The Extra Mile Club

April 12th, 2022

Derek Imel
At Bender Lumber we empower our drivers with the ability to make quick, safe decisions while making changes during deliveries. This means, for safety reasons, they might need to bring a load back. After all safe options have been exhausted, rapid decisions need to be made. Our drivers are often our eyes on some tough situations. An example of this “Bottom Up” approach was demonstrated last winter when Derek Imel (Madison Store) was making a delivery for Country Mark Log Homes. The weather and site conditions were not favorable as roads and drives were slick. Derek was determined to gently extradite his load for our loyal customers. This could not have happened without much consideration between Derek and our customers Ed Demaree and Brian Sparks. Between the three they carefully devised a plan and rendered the load safely and without incident. Derek knows he is not under any time constraint when making deliveries. Our drivers are not harnessed by any GPS locator or tight time schedule. Asked to move a load? As long as it is safe we will. Wait till the contractor is ready? Within reason, for sure. Leave and come back? Yep! We will almost do anything for our loyal friends as long as it corresponds with our “Core Values.” Like many of our drivers and warehouse staffs they are often unsung hero’s. Derek comes to work everyday, get’s right to it and is soon on his way serving our partners who are waiting on their load. That’s why Derek is our newest member of our exclusive Extra Mile Club. Congratulations Derek!
Derek Imel Feature

February 24th, 2022

Shannon Batchelor
Shannon Batchelor
Our customers enjoy purchasing from our Bedford, Indiana store for several reasons: Knowledgeable staff, speedy delivery, fast, efficient pickup, and then there is the problem-solving piece. Problem-solving and overcoming obstacles seems to be the thing that has sales increasing in this store.
The Bedford Bender Lumber sees problems as an opportunity to show how they can and will perform. Keeping a promise to their customers is top of the list. Nothing demonstrates this more than what happened this summer when our Customer Sales Representative Tyler Conway was in the middle of fixing a problem.
Our client had ordered some Pre Finished “Black” siding for a job he was trying to finish and get paid. Getting paid, as you know, is the goal of any contract proposition. Tyler was notified the “Black” siding was not going to be in soon. This caused a problem with the client as he needed to get the job done so he could move to another. This little delay would cause a major problem in cash flow and scheduling, not to mention the stress associated with the ordeal.
For Tyler and counter Sales Rep Keaden Trueblood, this was going to be a long night, just to keep a promise. They were determined to paint the siding themselves, delivering it to the customer, on time.
Our Assistant Manager, Shannon Batchelor, was on his way home and out the door when he observed what was going on, said his goodbyes, and left. Shannon then realized, if he stayed he could help Bender Lumber and his teammates keep their promise and his fellow associates could get home at a reasonable hour. Shannon is committed to the highest level of service, that is why he went back into the store to help finish the job.
It is this kind of commitment, not only to our customers but to helping each other as well, that makes Bender Lumber special. That’s why Shannon Batchelor is an Extra Mile Club member.

   Shannon Batchelor Feature

December 20th, 2021

Brad, Robbie, John, Mike, and Bill
Bill, Robbie, John, Mike, & Brad
It was Mid-September, our busiest time of the year. It would have been a store manager's worst nightmare if they lost even one employee. Paoli store manager, LaDonna Hawkins, lost two key employees within a matter of two weeks. They were both influential and long-time associates who carried a heavy load. We wish them both well but the service platform we so proudly boast was broken.
Finding replacements who can do the job in these times is a burden for sure, as the learning curve is long. LaDonna knew without acting quickly she would be in trouble. She also knew that at Bender Lumber you are never alone as sister stores around you would be willing to help. She reached out to Managers Ed Craig, Melissa Hilkey, David Faith, and Jacob Kiste for help.
As these store managers asked for volunteers, five associates stepped up to ring the bell. Brad Cooper, John Wallace, Mike Mitchell, Robbie Hayes, and Bill Holler. Each driver traveled, sometimes over an hour, to work the day for the Paoli Store. These five represent what our Extra Mile award stands for and ensured that our Paoli store did not lose a delivery.
Two of our Extra Mile clubbers Bill Holler and Robbie Hayes are repeat recipients and considered “Road Warriors”, a distinguished and honored club of the highest degree.
“All for one and one for all”, that's the way it is at Bender Lumber. When one is hurting, others pitch in to help. With these five associates and their unselfish managers who agreed to let them go for a day, there might be nothing we cannot accomplish. Congratulations on a job well done and another great testimony for our Extra Mile Club.

   Bill, Brad, Mike, John, & Robbie Feature

November 17th, 2021

Randy Lucas
Randy Lucas
Bender Lumber’s “Core Values” are put to the test every day, at every store. Our employees exemplify and work hard to make sure our customers are given “top-notch” service.
Recently, Randy Lucas, one of our “Yard Engineers” at the Linton store had an opportunity to demonstrate how the Bender Lumber Core Value, “Commitment” is a serious part of everyday life.
Our “Boom” truck was down for service. So happens that our tandem axel delivery truck was not available for quick use either. As you might guess, our customer called in a 165 bundle shingle delivery. Keep in mind shingles are heavy and we are accustomed to taking these with a lift to assist us at the jobsite. Without either lift, the only thing we could do was to deliver them as hand unloaded.
Randy Lucas was about ready to take his lunch break when he heard about the opportunity to make the sale. Knowing too well of the circumstances and the dilemma this put the store manager Teresa McBride in. Randy stepped up, volunteered to take the load, even with the special circumstances surrounding the delivery.
Our customer was in great need, they had torn off the shingles earlier that day and could not leave until the roof was dried in, safe against leakage. Thanks to Randy and his willingness to accommodate our customer the job got finished that day, the home was safe.
We do not know where we get our great employees - we have the best. We are not afraid of hard work as we are always willing to go the “Extra Mile”. Thanks, Randy for setting the bar for other associates to see and emulate.

   Randy Lucas Feature

September 10th, 2021

Bill Thomas (Cheese)
Bill "Cheese" Thomas
At Bender Lumber, we pride ourselves in delivering service, second to none. Our commitment to service is demonstrated by employees in unexpected ways. At our Linton, IN store to get this type of service all you have to say is “Cheese”.
Bill Thomas, otherwise known as “Cheese”, is a 17 year veteran with the resolve to be the best service provider. “Cheese” takes pride in taking care of our customers and goes the “Extra Mile” to accomplish his personal service platform.
Recently, a customer needed 200 sheets of plywood, cut to size and delivered to the jobsite. This type of custom order takes a lot of time. The store was very shorthanded as some key employees were home on quarantine. Employees were working extra hours just to keep the store staffed. “Cheese” was finally enjoying a well-deserved day off.
After receiving the message that help was needed, “Cheese” cut his day short to come back in to cut the plywood and deliver the customer’s product to the job. Our customer never knew the effort or the story behind his order but was thankful to have the custom order on time and on the job.
We are so proud of “Cheese” and all our employees. These types of stories are not the exception but the norm at Bender Lumber. Our professionally staffed lumberyards have the type of people to get it done.
Congratulations “Cheese” we are proud to work alongside you as you show others what customer service means.
Customers throughout Southern Indiana have learned to depend on Bender Lumber to deliver a level of service that helps them complete projects faster, with less headaches thanks to employees like Bill Thomas “Cheese”.

   Bill 'Cheese' Thomas Feature

July 22, 2021

Mike Thatcher
Mike Thatcher
At Bender Lumber, we like having fun! When our work environment is fun and light, it creates a pleasant culture in which to work. Our newest Extra Mile Club member is fun-loving without sacrificing safety. Mike Thatcher, one of our drivers from our Linton, IN store, might be seen with his “girlfriend” riding shotgun as he makes deliveries.
This “girlfriend” is an old manikin that he has repurposed to keep him company during the day. Whenever people ask and with a serious face, Mike will apologize for her not being more accommodating. In all actuality, Mike is rock solid as an employee and driver for Bender Lumber. Mike is known as someone who exemplifies our third Core Value - “Commitment” and will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Coming in early or working late are both common to Mike. Whenever a mistake is made, Mike is the first to step up to resolve the issue.
One day this spring, Mike had two similar deliveries of barn metal on his truck going to different jobsites. As luck would have it, Mike reversed the order of the shipments placing each one at the wrong jobsite. Oops, mistakes happen but what we do to rectify tells a story about a person’s character. In this case, both contractors were understanding and willing to wait until the next day, but Mike would have none of it. It was his mistake, and he needed to fix it. That very night on his own time, Mike made the trip back to switch the loads. Problem solved.
You can bet with commitment like this Bender Lumber has a bright future. Mike Thatcher is leading the way as younger associates can see how a man of character reacts to problems. No pointing fingers or placing the blame, just solving problems. We know at Bender Lumber that “actions speak louder than words.”
Congratulations, Mike, we are so proud you are on our team!

   Mike Thatcher Feature

May 21, 2021

Andres Campos
Andres Campos
At Bender Lumber, we thrive on the young people who work with us. Some will, no doubt, lead us in the next twenty or even thirty years. Many of our leaders today started out in entry-level positions and have grown to be the core of our company.
Andres Campos is a rising star in our Martinsville store. Andres is an engineering student who might work as a cashier, loader, at the sales desk, etc…. He has many talents and has even proven to be talented and skillful in selling technical special orders.
Earlier this spring, Andres fielded questions from a customer wanting to order a sliding glass patio door. The customer did not seem clear on what size or even the first steps in replacing the door. Andres showed a passion for his work by following the customer home to help analyze the situation. While there, Andres pointed out the size needed was not the size they had previously discussed.
Even though our customer was advised of this problem, he was insistent that the size quoted was the size he needed. Andres did as instructed to have the client sign off on the order stating what he wanted. The order was placed and when it came in, you guessed it, the door size would not fit.
Andres could have been arrogant and said “I told you so…” but instead graciously helped his customer order the correct door. The client kept the first door to use in another location and admitted he should have listened to Andres the first time.
It is great to know our future is bright with talent like Andres Campos. It is with great pride he is our next Extra Mile Club inductee.

   Andres Campos Feature

April 7th, 2021

Jim Mattingly
Jim Mattingly
Many of our best employees would rather stay under the radar so to speak. However, we can’t help but notice them for the great work and service they extend to our customers. One such employee is our veteran driver Jim Mattingly who works at our Paoli store. Jim is a staple but not just because he has been there so long. He has earned the right to be considered one of our very best.
There is not much that Jimbob, as he is known, does not do. You might see him writing a ticket at the counter, preparing a load for delivery, or helping a customer by meeting him with sales samples at the jobsite. What? Yes, you heard me, Jim is even skilled at estimating and committed to the sales and success of our store.
This commitment has been demonstrated most recently on two consecutive Saturday mornings this spring. On the first Saturday, Jim was scheduled to be off, however, a customer who needed Jim’s skillset on the job asked for help. On his day off, Jimbob prepared sales samples, brochures, and other items in preparation to make a sales call. Jim gave excellent customer service as he went the Extra Mile for his customer.
This kind of thing is not a “one-off” for Jimbob as we have observed him excel over the years. Actually, on the following Saturday morning, something special happened as well. Store manager LaDonna Hawkins had unknowingly accepted a 5:00 AM delivery for a block truck that would need to be unloaded. When she realized what she had done, it was too late to change. LaDonna leaned on Jim and asked if he could be there to unload. So, on his day off at 5:00 AM, without complaint guess who was out there unloading the truck… guessed it, Jim Mattingly.
It is with people like Jim who set us apart. We go the Extra Mile often as our employees are encouraged to be better than our competition. We do this with Extra Milers like Jimbob Mattingly.

   Jim Mattingly Feature

March 12, 2021

Randy Fields
Randy Fields
Our newest Extra Miler, Randy Fields. Randy is one of our great employees who is always looking out for a better way to approach his duties. As Assistant Manager, in charge of our Linton yard, Randy exemplifies the meaning of going the Extra Mile.
Assistant Managers are often asked to do many things and to wear many hats. When the manager is unavailable, they take the leadership role to keep the store running smoothly.
As you might know, when we are busy our lumberyards can get quite untidy. We often develop piles of returns, dunnage, and cull material. Mostly, we look the other way until it becomes a problem nobody wants to address. In many yards, these piles can grow and last many years until all value is lost.
These unsightly lots are often a safety hazard, at the very least, and do not present to our customers the image we desire. It takes a lot of effort and leadership to keep a clean lumberyard.
This winter while many were cozy inside the store and when the snow was flying, Store Manager Teresa McBride challenged Randy to lead in the effort to clean these messes up. Randy, on lead and with his yard team got to work picking through, saving, and maybe destroying these heaps of ugliness.
By clearing this cumulation of unsellable material, the store now has more room to store its Special Order items and more products our customers need and depend on Bender Lumber to supply. We have reduced our investment and increased our safety.
Randy is a humble person and would say that this is just his job. This is true but he approaches it with grace and humbleness. The attitude with which it is accomplished creates a culture that is contagious.

   Randy Fields Feature

December 28, 2020

Robbie Hayes
Robbie Hayes
At Bender Lumber, we show a passion for what we do…we call it “Commitment”. This is one of the Core Values we have agreed to strive for. We will admit when we are not at our best, we must remind ourselves of our goal.
Earning your entry into the “Extra Mile Club” is not the only goal our drivers and “Yard Engineers” strive for, each time and after they become a member they may earn more accolades as a “Road Warrior”. Robbie Hayes is on a roll with his second nomination into the club and our first “Road Warrior”. You see, Robbie loves his job… so much so when he is off on Saturdays from his duties at our Bedford store, he often works at our Bloomington store as a secondary driver and otherwise “Yard Engineer”. As an engineer, Robbie will work to keep the yard straight, picked up, and culled out. Often during our busy season, the lumber yard area can get untidy and unsafe. Robbie makes sure that he gets this job done and helps train rookie engineers on what to do.
Most recently and when he was not working at our Bedford, IN lumberyard, Robbie has been moonlighting at our Bloomington store installing the new Trex racking that was so desperately needed. Thanks to Robbie it is installed and doing what it should be, keeping our decking clean and ready to ship.
Great job earning your second entry into our “Extra Mile Club”; now consider yourself a “Road Warrior”.
   Robbie Hayes - Road Warrior Feature

December 15, 2020

Chris Jarosz
Chris Jarosz
At Bender Lumber, we are proud of our company, our Core Values, and our employees who are committed to serving. Often, they do things above and beyond the call to make sure our customers are taken care of. At Bender Lumber, we do not limit ourselves to the job description. Many times our customers do not know the hurtles we maneuver around to get their material on the job and in time. Of course, why should they? We are there to serve them.
Chris Jarosz, the Assistant Manager at our Columbus store, is one of those unsung people who often crosses over his job description to make sure the job gets done.
Recently, our long time delivery driver Frank Goldin retired. We wish him well - however, this left us short-staffed and without a driver. Without the ability to make deliveries, our business and our customers would suffer. During this crazy and unpredictable year, we have also found it hard, if not impossible, to find qualified delivery drivers. Our store was in a bind for sure.
That is what makes this story inspiring to the rest of us, as Chris gladly volunteered to step back into his old role as driver. Chris had maintained his certifications and was more than willing to make deliveries, on top of his other duties, until a qualified driver can be found.
We are proud to have associates who show Pride in how they perform their job and are willing to give exceptional customer service without complaint.
With that, we congratulate Chris Jarosz as our next Extra Mile Club member. Great job earning your entry into our "Extra Mile Club".
Chris Jarosz Feature

October 29, 2020

Robbie Hayes
Robbie Hayes
Our newest member of our Extra Mile Club is our Bedford Bender Lumber Store senior driver Robbie Hayes. Robbie has a passion for what he does and seeks to help our stores succeed. He is the consummate team player willing to do almost anything to help our customers get their deliveries “on time”. In fact, Robbie often stops by job sites so he can pass a lead on to one of our Customer Service Representatives. 
During the week of September 14th, 2020, our Bender Lumber store in Bedford was very busy. Not only were they experiencing record sales and short-staffed, but this was also their physical inventory week. Everything had to be ready to count by the end of the week.
Then, out of nowhere, one of their drivers had a family member test positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This driver had to self-quarantine or risk spreading the illness. The pressure was on Melissa Hilkey, our store manager, and her sales team to deliver a high volume of material with her driver pool cut in half. Under normal circumstances and without employees who have a passion for what they do, this could have been disastrous. 
However, she had Robbie Hayes who often surprises everyone with his dedication to doing his job in an exceptional way. This week, Robbie willingly made deliveries well into the night to keep our contractors going with material on the job, ready for when they arrived the next morning. Robbie was able to double his capacity until our other driver was cleared to come back to work.
Great job earning your entry into our “Extra Mile Club”.
Robbie Hayes Feature

September 23, 2020

Bill Holler
Bill Holler
Extra Mile Club members and nominees have one thing in common, they enjoy their work and will accommodate most any idea to help someone out. Extra Milers often help our customers keep the promises they make.
On July 14th, our Washington store manager David Faith had just come back from being quarantined from a positive Coronavirus test. David had been out and still weak from the illness. Upon coming back, he realized his main boom truck driver was on vacation. The store had three deliveries that needed to be boomed. David was in a bind and needed to take care of his customers. Clients were depending on these deliveries.
David reached out to our Bloomington store manager Ed Craig for help. Ed was busy as well but willingly made a suggestion that Bill Holler, who was on his day off, might help. As you know, Bill, who is always busy, already had plenty to do however he was willing to help the Washington store out. Bill drove down and made two of the deliveries helping the Washington store keep its promise to his customers. Store manager David Faith nominated Bill Holler for the Extra Mile Club. This is exactly what the Extra Mile Club is all about. Having employees like Bill Holler is what makes Bender Lumber special. It is our people that make the difference. A big thank you to Bill for stepping in to help a sister store in need.
Bill Holler Feature

August 31, 2020

Jeff Owens
Jeff Owens
We try really hard to live up to our Core Values. I will be the first to admit I often fall short but then get back up and dust myself off to try to be a better example of what they are. They are a goal for us all to strive for.
One of our Values is Commitment. Included in this description of Commitment is a quote from John Bender that states “People Who Do Whatever it Takes.” That is what makes Bender Lumber special to our customers. Often, the extra things we do are looked over as if we are just doing our job and while that may be true in many instances, it is how and with what attitude we perform that often matters.
Last weekend and while most of us were home and getting ready to start our weekend, this value was being played out by two of our finest. Our customer “Hayes and Son” was given the opportunity to perform an emergency board up in preparation for the protest turned into a riot. Our CSR, Wes Beck, and Driver, Jeff Owens, made two deliveries (Saturday and Sunday) of OSB to the “Hot Zone” in Indy for our customers. I like the fact that Wes went with Jeff as they did not know the situation that Jeff could be driving into. Wes’ instincts were correct when they were in the middle of the storm of people exercising their right to protest. Looting and vandalism soon to follow.
As a special note: Jeff had just gotten married on Saturday morning and left his bride to make this delivery. Wow, I hope she is understanding and if so she is a keeper.
Thanks so much to this team for demonstrating our “Core Values" to us. We all should strive to do as Jeff Owens did.
Jeff Owens Feature