The Brick Industry Association (BIA) has elected General Shale CEO Charles Smith as chairman effective January 1.
Smith succeeds former BIA Chairman Davis Henry, president, Henry Brick, Co, Selma, Alabama, who will remain as past chair. BIA’s membership also elected Joe Rice, CEO of Belden Tri-State Building Materials, New York, New York as vice chair; Jim Stradley, president of Cincinnati-based Division 4, Inc. as treasurer and Mark Ellenor, president of Glen-Gery Corp., Wyomissing, PA as new secretary.
Smith is a 28-year veteran of Johnson City, Tenn.-based General Shale, a top clay brick manufacturer in the United States and Canada. General Shale is the North American subsidiary of Wienerberger AG, the world’s largest brick manufacturer and a leading supplier of clay roof tiles, concrete pavers and pipe systems in Europe.
“Charles offers a powerful blend of corporate perspective and native industry experience to help lead the clay brick industry and BIA into a new decade,” said BIA President Ray Leonhard.
Prior to becoming CEO in 2014, Smith served as General Shale’s president and COO. He helped steer General Shale’s operations through a major economic downturn and was instrumental in revitalizing the company’s product development. This experience and perspective will be beneficial in his role as chairman.
“It is imperative for our association to gain more momentum through enhanced participation,” said Smith. “We must get our entire industry on board with the BIA and move our products to the forefront of U.S. construction.”
Smith emphasized, “We know that we have the most proven, durable and aesthetically pleasing product available. Now we must inform the public that this is the best, most proven cladding product for residential, commercial and institutional projects.”
“I challenge all within our industry to get involved with the BIA and become a voice for growth,” he continued. “Together we can capture further markets and restore our great product portfolio to the forefront!”
Smith’s earlier leadership roles at General Shale encompassed plant management positions including regional production manager responsible for operating five brick plants with key roles in company expansions and major capital projects. As vice president of engineering and research, he ensured operational excellence at all plant locations while guiding research and development efforts for new product opportunities. In 2007, he was named executive vice president of operations.
Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology with a minor in business management from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tenn.