The following article about Wilson Lumber Truss Division Manager Jackie Crutcher appeared in the November 2020 issue of the C12 Music City Newsletter.
In one of his college engineering classes, C12 member Jackie Crutcher had to design a set of house trusses by hand. “I thought to myself, ‘If I ever get out of this class, I will never look at another truss as long as I live.’”
But that’s not exactly what happened next. Far from it, actually. Crutcher is now 20-plus years into a career as a truss designer and truss plant manager.
In high school, Crutcher pulled lumber for his hometown lumber company, White Bluff Building Supply. He worked his way through various roles in the company, moving into sales while going to college for civil and construction engineering.
After college, at Norvell & Wallace Lumber Co. in Nashville, Crutcher had been there for only two weeks when his boss said, “We’re going to train you to be a truss designer.” Their only truss designer was leaving in two weeks, and Jackie had to learn quickly on the job – a trial by fire.
“Looking back, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody, but it made me a whole lot more resourceful,” Crutcher recalled. “I didn’t have anyone to ask questions of, so I just had to figure it out.”
While he was good at designing trusses, Crutcher had bigger ambitions, including caring for people. Moving into plant management afforded him that opportunity. “I knew just sitting in a cubicle designing trusses wasn’t what I wanted to do the rest of my career,” he said. “I had a lot more to offer than just designing trusses.”
In 2013, he was given the opportunity at Huskey Truss & Building Supply to move from truss designer to truss plant manager. It was a perfect fit, where he could use his expertise in trusses but also work directly with employees. He enjoyed learning employees’ names, about their families and interests, and working with people.
A few years later, in 2018, he had the opportunity to not only manage a truss plant but start one from scratch for Wilson Lumber Company, a Huntsville, Alabama-based building materials supplier. At the time, Wilson Lumber operated a truss plant in Madison, Alabama, and was making plans to open a second truss plant in Tennessee, where Crutcher lives. He said the challenge of a brand new plant excited him.
“I was going to teach people who had never even seen a truss before how to build one,” he recalled.
After one year, Wilson promoted Crutcher to Truss Division Manager, overseeing operations at both truss plants and significantly increasing efficiency at each location.
Around that same time, Crutcher joined C12. What he likes most about his C12 Key Player board is having a forum of people in other industries who are facing challenges similar to his. “You can go to your peers and they are going to give you their best recommendation from the heart,” Crutcher said of his C12 colleagues. “It’s not going to be immoral. It’s going to be what they would do in their own company.”