EDISON, NJ -  At the Inaugural Annual Meeting of the New York Long Island Lumber Association (NYLILA) November 6, Paul Gertner, president of wood fastener supplier Starborn Industries, was named Lumber Person of the Year for 2013.

Before hundreds of colleagues and industry professionals, Gertner was cited for his “long standing dedication, support and service to the lumber and building materials industry.”

"Paul is an example of how hard work and dedication are among the many reasons why Starborn is a major force in our industry,” said Michael Horne of Liberty Panel and the president of the New York & Suburban Lumber Association. That group mergered with the Long Island Lumber Association to form NYLILA.

Gertner recalled the mid-1990s as a critical period for the industry. Starborn’s customer base of independent lumberyards was being decimated by the spread of large box retail outlets. These “category killers” already dominated other retail segments, such as books and sporting goods.

However, as Gertner noted “our industry proved different” due in large part to the significant base of professional customers. “Most of these professionals circled back to your stores after trying the large box outlets, and your companies pivoted to concentrate on them, becoming the thriving pro yards you are today.