In business and in sports, RedBuilt™ associate and competitive curler Darren Lehto has the golden ha
What does the sport of curling have in common with commercial construction? RedBuilt’s own Darren Lehto, for starters. Darren — who serves as RedBuilt’s Northwest Regional Sales Manager — is representing the United States at the 2013 World Men’s Curling Championships in Victoria, British Columbia, March 30-April 7. And Team Brady Clark (named after its “skip,” or captain) has already qualified for the 2014 United States Olympic Curling Trials this November in Fargo, N.D., where they’ll face four of the same squads they competed against in the 2013 USA Curling National Championships they won last month in Green Bay, Wis. Beyond that casual connection, Darren says there are several characteristics of world-class athletes that go hand in hand with succeeding in the highly competitive world of structural framing solutions. “High performance, unsurpassed support, and excellent teamwork are hallmarks of a great curling team and a great company,” he says. Like world-class athletes, RedBuilt™ products and the people who make and market them must consistently perform well under pressure. “You can’t just start playing and expect to win,” he says. “It takes a lot of practice to get things perfect, and RedBuilt™ has spent far more time pioneering engineered wood framing systems for commercial structures than our competitors.” Skilled, trustworthy support is critical, too. “In curling, the best shooters in the world are helpless without their skip, who calls the shots, or their sweepers, who brush the ice to control how far the stone travels and how much it curls,” Darren says. “Likewise, whatever our customers at RedBuilt™ demand, we’ll do it.” And whether you’re delivering structural framing solutions or curling stones, precision teamwork is paramount. “If you picked every team apart at the national championships, you’d find ones that have mastered specific skills better than we have, such as how to release the stones or sweep more effectively,” Darren says. “One thing that’s obvious about Team Brady Clark is that we work better as a unit than our opponents, which is definitely what earned us gold at the national championships this year. And the same can be said for RedBuilt™.” He says it starts by considering the customer as an integral part of the team and approaching each project from their mindset to minimize installed costs and make sure everything goes smoothly. “Like curling, selling engineered lumber isn’t rocket science,” he says. “It’s a matter of addressing all the subtle little details properly and anticipating what issues might hang you up. For instance, the design process for structural framing solutions can be complicated, so our sales team works hard up front to address any factors that might slow the engineering team down so that everything proceeds according to plan and we meet the delivery dates. Good communication is a big part of it, because poor communication often creates problems that didn’t even exist in the first place.” Darren’s been working for RedBuilt™ and our predecessor organizations since 1990. Active in the sport of curling for nearly three decades, the Canadian expatriate immigrated to the United States in 1996 when we moved him to Utah. He earned his U.S. citizenship two summers ago so he could participate in the USA Curling National Championships. Aside from its namesake, Darren is the most senior member of Team Brady Clark and plays second (throws the third and fourth rocks for the team). Darren played with Brady at the 2012 USA Curling National Championships, where their team finished fifth. This year at nationals the team was down by one point in the last end (like an inning in baseball), but they had “the hammer” — the final throw of the game, considered a huge advantage. They scored two points on the last throw, propelling them to the world championships where they’re seeking to secure the U.S. a slot at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Feb. 7-23. Darren and his teammates must place among the top seven or eight teams out of the 12 countries competing at the world championships to ensure the U.S. men’s team makes it into the Olympics. With a lower finish, they would have to compete at a qualifier in December in the hope of gaining one of two remaining Olympic berths. However, even if Team Brady Clark prevails in Victoria next week, there are no guarantees they’ll actually vie for a medal at Sochi next year; first they’ll have to attend the U.S. Olympic trials this November and defeat the four teams they bested this February at nationals. If this sounds confusing, then welcome to the underappreciated sport of curling. Regardless of the next week’s outcome, Darren’s teammates at RedBuilt™ couldn’t be prouder of his performance both on and off the ice. As evidenced by all the local media attention Team Brady Clark has garnered, their hometown of Seattle concurs. All of us at RedBuilt™ wish Darren and Team USA great success as the World Men’s Curling Championships kick off this Saturday. TSN, Canada’s national sports network, will air Team USA’s game against Canada this Monday night. Fans elsewhere can follow Team USA at the Men's World Championship in Victoria both online and on television. We’ll be eagerly following their progress as they go for the gold and posting updates on RedBuilt’s™ Facebook page. Please join us in rooting for the best in the sport.
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