December 2020 Hardwood Matters

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H A R D W O O D M AT T E R S December 2020

2020 NHLA On DEMAND Conference and Exhibition



CONTENTS December 2020 • Issue 218


feature 12 Recap of NHLA On Demand 2020

ONLINE TOP POST OF THE MONTH at How about a little funny for the day!?

departments 8 Legislative Log Election 2020

by Dana Cole

10 Member Spotlight MO PAC Lumber Company


16 Inside NHLA Welcome To Our Newest

Board Members

22 Rules Corner A Margin of Error When Tallying


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Random Length Lumber by Chief Dana Spessert

reader services 4 6 23 24

President’s Message CEO’s Message Educational Calendar Job Board

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H A R D W O O D M AT T E R S T H E VO I C E O F T H E H A R DWO O D I N D U ST RY National Hardwood Lumber Association PO Box 34518 • Memphis, TN 38184-0518 901-377-1818 • 901-382-6419 (fax) •

THE MISSION OF NH LA To serve NHLA Members engaged in the commerce of North American hardwood lumber by: maintaining order, structure and ethics in the changing global hardwood marketplace; providing unique member services; promoting North American hardwood lumber and advocating the interest of the hardwood community in public/private policy issues; and providing a platform for networking opportunities.

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For advertising contact: John Hester, Director of Membership and Business Development at or 901-399-7558 or Vicky Simms, Membership Development Manager at or 901-399-7557



Jeff Wirkkala Hardwood Industries, Inc. President

Bucky Pescaglia Missouri-Pacific Lumber Co., Inc. Unique Services

Jon Syre Cascade Hardwood, LLC Vice President

Ray White Harold White Lumber Inc. Rules

Darwin Murray McClain Forest Products Past President 2018-2020

Joe Pryor Oaks Unlimited Industry Advocacy & Promotion

NHLA STAFF Amanda Boutwell Marketing and Communications Manager Lorna D. Christie CEO



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Rich Solano Pike Lumber Company, Inc. Structure Stephanie VanDystadt DV Hardwoods, Inc. Membership & Networking

Desirée Freeman Controller


Julia Ganey Member Relations Manager

Burt Craig Matson Lumber Company Membership

John Hester Director of Membership and Business Development Renee Hornsby Director of Marketing/ Communications Jens Lodholm Data Administration Specialist Carol McElya Inspector Training School Administrator

Rob Cabral Upper Canada Forest Products, Ltd. Promotion & Advocacy Dennis Mann Baillie Lumber Co. Convention Scott Cummings Cummings Lumber Company, Inc. Inspection Services

Roman Matyushchenko ITS Instructor and Associate Dean of Education

Bruce Horner Abenaki Timber Corp. ITS/Continuing Education

Vicky Quiñones Simms Membership Development Manager

George Swaner Swaner Hardwood Communications & Marketing

Melissa Ellis Smith Graphic Designer Dana Spessert Chief Inspector

Joe Snyder Fitzpatrick & Weller, Inc. Rules

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ccording to the media, we have chosen a new President of the United States for the next four years. When the vote is certified, the results will be final. It is so hard to know what to think. The news you watch on TV today is not like news broadcasts used to be. Today it is more opinions than facts. I miss the days of Walter Cronkite. “And that’s the way it is” on such and such a date, he would end his news telecast each evening. And that was the way it was. Each of us with facts to form our own opinions. For all of us, it does not matter who wins the Presidency, which party controls the House, or the Senate. Each of us will have to adjust to what happens and the decisions politicians make in the future. We are a resilient group. Regardless of the results of the elections, we will do what we need to do to succeed. That is what our NHLA staff, Executive Committee and Board of Managers has done over the last two years. We have made a lot of tough decisions and put us back into a stable financial position. We held a virtual board meeting on November 9th. The entire NHLA staff did a great job of preparing for the meeting, creating operating plans and proposed budgets for their areas of responsibility. Desiree Freeman pulled it all together. The result is a conservative budget that has a small positive net for 2021. The Board of Managers voted unanimously to approve the budget. I believe, if a vaccine becomes available in early 2021, we will exceed our budget. It was no one’s fault that the NHLA had negative financial results over the past two years. The Tariffs and COVID-19 happened. It rocked our industry. All of us were scrambling to adjust our financial scenarios. Many of us had less than desired results over the last two years. We have an opportunity to tackle some tough issues facing our association. Here are three topics for improvement that we spent time exploring during the board meeting. First and foremost, we had an update from the ‘Real American Hardwood Promotion Coalition” from Lorna Christie. She represents NHLA on the Executive Committee of the Coalition, along with other executive directors from associations that financially

contributed to the launch of the RHAPC. The funding supported consumer and industry research as well as the hiring of a “brand accelerator firm” to support the creation of new promotional strategies designed to take back hardwood’s share of the domestic market. There were many key findings from the research, but the Coalition believes we have a real opportunity to influence consumers’ understanding of the value of purchasing real American hardwood! At some point in the future, we are going to have to work on funding for the RAHPC. I have heard initial estimates that we are going to need $1.5 million annually. If we want to raise these kinds of funds, we are going to need to provide a solid plan which the contributors feel good about. We are going to need contributions from hundreds and possibly thousands of all the various associations members that are part of the coalition. Think about what we can create that will have an impact on the hearts and minds of our contributors and have an impact on consumers. The second topic of focus was on the elimination of tally as part of the 4% value variation that is commonly derived from our Sales Code. Article X of the Sales Code was written in 1907. A lot has changed in 113 years. Technology has improved dramatically, increasing our ability to tally lumber much more accurately than we did in the early 1900s. Today there are companies that consciously use tally shortage to build their competitive advantage and still operate within the Sales Code. The intent of the Sales Code should be to ship all the lumber. Understanding that there is no way to eliminate tally variation between tallying methods, can we write the Sales Code, so the “intent” is to ship 100% of the lumber? The Board of Managers passed a motion for the executive committee to form a task force to explore a way to update the Sales Code, so it is clear that the “intent” of our industry is to ship all the lumber ordered. The third topic we worked on was for our membership committee to explore the possibility of modifying our dues structure. With COVID-19 affecting all of us, this is not the year to implement such a change. In the belief that we should not waste our board members time or minds, we challenged our membership committee to come up with a new structure to be implemented Continued on page 15


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n 1948, NHLA “borrowed” a one room garage area from Nicky Brothers Lumber Company to house the first class of the NHLA Inspector Training School. At that time, no one could know that history was being made. The first class graduated 46 NHLA trained lumber inspectors, most of whom were veterans returning from World War II in pursuit of a career that would support their families. The next year, the first permanent classroom was built on donated land. At that time, classes were five months in length and often included 40 plus students. My how times have changed. As the years progressed, the industry changed, School attendance became smaller, learning strategies evolved dramatically, and it became more costly to send students to the School for a prolonged length of time. Chief Dana Spessert, ITS Instructor Roman Matyushchenko and the NHLA Inspector Training School Committee have been working on creating a new approach to make the School more accessible, effective and much more affordable. Included in the plan is the adaptation of the delivery of the ITS curriculum to accommodate the learning styles of a new generation of students. For example, we have introduced virtual learning in the classroom thanks to the generosity of the Inspector Training School Educational Foundation (TSEF). The electronic whiteboard donated by ITSEF allows educators from all over the industry to conduct seminars on topics of importance streamed directly into the ITS classroom. We are also thankful to ITSEF for playing a key role in obtaining new lumber for training and board run testing. We learned from member surveys and from one-on-one feedback that the cost of attending the School has become too high for many members. After a great deal of research and additional conversations with industry leaders, NHLA held a beta test over the summer to determine the effectiveness of a modified curriculum and sevenweek time period class. We learned a great deal from the experience. Most importantly, class graduates achieved grade point averages on par with our “traditional’ 12-week program. After careful deliberation, the decision was made to keep to the shorter format, but to extend the class to eight weeks. Much of the cur-


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riculum was influenced by member survey results. For 2021, NHLA will offer three 8-week ITS programs. Our first will begin on January 5, followed by June 14 and September 13. Students will continue to memorize all of the definitions, general instructions, and standard grades. And while the requirement to memorize species exceptions will be relaxed, students will be required to pass proficiency tests. School hours have also been increased to allow students to receive a higher number of classroom hours in a shorter time frame. Prior to the new 8-week class, students would spend approximately a month memorizing the Rules during class time. In the new format, they study on their own, in the evenings and on weekends. This new approach leaves more classroom time for hands-on training, lectures on a mix of new and different aspects of the industry such as safety, lumber stacking, supervisory skills, and transitioning to an inspector position. The new curriculum also includes virtual classes on Species ID and kiln drying by renowned professor Adam Taylor. Classes on upgrading lumber and stacking lumber are also included. Students are required to complete multiple Board Runs beginning earlier in the program. This hands-on “applied learning” approach is more in keeping with modern educational strategies. They will also practice and be tested on a green chain to duplicate real world work environments. While the school’s curriculum may change with the times, NHLA will never waver in its commitment to fill the critical need for NHLA trained lumber inspectors. Please consider sending an employee to NHLA’s first eight-week class in its history. Call ITS Administrator Carol McElya at 901-399-7563 for more information on the effectiveness of our new educational format and approach. Just one more example of how NHLA is evolving to meet your needs.

Lorna D. Christie, NHLA CEO W W W. N H L A .C O M



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ELECTION 2020 by DANA COLE, Executive Director Hardwood Federation


o matter your political persuasion, the seemingly endless 2020 Election is over. Now the votes are cast, and the people have spoken. Regardless of how your preferred candidates fared, we as a country will go on. And the Hardwood Federation will continue to work across the aisles in our nation’s Capital to move legislation that supports the U.S. hardwood industry. While most professional pollsters in the days leading up to the elections predicted a Democratic wave to take the White House and the Senate, as well as add seats to the Democratic majority in the House, voters had other ideas. The election was much closer than expected. Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President as many expected, but it came down to the wire and legal action and recounts followed. Democrats will retain control of the House but by a much smaller margin than anticipated as Republicans unexpectedly gained seats in the lower house. For the time being, the Senate will remain in Republican hands, although only very narrowly with a 50-48 split. Both Georgia Senate races will go to a runoff in January, and this scenario could change if both races go to the Democratic candidates. However, it is important to keep in mind that, whoever controls the Senate, that party’s margin will be very slim. Typically, 60 votes are needed to move legislation in the upper chamber which requires opposing part support to pass any legislation. There are parliamentary ways around this, but historically the 60-vote requirement has been honored. We will again most likely be working with a split government with both parties exerting some control over pieces of the legislative process. Gridlock will continue to be the rule, not the exception. The first order of business in the new year for the Hardwood Federation staff will be to connect with new Members of Congress and the


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Administration to educate them about the U.S. hardwood industry and its contributions to the economy at both the state and federal levels. We have at least 7 new U.S. Senators to touch base with and roughly two dozen new House members. We also need to re-connect with returning Committee Chairs and make ourselves known to new leadership. Identifying those in positions to help us, what points of agreement exist and who we need to win over to our way of thinking are at the top of our to-do list. The Committee Chairs of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees will both be new. Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN-7) lost his reelection bid after decades in the House. He shepherded several Farm Bill re-authorizations through the process and he and his staff knew our sector well. The silver lining is that the three House members vying for his post are Jim Costa (D-CA-16), Marcia Fudge (D-OH11) and David Scott (D-GA-13). Representative Costa is a moderate who always comes to the Hardwood Federation fly-in breakfast and knows us well. Likewise, Representatives Scott and Fudge are both from big hardwood states and knowledgeable about hardwood issues. Congresswoman Fudge is on the short-list to be named the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in the Biden Administration which would also be a positive for our industry. In the Senate, should the Republicans maintain control, Pat Roberts is retiring and on track to replace him as Chair of the Agriculture Committee is John Boozman (R-AZ). Again, Senator Boozman is a longtime friend of the hardwood industry and would make a fantastic choice to lead this key panel. Another big change is on the Senate Energy & Natural Resources (SENR) Committee where Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is ending her term as Chair. Slated to replace her is Senator John Barasso (R-WY). This committee is critical for us as it takes the lead on federal forest management and most natural resource policy issues. Senator Barasso currently chairs the W W W. N H L A .C O M

Elections are an important reminder of why organizations like the Hardwood Federation exist and are important to you as a leader in the Hardwood industry. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. Should he move over to SENR as expected, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), a long time friend and strong ally to the Federation, would take his place to head EPW. This committee is also critical for us as it has primacy on most environmental policy and also transportation issues such as the highway bill. Should Democrats take control, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) will most likely return to head up Agriculture and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) would serve as Chair of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. The Federation has great connections with both and have worked with them and their staffs over the last several years. They are very aware of our industry’s issues and have been helpful in the past. Last month we shared with you the Hardwood Federation Board of Directors list of our priorities for the new Congress. This list serves as our starting point for advocacy efforts and will also be shared

with Senate and House leaders and will continue to be our focus on over the next year. Our key issues include supporting measures to increase global and domestic demand for U.S. hardwood, recognize the benefits of active forest management on public lands and the sustainability of energy produced from woody biomass, combat illegal harvest of hardwoods around the world, and enact tax systems that support small and medium sized business. Elections are an important reminder of why organizations like the Hardwood Federation exist and are important to you as a leader in the Hardwood industry. Although elected officials, administrations and political appointees may come and go, it is important to have consistent representation in Washington D.C. to represent your interest no matter who sits in the White House or speaks from the House or Senate floor. We remain dedicated to pushing federal policies that help sustain and grow the Hardwood industry in the United States and look forward to reconnecting with returning Members of Congress and educating those new to Washington.

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MO PAC Lumber Company: Rising Above the Flood


Two generations working side-by-side at MO PAC Lumber Company. From left to right: Vince Pescaglia, Ryan Pescaglia, Bucky Pescaglia, and Tony Pescaglia.

or many companies, a flood equals the end of their business. But, for MO PAC Lumber Company, it was the catalyst they needed to grow. MO PAC’s history began in the 1930s as Pekin Hardwood Company, when Louis Pescaglia realized he could make more money cutting mine timbers than delivering coal. Two generations of the Pescaglia family worked hard supplying everything from packing and crating to furniture grade lumber, expanding the business in 1970.

Ten years later, the third generation of the Pescaglia family joined the business. Bucky Pescaglia, now serving as President of MO PAC Lumber, attended the NHLA Inspector Training School and graduated with the 71st class. His cousin, Rick Butler also began working at the company. With no considerable timber base close by, they researched which species would be the best to focus their efforts on, and the answer was walnut. Since Missouri has more walnut than the next two states combined, they sold the business to Rick and


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bought a small sawmill in New Franklin, Missouri and MO PAC Lumber Company was born. Bucky recalls, “We grew the mill from five acres, and 3,500 boardfeet a day to 36 acres, and 15,000 board-feet a day.” Then the flood of 1993 hit. “We didn’t have any flood insurance because our mill was two-and-a-half miles away from the river, and we didn’t think we needed it.” The flood was devastating, with the mill swallowed W W W. N H L A .C O M

“ . . . We have been proudly setting the gold standard in black walnut for 40 years and plan to continue.” — Ryan Pescaglia characteristics to sawing technique, through steaming, drying, and final inspection. “It all takes experience to do it well and that’s almost all we do,” says Bucky proudly. MO PAC cuts 4/4 through 16/4, sorting for specialty widths or custom customer pulls upon request.

under 14-feet of water. Most of the logs floated away, and the remains of the flood heavily damaged everything that remained, caking it with mud. The facility remained underwater for 30 days and out of commission for 100 days. After the flood, they rebuilt on higher ground in Fayette, Missouri, sawing their first lumber in 1996 and haven’t looked back. Moving the mill and choosing to focus on walnut paid off in spades.

The Pescaglia family has been involved with NHLA since the 1970’s. “We, as a company and as family feel it’s important to be involved in NHLA. It improves our business individually and supports the overall industry. We are committed to not only being members and paying our dues, but with our participation in events, serving on their board and committees, and participating in surveys that they send out.” The fourth generation is now also a part of the company. Bucky’s oldest son, Tony Pescaglia joined the business after obtaining a marketing degree in 2010, with the youngest of Bucky’s three sons, Vince Pescaglia, joining in 2011 and graduating from the NHLA Inspector Training School in 2012.

Ryan Pescaglia, was hired as Operations Supervisor for the new mill in 1998 and now serves as Vice President of MO PAC. When asked what makes MO PAC special, Ryan explained, “There are three things we do to separate ourselves from our competition. We specialize in manufacturing the best black walnut, which makes up over 90% of our production. We pride ourselves on consistent quality from load to load. Finally, our people will treat you right because it’s the right thing to do. We have been proudly setting the gold standard in black walnut for 40 years and plan to continue.”

Despite all of the turmoil happening around the world, Bucky still has a positive outlook, saying, “I believe the future is extremely bright. Walnut is popular all over the world because it only really grows here in the United States. As a result, we export about 60% of our production. We look forward to continuing to grow our markets all over the world. We are so pleased to be passing the company on to the next generation. There will be four generations of leadership, which can only make us stronger.”

Black Walnut makes up 3% or less of the hardwood forests in North America. Because of that, not everyone knows how to grade walnut. MO PAC Lumber is proud to have NHLA grade certified lumber, employing NHLA trained lumber inspectors/graders. Black walnut is a distinctive species. Everything about it is unique, from the log

You can reach MO PAC Lumber Company by calling 800-279-7997, emailing, or visit their website

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he year 2020 has brought everyone a lot of firsts, and the National Hardwood Lumber Association is no exception. From September 22 to September 24, NHLA held its first-ever virtual convention, the 2020 NHLA On Demand Conference and Exhibition. And despite the lack of in-person networking, the event was a tremendous success, with more than 500 registered attendees.

Recap will each serve a three-year term beginning immediately. The new board members include Tom Coble of Hartzell Hardwoods, Inc., Bill Courtney of Classic American Hardwoods, Sam Glidden of GMC Hardwoods, Inc., Greg Fitzpatrick of Fitzpatrick & Weller, Inc., and Trent Yoder of Yoder Lumber Co., Inc. (Please see our breakout feature story on each of these new board members, on page 16)


of the 2020 NHLA On Demand was filled with educational seminars. The day began with the Hardwood Industries sponsored webinar, Advocacy in the Time of COVID presented by Cary Moon, Policy PAC Manager at the Hardwood Federation, accompanied by Pat Rita, Government Affairs Consultant for the Hardwood Federation. Cary and Pat provided an update on the Federation’s work on behalf of the hardwood industry in Washington, DC. They also gave an overview of the fall legislative agenda and potential impacts of the 2020 election.

As is tradition with the in-person convention, things kicked off with an Opening Session/Town Hall Meeting, sponsored by The Rossi Group. The Opening Session featured the NHLA Board Elections, where Jeff Wirkkala of Hardwood Industries, Inc. in Sherwood, Oregon, was elected to be the new president of NHLA. In his acceptance speech, Wirkkala said, “I am honored and excited to be your president for the next two years. I pledge to give you my best efforts and thoughts. As we move forward, let’s start with a positive attitude that gives us the best chance for success, know there is more we DON’T know than we do know, and that failure is education if we learn from it. Join me in trying to make a difference.” During the Town Hall Meeting, NHLA membership also elected a new vice president and five new board members. Jon Syre of Cascade Hardwood Group, in Chehalis, Washington, will serve as NHLA vice president. The five new board members-at-large


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Cary Moon

Pat Rita

The second educational seminar 4 Metrics to Track Operational Efficiency was presented by Dana Spessert, NHLA Chief Inspector and sponsored by TRN USA Forest LLC. During his W W W. N H L A .C O M

presentation, Dana discussed different metrics used to track costs and efficiencies in the hardwood industry. The day wrapped up with the highly interactive webinar, Guiding Your Sales Team During and After a Crisis by Bob Graham, CEO at Serious Soft Skills, LLC. King City Forwarding USA, Inc sponsored his informative webinar.

Bob Graham


began with a presentation by Keynote Speaker Dan North sponsored by Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company. Dan is the Chief Dan North Economist for North America at Euler Hermes and one of the leading U.S. economists. He has appeared on CNBC, Fox Business News, ABC News Now, France 24, and Bloomberg Radio and Television. Over the course of 60 minutes, Dan shared his insights about the latest economic trends and provided analysis, allowing time for questions and answers. Following Dan, attendees received an update from the NHLA Promotion Committee, sponsored by Swaner Hardwood. This webinar was presented by Lorna Christie, CEO of the National Hardwood Lumber Association, and Tom Inman, President, Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers, Inc. and moderated by Rob Cabral, Chairman of the NHLA Promotion Committee. Tom provided an update on the progress of the Real American Hardwood Promotion Coalition.

Mike Snow

Wrapping up the On Demand Convention was the always popular and informative presentation by Mike Snow, Executive Director of the American Hardwood Export Council. This year, the webinar, entitled Covid-19, Tariffs, Trade Wars and US Hardwood Exports in the Age of Uncertainty was sponsored by Kuehne + Nagel, Inc. To overcome the challenge of time zones and no in-person event, Mike presented a recorded interview with each of the AHEC Directors





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NHLA . . . WHERE HARDWOOD LUMBER INSPECTORS ARE MADE! To register call 901-399-7563 or visit

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Replays of all 2020 NHLA On Demand webinars are available to view on our website, The virtual exhibit hall will remain available open through December 31, 2020. Please stop by and virtually visit with this year’s exhibiting companies. You can find the exhibit hall at including Southeast Asia and Greater China, Japan, Mexico, Europe and the Middle East. A new highlight for this year, was the NHLA On Demand virtual exhibit hall, which showcased the latest technology, equipment, and service providers in the hardwood industry. The virtual exhibit hall offers an opportunity to learn about a wide range of products and services offered by exhibitors, including insurance companies, logistics suppliers, equipment manufacturers, software providers, hardwood lumber producing companies, and more. We would like to thank all of our sponsors of the 2020 NHLA On Demand. Because of their support, we were able to make the most


Baillie Lumber Cascade Cole Hardwood, Inc. Nyle Dry Kilns Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company Rossi Group TMX Shipping Co,, Inc. Tropical Forest Products TS Manufacturing

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of an unusual situation and bring education and value to the NHLA membership and the global hardwood industry without having to charge a registration fee. As you read this, plans for the 2021 NHLA Annual Convention & Exhibit Showcase are underway! We will be excited to welcome everyone to the Palm County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida - September 22-24, 2021. The convention center and connecting Hilton West Palm Beach and adjacent West Palm Beach Marriott will allow us the opportunity to spread out and enjoy open-air events. Learn more about next year’s convention at https://

NHLA 2020 On Demand Sponsors

Kuhne+Nagel Mayfield Lumber McDonough Manufacturing Company Sii Dry Kilns Smith Sawmill Service Tioga Hardwoods, Inc. U-C Coatings


Autolog Production Management Inc. BID Group Brewco, Inc. Continental Underwriters, Inc. Ecolab, Inc. EFM Transportation Embry Automation & Controls Froedge Machine & Supply Co., Inc. Hardwood Industries

HDI ISK Biocides, Inc. Jim C. Hamer Co. Legna Software LLC Mason's Mill and Lumber Co. Mellott Mfg. Co. Inc. Messersmith MO PAC Lumber Company Piche, Inc. Primewood Progress Engineering Signode Swaner Hardwood System TM A/S TRN USA Forest LLC USNR Wood-Mizer, LLC

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President’s Message Continued from page 4 when “the time is right.” This is not about increasing our dues, but rather increasing the number of membership levels or the method we calculate the dues amount that a member company pays each year. In closing, a takeaway for thought. We are all operating under stress. There are so many issues facing our companies, jobs, and our families. I have 3 good friends that have stage 4 cancer. We had 2 Covid positive tests in our company in the last two weeks of October. I hear so many issues many of you are having in your life and in your businesses. It is a time where we need to give the people around us some grace. We have not walked in their shoes. Times are tough.

None of us are at our best. Give grace. Best wishes for your continued health and success. May God bless you, your families, and your businesses.

Jeff Wirkkala, NHLA President Hardwood Industries, Inc.

SAVE THE DATE Get excited and make your plans to join us in September, as we Turn the Tide with Innovation! Join us at the Palm County Convention Center in West Palm Beach Florida – September 22-24, 2021. Registration will open in early spring. Visit to learn more. Attend the NHLA Annual Convention & Exhibit Showcase to Learn from industry experts, Network with producers, buyers, suppliers, and thought leaders, Find vendors and suppliers specific to your company’s needs. And do this all from one location, location, location! Showcase your products and services to NHLA members and the hardwood industry at large.

Exhibit Booth sales are NOW OPEN. Visit to reserve your booth today! John Hester, Director of Membership and Business Development at Vicky Simms, Membership Development Manager at W W W. N H L A .C O M

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products that are produced from hardwoods and are used to enhance homes and businesses all over the world.

(NHLA Member Since 1916)

What excites you most about the direction of NHLA, and how will you contribute to it? I am extremely excited about the direction of the NHLA to lead and work together with other associations to promote the sustainability, use, and value of hardwoods and stop losing ground when competing with alternative products. We need to gain back market share and tell our story and supporting this initiative is so important to everyone in and around this industry!

Hartzell Hardwoods Piqua, Ohio What inspired you to pursue a career in this field? After entering the Forestry School at Virginia Tech and learning about the industry and seeing the amazing products that are made from hardwoods, I decided to pursue my career in the industry. Also, having multiple opportunities coming directly out of college helped make my decision! What influenced you to join the NHLA Board of Managers? Spending the last 20 years in this industry and traveling the world meeting and visiting with customers, suppliers and competitors, I wanted to do my part and contribute to the industry overall. Also, seeing what a great organization the NHLA is and the influence it has and the opportunity for me to plug in and help the industry push through some difficult times was very enticing to me. We are facing very tough competition from alternative products and joining the NHLA board of managers was a way to directly impact how we compete moving forward as an industry. What is your favorite thing about the hardwood community? There are a lot of things I love about this industry and the hardwood community, but the thing I enjoy the most is the people. I have developed so many great relationships and friends in this industry and genuinely enjoy coming to work every single day because of that. I also have an absolute passion for the


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Tom was born and raised in Frederick, Maryland and received a degree in Forestry from Virginia Tech in December of 1999 with a specific in Wood Science. He was hired directly into the hardwood industry by Frank Miller Lumber Company in February of 2000 for a sales position and was promoted to domestic sales manager. After 12 years with Frank Miller, Tom had the opportunity to expand his role and gain additional international sales experience and so he made a career change to go to work for Hartzell Hardwoods. In 2016, he was promoted to the role of Vice President of Sales and in 2019 was again promoted to a member of Hartzell’s executive team. He is the proud father of 4 amazing children and enjoys coaching & playing sports, along with simply spending time with his kids.

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Classic American Hardwoods Memphis, Tennessee (NHLA Member Since 2001) What inspired you to pursue a career in this field? Candidly, I was broke, with 4 children and was offered a job to sell lumber for more money than I was making and took it. So, initially, the pursuit of a career in the hardwood lumber business was about money. Once in the industry though, what inspired me to break out on my own and start my own organization in the industry was the belief that there was a lot of room to be creative and provide solutions for customers that weren’t typically in the mainstream of what the industry provided. What influenced you to join the NHLA Board of Managers? I think NHLA and its willingness to partner with other associations is an avenue to combatting what I think are existential industry threats. It is my opinion that we as an industry have done a historically poor job of combating alternative products to solid hardwoods, a poor job of telling our story against the onslaught of negative and inaccurate environmental narratives, and a poor job of educating the public about our industry, our products, and why we should be the gold standard for interior appointments. The opportunity to work to help us do a better job in these areas is why I decided to join the board. What is your favorite thing about the hardwood community? In general, we are a large group of fragmented, individualistic, and entrepreneurial folks spread W W W. N H L A .C O M

out all over the world. I genuinely enjoy learning every day from the different perspectives offered from people we do business with from Germany to California to Mississippi to Vietnam and all points in between. What excites you most about the direction of NHLA, and how will you contribute to it? The opportunity to do work that buttresses the industry for the next generation is exciting. William B Courtney (Bill), a native Memphian, is married to Lisa, his wife of 30 years, and father to four children; Maggie, 25; Molly, 24; Will, 23; and Max, 21. In 1991, Bill graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in Psychology. While at Ole Miss, he served as the Lieutenant Commander of Sigma Nu and was active in Psi Chi and Sigma Tau Delta. In 2001, Bill founded Classic American Hardwoods, Inc. Today, this 2001 startup company has grown to employ 130 people with a 45acre manufacturing facility and domestic sales offices in Memphis, TN and international sales offices in Shanghai, China and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In 2007, Classic American Hardwoods, Inc. won the Memphis Business Journal’s Small Business of the Year Award based on its growth and commitment to community service, and in 2018, Classic American Hardwoods was recognized by The United States Export-Import Bank as the United States of America’s Exporter of the year. Away from work, Bill enjoys coaching football, playing tennis, playing chess, writing his second book, and traveling with his wife, Lisa. D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 H A R D W O O D M AT T E R S |



Fitzpatrick & Weller, Inc. Ellicottville, New York (NHLA Member Since 1953) What inspired you to pursue a career in this field? I worked at Fitzpatrick & Weller, Inc. many summers growing up and always liked the lumber & component business. What influenced you to join the NHLA Board of Managers? A strong NHLA is critical for our industry. Our industry needs its leadership more than ever before. I would like to help support the positive initiatives currently underway at NHLA and help in any way that I can.

Greg Fitzpatrick grew up in Ellicottville, NY, which is located 50 miles South of Buffalo, NY. He attended the University of Notre Dame and earned a BBA in accounting. He worked at Price Waterhouse for 6 years and became a CPA. In 1998, he began a career at Fitzpatrick & Weller, Inc. (F&W) and became President in 2004. F&W is a 125-year-old family business. Greg and his brother represent the 4th generation. F&W employees 90 people and are in the lumber and wood component business. Greg has served on the Boards of the AHMI, Penn York Lumbermen’s Club and WCMA and has been active with NHLA. Greg and his wife Annie have four children.

What is your favorite thing about the hardwood community? I enjoy interacting with the people in this industry including our employees, customers, and suppliers. What excites you most about the direction of NHLA, and how will you contribute to it? I have been involved with 3 Board related meetings so far and am impressed with the makeup of the NHLA staff and how organized and motivated they are to make this a better industry. There is a lot of focus on the Real Wood Promotion program which is critical for everyone associated with this industry. NHLA is dedicated to continuing to look to improve on the networking & educational opportunities and expand their member benefits which is all good news.


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as being able to speak. We all have the same goal, and if we work together, we will ensure our industry will prosper for years to come.

(NHLA Member Since 1966)

GMC Hardwoods, Inc. Medfield, Massachusetts What inspired you to pursue a career in this field? I grew up in and around the lumber business and loved the people in it. GMC Hardwoods was started by my grandfather in 1965. We are a family company, and I work in the office next to my father and have for the last 20+ years. Being able to bounce ideas off him and his 50 years of experience in this industry is invaluable. What influenced you to join the NHLA Board of Managers? I want to give something back to an industry and group that has helped our family and families like ours for generations. What is your favorite thing about the hardwood community? Being able to speak with people from all over the world who have common goals and similar interests. Everyone I have had the pleasure of dealing with in this industry has helped me become a better lumberman.

Sam Glidden grew up piling lumber for his father during school vacations. It didn’t take him long to realize he would rather be on the pile, than the one doing the piling. He attended the NHLA Inspector Training School graduating in the 124th Class. After graduation, he worked as a Lumber Inspector for Catawissa Lumber + Specialty in Catawissa, Pennsylvania and later for Cersosimo Lumber Company in Brattleboro, Vermont. In 1999, he joined GMC Hardwoods and currently holds the position of Vice President. Sam is the father of 3 and he reminds them every day to: “Never ask anyone to do something you wouldn’t do, treat everyone the way you would like to be treated, and keep washing your hands.”

What excites you most about the direction of NHLA, and how will you contribute to it? The future will be a challenge for our industry. We must keep our core historical values and adapt to the ever-changing world. We must educate consumers, to keep them buying manufactured hardwoods. We are all in this together, being able to listen, is as important

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Yoder Lumber Company Millersburg, Ohio (NHLA Member Since 1947) What inspired you to pursue a career in this field? I grew up in the sawmill business with our family business. I was actively working in the business through High School and college but never felt pushed to join the business. I always enjoyed the work and the guys I got to work with. Also the relationships that I developed within the industry pulled me onto this path.

Trent Yoder is the Chief Operating Officer of Yoder Lumber Company. He along with his brother and 3 cousins, are the 3rd generation to run and own the company. He lives in Northeast Ohio with his wife Marissa and their two five-year old daughters. He is an avid outdoorsman as he enjoys hunting, fishing, and woodworking in his spare time, which is not much with two 5-year old’s.

What influenced you to join the NHLA Board of Managers? This industry has been a big part of my life and I want to try and make sure it is around for future generations. What is your favorite thing about the hardwood community? Getting to know others involved in the hardwood community has been great over the years. The willingness to help each other out whenever possible has been great to see in this industry. What excites you most about the direction of NHLA, and how will you contribute to it? I am very excited about the Real Hardwood Promotion that is taking place within the NHLA and other hardwood associations. It looks very promising.


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A Margin of Error When Tallying Random Length Lumber by Chief Inspector Dana Spessert


nspecting hardwood lumber correctly comes down to two things, knowing the Rules and identifying defects. In this month’s article, I want to discuss the defect, Incipient Decay.

NHLA defines “Incipient Decay” on page 85, under Definitions in the Rules Book as: “The early stage of decay that has not proceeded far enough to soften or otherwise perceptibly impair the hardness of the wood. It is usually accompanied by a slight discoloration or bleaching of the wood.” There are a few issues with qualifying a defect in this manner. First, if it decay (defined as the decomposition of wood substance by fungi), then by its very nature, it would be considered unsound and therefore not allowed on the reverse side of a Clear Face Cutting or in a Sound Cutting. Second, if it is not decay, then it would be considered “Stain” defined on page 86, in the Rules Book as: “In hardwoods the word “stain” is used to describe the initial evidences of decay.” In the second case, if it is considered stain, then it would be allowed in Sound Cuttings and on the reverse side of a Clear Face Cutting. Bottom line, I would suggest not classifying any defect as “Incipient Decay” due to the ambiguity of the definition.It should be considered stain or decay (rot) and, therefore, less confusing when determining whether it is allowed in the cutting.


The area of the Rules Book that denotes the use of Surface Measure is also on page 7, paragraph 18, where it states: “Random width lumber of standard grades and thicknesses shall be tallied surface measure, and this tally shall be the number of feet, board measure, of 1” lumber. In lumber thicker than 1” the tally so obtained is multiplied by the standard thickness as expressed in inches and fractions of an inch.” There is a lot of lumber being traded that uses different tally methods, one worth mentioning is the End Tally, which is also described in the Rules Book on page 7, under paragraph 16 marked “Note:” and it states: “Note: End Tally refers to the method of board footage measurement where lumber is tallied on a 12 Ft. basis as described in paragraph 21 except all width measurements are taken from the ends of boards after the lumber has been stacked in bundles. It is recognized that there will be some minor differences in end tally measurement from “board measure” method. In cases of footage dispute caused by the use of both measurement methods, the footage as determined by “board measure” will supersede. Due to the many ways in which a tally of width and length can be calculated, (rounded on each piece or rounded after total) there can be as much as 1.5 – 2 % difference in the tally of width and length and Surface Measure. This does not even account for tapered lumber measurement, which is described on page 7, paragraph 17: “Tapering lumber in standard lengths shall be measured onethird the length of the piece from the narrow end for surface measure and to record footage on length and width tallies.”

I would also like to discuss how hardwood lumber is measured. Due to hardwood lumber being primarily traded as a random width, random length raw material, the official method of tallying hardwood lumber is surface measure.

As is clearly noted that the Surface Measure is to be taken 1/3 the length from the narrow end, this would be impossible for an End Tally to accomplish when the board is already in the pack to be shipped.

Surface Measure is described on page 7, paragraph 16, under the heading of Measurement & Tally. The Surface Measure is essentially the square feet of the surface of a board, rounded to the nearest whole foot. The method to determine Surface Measure is to multiply the full width with fractions times the standard length (length rounded down to the nearest foot) divided by 12, rounded to the nearest whole number.

If you have any questions, please reach out to me at


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The point of all of this is to state, that if everyone tries to do things correctly, there is still a margin of error to tallying random width lumber.

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5-Feb. 26 New Program Inspector Training School 194th Class

Traditional 8-week hands-on training to achieve the certificate of completion in Hardwood Lumber Inspection.

19-22 Intro to Hardwood Lumber Grading

Intro class to gain a basic understanding of the NHLA hardwood lumber grading rules and how the rules affect the value of lumber.

Venue: NHLA Headquarters Memphis, TN

Venue: WV Wood Technology Center Elkins, WV

Instructor: Roman Matyushchenko, ITS Instructor and Associate Dean of Education

Instructor: Mark Depp, NHLA National Inspector





14-Aug. 6 New Program


At the time of publication, these educational courses are being offered. However, due to the unknowns of the COVID-19 pandemic please visit for the latest information or call NHLA at 901-399-7563 to confirm that these courses are taking place.

Intro to Hardwood Lumber Grading

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Inspector Training School 195th Class

13-Nov. 5 New Program Inspector Training School 196th Class

Intro class to gain a basic understanding of the NHLA hardwood lumber grading rules and how the rules affect the value of lumber.

Traditional 8-week hands-on training to achieve the certificate of completion in Hardwood Lumber Inspection.

Traditional 8-week hands-on training to achieve the certificate of completion in Hardwood Lumber Inspection.

Venue: Yoder Lumber Co., Inc. Millersburg, OH

Venue: NHLA Headquarters Memphis, TN

Venue: NHLA Headquarters Memphis, TN

Instructor: Mark Depp, NHLA National Inspector

Instructor: Roman Matyushchenko, ITS Instructor and Associate Dean of Education

Instructor: Roman Matyushchenko, ITS Instructor and Associate Dean of Education

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Here you will find our current job listings. To see more details or to post a job, visit


LUMBER INSPECTOR – WELLBORN CABINET, INC. ASHLAND, AL Wellborn Cabinet is looking for full-time 1st shift lumber inspectors to grade green and KD hardwood lumber in Ashland Alabama. Applicant must be able to inspect green and KD lumber in compliance with NHLA rules and regulations, stack/sort lumber, and operate forklifts and equipment.

• The qualified candidate must be NHLA trained.


• Candidate must have a minimum of one (1) year experience grading green and/or kiln dried domestic lumber.

• NHLA certification preferred, but not required.

LUMBER INSPECTOR – GRAF BROTHERS FLOORING, INC. SOUTH SHORE, KY Graf Brothers Flooring, Inc. is in search of an experienced Lumber Inspecctor for their South Shore, KY location.

• Ability to grade and mark all lumber to be sorted according to NHLA rules/guidelines and industry standards • Ability to communicate effectively with your team and other departments • Adhere to all safety policies and perform tasks in a safe and responsible manner. • Must be physically capable of performing all duties of the job and any other duties assigned by Crew Leader. SALARY & BENEFITS Full-time Pay. Salary will be competitive and commensurate with experience. Benefits include: Medical, Vision, Dental Insurance (after 90 days), paid vacation, paid holidays, 401(k) retirement plan, Life Insurance, Direct Deposit HOW TO APPLY Send your resume to: Graf Brothers Flooring, Inc. 679 Johnson Lane | PO Box 458 | South Shore, KY 41175 606-932-3117 |


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• A minimum of 1 year experience with NHLA grading standards. • Experience with both green and KD lumber as well as lumber sorting/stacking. • Ability to communicate and work well with other team members, maintain a safe work environment, and stay compliant with safety guidelines. • Knowledge of handheld computers and tally systems. SALARY & BENEFITS Full-time 1st shift position with competitive wages and benefits, including health, dental, vision, life insurance, 401(k), paid holidays, and vacation. Overtime hours are offered regularly. HOW TO APPLY Send your resume to: Wellborn Cabinet, Inc. 38669 AL-77 | Ashland, Alabama 36251 256-354-7151 |

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Live in 70+


After extensive testing TallyExpress proves to be within 1% of a perfect tally. The app “learns” as it’s used, which makes it even more accurate over time.


Start to finish – completed end tally takes 60-90 seconds.


Not only can TallyExpress be taught in minutes, it is less physically-demanding than having to measure each board.


“We put a tape measure to each board and wrote the width on the end. Overall we were 99.5% accurate to these tape measure tallies, some sites were seeing 99.8 to 99.9%.” – Northwest Hardwoods

Easy to use and easy on the body. TallyExpress means no “One we were up more day crouching andbacked measuring with 12 bundles on our line. each board one at a time for Normally, it would have taken a hours on end. All you need to do very stressful 30 minutes to get is take a picture of the bundle, those tallied and moved. With let the A.I. program TallyExpress, we didmeasure all 12 each board for you inminutes seconds,and bundles in about ten adjustments, and itmake was a few stress-free experience.” –you’re Granite Hardwoods, Inc. done.

“I“The wanted this is product its training almostfor nothing. speed accuracy Peopleand take picturesbut withI also their noticed a big morale boost smartphones every day. It’s in myfamiliar yard. Anyone who has very technology. hand tallied pretty Basically, youknows showit’s someone unpleasant. is so how to use itTallyExpress on one bundle easythey’re to use, ready my guys areIthappy and to go. really to tally now.” does only take a couple of -minutes Granite to Hardwoods, Inc. train someone.” – Allegheny Wood Products

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