78th Annual NELMA Convention held April 28-29 in Boston

The Northeastern lumber industry gathered in Boston the last week of April for the 78th Annual Convention of the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association (NELMA).   More than 178 members and guests of the Association took part in this year’s meeting, conducted at the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel.   The Convention kicked off with the Opening Session where NELMA Chairman Jeff Desjardins of Moose River Lumber welcomed attendees and conducted the Annual General Business Meeting, which included nominations for Association officers and new members to serve on the Board of Directors, and the annual “State of the Association” presentation by NELMA President, Jeff Easterling.   Officers elected to 2-year terms that began at the conclusion of the Convention were:

Chairman – Peter Buckley of Mill River Lumber in North Clarendon, Vermont;
1st Vice-Chairman – Jason Brochu of Pleasant River Lumber in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine;
2nd Vice-Chairman – Terry Walters of Lavalley/New England Building Materials in Sanford, Maine;
Treasurer – Randy Caron of Caron Consulting in Garfield Plantation, Maine.

Two new members were elected to the Board of Directors:

Michael Record of Record Lumber in Oxford, Maine, and
Scott Brown of DiPrizio Pine Sales in Middleton, New Hampshire.

Elected to an additional 3-year term on the Board of Directors:

Jethro Poulin of Milan Lumber in Milan, New Hampshire.

All four of NELMA’s Committees/Subcommittees met during the 1 ½ day Convention, beginning with the Marketing Committee, chaired by Matt Duprey of Hancock Lumber.  The group reviewed projects and activities underway in 2011 which included the shift to online ad banners for the architect audience, the recently conducted Eastern White Pine siding/interior product demonstration at the JLC Live Show and associated video for website use, and the “Pattern Viewer” that will showcase various patterns in final form online to assist architects, designers, and consumers in project planning.   A presentation on NELMA member participation in export trade shows and missions in China and Dubai was given, along with a presentation on the history of the White Pine Series of Monographs.   The Pine Subcommittee, chaired by Alden Robbins of Robbins Lumber, reviewed a report by Marc Moore, NELMA’s Director of Inspection Services, on the comparison of North American grading rules for boards, in addition to an update on the 4th year of the Pine Weevil Research being conducted at the University of Maine in Orono.   Topics of discussion at the Dimension Subcommittee meeting, chaired by Jeff Desjardins of Moose River Lumber, included an update on the Eastern Spruce-Balsam Fir research, the potential to test Norway Spruce lumber, and the development of a monitoring program for softwood lumber.  The Grading Committee, chaired by Charlie Lumbert of Moose River Lumber, reviewed the ongoing results of NELMA’s Inspection Programs and discussed the revised Association policy for ink jet/laser printing of grade stamps on lumber.  The Team Champions of last fall’s Dimension and Eastern White Pine grading competitions were recognized, with Pleasant River Lumber and Limington Lumber receiving their respective Bronze Hammer awards.   The Safety Award winners for 2010 were also recognized at the conclusion of the Grading Committee meeting.

Following a 2-year pause, NELMA welcomed back its Industry Exhibits at the Convention, where a dozen forest industry equipment manufacturers and service providers were available to discuss product information.   The Exhibit session overlapped with the first evening’s Welcome Reception, providing even more networking opportunities to Convention attendees.

This year’s Convention program incorporated a “Business Tool Spotlight” that featured presentations by three companies that provided insight and service information relevant to the industry’s successful future growth.   Speakers included Bill Rohde Jr., President ofAcadia Insurance; Suzanne Hearn, Manager of Sales and Marketing, and Bill Nocerino, Manager of the Lumber Division of Forest2Market; and Jim Bartelson, Executive Vice-President of Blue Book Services.   This year’s Industry Luncheon honored outgoing Chairman Jeff Desjardins with a presentation of the signature “NELMA Chair”.  Entertainment was provided by comedian, Jeff Caldwell.

The final afternoon of business began with the bi-annual lumber market and economic forecast presentation by Paul Jannke of Forest Economic Advisors (FEA), titled “North American Housing and Lumber Markets: Will This Be the Year of Recovery?”   The meeting of NELMA’s Board of Directors ended the business program for the Convention, where a review of Committee and Subcommittee proceedings was conducted, along with a review of Association financial reports.   Two updates on issues pertinent to the lumber industry were provided, first by Zoltan van Heyningen, Executive Director of the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, followed by Phil Ruck of CES, Inc. regarding State and Federal Environmental Permitting.

The 2011 Convention came to a close with the Chairman’s Reception and Theatre trip, where the 1950’s theme came to life to prepare attendees for an evening at the Wang Theatre to enjoy the musical production of Grease.

Mark your calendars for NELMA’s Fall Board of Directors meeting and Golf Event, set for September 22-23 at the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport, Maine.