The January 1 official merge of the Northern Softwood Lumber Bureau with NELMA included the creation of a Red Pine Subcommittee under the Association’s Grading Committee. With Red Pine’s dominance as a timber resource in the Great Lakes, it was deemed important by mill members to create a forum within NELMA’s structure to address issues concerning the specie, in addition to incorporating its presence within marketing activities where beneficial. The integration of all former NSLB mills within NELMA’s online directory and product locator was completed shortly after the first of the year as the first marketing addition activity, with the revision of NELMA’s printed Membership Directory and Buyer’s Guide scheduled for completion this Spring.
The first meeting of the new group was held April 6 in Duluth, Minnesota with Mr. Gary Huewe of Potlatch Corporation, Bemidji, Minnesota leading the Subcommittee as Chairman. The 9-person Subcommittee reviewed NELMA’s current marketing plan, discussing specific activities where including the promotion of Red Pine would be applicable. Public Relations activities were specifically discussed as an immediate means of garnering attention to Red Pine and lumber products manufactured by the mills in the region. In the next few months, other NELMA publications such as the “Map” will be expanded to reach the Great Lakes region, as will the sprucepinefir.com website’s homepage and inclusion of former NSLB mills within the online pages.
“This type of member face-to-face interactions always yield beneficial discussions and in this case a two-way educational opportunity to learn from each other,” reported Jeff Easterling, NELMA President. “As a group, we were able to develop a creative approach to adding useful marketing and PR activities, adding value to their membership in the Association.”