October 2021 Newsletter

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New South News

Dear Friends,

Autumn is here and construction is still booming. The hottest areas in our market are residential construction, warehouses and data centers. We continue to land multiple tilt up jobs across the southeast along with a lot of traditional construction projects as well. To be able to service all of these jobs we have nineteen openings posted on our website careers page. If you know of anyone who can fill one of these openings, we will gladly pay a $2000 referral fee if we hire someone you recommend to us.

Interest rates are still low, and the price increases we had been seeing are abating in many cases. See below for detailed pricing information on the main products we sell.

There were some movements within the commodity item markets in October as multiple items saw pricing changes.

Lumber continues its rebound from the market low seen over the summer and early fall. Mills and brokers are both expressing that material availability is tightening and pricing continues to slowly tick up as each week passes. These increases are not coming at the same velocity we saw last summer and earlier this year, but it does show the market has hit bottom and has bounced back up. Lead times are starting to stretch out a little more, with lead times running two to three weeks depending on the grade and size need.

Wire mesh has seen another price increase pushed through in October. A price increase of fifty dollars per ton was announced the second week of October. Supply chain and production issues continue for the wire mesh industry. The world-wide wire rod shortage remains and producers just cannot manufacturer enough or quickly enough to curb demand and backorders. Lead times from the mills are still given in terms of months and not weeks, with four to five months being a standard reply from the mills. This issue is expected to remain well into 2022 and we expect wire mesh to continue to rise throughout that time. This is the product where future job scheduling, planning, and purchasing is the most vital.

 Rebar pricing, for the time being, is still flat. The market has seen a nice reprieve in volatility since July, but that consistency may be challenged over the coming months. Scrap rebar is projected to post up later this month and buyers are closely watching how the mills plan to react. Winter typically makes scrap collection more difficult, which in turn lowers availability and increases pricing and this year looks to be no different. Overseas demand remains extremely high for US scrap and the overall scrap market is very bullish moving into winter. Even with rebar availability continuing to improve, most are expecting to see an increase from the mills in the coming weeks.

Polyethylene sheeting has not seen much movement since the increase that was took place in mid-September. Pricing remains fairly consistent across the market, with some variance on availability and lead time depending on size and quantity needs. Lead times are running right in the three-to-four-week window for most standard sizes.

Unusually, materials costs and contractors’ bid prices both declined from August to September, but the gap between the two prices remained wide over the latest 12 months. The producer price index (PPI) for new nonresidential building construction—a measure of the price that contractors say they would charge to build a fixed set of buildings—dipped by 0.1% from August but increased 5.0% year-over-year (y/y) since September 2020, while the PPI for material and service inputs to new nonresidential construction slipped 0.3% for the month but soared 19.7% y/y, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on October 14.

Click here for the latest update on the construction economy from Ken Simonson, the chief economist of the AGC.

Catching up with our Customers

In this month’s segment of Catching up with our Customers, we highlight Rinnovare, a Post Tension Construction company that is based on service and giving. Rinnovare offers turnkey Post Tension concrete packages for multi-family projects, and their main focus is garden-style apartments along with some light podium work. Discover more about their business, how they are different from their competition, and what projects they’re currently working on by reading the full Q&A here.

Featured Manufacturers


Owens Corning

Premier supplier of insulation, roofing, and fiberglass composites

Access Tile

The ultimate solution in detectable warning systems


Makers of Chemicals and Aggregates for the Concrete Industry


Associate Profile

Hal Dowhower
Fiberglass Rebar and ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) Category Manager

Our associate spotlight this month is of Hal Dowhower, our Fiberglass Rebar and ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) Category Manager. Hal was born in North Platte, Nebraska and is a graduate of St. Johns Military School in Salina, Kansas. Prior to joining us, he was Owner of Dowhower Building Supply from 1986-2000, then he was in Outside Sales for Hawkeye Building Supply from 2005-2017, and then he was in Outside Sales for Liteform Technologies from 2017-2021. He and his wife Diana have three children and eight grandchildren, and his hobbies include woodworking, digital photography, drone photography, fly fishing and traveling. Welcome to the team, Hal!

Our Leadership Article this month is, Apology 101: Make Things Right. Many times, half-hearted apologies just make things worse. Here are tips on how to apologize properly.

Apology 101: Make Things Right

By John Baladani

You know you made the right decision. And the decision was well made. The problem is the results were not.

So now you’re on the hot seat. People are clamoring for your head. What do you do?


Every good apology has three operative elements: acknowledgment, acceptance and amends.

  1. Acknowledge the wrong. First, say you are sorry for what occurred. People may be suffering. Acknowledge the pain and the loss. Make it known you understand their pain. Demonstrate empathy by showing compassion.
  2. Accept the consequences. Shoulder the blame. Make it known that you hold yourself accountable and will work to rectify the situation. In the wake of the failed invasion in the Bay of Pigs, President John Kennedy, just four months in office, said, “Victory has a hundred fathers, and defeat is an orphan.”
  3. Make amends. People are disappointed, frustrated, and maybe even disillusioned. They don’t want speeches; they want actions. Talk about what you and your team will do immediately. Get working on the problems and take corrective measures.

No excuses!

Keep in mind an operative principle of apologies: “It’s not about you. It’s about them.” A leader who discusses everything he did to avoid the mistake may tell the truth, but those suffering do not want to hear it. Instead, they want to know that the person responsible for the error is focused on making things better.

Good apologies all contain one key element: no finger-pointing. A senior leader often makes an apology, even when she may not be directly responsible. But as the top person, it becomes your job to own the situation. So you don’t point fingers. Instead, you swallow your pride, and you take the heat.

Anyone can make excuses except those in charge. “Never ruin a good apology with an excuse,” said Ben Franklin.  You can provide the backstory, but when you do make it clear that you are not excusing yourself, you are merely giving context. Own the decision and its consequences.

Doing this will make people recognize that you have something we all want: a backbone. By making amends and correcting the situation, you create a path forward for your team, your organization, and maybe your reputation.

Move forward

No leader makes the right calls at the right time. But great leaders make things right when things go wrong. As Winston Churchill once quipped, “Success in life is the ability to move from one mistake to another without losing enthusiasm.” Defeat is not the end unless you let it define you.

There are, of course, mistakes that require the leader to step down. But, in the grand scheme of things, those occasions are rare. When they involve moral transgression, removal from the position is a good thing. When they include mistakes in judgment, regard them as “teachable moments.”

Apologies are but the first step toward creating a better future. Forget this at your peril.

That’s all for this month. I hope we all enjoy nice weather for the next few months and that we all end this year on a high note.

Best regards,

Jim Sobeck
President & CEO 864-263-4377 (Direct Line)

Main Office/Branch: Greenville, SC

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Author of The Real Business 101: Lessons From the Trenches. To get your copy see below:

For Smashwords (eBook version for Kindle, iPad, Nook) click here
For direct link to Amazon site (Kindle and print version) click here