Month: January 2020

January 31, 2020

Hire Smarter Episode 06: Lindsey Fox, Product & Marketing Manager at Nationwide Industries

Welcome to our 6th episode of Hire Smarter! Our goal is to educate leaders with best practices in hiring and to help professionals make the best career decisions based on their personal and professional goals.

Have you made hiring mistakes allowing emotions to cloud the assessment and selection stage of your process?  Letting the emotional human elements blur your objective reasoning is a common mistake we all have made as hiring leaders.  What has been your toughest test to remain objective and cognitive in predicting who will be successful?

Michele Burger from the Misura Group team joins me in this episode as we discuss with Lindsey Fox what it takes to be a successful female professional in the industry.

We placed Lindsey with Nationwide Industries as Product & Marketing Manager. Nationwide is a $70m innovative fence and railing hardware manufacturer that has the #1 market share in the space. Here is where it gets interesting – Lindsey was 5 months pregnant with her first child when we started the recruiting and vetting process, and 7 months pregnant when she was hired. She is an excellent professional who shares her best practices for navigating career advancements, motherhood and taking on Impostor Syndrome, that feeling of self-doubt and inadequacy that comes with being human.

This generation of the workforce is asking one question of any leader who is interviewing them: How does your company action its values?

In this case, Chris Kliefoth, CEO of Nationwide Industries, sent a clear message when he hired Lindsey – we respect and support family values, and we value people based on their merit.


Hire Smarter! – Tony


Thanks for listening!


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January 20, 2020

Who will be the next Builders FirstSource CEO?

The press release dated January 13, 2020 announced Builders FirstSource has launched a search to replace Chad Crow as CEO.

Chad has done well. As of March of 2019, the Fortune 500 had BFS listed at #394 of the top 500 companies in the world. It’s pretty cool to see a dealer from our industry segment flanked by legacy companies like Hershey at #391 and Weyerhaeuser at #406 on the Fortune 500 listing.

Before taking the helm, Chad had the benefit of being mentored by Floyd Sherman, an empire builder. Working alongside him as CFO, then COO, was excellent preparation for being the CEO. With Floyd now at 79 years old, I’m not sure the next CEO will be offered the same opportunity. It would seem plausible COOs Scott Robins and Dave Rush would be internal candidates for the position, following the Floyd-to-Chad succession pattern. Misura Group placed Scott at Hope lumber in 2004 as a market Vice President; he has done well persistently developing his leadership skills and would seem to be well poised for the next step.

What is the right Score Card for Builders FirstSource CEO candidates?

Developing People 

Leaders that have mastered teaching, training and developing people, their people grow faster than the business demands. The excess of talent creates a more competitive environment with the best talent raising the level of performance expectations. The increase in the competition drives the profit line to new heights, an area of opportunity for BFS in the future.


Across their served market, the range of complexity of the general contractor customer base is wide with vastly different needs. Effectively serving those needs under one common business model is difficult. The competitive offering from specialists is growing, posing threats to the high profit margin product segments. Will the next leader be effective at creating new solutions to rising challenges, and be capable of not losing customer focus under intense financial performance pressure?

Continuous improvement culture 

What is the candidate’s proven history of success leveraging Hoshin Kanri? Hoshin Kanri, or “strategic deployment,” is a core executive tool developed in Japan and used by the Toyota Leadership College, its tenets commonly discussed among Fortune 500 CEOs. Many of you spent countless hours in Q4 2019 attending the year-end strategic planning meetings. It’s common for that strategic plan to be written down and never looked at again until next December. A clear sign of the executive leader’s ineffective deployment. Leading people to be consumed by the day to day tactical fray of keeping the trains on time.  Not supporting your best people to have the time, space and resources needed to gain ground on significant strategic challenges. Hoshin Kanri is a proven solution. For Fortune 500 CEOs, being deeply trained in Hoshin Kanri was equivalent to the rest of us mortals moving from arithmetic to algebra; it’s new and hard but simple in concept and a hurdle we cleared like a freshman in high school. A clear “must-have” in my book for the next BFS CEO is to have achieved success with key strategic goals through an effective deployment process – Hoshin Kanri.


As with every recruiting project, making sure everyone is aware of the possible pitfalls is critical.

NASDAQ listed, Wall Street traded, yet people and customer-centric should be the mantra. Easier said than done. The next leader should have great examples of successfully leading through a similar volatile environment while not sacrificing core values for financial achievements.

Tallest Midget Syndrome. The building product dealer space does not have many publicly-held companies, BFS and BMC Holdings. The tendency to over-value leaders from the building industry who are publicly held in the production builder or manufacturer segment under the “they know the industry” concept can be a risk. Limiting the talent pool to building products companies that are NASDAQ or NYSE traded shrinks the potential talent pool hence creating Tallest Midget Syndrome.

To the BFS Board of Directors – the people and families of BFS deserve the best and are counting on you. Serve them first, and the broader shareholders will be pleased with the results.


Hire Smarter – Tony


January 17, 2020

Hire Smarter Episode 05: Hans Vonderhofen, President of Split Rail Fence & Supply (part 2)


We are excited to share our 5th episode of Hire Smarter, where our mission is simple: educate leaders how to improve their best practices for hiring talent and helping professionals make better career decisions.

This is the second installment of a two-part series with Hans Vonderhofen, President of Split Rail Fence & Supply, an installed fencing business with annual sales over $20m, focused on serving residential single-family general contractors in the greater Denver area.

Turnarounds: What makes a great turnaround leader? Hans has a proven history of success with multiple business turnarounds in the installed building products segment, serving the production builder customer base. Often faced with tough competition and the complexity of 30 install crews working offsite every day, all while inheriting high turnover challenges at the onset of the project.

Hans wastes no time with the message, “It’s about having the right people.” His warning, leading with price without having the right people and process, is a common mistake for many leaders and owners. Listen closely to his steps concentrating on collecting the data from the employees working to identify the root cause for the turnover. It’s rather straight forward: compensation, benefits and quality of life. The leader and owner must collect the facts to understand their employment market.

Hans shares his hiring insight:

What attracts talent to installation crews?

What is the path to a self-empowerment culture?

How do you use psychological profiles to hire installers?

A top “Hire Smarter” best practice is what we refer to in the office as the leader’s history of “getting dirty” in the business. This is our twist on The Toyota Way top core value of Genchi Genbutsu, “go and see” leadership, and Gemba, “the place where value is created.” Hans knows what reasonable productivity expectations are for installations because he has done it. Working in the field developed his operational awareness, knowing how each process change will affect the P&L. No magic here – simply working in the field with install crews put him in the right place to collect the data.

Leaders – look at the weakest performing areas of your P&L and ask yourself how much time you have spent doing the specific job you are asking of the team. Practice “getting dirty” in that segment of the business and you might be surprised how quickly the performance improves.

Your feedback is essential as we look to improve and grow – please don’t hesitate to share any thoughts and comments you have on our podcast.

Hire Smarter! – Tony



January 13, 2020

2019 Year in Review

Helping individuals grow and watching them succeed is why we do what we do. We look forward to building more meaningful relationships in 2020. 


Hire Smarter! – Tony



January 3, 2020

Hire Smarter episode 04, Hans Vonderhofen, Split Rail Fence & Supply


In this episode, Tony joins up with Hans Vonderhofen, President of Split Rail Fence & Supply, for part one of a two-part series. Hans shares how he happened upon the building materials industry and divulges his secrets for what makes a great turnaround leader.


January 3, 2020

Hire Smarter episode 04: Hans Vonderhofen, President of Split Rail Fence & Supply

The Misura Group team is excited to share the next installment of Hire Smarter – a podcast focused on sharing our network of successful professionals in the building materials industry, educating leaders on how to improve their best practices for hiring talent, and helping professionals make better career decisions.

This two-part series features Hans Vonderhofen, President of Split Rail Fence & Supply, an installed fencing business with annual sales over $20m, focused on serving residential single-family general contractors in the greater Denver area. In this episode, Hans shares how he builds trust with his teams and the importance of complete transparency as a leader. Listen closely to gain Hire Smarter best practices for successful business turnarounds and financial growth.

We are proud to have helped Hans reach his career goals by placing him in this role in August 2019. Bringing together great leaders with great companies and helping professionals reach their goals is at the core of our mission as an organization. Hans is an exceptional leader and we look forward to witnessing his continued success. Stay tuned for part two of our conversation in Episode 05!

Your feedback is essential as we look to improve and grow – please don’t hesitate to share any thoughts and comments you have on our podcast.

Hire Smarter! – Tony

Look out for future episodes HERE

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