Beginning The Next Chapter at Brand Vaughan Lumber
It would certainly be an understatement to say that Brand Vaughan Lumber — and everyone else in the lumber industry — had an eventful past year.
We’re currently preparing for another big year ahead, as this moment represents a new chapter for us at BVL, and that includes some exciting changes that we’d like to share with our community.
Throughout the years, we’ve been passionate about upholding the same core values that were established when R. L. Brand and Cy Vaughan started the company in 1946. These values are an integral part of what makes our company one of Atlanta’s Top 50 places to work, and they have helped elevate our reputation in the community and construction industry over the last 75 years.
In July of 2021, US LBM acquired Brand Vaughan Lumber Co and named Jon Vaughan Regional Vice President of its Southeast territory. This new title means he’ll have a role outside of Brand Vaughan, but he will still be actively involved in BVL’s future.
Jon Vaughan and Brad Ballard are pictured together with the BVL “OARS” that represents the company’s values: Ownership, Accountability, Responsibility and Strength Lies Within.
“I’ll be responsible for strategic planning and analysis,” says Jon. “And I will continue to support Brand Vaughan’s success and the culture we’ve built here, to expand BVL’s reach in the Southeast.” With Jon stepping into his new role, responsibilities and leadership at BVL will also change.
Brad Ballard, who has been serving as Chief Financial Officer for the last few years, was promoted to the President of Brand Vaughan.
We’re thrilled to share this impactful leadership development. Brad has been with Brand Vaughan since late 2018, and he was the perfect fit for finance when he originally came on board. “Brad helped figure out the financial side and insurance side of things, and being able to transfer him into the role he has now just made sense,” explains Jon.
Jon will step back from the daily operations at Brand Vaughan — a big change from the day-to-day interactions and connections he has loved so much. “I’ll stay connected, but I’m also working to grow our resources,” says Jon.
While we are excited about the year ahead, our leadership team also recognizes how challenging the last few years have been for the team. “People have chosen to stay with Brand Vaughan throughout a very difficult year, and the continued investment is amazing,” explains Jon. “We’re so happy to have people with grit. It’s very humbling.”
Brad is impressed with the dedication of BVL team members and with how smooth the transition of leadership at the company has been. “While there has been uncertainty at times, people have really embraced the opportunity we have with US LBM,” says Brad. He credits Chip and Jon for that process.
“Chip and Jon don’t have to come into the office, but they do because they care about the company and the team. That’s gone a long way in easing concerns. Seeing them walk the yard and doing everything our employees are used to seeing helps alleviate any concerns,” he adds.
Despite the change and challenges they’ve faced, our team members have remained completely committed. Jim Hershey, Vice President of Sales at BVL, was especially proud of the people at BVL. “The word that comes to mind for me is ‘adversity’,” says Jim. “When you have a change of ownership, a change in market leadership, it’s easy for people to put their heads down and start complaining.” Instead, our team stood strong and remained united.
Jim spent the last several years overseeing sales at Brand Vaughan, but part of his role is to ensure that there are opportunities for employee growth for everyone at the company through the leadership program here. The recent acquisition means that there are new programs at Brand Vaughan, which will help to support that leadership further.
Chip and Jon Vaughan recognizing a BVL employee at their 75th anniversary celebration.
Perhaps one of the most exciting parts about the acquisition is the opportunities it will afford BVL team members. “One of the biggest things we gain from US LBM is the growth — from a development standpoint — for our team members. They have a very structured learning and development program,” explains Brad Ballard.
“We’re really excited about some of the classes that we’ve already had team members attend,” he continues. “It’s been very well received. We’re excited about what that means for them as individuals, as well as what it means for our company as we continue to grow our team.”
Brad’s role as president marks a change at Brand Vaughan, in what Jon describes as “the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next.”
For Brad, his focus is on supporting the team beyond the acquisition and keeping the same dedicated culture alive as they embark on this new chapter. “A lot of it is just trying to maintain consistency,” says Brad. “The biggest thing is change, and the concern that change creates for people.” Any noticeable differences at BVL will be reflected in greater opportunities, not just for our team, but also in ways we can serve our customers.
Brand Vaughan has been known — both internally and in the industry — for our service and company culture. “What we will try to fall back to is maintaining our culture, maintaining our personality,” says Brad. “That will allow us to better serve our customers and our employees without losing our identity.”
Hiring is going to be a big focus for Brand Vaughan in the months ahead, and US LBM will offer support for that growth with a recruiting program. The goal is to grow — and sustain that growth — in the next few years.
“As we grow and continue to pour into our team members, we’re going to increase operational excellence and focus on service to outperform our competitors,” says Jon.
Jim Hershey is smiling with a long time friend and industry leader, Bill Lee, at the company’s anniversary celebration.
To plan ahead in the construction industry is to embrace change. “It’s been one of the hardest years,” says Jim, “but it’s also been one of the most gratifying years because of what I’ve seen some of the people do. To me, it’s been incredible to watch Brad step in.”
The challenges that the BVL team faced through these last months have only served to make connections stronger — between employees, teams and partners at Brand Vaughan. “Relationships get strengthened by friction,” Jon explains.
And if there’s anything that this past year taught us in the construction industry, it’s that there will certainly be friction and further setbacks we meet along the journey — but our true strength lies within. And here at Brand Vaughan, we’re confident that our strength will help us all build together.