State & Locals
Every February the NRLA presents its annual LBM Expo, an opportunity for the association’s state and local branches to come together with manufacturers and vendors from throughout the country to discuss the latest products and trends in our industry. In 2016, Providence hosted its first LBM Expo. The event was so well received that it returned to the city in 2017. The Expo isn’t just a great opportunity for our members to network, it provides a tremendous boost for the local economy as thousands of lumber and building material professionals descend upon the city and patronize its local restaurants, bars, theaters and shopping centers. As our members are spread throughout the Northeast many travelled to Providence from out of state and therefore stayed in area hotels and use local transportation to get to and from the Expo as well as Providence’s many dining and entertainment options. Supporting our local communities is nothing new to the lumber and building materials industry.
As briefly discussed in a previous blog (#3), our members make every effort to give back to and support our local communities. Our locally owned and operated member yards are committed to strengthening the bond with their local communities and enriching the lives of those who have supported them for so many years. Our members often make product donations to local Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts for their community projects which typically enrich the lives of our neighbors through the addition or improvement of community gardens, parks or playgrounds. Product donations are also frequently made to local fire departments for training purposes. In addition to product donations, charitable donations are made to a variety of local and national non-profit organizations such as shelters, children’s hospitals, religious institutions, schools and colleges, the Wounded Warriors Project, local youth sports teams and many more. We’re also proud to have hosted several electronic donation drives in conjunction with Goodwill Industries of Rhode Island. The discarded electronics collected during these drives are refurbished and recycled and go towards helping train those with disabilities or other barriers to employment.
In addition to the individual work of our member yards, the RILBMDA collectively hosts an annual food drive to benefit the Rhode Island Food Bank. Each yard collects canned goods and other non-perishable items throughout the month of November which are then combined and donated to the food bank during our annual holiday gathering. The association also offers annual scholarships in memory of two long time members of our organization, William “Jay” Humphrey and David Beattie. The RILBMDA Memorial Scholarship awards up to three annual $2,500 merit scholarships for post-secondary education to the families of dedicated employees of our members while the RILBMDA Continuing Education Memorial Scholarship awards up to four annual $1,250 merit scholarships to employees of our members who wish to update their job skills and career knowledge base. Finally, the NRLA has established a workforce development program which seeks to partner member yards with local high school or vocational school students to provide summer help in our businesses and get the students valuable real world experience in our industry.
Our members have been fortunate to have the support of their communities. We could not have survived the rise of big box stores and the economic downturn of recent years without your support and we are committed to doing everything we can to repay that enormous debt by giving back to those who have given so much to us.