2017 NHLA Annual Convention brings hardwood industry leaders to Nashville

NHLA Convention 2017

The National Hardwood Lumber Association held its 120th Annual Convention & Exhibit Showcase from Oct 25 – 27 in Nashville, Tenn. 

The Convention brings the hardwood industry together to form new partnerships and strengthen existing ones. It kicked off with a reception with 1,150 hardwood industry professionals, representing more than 464 companies and 14 countries.

The opening session on Thursday, Oct 26, saw John Foley, former lead solo pilot of the Blue Angels, outlining steps that organisations and leaders should take to change culture, avoid complacency, manage problems and achieve success.

Members also celebrated 30, 50 and 75 years of membership with NHLA including a 100-year member, Robbins Sports Flooring located in White Lake, Wisconsin.

The second day featured the General Session and Town Hall Meeting. Seven new members were elected to the NHLA Board of Managers. Newly elected were Rob Cabral of Upper Canada Forest Products, Darrell Keeling of Northwest Hardwoods, Jimmy Lee of Tides & Times, Jordan McIlvain of Alan McIlvain Lumber Co., Joe Pryor of Oaks Unlimited, Rich Solano of Pike Lumber and Ray White of Harold White Lumber Inc. Their three-year term begins on Nov 13 with the fall Board of Managers meeting.

Yugon Kim, founding owner and partner of IKD discussed the benefits of building with timber and specifically cross-laminated hardwood timber. The Indiana Hardwood CLT project has the potential to initiate a cascade of effects: positive job growth in rural forestry and manufacturing, expanding and diversifying hardwood lumber markets, higher forest land value and improved forest management practices to reduce wildfires and encourage biodiversity leading to an abatement of climate change. 

Following Mr Kim, award-winning speaker and author Eric Chester provided insights on the lack of labour in the forest products industry and provided ideas and strategies for finding and keeping great people.

There were also presentations on family business relations, emerging markets of thermally modified hardwood and a panel discussion of tomorrow’s global markets presented by the American Hardwood Export Council.

The NHLA Grading Rules Open Forum regarding the proposed hardwood lumber grading rules changes for 2019 rounded out the breakout sessions. NHLA Active Member companies will receive a ballot in the next 30 days to vote on the proposed rules changes. Results will be published and announced, and any changes to the NHLA grading rules will become effective January 1, 2019.

The 2018 NHLA Annual Convention & Exhibit Showcase will be held Oct 2 – 4 in Toronto, Canada. 

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