Topic: Keeping up on your skills goes beyond your toolkit.

Often it includes watching trends, reading up on software, or comparisons of home features. You’ll want to save time by making sure you choose the publications best suited to you and your goals. 

During this edition of CareyBrosPros, you’ll find out about: 

  • Innovations in safety. 
  • Growth in off-site building.
  • Journals in your field are valuable tools. 

Guest: Patrick Adams – President & Publisher of 526 Media Group (publishers of lumber and building materials industry titles such as: Deck Specialist; Building Products Digest; Merchant Magazine; and; Building-Products.com).

Website: www.building-products.com

Company phone number – (714) 486-2735

3 Points for Success – from Patrick Adams : 

  • Pro athletes train for their jobs 6 days a week, 8 hours a day to perform at their peak for 2 hours.
  • Ask yourself WHY you are doing what you do. 
  •  Always have something you’re fighting for. 

James: [00:00:00] So good to have you with us for this another episode of CareyBrosPros. I’m James Carey, and Brother Morris is away for this episode, but worry not because I have both hands tied behind my back and have been hobbled by our trusty producer Captain Dan. But that won’t stop me from spreading pro information that you can utilize in your business. And you’re in luck because no matter what field you’re in it can be a struggle to stay up to date on the latest techniques trends studies and improvements in your professional arena. But that’s why you have us and that’s also why we’ve invited our guest for this episode. He’s Patrick Adams, the president and publisher of 526 Media Group. They’re the publishers of lumber and building materials industries titles such as Deck Specialist, Building Products Digest, and of course, Merchant Magazine and building-products.com. Patrick welcome to CareyBrosPros.

Patrick: [00:01:14] James, thanks for having me. It’s an honor to be here.

James: [00:01:16] I have to tell you that we have had the opportunity to see one another at industry events for many many years and now. Brother Morris and I, of course, have the distinct honor of having a column in Deck Specialist Magazine, but share with our audience a little bit about the history of your publications. These are really heritage brands. And unlike, you know, Martha Stewart Living and Oprah’s magazine, your publications have been around for eons, but are as relevant today as they were when they were first published.

Patrick: [00:01:55] While I appreciate you sharing us in the same company as a felon and a billionaire mogul. It’s flattering to say the least. But you know we are honored to serve the lumber and building materials construction industry. The company was founded back in 1922 back in the old school days where journalism was kind of a heralded profession.

James: [00:02:23] Yeah.

Patrick: [00:02:23] Yeah. Long before the days of you know digital or social media or fake news or anything else. You know from that history we still kind of stay true to our roots and that is that service mentality. So if you just think about it in a sense quickly of medicine or science or engineering, those industries all have journals and trade magazines that literally those people count on to become educated in the latest news, the latest findings, the latest practices and procedures, that literally save lives. And that’s the credibility that goes along with the role of those publishers. Well every industry used to have publications like that. And you know, now, things have changed a little bit in the world of publishing, but we still hold that same bar of responsibility and credibility in serving the industry. You know a good way to look at it is just in this noisy world of news and news feeds and social media and everything, we’re the ones that do the heavy lifting to boil it all down to the most important things that can positively impact your trade.

James: [00:03:37] So is it building products digest that has been around the 90 plus years?

Patrick: [00:03:43] Merchant Magazine actually was the first publication, and it was originally started as a publication called The Lumber Merchant. If you’re an old guy like me, you know what a merchant is. And that used to be you know just a man that sold things right. So these focused on the supply chain or people that milled and sold lumber to tradesmen, and it was kind of the main source of news in the industry. There really was nothing else at that time. And then you know obviously as time has gone on we’ve branched out and serve other verticals within the industry.

James: [00:04:21] So Patrick when did building products digest come about?

Patrick: [00:04:25] That came about as we expanded East and it came about in the early 80s. And then, you know, we’ve gone digital as well during that time and have websites and newsletters and things like that. And then Deck Specialist is our newest magazine that actually goes directly to builders and contractors.

James: [00:04:45] And you talk about a category where there is a lot to talk about. You think well how much can you talk about in a very narrow category like decking. Well my gosh, there is so much. We’re talking about structure, we’re talking about finish, we’re talking about safety, we’re talking about railings, we’re talking about lighting. We talk about fasteners. I mean there is so much to talk about as regards to decking. So here’s what I want to know. I want to know, you’re not 90 years old. I know you, and you’re a young fella with lots of energy and ambition with the terrific moral compass and a great set of values and ethics. And I can say that because I know you, and I want to say that so that our pros listening will understand who you are and that they will buy in to what you have to offer and share it with those who can value from it as well. But I know you’re not 90 years old. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into this? Do you have any background in building? Is it journalism, or publishing, or both?

Patrick: [00:06:02] No, you know, I was a business guy, you know, I was raised in a pretty tough neighborhood and I always aspired for more. Worked hard. Worked my way up through corporate America. And you know it’s kind of one of those stories as they say be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.

James: [00:06:20] Come on now, wait a minute, Patrick. Beverly Hills is not 90210 is not a tough neighborhood, baby.

Patrick: [00:06:26] Oh well, I probably lived, whatever was on the other side of the tracks from that is kind of where I grew up.

James: [00:06:33] OK. All right it wasn’t Beverly Hills huh? It wasn’t 90210? OK.

Patrick: [00:06:38] No I didn’t know that zip code, but I’ve had a blessed life definitely. Moved up you know through corporate America, did very well, but just kind of found that it became a very soulless business and it was very focused just on spreadsheets and numbers and very little on people and values and actually providing value. You know my wife jokes that my version of a midlife crisis instead of buying a convertible Corvette and having an affair was buying almost 100-year-old publishing company, and it was one of the best decisions we’ve made. We’re an amazing team. We still do things kind of the old school way. We certainly leverage modern technology.

James: [00:07:24] The fact that you do that. I love it. I just love it.

Patrick: [00:07:28] We personally attend almost 100 industry events a year. So my guys are on the road, in the trenches, you know, meeting our readers and our advertisers and our columnists all face-to-face to actually get that news, and to see firsthand, you know, whether it’s the real deal or whether it’s B.S. You know, we believe that every word, every advertiser, every new product review that we publish on our pages, we kind of take it personally that we’re personally vouching for that to our readership. So we’ve got to put in the effort and put the boots on the ground to actually go out there and do the work and find out if this stuff really is the real deal.

James: [00:08:09] So for our prose listening, and you’ve touched a little bit on this already, Patrick, but with all that they have coming at them, information, information, information, we know that you offer the print version, which by the way I love very much, and we know that you have digital versions, as well. Why should they take time to read an industry magazine or journal? Whether it’s yours or whether it’s another that covers a completely different category within the building industry. Why is that important?

Patrick: [00:08:44] Yeah, I think it’s a good question. I think that, you know, it’s easy for us guys to especially-.

James: [00:08:50] I only ask good questions, by the way,.

Patrick: [00:08:53] You really do.

James: [00:08:54] You know that about me. I only ask good question.

Patrick: [00:08:58] There’s no question. Hopefully, you won’t stump there. You know, I just believe that, you know, we’re born with a certain set of DNA. And one of those is confidence, you know. And I think we’re always, we believe we’re confident, we know what we’re doing. We know how to do what we do. This is our job, our craft. But, you know, if you think about it from some of those that are the greatest in anything, the greatest athletes, the greatest scientists, the greatest, you know, doctors, they’re spending an ornament amount of their time actually training and studying and research, and they’re constantly learning, so that, then with that small fraction of time that they’re actually expected to perform, they can perform at their highest level. And I think that you know too many times, an old friend of mine who’s passed away gave me a quote, and I think about it a lot. He says, you know, too many times we focus on what’s urgent and not important.

James: [00:10:05] Say that one more time.

Patrick: [00:10:07] Too many times we focus on what’s urgent but not important.

James: [00:10:13] Wow.

Patrick: [00:10:14] And you know it weighs on me, and I think it’s become a good barometer of how I spend my time. And I think that a lot of times we come home at the end of the day, as men, exhausted and we think hey I did really good today. But it’s kind of that old working hard versus working smart analogy as well. And I think that investing time to learn what competitors are doing right, what new products can help you work smarter. What new techniques will provide for a longer lasting or safer end product for your clients. All these things are very very worthy investments that are going to benefit your business in the long run.

James: [00:10:55] Absolutely. Okay you and David and Chuck and your team have your boots on the ground, as you indicated, you’re going to industry events all over the country throughout the entire year. And we’ve had the great pleasure being photographed always Chuck with the camera in hand. You too. Always Chuck. Chuck with the camera in hand, “Oh come on. Let me get your picture!” And it’s so fun to open your magazine, whether it’s the digital version or the the hard copy, and to see our photograph. I’ll never grow tired of that, and I’m going to guess that we’re in the majority of folks that enjoy seeing their picture.

Patrick: [00:11:34] Well, you know, it’s true we all work hard, and it’s largely a pretty thankless job. Like I said we all have egos and we all like our two seconds of fame and we’re happy to provide it.

James: [00:11:46] All right, now with the frequent trips to all of these shows you see a lot of trends that are picking up steam. What trends do you see, Patrick, in the industry that will eventually impact our businesses and the businesses of our pro listeners?

Patrick: [00:12:03] Well, I think you know there’s a lot depending on the segments, you know, we’re an industry that certainly has the well earned reputation for for not changing very much, so I know when I entered the industry somebody joked and said you know the biggest innovation this industry has made in 100 years is the pneumatic nailer. Other than that everything else is the same. And, on the surface, that may appear true, but I think that because of the shortage of labor that our industry is experiencing, top to bottom, it’s forcing a lot of innovation. That, also combined with you know building code and you know just innovation within the safety side of things, when you’re talking about remodeling structures,you know, you’re dealing with a lot of sins of the past that youre invading when you’re moving walls you’re moving load bearing walls and putting up know support beams and trusses and whatnot to renovate and modernize those areas. And then, certainly when you’re going outside, it’s easy to get a little bit lax and kind of say hey this is just you know a deck that’s six inches off the ground until you notice that that family has kids and they have pets and you know you can imagine family parties with 50 people out there on that deck maybe dancing to Grandma’s birthday.

James: [00:13:29] Yeah.

Patrick: [00:13:30] And all of a sudden you know our job takes on a different meaning hopefully. So I think that the newbuildings side and large scale remodeling you’re going to start seeing a lot of in shop modularization. So rather than actually cutting and framing and doing a lot of things on site, you’re going to start seeing people kind of looking to economize build more efficiency within their workflow, building more things off site within a more controlled environment. And then also, I think you’re going to see maybe not you know building code do a small degree, but I just think the rigor of high quality build and I think the recession cleaned house on a lot of mediocre tradesmen and you know the strong survived. I think that’s given the opportunity to raise prices, to raise margins, which I’m always a firm believer in. But that’s also translated to a higher quality standard that homeowners expect when they’re investing money in these upgrades.

James: [00:14:35] Well said. OK, so what articles or topics have you found that get the most response from your readers,Patrick? I’m curious to know what seems to resonate with the readers.

Patrick: [00:14:47] Well you know it’s a funny question, and as much as I’d like to say after this many years I’d figured out publishing, it constantly surprises me. I mean, you know, just a couple of months ago, we spent you know almost three straight weeks doing a really in-depth product reviews, product comparison, and, literally, I mean as boring as some of those are, wrote down kind of the best of the best of a particular product category went ahead and published it. And in that same month the best reader response was actually to tradesmen’s case study of a project that they worked on and what they learned during that project and how the project ended up better than their original design. So I think at the end of the day readers still respond to a motion and to horror and to relating to other people that share the same thing. I mean as much as everybody likes to read about the newest gadget and the newest building code or whatever happens to be at the end of the day, you know, we all do this for similar reasons and it’s for family and to provide for our family and security. And it just feel good at the end of the day. You know we did a good job and we worked hard. And I think that reading articles that kind of shows that we’re not alone in that struggle and that you know we still have things to learn and we can learn from each other. I think those resonate the most.

James: [00:16:17] What a novel idea. And you have taken us now to where the rubber meets the road here on CareyBrosPros, Patrick, and that’s where we ask our guests for three points for success that they’d like to leave with our pro listeners. And now it’s time for you to share yours.

Patrick: [00:16:35] Yeah thank you for that. Well one of them I already touched on and I do believe in training for the fight. And that is you know just making sure that you’re always staying up not only on the latest codes and techniques and practices then it’s not to say that the way you’ve been doing something for the past 20 years doesn’t work, but sometimes there’s a better way to do things. And I think that that only comes from constantly looking to learn something new and training for the fight that is in front of you. The second point is, you know, my favorite question since I was a kid and it still is is “why?” I think the biggest question that you know and any time of struggle or even just getting up in the morning the first question I ask myself is, “Why am I doing this?” And you know it’s easy when I get up in the morning and I look at my kids and I look at my wife and I look at the life we have which by no means is luxurious but I’m blessed to have it. And it’s an easy question to answer.

Patrick: [00:17:39] But that kind of goes to the third point, which is a good friend of mine who is in special forces has a belief. He’s now retired, but he does a lot of training and a lot of motivational speaking. And he says you always have to have something that you’re fighting for and when you’re talking to him it’s easy to believe when he’s out in the worst places in the world fighting for our freedoms, to picture the fight as being something like that. But what he really means is you know it’s easy to get complacent. It’s easy to get into a rut. And he believes and I believe it too that you always have to have something that you fight for and that’s what brings out the best. That’s what keeps us sharp and on the edge and always pushing things forward. And looking to find greatness.

James: [00:18:31] Wow. That’s a tough act to follow, Patrick. I thank you so much for taking time out of your day to join us on CareyBrosPros. I love chatting with you. I love reading between the lines with you. I love who you are and the way you look at life and I’m certain that our pro audience will take great benefit in what you’ve shared with them today.

Patrick: [00:19:01] It’s an honor to be here. And just like you we’re here to serve. We’re all in this together. So never hesitate to reach out if we can be of service in any way.

James: [00:19:12] So our thanks to Patrick Adams. Patrick is the president and publisher of 526 Media Group and you can find out more about their many industry publications by visiting their website. It is building-products.com. And remember we post all of our guests information as well as additional podcasts, videos, and articles at our website. It is careybrospros.com. Also we really love hearing from you. Be sure to comment on the website and let us know what topics you’d like to hear on an upcoming edition of CareyBrosPros.

About The Author James Carey

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