North Central Wholesalers Association annual conference attendees were given an insider’s perspective on the construction and design process during the group’s annual meeting in June in downtown Detroit.

A three-person keynote panel consisted of Rob Teifer, plumbing design engineer with Smithgroup JJR, Christopher Gould, vice president of commercial estimating with Sachse Construction and Kris Thorne, chief operations officer with Limbach.

“We are selling a partnership,” Thorne told NCWA members. “We need you as our partners. You are in on the latest and greatest in technology. You have the ability to tell me the best way to do things. We always are looking for information to offer to our partners and we are open to different ideas.”

Prior to the panel discussion, representatives and recent graduates of Michigan State University’s supply-chain management program spoke about the need to attract young talent to all levels of the construction chain.

“We all are competing for young people,” said Judy Jacobs, faculty advisor for the MSU Supply Chain Management Association. “We need to be aggressive in attracting people to all levels of construction. The estimated need in the supply chain field exceeds supply by a 6-to-1 ratio and 60 million baby boomers will leave the workforce by 2025.”

At the NCWA closing dinner, Wolf Brothers Supply’s Howard Wolff was honored for his service as NCWA president. Etna Supply’s Toby Morris is the incoming NCWA president.