Kevin Hancock, Hancock Lumber, Casco, Me.

BUILDER sibling title ProSales' editor is quoted in this inspiring profile of Casco, Me.-based Hancock Lumber, which has been in business nearly a century and a half.

New York Times staffer Jennifer Van Allen looks at a thriving-in-the-face-of-adversity personal and business journey for Kevin Hancock the scion of a lumber distribution firm started in 1848, which he took over from his dad in the late 1990s. Even as the housing cycle blasted the business, things got even worse for young Hancock, as he went through the onset of a debilitating condition that robbed him of his voice. So, he learned to lead by listening. Van Allen writes:

At meetings he once led, he now sat in the second row, jotting down notes. As he spoke less and listened more, he discovered how many managers and front-line employees had ideas for changes and wanted to take responsibility for them. He began delegating more.

“You see the passion and ideas coming from others,” he said. “People are smart, and they know what needs to happen and they want to do a good job.”

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