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Meet the New National Frame Building Association President – Robyn Ommen: PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Meet the New National Frame Building Association President – Robyn Ommen transcript
February 21, 2023 at 6:30 a.m.

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of a live interview with Robyn Ommen of Sherwin Williams and Megan Pope Miller of NFBA. You can read the interview below, listen to the podcast, or watch on Youtube.


Heidi J. Ellsworth: Hello.

Robyn Ommem: Hi, Heidi.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: How are you doing?

Robyn Ommem: Good. How are you?

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I am good. It's late for you, isn't it?

Robyn Ommem: No, it's not that bad. It's 5:30, so that's not bad.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Okay, good. Oh my God, wait a minute.

Robyn Ommem: How is everything with you? You've been just crazy busy?

Heidi J. Ellsworth: It's nuts. It's absolutely nuts. I mean so much going on I'm like, "Oh my gosh."

Robyn Ommem: Yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And I'm really looking forward to the National Frame Builders, and that's going... Hello and welcome to MetalCast, the podcast for the metal industry. My name is Heidi Ellsworth and I'm with MetalCoffeeShop, and we are so excited to bring this podcast, these video casts to everyone out in both the metal construction industry, roofing, siding, sheet metal shops, you name it. So we're bringing some really interesting topics, things that maybe you've heard about or maybe you haven't. And today, I am really excited to learn more about the National Frame Builders Association and have my friends Robyn Ommem and Megan Pope here to tell us all about it. So ladies, welcome to MetalCast.

Megan Pope: Thank you.

Robyn Ommem: Thank you, Heidi.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Thank you. This is fun. This is fun. I've known both of you for a long time and it's fun just to be able to learn about something new. And we're going to the National Frame Builders Association Show here in just a couple weeks and we wanted to be able to let everybody know about it. So before we get started on that, let's start with some introductions. So Robyn, can you introduce yourself and talk a little bit about Sherwin-Williams and your role there?

Robyn Ommem: Yeah, absolutely. So my name is Robyn Ommem. I work as a Marketing Communications Manager for the Coil Coatings Division, which is coatings on metal building products like wall panels, roof panels, items like that.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Awesome. Very cool. And Megan, can you introduce yourself and your company?

Megan Pope: Sure. I'm Megan Pope. I'm with the National Frame Builders Association. I'm the Executive Director. And we have been managing NFBA for since about 2019 and glad to be with them for sure.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. I can't wait to meet everybody there. So let's start with that. So Megan, can you tell everybody what is the National Frame Builders Association and what do you guys do?

Megan Pope: Sure, yeah. We are a nonprofit trade association for the post-frame construction industry. So our members are contractors that build any kind of post-frame style construction structure. Our members are also people who provide products or services to people who are in the post-frame construction industry. So we are just one big happy family that promotes post-frame construction and the community there within.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Wow. And so Robyn, Sherwin-Williams has been very active with NFBA. Tell us a little bit about why? Who are you talking to? Who's the audience? And how has Sherwin-Williams really been involved?

Robyn Ommem: Yeah. So Sherwin-Williams has been involved with NFBA since 1994. So it's an industry that we're always excited to be a part of. Metal building products is used within the post-frame construction all the time. So it is something that we're very passionate about talking to our customers in their market. So we have salespeople that are constantly being active within the industry, but it's something that as a company we like to do. I've been on the board of NFBA since 2015, so we want to be able to improve the market and push it forward. So we always want to be the thought leader and being able to be a part of the industry.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it. And speaking of being a thought leader, you are the newest president of NFBA. Congratulations.

Robyn Ommem: Thank you so much. I'm excited for the next few years.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know. I am so excited for you and I'm excited for NFBA to have you because you are amazing. Tell us a little bit about some of what you want to see happen during your presidency and what are some of your goals?

Robyn Ommem: Yeah, absolutely. So when people think of post-frame, they think of a very specific industry, like agricultural, which is not the case. I mean it is an amazing industry, the types of buildings, the versatility that they're able to build with the post-frame construction is amazing. So we really wanted to make sure that we expand that, make sure that architects, building owners, everyone like that is aware of all the great buildings from barndominiums, which is something that's the trending word right now in residential market, to tiny homes to wedding venues. There's quite a few different versatilities that can happen within the post-frame industry, and really seeing if we can push that forward, get that word out.

We have Building of the Year awards that we do at NFBA Expo every year, so it really showcases what is happening in the industry. So that is something that we want to push forward this next few years and really get it out in the markets. Another thing that I really am passionate about is women in post-frame. Being the first president of NFBA, it's something that I want to really see if we can push forward. We have amazing women that work in this industry, from suppliers to builders to every niche within there. So we wanted to make sure that we connect together and really highlight that you can have a career within post-frame construction. So we want to make sure that we're looking at that building a community that we can continue to move forward.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Well that's near and dear to my heart.

Robyn Ommem: Yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I'm really excited to... At the show, are there going to be some women networking events? Are there different things going on around that?

Robyn Ommem: Not at this show, but it is something that we'll definitely be looking at this next year. So Megan and I will be building out a plan, starting really looking when we are at the event this year to start those conversations with women as we walk through the event, to really connect with them so we can build something that will really build that community.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. And what are you seeing? I mean I love that so much. And what are you seeing around committees? I mean because you guys have a lot of great committees from technical to research, diversity, membership, all of that. What do you see happening that in your presidency?

Robyn Ommem: Yeah. So I mean we have amazing committees from membership to technical to even building a foundation within there. So within our committees, we're always looking to see how we can improve our members' business, how we can make sure that we're always looking out for them in regards to what support do they need? Is it technical support? We have... Oh, his name is just escaping me right now, Andy, he is their technical advisor so he's always on call to answer any questions. And then he also goes to the committee as well. But they're always building education resources that educates the market on post-frame and always looking to make sure we get into codes, building codes, moving those forward. So continually looking at what we can do to help our members.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it, it's so important. And NFBA also has its own foundation, and that is exciting. So Megan, maybe tell us a little bit about the foundation.

Megan Pope: Yes, this is a brand new thing for us. We're launching it at conference. It's the NFBA Foundation, it's its own entity but it is affiliated with NFBA, obviously. It's 501(c)(3). So this is going to be the fundraising arm of NFBA. And the focus of the foundation is to fund research, anything that has to do with the post-frame industry, any projects that we want to take on. Like you guys said, we have a good technical and research committee, they come up with great research projects all the time that impact what's actually going on with the builders. And so the foundation will fund that, the foundation will fund education. Any education that we want to put out there is in NFBA for our members and for the public at our conference. And also, we're going to look at developing a scholarship program. So this would fund scholarships for NFBA members and their families as well. So I especially like that part, I'm excited about that. And that'll be another thing that we developed during Robyn's presidency. So that's going to be really great.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: That's great. That's great. Well Megan, you and I have worked on foundations before.

Megan Pope: Yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know what a great job you do and it's so great.

Megan Pope: Thank you.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Robyn, I love. I mean what great goals and plans that you have for the presidency and that first step, right, of your new presidency is the upcoming expo.

Robyn Ommem: That's right.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: So yeah, tell us a little bit about that. The expo is going to be in Louisville, hopefully I said that right, Louisville.

Megan Pope: Yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Kentucky.

Megan Pope: I've been told it's Louisville.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Louisville, that's it. That's it.

Megan Pope: Yeah. But we'll be there February 22nd through the 24th. So at the end of this month, we're going to be out there at the Kentucky International Convention Center, and this is the 55th Expo for NFBA, which is great. Interesting fact about NFBA, the association is about 51-years-old, but they started having the expo before they even formalized the association. So 55th year for the expo, we'll be in Louisville and we are going to have a lot of great things going on. We have three tracks of education, so we have a technical track, so that's mostly technical and safety, we have a sales and marketing track and then we have a business management track. So if you come, bring several members of your company with you, you guys can hit whatever tracks interest you the most and get the full scope of education.

And then when you come home, just powwow with each other and compare notes. And so it's a great experience for anybody that can attend the sessions. And we also have a demo area, a demonstration area on our trade show for it and we will be having additional sessions there. One of the things we're super excited about this year is that we are going to have social media influencer Kyle Stumpenhorst of RR Buildings. So he's a pretty big name within the industry and beyond. So he's going to be there with us. He's going to do a full demonstration on efficiency, efficiently laying out foundations and accurately building walls in large sections all with safety from the ground up. So we're excited to have him and we're excited for our other sessions that are going to be happening as well.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: That's great. That's great. Wow, I can't wait to go. I can't wait. I want to do a bunch of the education. And I love that when you look at it too with the networking events. So maybe Robyn, talk a little bit about some of the networking events and how people can get involved and get to know each other.

Robyn Ommem: Yes. I mean that is one big thing about being able to attend an expo, it's the people that you hear, the people that you meet as you're walking the expo floor, but also the events that you go to. So we have three main networking events that we have throughout the expo. One is a Plyco reception, and that happens on the first night on the 22nd of the trade show which is great. It's a great event that's an annual party that they have each year. So a great networking event to see people for the first night talk about what you saw the first day and make plans for the next.

The second night is Christians in Construction gathering. So it's a very family friendly event that is another one really getting to know a different crowd, getting to know their families. It's very family friendly, want to make sure that everyone is involved. And then the following night is the NFBA Expo Social. So it's an event that the NFBA puts on that will have music, entertainment and then a silent auction that goes to the NFBA Foundation. So great things that you can take a look at, put a bit in, see if you win and then be able to take it home. But it goes to a good cause with the NFBA Foundation.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. I know we've donated to it. I believe we've donated either a directory or a podcast or both, I'm not sure. But I know we're in it.

Robyn Ommem: Yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And we're very excited about that. And speaking of all the people who are going to be there in networking, you have a great exhibit show floor, 130 companies exhibiting, Megan, that's impressive. Tell us a little bit about the breadth of the different exhibitors who are going to be there.

Megan Pope: Yeah, it is going to be packed.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah.

Megan Pope: We're excited to have that steam going into the show. But we are just going to have a lot of various companies that provide all types of products that are involved with the post-frame construction. They're excited to be there. They're excited to see the people they know. I mean this is a close-knit group so you see all the time, you see, "Oh, hey," and then they're going in for the hug or whatever. But it's also a great time to meet new people, see new products, learn about what's the newest thing that they have and really stand there and talk to somebody about it. I know a lot of new product information, I hear people say, "Well I can look that up on their website. I don't need to go, whatever."

But it is important to try the experience. I just encourage people if you've never been to something like that, just try it one time. I promise you, you will not be disappointed with the investment of your time because it is more of an impact and you do learn more because you're not just learning from the person from that one company, you're learning from the guy or girl standing next to you who has used something else or used that or found this new way, this innovative way to come up with solutions, the problems that you probably have yourself. So you really have to immerse yourself in that whole trade show core experience to really understand how great it is.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: There's nothing like that in-person opportunity to touch the products, shake the hand, ask questions, there's just nothing else like it.

Megan Pope: Yeah, I agree.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. Okay. So this is going to be a little bit of a crossover between RoofersCoffeeShop and our Roofing Road Trips and MetalCoffeeShop and our MetalCast because one of the things that I want to ask, and Robyn, I'd love for you to talk about this, but for contractors out there who maybe are not involved in frame building, this seems like the perfect opportunity and perfect place to learn more about it. Can you talk about that opportunity for contractors to get more involved in the frame building, post-frame building market?

Robyn Ommem: Yeah, absolutely. So the expo is a great place to learn. So by walking the event, but then also we have a booth at the expo that really talks about all the advantages of working with NFBA, from the technical services plan that is available, from the legal services that are available, the research and development committee that helps. It's a really a great place to see all of that in action and see how we can help or the NFBA can help them build their business, learn more about post-frame and how they can continue to grow and improve. So it's a great learning opportunity for contractors to even, as Megan said, learn about the materials that they can use on their job sites that they might not have seen before that can improve their efficiency on the site.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. And I would say for roofing contractors, for siding contractors, there's probably opportunities to get to meet some of these large builders and also do some sub-work, right?

Megan Pope: Oh, yeah. Yeah, definitely. There is a lot of overlap with the industries and seeing how products that you might use on a roofing site or other places, how those are used in post-frame, it's an eye-opener. And I feel like a lot of people in construction, no matter what style you build, or if you're doing residential or commercial, whatever you do, there's a lot of elements to post-frame construction that can be woven into other projects that are very popular right now. So if you want to learn more about how you can do different things for your customers that are these beautiful solutions that's really going to wow, that is part of it for sure.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. The barndominium, did I say that right, Robyn.

Megan Pope: Yes. Yeah. She sheds, man caves, I mean this stuff, it's all the hot stuff right now. So I mean even if you just want to come out and see what it's all about, we encourage you to do so. The expo floor, you can walk the expo floor for free.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Nice.

Megan Pope: If you're a contractor or builder. Yeah, contractors and builders can get in for free. So yeah, definitely stop by.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. Yeah. And Louisville is beautiful. Absolutely so beautiful this time of year.

Megan Pope: I do love [inaudible 00:20:00] pretty much. Yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. So okay, Robyn, how can contractors... I mean for both of you, but let's start with Robyn, so how can contractors, one, register and go to the expo? And two, get more involved?

Robyn Ommem: Yeah. So they can register at nfba.org and then there's an event page on there, then they can register for the event right on the website. How they can get more involved is take a look at the website. So nfba.org has some great information on membership, what advantages they can get from membership. But even starting to take a look at the community. As mentioned as they get ready to go to the expo, start learning about the community, but really get involved with the community when they're there. Like Megan mentioned, Kyle, and connecting with other builders, they always want to help. So even just sitting there and asking a question, the whole industry just wants to continue to expand and improve. So everyone is so willing to help just by stepping that first step and asking that first question.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, that is so cool.

Megan Pope: Definitely. Yeah, it's a great group. And Robyn is a hundred thousand percent right, very supportive of each other even if they don't know each other. So if you want to come on out to the expo, to the conference and expo, just nfba.org or go there, scroll to the bottom page, find a phone number, call me, I'll sign you up. Or one of our helpful staff people will sign you up, I don't care what you're in the mood for that day, we will figure it out for you and we'll get you signed up to go. And you can do walk-in registrations as well. So if you just show up at the door, we'll get you in.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it. I love it. Well ladies, congratulations on what looks like it's going to be an amazing expo and conference. I'm very excited. MetalCoffeeShop is so honored to be a part of what you're doing and to be able to be there and to be able to participate and have all of your information on MetalCoffeeShop on the directory. So all of that information can be found on the directory on MetalCoffeeShop too. Robyn, congratulations. First woman president of NFBA, that's pretty dang exciting.

Robyn Ommem: Thank you so much. I'm excited.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: You two are going to take over the world, I see it already.

Robyn Ommem: Yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: That is it. I love it. Well thank you both so much for sharing all this information, for being on our MetalCast. And I can't wait to see you both in Kentucky and check out this show. It's going to be fun.

Megan Pope: Great.

Robyn Ommem: Yes. Thank you, Heidi, for having us on.

Megan Pope: Yes, thank you very much. Look forward to-

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Thank you. And thank you all for listening. This is great stuff. I'm telling you, this is the associations you want to be involved with. These are the shows that can build your business. So thank you so much for listening. Be sure to check out everything about the National Frame Builders Association on MetalCoffeeShop. You can find it in the directory. You can also find information in the Sherwin-Williams directory. There's lots of great stuff going on there. Let me tell you, every single day we have things pop in on the MetalCoffeeShop. So be sure also to check out all of our MetalCasts. You can find them under the read, listen, watch initiative under podcasts, and we also have our MetalTalk webinar. So lots happening on the MetalCoffeeShop. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast channel and hit those notifications so you don't miss a single day. And on YouTube also, ring the bell so that you don't miss anything. We will be seeing you next time on MetalCast. Great. Woo-hoo.

Megan Pope: Yay.

Robyn Ommem: Thank you, Heidi.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: You sounded great. Absolutely awesome...

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