NELMA’s Fall Meeting Held September 22 & 23 in Freeport, Maine

The Harraseeket Inn located in historic Freeport, Maine, hosted this year’s NELMA Fall Meeting with 130 members and guests in attendance.  The traditional Golf Scramble opened the activities on the 22nd as 72 golfers hit the links at the Brunswick Golf Club on Hotel Outside Imageanother perfect New England fall day. The Chairman’s Reception and Dinner ended Day 1’s activities that included the 2016 Golf Awards Program.  Prize winners were:  First Place Team – Gross Score (61):  Jason and Chris Brochu (Pleasant River Lumber), Nate Davis (Philadelphia Insurance), and Paul Lennon (Davis & Towle Insurance).  First Place Team – Net Score (52): Anthony Baroni (Sandy Neck Traders), Alan Orcutt (Irving Forest Products), Christian Smith and Brad Weller (MacPage LLC).  Four holes on the course were designated as “Closest to the Pin” competitions with winners Eric McCoy (Seaboard International Forest Products), Chris Bagley (CES Inc.), Tim St. John (Wiener, Crowley & St. John Inc.), and Anthony Baroni (Sandy Neck Traders).  The longest drive contest was won by Rebecca Lowell (R.E. Lowell Lumber) and Craig Woodbrey (Lovell Lumber).  The final award was presented to Chris Brochu (Pleasant River Lumber) for winning the Putting Contest.  The evening’s activities also included the recognition of Don Pendergast who will be retiring at the end of 2016 following a 21-year career with NELMA as an Inspector and more recently as Program Coordinator of the Association’s Lumber Inspection Program.

Brunswick Golf Club2The business meetings on Day 2 began with a one-hour “Business Opportunities Session”.  The two topics presented were “Creative Risk Management” by Melissa Nelson of AFLAC, and “Energy Procurement: Proactive Ways to Address an Essential Part of your Business”, by Leo Menard and Keith Albee of ENERNOC.  The NELMA Board of Directors meeting convened following the opening business session with an update provided by Zoltan van Heyningen, Executive Director of the U.S. Lumber Coalition, on the continued negotiation efforts by the U.S. to develop a trade agreement with Canada and potential outcome post-October 13 and expiration of 1-year stand-down period.  The Board of Directors reviewed a number of agenda items important to the Association during their meeting that included discussion and approval of the 2017 Budget, discussion and approval of the merger of NELMA and the Northern Softwood Lumber Bureau (NSLB), and a discussion of a revised Association Lumber Grading Policy.  In addition, Bob Mai of Potlatch Corporation was elected to a first 3-year term on the Board of Directors.

NELMA would like to express its sincere thank you to all of our Fall Meeting sponsors for their generosity:  Seaboard International (Eagle Level), Hancock Lumber (Birdie Level), Potlatch Corporation (Par Level), Irving Forest Products (Hats), USNR (Golf Carts), Davis & Towle Insurance and Philadelphia Insurance (NELMA Putting Contest), AFLAC ($5,000 Putting Contest), and Robbins Lumber (Golf Balls).  Individual Hole Sponsors: The Softwood Buyer, Sandy Neck Traders, Green Light Forest Products, R.E. Lowell Lumber, P. DiPrizio Lumber, Madison Lumber Mill, H.E. Smith Company, and Eastern Insurance.

Photos from the events will be published in the next issue of the Softwood Buyer and the Building Products Digest.

The next meeting of the Association will be the NELMA Annual Convention, set for September 20-22, 2017 at the Newport Marriott in Newport, Rhode Island.

NELMA Meets in Boston for its 83rd Annual Convention

The 83rd annual convention of the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association (NELMA) was held on April 28 & 29 with 150 in attendance for the largest gathering of the forest industry in the Northeast.  The Opening Session included The State of the Association presentation and General Business Meeting with NELMA Chairman Jethro Poulin presiding. Jeff Easterling, NELMA President, provided Convention Logoan overview of the operational status of the Association to begin the session, followed by the re-nomination of NELMA’s officers for a second year of their 2-year term by the membership.  This included Jethro Poulin of Milan Lumber (Chairman), Scott Brown of DiPrizio Pine Sales (1st Vice Chairman), Alden Robbins of Robbins Lumber (2nd Vice Chairman), Randy Caron of Caron Consulting (Treasurer), and B.  Manning of Durgin & Crowell as the At-Large member of the Board of Directors Advisory Committee.

The opening session was followed by a meeting of the Marketing Committee where a variety of reports were presented to update the membership on recent and future planned promotional and educational activities.  This included presentations on recently completed promotional activities (Jeff Easterling), the overall plan for 2016 with details provided on the 4 new program additions: the Retailer Outreach Program, SPFs v. SPF education, a video version of the grade swatch, and the first accredited Continuing Education online course for architects and designers (John Rooks), and NELMA’s PR campaign successes (Kim Drew).  Additional information regarding activities under the Softwood Lumber Board’s (SLB) marketing program was presented by Alden Robbins, the Northeastern representative on SLB, followed by an informative review of an SLB-funded project at Harvard University regarding the thermal characteristics of wood structures by Jacob  Mans and Benjamin Peek of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.  Opportunities for attendees to network and leisurely visit the 13 Products & Displays, followed by the Welcoming Reception ended the first day of the Convention.

Day 2 began with a meeting of the Dimension Subcommittee, with 2 main topics on the agenda.  An update on the recently completed full-size lumber testing project for Norway Spruce by NELMA was reviewed for members, which included a 3-minute video trailer of a longer documentary that covers the process from start to finish.  The meeting also included guest speaker, Zoltan van Heyningen, Executive Director of the U.S. Lumber Coalition, who provided remarks on the government to government talks that will hopefully lead to the next Softwood Lumber Agreement with Canada.

To capture the top-of-mind thoughts, design trends, and candid feedback from important customers of northeastern softwoods, the first-ever “Conversation with Customers” event was conducted at the Convention.  Representing various end-users of wood products, the panel included Architect, Scott Simons of Simons Architects, Designer Tyler Karu of Landing / Design, Builder Rick Arnold of Arnold & Sons
Builders, and Secondary Manufacturer Michael Fritz of Home Brands.  The Conversation was moderated by NELMA’s Marketing Committee Chairman, Dan Paige of Sandy Neck Traders who incorporated a variety of important topics that lead to valuable discussions between the panelists and Association members in the audience during the 1 ½ hour program.

The Industry Luncheon featured entertainment by Vihn Giang with his Psychology of Illusion program that incorporated a mix of magic with an inspirational and insightful message for the audience.  Following the luncheon program, the Association’s Grading Committee met, with the primary agenda item of revising the NELMA Grading Policy and Procedures.  The final business event of the Convention was the Board of Directors meeting that preceded the Chairman’s Reception that ended the 2016 Annual Convention.

The next NELMA meeting will be held September 22 and 23 at the Harraseeket Inn, Freeport, Maine, as the host for the Fall Board of Directors meeting, Chairman’s Dinner, and Golf Tournament.

In 2017, the Association will move to a single annual event that will combine the Spring Convention with the Fall Board of Directors meeting and Golf Tournament.  The 84th Annual NELMA Convention and Golf Tournament will be held September 20-22, 2017 at the Newport Marriott in Newport, Rhode Island.

What Happened in Boston Doesn’t Stay in Boston

The Seaport Hotel in Boston played host to the 81st Annual Convention of the2014conBUG Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association (NELMA) on April 10 and 11 with the theme of “Above Board and Online: Where Integrity Meets Technology”. A total of 163 attendees representing 76 companies participated in this largest yearly gathering of the northeastern lumber industry. The meeting began with an Opening Session & General Membership Meeting where a “State of the Association” presentation was given by Jeff Easterling, NELMA President. The membership also held elections for Association Directors and Officers at this session, with Jeff Desjardins of Moose River Lumber – Jackman, Maine elected to a 3-year first term on the Board of Directors. The current officers were re-nominated and elected to fulfill a second year of their term, which included 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; and Treasurer Randy Caron, Caron Consulting – Garfield Plantation, Maine.

renderFirst day meetings included the Marketing Committee and the Pine Subcommittee. Jeff Easterling, John Rooks (NELMA’s Marketing Agency, The SOAP Group), and Kim Drew (NELMA’s PR Agency, Drew Public Relations) provided updates on the Association’s marketing projects and activities. Highlights of newly-completed projects included the mobile-version of for smartphones, the revised print advertisement “See the Stamp, Trust the Quality”, recent issues of the White Pine Monographs and accompanying trailer videos, the revised websites and, and the second in a series of “EWP vs.” animated videos, this one comparing Eastern White Pine to PVC Trim.

John Rooks introduced NELMA’s new online marketing promotion, “The Virtual Home Tour”, which showcases homes that have used a variety of Eastern White Pine and SPFs products in their construction. The Tour allows a viewer to navigate a room 360 degrees and includes “pop-ups” that describe the actual pattern, grade, and finish used in each wall, ceiling, or floor Grader Academy Logoapplication. John also introduced NELMA’s Grader Academy, a comprehensive grader training program and grader game that has been in development for more than a year. Each aspect of the Academy, from the first educational module “Characteristics 101” to the courseware quizzes, to the playing of the Above Board grader game was covered in the presentation. A special introductory competition for all Convention attendees was announced, with participation available at gaming kiosks hosted by NELMA’s Director of Inspection Services, Matt Pomeroy, and NELMA’s Lumber Inspection Program Coordinator, Don Pendergast.

Wood Geek LogoKim Drew provided information on PR activities completed or underway on behalf of the Association which included editor contacts with major industry-related media such as This Old House and the Boston Society of Architects. Kim introduced the latest online PR promotion “Wood Geeks”, an ongoing intriguing, question-answering series by important editors and celebrities that may be viewed on the website.

The first day of the Convention ended with the opening of NELMA’s Product and Display Exhibits with 14 forest industry related exhibits available for review by attendees just before and during the evening’s Welcome Reception.

Day Two included meetings of the NELMA Dimension Subcommittee and the Grading Committee. In between these important Association business gatherings, the Sustainable Versatility Design Award Program was held. The naming of the award for this 3rd year annual competition to The Rich Quitadamo Sustainable Versatility Award was introduced by Jim Robbins of Robbins Lumber, a close business and personal friend of the late Rich Quitadamo. This year’s special guest speaker for the program, Jesse Thompson of the award-winning firm Kaplan Thompson Architect, provided insight into competing products with his presentation “Plastic Wood, Maintenance-Free, and the Search for True Sustainability”. Via Skype, Jesse presented the First Place award for this year’s student design competition to Jun Guo, a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Ms. Guo described her winning project, “Shelter House in Chicago’s Grant Park” and outlined the importance of using wood products within the structure.

Following the Design Award presentation and in keeping with the Convention’s overall theme of using today’s technology, a Social Media 101 seminar was conducted. Guest speaker and leading social media expert Rich Brooks of Flyte new media titled his talk, “How Social Media Can Generate Leads and Move More Lumber”. Rich covered the gamut of social media that included Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogging, and YouTube.

The final guest presentations of the Convention were given during the NELMA Board of Directors Meeting. This included Paul Jannke’s Economic Forecast titled, “Are We Out of the Woods Yet: What Are The Main Issues Facing Our Industry and Economy in 2014 and Beyond?”, and an update and important timeline provided by Zoltan van Heyningen, Executive Director of the U.S. Lumber Coalition, regarding the Softwood Lumber Agreement and its fast-approaching 2015 expiration.

A selection of entertainment options was available to attendees during the Convention. The Industry Luncheon featured Humorist, Jeanne Robertson, who utilized her positively funny style to illustrate that a sense of humor is much more than a laughing matter. Also, a theatre trip via trolley to the Boston Opera House to see the award-winning play, “The Book of Mormon” capped off the 81st Annual NELMA Convention.

Full presentations by guest speakers at the Convention will be available for viewing and printing on the NELMA website,  Just login to the “Member’s Area” for access.

Watch for details later this spring regarding the 2014 Fall NELMA Board of Directors Meeting and Golf Outing, set for September 18 & 19 at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort located in North Conway, New Hampshire.