TIMBER MART president Bernie Owens recalls his own mentors


We asked Bernie Owens, president and CEO of TIMBER MART, to share his recollections of some people who have been formative in his career. Here is his reply.

When I think of the most influential mentors that I’ve had throughout my life and career thus far, several people come to mind. They’ve influenced me both personally and professionally and are, in part, responsible for who I am today.

My father, Mike Owens, was a wonderful man with a strong work ethic and great attention to detail. Not only do I believe that he’s passed on those qualities to me, but he also taught me to play bridge at a young age, which helped me develop my strategic thinking and memory skills early on. He also taught me to be patient and measured in my approach to work so that I would always have a good work-life balance.

As I got older and went into the workforce, I met Claude Morin, who was a partner at Morin Brothers Building Supplies in Nepean, Ontario. The business was a start-up at the time, and I learned just how much grit and hard work it takes to start and run a business. I saw the business grow from a jobsite trailer where a few staff would refurbish trucks and create price lists for products to a larger distribution location with indoor storage and a massive supply yard. I also learned from Claude the importance of balancing available working capital and accounts receivables.

Claude was an extroverted individual and his demeanour inspired me to overcome my introverted nature and be more outgoing.

Lastly, and most importantly in my role as president and CEO of TIMBER MART, I value the high-calibre leadership team I work alongside. I learn from them every day as they are top tier in  their own areas of expertise. They likely don’t recognize the positive influence they have on me, but they inspire me daily to do better for our members and provide them with the programs, tools, and support they need to be successful independent entrepreneurs.

(This personal account of inspiring people who served as mentors for people in the industry is part of a larger story in the latest edition of our print publication, Hardlines Home Improvement Quarterly (HHIQ). It has recently been mailed to 11,000 dealers and managers across the country. Click here to learn more and subscribe! HHIQ is free to dealers!)