NELMA Celebrates 80th Anniversary
The 2013 Annual Convention of the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association (NELMA) was held April 4 & 5 in Boston, Massachusetts at the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel, marking the 80th Anniversary of the Association. The 1 ½ day event was attended by 191 industry representatives from 85 lumber manufacturing and affiliated businesses and featured NELMA’s signature member meetings, networking receptions, equipment and services exhibitors, a variety of guest speakers, recognition of award winners, and a grand finale dinner and dance to celebrate the occasion.
The Convention kicked-off with its usual Opening Session and General Membership Business Meeting that included the annual “State of the Association” address by NELMA’s President, Jeff Easterling. Chairman Peter Buckley of Mill River Lumber presented this year’s slate of nominations to NELMA’s Chair Positions and the Board of Directors with terms to begin immediately following the Convention. Elected by unanimous vote were: Chairman – Terry Walters (Pleasant River Pine – Sanford, Maine), 1st Vice-Chairman – Jethro Poulin (Milan Lumber – Milan, New Hampshire), 2nd Vice-Chairman – Scott Brown (DiPrizio Pine Sales – Middleton, New Hampshire). Re-nominated to the Board: Treasurer – Randy Caron (Caron Consulting); and for a 2nd Term on the Board of Directors – Alden Robbins (Robbins Lumber – Searsmont, Maine).
The Marketing Committee Meeting was next on the schedule which included a preview of activities either underway or planned for 2013. This included the “Virtual House Tour” online video project, the addition of the NELMA “Map” to the literature arsenal for both domestic and international activities, and a progress report and demonstration of the online “Above Board” grader training website and game. The Committee welcomed a guest speaker, Charles Trevor, the UK representative of the American Softwoods, who presented information regarding the markets and softwood promotional activities in Europe, the Middle East/North Africa, and India. The first day’s business session ended with a meeting of the Pine Subcommittee where the newly published grading rules for Eastern White Pine Boards and a companion, separate booklet of “General Definitions and Instructions for Grading Eastern White Pine Boards (formerly known as the Interpretations) were previewed. A progress report was provided on the NELMA-sponsored White Pine Weevil Research project underway at the University of Maine Experimental Forest. Early results show some promise in a few of the seedlings thus far, with a visit to the site by the Subcommittee to be planned for this fall. The evening’s Welcome Reception included the annual Equipment and Services exhibits, with displays available from 12 companies that included operational software, business insurance, dry kiln equipment, and lumber grading technology.
NELMA’s Dimension Subcommittee was the first meeting to start the second day of business. Staff reports were given on the recently completed SPFs lumber testing in the Great Lakes region at the University of Minnesota Duluth, and a broad outline of the Norway Spruce testing plan to be initiated later this year. Immediately following Dimension, the Grading Committee was called to order as reports were presented by the Subcommittee Chairmen summarizing their previously held meetings. No motions required approval from either meeting. Grading Chairman, Charlie Lumbert (Moose River Lumber) presented the Bronze Trophy to the 2012 team winners of the Pine and Dimension Graders Competition, Fontaine Inc. of Woburn Canada and Hancock Lumber Pittsfield, respectively. Immediately following the Grading Committee, the 2012 Calendar Year Safety Awards were presented by Peter Buckley (Mill River Lumber and NELMA Chairman) and Jason Brochu (Pleasant River Lumber and NELMA 1st Vice Chairman). A total of 31 mill operations submitted Injury Frequency Data for the awards, with a total of 3.36 million man hours reported. Mills reporting an accident free year totaled 1.07 million man hours for 2012. First place winners by Division for Combined Operations (Sawmill and Planer Mill) were: Division 1 (1 to 25,000 man hours) – Brojack Lumber of Scott Township, Pennsylvania; Division 2 (25,001 to 50,000 man hours) – H.G. Wood Industries of Bath, New Hampshire; Division 3 (50,001 to 100,000 man hours) – Hancock Lumber of Pittsfield, Maine; and Division 4 (100,001 to 150,000 man hours) – Hancock Lumber of Bethel, Maine.
The presentation of the 2nd Annual Sustainable Versatility Design Award, sponsored by NELMA, was held following the Grading Committee. Special guest speaker and award presenter, Robert Robillard, The Concord Carpenter, provided a personal viewpoint on his experience with using Eastern White Pine in building construction prior to the winner announcement. Benjamin Greer, a third year undergraduate architecture student at Northeastern University was awarded the first place trophy at the event with his design entry titled, “Lovells Island Marine Biology Research Center”. The 2012-2013 Competition’s challenge asked students to re-imagine the use of Eastern White Pine in the modern classroom.
NELMA’s Industry Luncheon featured guest speaker Howie Carr, a conservative Boston radio show host heard throughout New England with national recognition, and the author of several books on organized crime boss, Whitey Bulger. Following lunch, Paul Jannke of Forest Economic Advisors (FEA) provided his annual presentation on the Economic and Lumber Market Forecast to the membership.
Convention business concluded with the NELMA Board of Directors Meeting that included industry issues updates provided on three topics of interest: Softwood Lumber Agreement Status by Zoltan van Heyningen Executive Director of the U.S. Lumber Coalition; Environmental Permitting Deadlines and Developments by Phil Ruck of CES Inc.; and Softwood Lumber Board Activities by Alden Robbins, Northeastern Lumber Industry Representative.
The final Commemoration of NELMA’s 80th Anniversary began with the Chairman’s Reception on Friday evening followed by the “Rockin’ Through the Decades” celebration. NELMA’s latest industry video documentary titled, “Lumber & Sons” was debuted prior to the musical extravaganza provided by the band, Men in Black.
NELMA’s next meeting will be the 2013 Board of Directors and Golf Outing, set for September 19 & 20 at the Nonantum Resort and Webhannet Country Club in Kennebunkport, Maine.