From The Desk of Jon Vaughan: On Legacy and Tradition in 2018
As a company that’s been family owned and operated since 1946, it’s important that we balance the values we believe in with modern initiatives that help us grow. Every year we incorporate trainings and events for our employees to learn about our history and our values. Here are some of our favorites to give you an idea of how we develop our employees at Brand Vaughan Lumber (BVL), and how we live our values every single day.
It’s important to us that our team understands our history. That’s why we created a class called the “1946 Orientation.” Taught by my father, CEO Chip Vaughan, the class teaches an in-depth history of the company. Not only do employees learn about BVL’s founders and how we were we came to be, they also learn about the values that started this business back in 1946. My father teaches employees about the importance of holding onto those values, so that everyone understands the link from 72 years ago to what they’re doing today. The class makes a strong impression about the journey employees are on. At the end of the class, they take a test, and once they’ve passed, each employee receives a special 1946 t-shirt.
Another initiative we’ve created involves our employees taking ownership of the BVL mission and winning some big prizes in the process. One of our suppliers gives us points for items we purchase from them that can be redeemed for things like iPads, designer sunglasses, YETI coolers and more. For the past four years, we’ve run a company-wide contest that gives the points BVL has earned to one winner, which they can then redeem for whatever prize they want. Each year the contest is a little bit different, but it always involves creative interpretations of our mission statement: “Deliver extra mile service and leave a positive impression, through our commitment to the principle, ‘Strength Lies Within’.” We asked employees across departments, including operations, the yard and sales, to write down the mission statement and what it means to them and their job. Our expectations weren’t high for a large turnout the first year. We wound up being blown away by the response. We received an abundance of creative entries, both in English and Spanish. It is truly a humbling experience each year to see the time and effort that is put into songs, videos and other insightful formats. Today, my father and I judge the contest together, and preserve everyone’s entries through a video compilation that we share with the entire company. While the winner receives points to choose their prize, all entries receive a raffle for another chance to win as well. On top of that, we also send a handwritten thank you note to every participant, along with a $5 gift card to Chick-Fil-A. Our Mission and Vision contest is one of my favorite times of year, because it truly connects the people who make this company, and ensure each person is a part of our legacy today. 2018’s theme is “Row the Boat.” We can’t wait to see what creative entries we receive this year.
As BVL continues to grow throughout the 21st century, we recognize the importance of staying true to our values while still moving forward. My father likens the process to a historic home he recently restored in South Georgia. The core structure was in great shape, so they simply upgraded the rest of the house to make it more contemporary. Brand Vaughan Lumber is a lot like that house. We’re doing a lot of new things to change the building materials industry, but our foundation and our values are the same and always will be.