Systems because of Jim [Mavrakes]. He was one of the first people who stopped by. So I like to say wherever he goes is where I go,” he laughs. As a recent college grad and newcomer to the component business, Casey trusted Jim’s advice because of his longevity in the industry and the way he understood their needs as a start-up. In those first years when setups were experimental and purchases had to be carefully budgeted, Casey trusted Jim’s thorough research and instinct. “He would come in, look at what I had, evaluate the potential return, and present lots of options. Then I’d always ask his opinion, and he’d give it to me straight. I never felt like he was trying to sell me,” Casey says.
GM of Components Division, Zeeland Lumber & Supply (Wyoming, MI)
As general manager, Dean wears many hats - including sourcing new equipment for Zeeland’s two component manufacturing shops. And he counts on a few trusted vendors like Wood Truss Systems to go the distance. When a tornado leveled one of them in 2014, Wood Truss Systems was one of the first phone calls he made. Zeeland rebuilt a state-of-the-art facility, consulting with Wood Truss Systems to sell off some old pieces and making room for additional production equipment.
When Dick Fennell left his Ontario, Canada truss shop to start fresh in Wyoming, there was no doubt he would retain Wood Truss Systems as an equipment supplier. In fact, he credits Jay Halteman with the idea of setting up in the U.S. West. “Jay is the reason I’m here!” he said, explaining Jay knew of a shop for sale and suggested Dick make an offer in 2006. In the end Dick bought land and built his company from the ground up, but Jay helped influence the decision like only a true partner would.
“The single biggest value proposition is Jay’s consultative sales approach,” says Dick, a quality that delivers value time and time again. “Sometimes there’s nothing in it for him. But regardless of the outcome he’ll try to solve your problem,” he says.
The now 30-year relationship began when Dick was relatively green in the truss business. “In the early years Jay would direct my attention to a new product he thought would help my operation. He’d present it as an option and then I’d do my own research to validate his work. Sure enough, he was right every time. I stopped wasting time doing homework.”
A family-owned company known for innovation spanning 125 years and four generations, Villaume is proof that innovation is born from an essential combination of leading edge tools and the people behind them. Both are qualities President Nick Linsmayer values in Wood Truss Systems.
As the first wood truss supplier in the state of Minnesota in the 1960s, Villaume earned the “innovator” moniker they’ve become known for. The company’s partnership with Wood Truss Systems dates back to the 1970s when Bob Linsmayer (Villaume) and Bob Halteman (WTS) struck a business relationship that would extend to the next generation.
It is safe to say that Peter Ward is a true visionary. It is this very quality that propelled him toward an innovative solution when he needed to grow the truss end of his business, Drouin West Timber and Truss in Australia. His international search for truss equipment lead him to more than just answers. A true partnership, born from innovation, Wood Truss Systems was with Peter through every step of the journey. The year was 2007; Peter sold his sawmilling business in order to focus on building trusses. He realized that in order to achieve this growth, he would need to invest in some good equipment, which led him to Wood Truss Systems’ (WTS) web site. “I found Jay to be very helpful and provided me a contact point in America to find the equipment I was looking for and also introductions to other people.”
Peter wanted to retrofit a table with an Alpine auto-jigging system. “I thought I was nuked,” Peter recalls from his realization that the table that was listed for sale on the WTS website was not suitable. After some correspondence with Peter, Jay began to look around for other compatible tables. “The line that WTS sold us actually enabled us to grow substantially. That ignited my passion to expand the truss and frame business. That was our first scenario: We had to quickly grow to cover the costs of extracting the business.”