January/February 2023 Hardwood Matters

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WWW.NHLA.COM JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2023 HARDWOOD MATTERS | 1 CONTENTS January/February 2023 • Issue 241 feature 16 It's Time For Real Promotion by Ian Faight Digital Community Manager, RAHC departments 4 One Common Ground A Unified Voice by Dallin Brooks Executive Director 6 Inside NHLA 9 Allied Angle Appalachian Certification Offers Legal Sourcing by Tom Inman President of Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers, Inc. 10 Education Spotlight Graduates of the 200th Class 12 Legislative Log Endangered Classification for Northern Long-Eared Bat by Dana Cole Executive Director Hardwood Federation 14 Member Spotlight DMSi Software 20 Rules Corner Close is Never Good Enough by Dana Spessert Chief Inspector WHAT'S INSIDE NHLA Executive Director, Dallin Brooks, is spreading the good word about the Real American Hardwood campaign to attendees at the Southern Forestry Association Executive Meeting. (SAFE) Say hi to everyone for us, Dallin! ONLINE Follow us 10 20 16 TOP POST OF THE MONTH at facebook.com/NHLAOfficial reader services 3 Chairman’s Message 22 Educational Calendar 24 NHLA Job Board 25 Market Trends



National Hardwood Lumber Association PO Box 34518 • Memphis, TN 38184-0518 901-377-1818 • 901-382-6419 (fax) info@nhla.com • www.nhla.com


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.


Jon Syre Cascade Hardwood, LLC Chairman

Bucky Pescaglia

Missouri-Pacific Lumber Co., Inc.

Vice Chairman

Jeff Wirkkala

Hardwood Industries, Inc. Past Chairman 2020-2022


Dallin Brooks

Executive Director

Amanda Boutwell

Marketing and Communications Manager

Julia Ganey

Member Relations Manager

John Hester Chief Development Officer

Renee Hornsby

Chief Operating Officer

Jens Lodholm

Data Administration Specialist

Roman Matyushchenko

ITS Instructor and Associate Dean of Education

Amber Signaigo Controller

Vicky Quiñones Simms

For advertising contact:

John Hester, Chief Development Officer at j.hester@nhla.com or 901-399-7558 or Vicky Simms, Membership Development Manager at v.simms@nhla.com or 901-399-7557

Membership Development Manager

Melissa Ellis Smith

Graphic Designer

Dana Spessert

Chief Inspector

Geoff Webb

Dean of the Inspector Training School


Sam Glidden GMC Hardwoods, Inc.

Unique Services

Ray White Harold White Lumber Inc.


Joe Pryor

Oaks Unlimited Industry Advocacy & Promotion

Rich Solano

Pike Lumber Company, Inc.


Stephanie VanDystadt

DV Hardwoods, Inc.

Membership & Networking


Burt Craig Matson Lumber Company


Rob Cabral

Upper Canada Forest Products, Ltd.

Promotion & Advocacy

Dennis Mann

Baillie Lumber Co.


Tom Oiler

Cole Hardwood, Inc.

Inspection Services

Brant Forcey

Forcey Lumber

ITS/Continuing Education

George Swaner

Swaner Hardwood

Communications & Marketing

Joe Snyder

Fitzpatrick & Weller, Inc.


ADVERTISER INDEX IFC DMSi/eLimbs/TallyExpress 21 King City Forwarding USA IBC Pike Lumber Company, Inc. 13 USNR 5 Wood-Mizer


Ihave been reflecting on 2022 and look forward to what might be in store for all of us in 2023.

A few of the classic yearly “What happened last year” news articles have come out, which I have tentatively read, not wanting to relive some of the global challenges we have all worked through in the past 12 months: war in Ukraine, post-pandemic inflation surges, rolling Covid restrictions, etc. These events have left my memories of 2022 less than desirable.

Mentally, recalling some of the challenges impacting all of us over the past 12 months in our businesses, I revisit labor challenges, supply costs and availability issues, trucking costs, log costs, and reduced sales volumes. The latter portion of 2022 certainly left much to be desired for our industry.

Further refining my yearly reflection, I thought, how was 2022 specifically for NHLA? I was greeted with much better memories! 2022 was an excellent year for NHLA! The search for a new Executive director was completed, and we successfully hired Dallin Brooks. The Real American Hardwood Coalition launched their consumer-based website, our industry had a robust convention in Cleveland, Ohio, significant repairs to our beautiful headquarters building were accom plished, and NHLA had a positive yearly fiscal performance! What a great year for NHLA!

What does 2023 hold? What will challenge our industry and NHLA this year, and how will we all react? Unfortunately, I cannot predict what will happen. Still, as I have seen in the past, our ability to react and adapt as an industry gives me great confidence in our collective ability as we maneuver through the year. Successfully embracing change and adapting to the new normal was well documented in 2022. Those same traits will need to be a leading effort into 2023 for all of us, including NHLA.

Through staff work, NHLA is prepared to embrace a great 2023 resulting in growing and assisting our membership and industry through new educational webinars, innovative grading school options, and member-only inspection services such as yield analysis and quality control. Many of these services will be vital to our collective success in 2023. The NHLA is ready to react and adapt to change.

The RAHC has completed its strategic plan and will embark on a well-designed and thought-out effort to promote our industry and increase North American hardwood usage in 2023.

Lastly, the Hardwood Federation has had a successful fundraising season and will be reimplementing their ever-popular fly-in meet-



If you can find One Common Ground to build on this year, let it be a unified voice for the NHLA. But let me back up.

I am a goal-setter; I believe in New Year’s resolutions and in keeping them. Because of one little goal I made back in 1996, which I have kept, I have written in my journal every day since. No one will ever read them; my life is not that exciting. But if a certain date or anniversary piques your interest or mine, I can look back and tell you what I was doing that day.

More than the history, though, what makes my journals so valuable is the growth I have made over the years through daily evaluations. It is what every good business or individual strives to achieve. I hold myself accountable, and I make continuous improvements. Change is constant in my life; I love change and the resulting growth. I have spent six months visiting over a dozen active mills and another dozen allied associations; I want to visit more, but time doesn’t allow it, as I traveled over parts of 12 weeks in the last four months of 2022.

My goal this year is to grow NHLA. The Association needs to grow in two ways, membership and influence. If I am to change myself, or the NHLA culture, or grow NHLA as an organization in 2023, it is going to take lots of influence. It is going to take lots of looking outward at others and their needs. It is going to take lots of people, staff, members, boards, potential members, and you; to change how things are done. I can’t do it alone. I need to delegate and empower; I need to inspire and impart. I need to be kind and observant. But most of all, I need to lead by example and change too.

A new job and city are stressful, and a new way of doing things is outright traumatic. The NHLA is in good hands, not mine, but yours. You have come together as an industry for 125 years. I am not your hands; I am your eyes. I look out and observe and tell you what I see, then help you make the decisions to change the way things are done so that everyone grows and is united. This year will be my first full year as your Executive Director; it will be stressful with an aggressive

growth strategy and new strategic plan. I will change my operational expectations to match the strategic plan direction.

So here is the first big news of 2023. I am making some changes, as agreed upon by the board, starting with your senior leadership team. I am promoting Renee Hornsby to Chief Operations Officer (COO) and John Hester to Chief Development Officer (CDO). Along with Chief Inspector (CI) Dana Spessert, they will help me round out your fundamental needs. Each Chief will have their own strategic goal to focus on: Education Services, Networking Services, and Industry Services. Each will get out of the office and visit you individually and at allied association meetings. They are your voice, listen to them, welcome them, and understand that they speak for the industry, as each of them has represented you for over 12 years. I have put my Chiefs on One Common Ground with me and empowered them to help me represent you. Hear their voice as they help me direct you on the changes that will help the NHLA grow for another 125 years. If you can find One Common Ground to build on this year, let it be a unified voice for the NHLA Executive Director and Chiefs.


It has been tremendously fulfilling to be part of NHLA and the hardwood industry for almost 15 years. During my time, I have had the pleasure to meet and know the hardwood industry, and I feel truly lucky to work in and for the forest products industry. NHLA will celebrate its 125th anniversary this year, which is an amazing feat. I look forward to celebrating this achievement and reflecting upon our history, but even more so, I am excited to help NHLA grow into the next chapter of i ts future.

What that future looks like will be decided by you, the NHLA members. As Dallin mentioned, the other “Chiefs” and I are getting on the road and headed to you. We want to hear from you. What do you need from your Association? Don’t be shy (though it has never been my experience that the hardwood industry is short of opinions or voicing them); please talk with each of us and let us know what NHLA can


do to help make you successful. Again, I am excited for the continued opportunity to serve NHLA and the hardwood industry as Chief Operating Officer – we can do amazing things together, and I am excited to prove just that!


This year I will have the pleasure of celebrating 12 years of working for NHLA and the members who make up this great Association. To some, especially in the world we live in today, 12 years may sound like a long time with the same organization. When you love what you do, the people you work with, and the people you work for (the NHLA Membership), it’s not that long at all. And I could not imagine working in a better industry than the hardwood industry. For that, I want to say thank you.

Many of us know each other already. As your new Chief Development Officer, we will see a lot more of each other and get to know each other

even better. I want to hear your suggestions for the Association, your thoughts on the industry, and your ideas for the future. As we celebrate NHLA’s 125th anniversary in 2023, together, we can ensure NHLA is here to serve the future generations of the hardwood lumber industry.

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They are your voice, listen to them, welcome them, and understand that they speak for the industry, as each of them has represented you for over 12 years.


125th Anniversary Challenge Help us celebrate in 2023!

This year NHLA will celebrate 125 Years of Foundational Support and Service to the Hardwood Lumber Industry. We invite you to join in the celebration of our 125th anniversary all year long by participating in our 125 Challenge.

The 125 Challenge is designed to get you involved! Earn points through our fun activities, and you’ll receive exclusive NHLA commemorative gifts that will have everyone asking, “how do I get that?” The awesome thing is you’ll earn more points by getting others involved in the celebration. We are also celebrating the 75th anniversary of the NHLA Inspector Training School! We encourage members, industry friends, and alumni to join us for a year-long celebration of all things NHLA!

To participate in our 125 challenge, please visit www.nhla.com/125years. You’ll find instructions, list of activities with points assigned, participation form to complete along with samples of our commemorative swag.




LSLA Winter Meeting – Green Bay, WI


IHLA Convention - Indianapolis, IN


AHMI Annual Meeting- Ponte Vedra, FL

MARCH 22-24

HMA National Conference - Nashville, TN

MARCH 28-30

KFIA Annual Meeting – Lexington, KY

MAY 15-19

Ligna – Hannover, Germany

JUNE 9-10

PA Timber Show – State College, PA

AUGUST 22-24

Forest Products Expo – Atlanta, GA

information and
www.nhla.com/125years for more
how you can
part of the 125 Challenge!


For a second time, the American Hardwood Export Council hosted the Southeast Asia Convention in Thailand’s capital, largest city, and economic and cultural hub of Bangkok. The Convention had the incredible support of Thai industry bodies, including the Thai Timber Association and the Thai Furniture Industrial Association as support organizers.

Thailand is the region’s third-biggest US hardwood lumber market, following Vietnam and Indonesia. In the first six months of 2022, US hardwood lumber exports to Thailand grew 9% year on year to a value of (USD13.0 million). American white oak continues to be the most popular species, followed by ash and western alder. American red oak is also gaining interest in line with other regions around the world.

A total of 170 people attended, including 29 AHEC members and 122 TTA members; the rest were delegates and speakers, AHEC staff, Agricultural Affairs Officers of the US Embassy in Thailand, and media. Among the six speakers was NHLA Chief Inspector Dana Spessert.

It is also worth mentioning that the former president of the Association of Siamese Architects (ASA) Under Royal Patronage, Mr. Pichai Wongwaisayawan, and Vice President of the Thai Interior Design-

ers Association (TIDA), Ms. Theeranuj attended the Convention. Both told John Chan, AHEC Regional Director, that they support AHEC in promoting sustainable wood and US hardwood for architecture and interior design in Thailand. They said, “this event was conducted at the right time when the people in Thailand begin with increasing interest in wood materials for the future of their Built Environment and fight Climate Change.” The architect association, ASA Under Patronage, and interior design association TIDA have recommended AHEC participate in the upcoming Thai Architect Exhibition (April 25-30, 2023) and support AHEC in conducting seminars during the Exhibition. Both said that Mike Snow’s presentation topic- Wood and the Environment- is what most architects and designers want to hear. And Dana Spessert’s topic on lumber grading also helps the designers to understand the NHLA lumber grading system, which gives them a better idea of how to choose the correct grade and species.


This Convention is designed to help establish the commercial ties between the AHEC members, the US hardwood industry, and Thailand. The aim is not only to introduce US exporters to Thai importers but also to help foster the relationships between Thai end-users and specifiers and the local wood processing industry and distributors of American hardwoods.


NHLA & AHEC resume lumber grading workshops in Europe

Due to the Covid pandemic, AHEC has not run NHLA grading workshops in Europe since 2019, so it was great to be on the road again, delivering workshops to hardwood importers in the UK. At some locations, multiple events were held on the same day so that all staff (not just sales) had an opportunity to attend. In total, more than 80 people took part during the week. NHLA Chief Inspector Dana Spessert talked through the grading rules, followed by practical demonstrations on packs of lumber at each location. AHEC consultant Neil Summers began each workshop with an introduction to US hardwood species and their sustainability. From the questionnaires received, the overwhelming majority of attendees said their knowledge of the grading rules had improved significantly and that this information would help them sell more American hardwoods. One importer told us that the training available to their wider staff enables them to improve their American hardwood business.

AHEC also filmed the workshop on one of the days, which will form part of a new AHEC/NHLA training video to be released next year, which will further increase the reach of this kind of education.




NHLA Executive Director Dallin Brooks attended and presented at the Christmas meeting of the Southwestern Hardwood Manufacturers Club (SWHMC).

According to David Lammons, the Secretary/Treasurer of SWHMC, “Dallin spoke to us with a renewed energy and excitement from the NHLA that none of us have seen or heard in many, many years!! His vision for the future of the Hardwood Industry is not for the faint-hearted! He is all about uniting hardwood mills to improve product selection, production, market recognition, and efficiency. Get ready for what Dallin Brooks and the NHLA will be bringing to the industry!”

The meeting covered concerns about transportation issues and market conditions. SWHMC reports that the strongest market segment remains in cross-tie and switch-tie sales. According to tie representatives at the meeting, those needs will remain strong for at least another 12-18 months. Meanwhile, transportation issues seem to have slightly eased with a slowdown in the marketplace making trucks more available, but costs are still relatively high.


Appalachian Certification Offers Legal Sourcing

Forest and lumber product certification is a complex issue, and Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers, Inc. (AHMI) has simplified a system that focuses on resource sustainability and legal ownership.

The regional trade association of forestland owners, sawmills, and distributors developed Certified Appalachian Legal & Sustainable in 2018 as the second phase of an environmental strategy. It is a progression of the Appalachian Hardwood Verified Sustainable and Appalachian Hardwood Verified Legal programs that began in 2007 and 2012, respectively.

All are based on the USFS’s Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA), which details the growth, mortality, and harvest of trees across the United States. In 2007, AHMI asked USFS researchers to develop a matrix for the 344 counties in the Appalachian region. The results were published in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s SRS-142 “Status of Hardwood Forest Resources in the Appalachian Region.”

The research found the growth-to-removal ratio for the Appalachian region was 2.4 to 1, which far exceeds sustainability. This analysis “verified” the sustainability of the hardwood resource in the AHMI boundary. (It was updated in 2012 and 2018 and now stands at 2.5 to 1.)

The response from lumber buyers and consumers is positive because many want the assurance that purchases are from forests that are growing. In 2012, the AHMI Board of Trustees approved the Verified Legal program, which requires participants to track the Appalachian counties of harvest and receive procurement forms from landowners or loggers declaring legal ownership and origin.

There were concerns, however, from a minority of buyers that the “Verified” programs were not enough. AHMI’s Board developed additional standards for procurement reporting and contracted with a third-party auditor to ensure the company is meeting the standards.

Certified Appalachian was born in 2018 and has dozens of AHMI members enrolled. These participants have audited certificates to

provide to customers for each load of hardwood lumber or materials that are sold.

A customer can learn the counties of origin for the Appalachian logs and lumber. This answers growing questions about sourcing – especially in urban U.S. and European markets.

In 2019, a new national initiative on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies targeted publicly traded companies. The concept has grown in the investment world, with banks and stockholders asking new questions.

These non-financial factors are being applied to measure an investment or company’s sustainability by analyzing the conservation of the natural world. AHMI’s programs address the stewardship and ownership of the resource. Certified Appalachian guarantees the company is:

• A legal entity in the United States and adheres to the rule of law;

• Sources from the 344-county AHMI;

• Has “Procurement Verification” forms from all suppliers proving legal transfer of resource ownership;

• A member of good standing in AHMI.

The demands from customers are continuing to grow and take resources from companies. AHMI is meeting these needs.

For more information about these programs and other offerings from AHMI, please email info@appalachianhardwood.org

Tom Inman is president of Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers, Inc. (AHMI), a regional trade association headquartered in High Point, NC. It was formed in 1928 to promote the Appalachian hardwood resource and ensure a future supply.


Congratulations to the Graduates of the 200th Class of the NHLA Inspector Training School

The National Hardwood Lumber Association celebrated the graduation of the 200th class of the Inspector Training School on Friday, November 18, 2022. Thirteen students completed the 8-week Program, and one completed the Online Training Program.

Carol McElya, NHLA Industry Services Project Manager, welcomed and thanked the families, friends, and employers who supported the students during their time away from home.

Instructor Roman Matyushchenko congratulated the students, advising them to “Continue to improve your skills and refresh the rules in your memory every day. Also, keep in touch with each other

because someday in the future, you might do business with each other.”

David Caldwell, with the Hardwood Market Report, and a graduate of Class 83 in 1984, gave the keynote address. He praised the students, saying, “The hardwood lumber community needs you. There is a shortage of trained professionals in the industry. We need you to be our inspectors, yard foremen, kiln operators, sawyers, lumber buyers, salespeople, and business owners. The industry also needs leaders – today and in the future. You are on the path to being those leaders because of what you have accomplished these past eight weeks. Again, I congratulate all of you for what you have accomplished here.”

Enrollment is now open for the 201st class in Memphis, TN. Class 201 begins on January 9, 2023. To enroll or learn more about the Program, please visit www.nhla.com.

Seated (L to R): Michael Griffith, Randy Dodgson, Roman Matyushchenko (instructor), Collin Wilson, Cooper Lindsay, Standing (L to R): Ryan Wood, Justin Nelson, Noble Barrett, Shain Evans, Julian Ramirez, Jon Royce, Devin McNeely, Chad Nicholson, Landon Pringle, Jonathan Scott

Class President Chad Nicholson addressed his fellow students saying, “The certificate we received today is hard-earned. It shows we know the rules and will apply them daily so that we may be the best we can be. I am proud of you all.”


• Noble Barrett, SSPC Industries, LLC

• Shain Evans, Superior Hardwoods of Ohio, Inc.

• Ryan Wood, Superior Hardwoods of Ohio, Inc.

• Landon Pringle, Independent

• Justin Nelson, Rollinson Lumber and Tie

• Julian Velez Ramirez, Ralph Taylor Lumber Co., Inc.

• Jon Royce, GMC Hardwoods, Inc.

• Jonathan Scott, Pike Lumber Co., Inc.

• Devin McNeely, Independent

• Chad Nicolson, Salem Hardwood Lumber Co.

• Michael Griffith, T&D Thompson

• Cooper Lindsay, Empire Forest Products Ltd.

• Collin Wilson, Wieland & Sons Lumber Company

• Randi Dodgson, Kirtland Community College

Roman Matyushchenko presented the individual achievement awards. Outstanding individual awards recipients were as follows:

Noble Barrett, ITS Educational Foundation Award for Highest Overall Average

Justin Nelson, Howard Hanlon Award for Second Highest Overall Average

Noble Barrett, Westside Hardwood Club Award for Highest Board Run Average

Chad Nicholson, The Milt Cole and NHLA Award for Best Attitude/Citizenship

Julian Ramirez, The Lumbermen’s Club of Memphis Award for Most Improved


The Inspector Training School Educational Foundation (ITSEF) awarded two scholarships to students of Class 200. The popular ITSEF scholarship program, which began in 2015, is meant to assist students interested in starting or furthering their careers in the hardwood lumber industry. The ITSEF scholarship is awarded based on financial need, academic record, and leadership qualities. To be considered, students cannot have a job in the hardwood lumber industry at the time of enrollment.

Congratulations to the ITSEF scholarship winners, Landon Pringle and Devin McNeely.

Prior to attending the 200th class of NHLA Inspector Training School (ITS), Landon Pringle earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Duquesne University, while McNeely received a bachelor’s degree in Biology, focusing on environmental science from Morehead State University. Both students are now proud to call themselves graduates of Inspector Training School and look forward to their careers in the hardwood lumber industry.

Chad Nicholson Landon Pringle Devin McNeely

Department of Interior Rolls Out “Endangered”

Classification for Northern Long-Eared Bat

On November 29, 2022, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced a final rule to reclassify the northern long-eared bat (NLEB) as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency concluded that the species, currently listed as threatened, now requires additional protections under the act due to the wide-range impacts of white-nose syndrome. Their assessment found that white-nose syndrome has spread to nearly 80% of the species’ range and almost all of the U.S. range since the bat was listed as threatened in 2015. The final rule to reclassify the northern long-eared bat as endangered appeared in the November 30, 2022, issue of the Federal Register and will become effective on January 30, 2023.

In comments filed on the proposal to the new rule in May, HF reiterated the fact that sustainably managed forests are critical to the survival of the NLEB. HF further pointed out that the Service correctly identifies that the NLEB is experiencing significant declines due to White Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease. In the Proposed Rule, the Service affirms that “Although there are other stressors affecting the northern long-eared bat, the primary factor influencing its viability is white-nose syndrome (WNS)…” and that “habitat loss alone is not considered to be a key stressor at the species level, and habitat does not appear to be limiting.” In our comments, HF expressed support for this assertion that the true threat to the species survival and recovery is WNS, and forest conditions are not limiting for these populations.

The FWS hosted an information session for stakeholders in early December, which included an overview of the final rule and a Q&A session. During the hour-long webinar, the FWS official outlined high-level aspects of the final rule, including general regulatory issues that may face the forestry sector. Agency personnel stated

that, as a general matter, forestry projects currently operating in compliance with permits will not be subject to new restrictions that would otherwise be triggered by the new classification of the NLEB as “endangered.” They did not, however, go into detail about new permits moving forward.

That said, FWS staff spent a lot of time discussing a provision in the new rule that outlines 14 examples of project types that are not likely to trigger additional ESA regulations. Staff emphasized that the list, intended to be illustrative, is not comprehensive. These include:

1. Minimal tree removal and vegetation management activities that occur any time of the year outside of suitable forested/wooded habitat and more than 5 miles from known or potential hibernacula.

2. Insignificant amounts of suitable forested/ wooded habitat removal, provided it occurs during the hibernation period and the modification of habitat does not significantly impair an essential behavior pattern such that it is likely to result in the actual killing or injury of northern long-eared bats after hibernation, and ….

3. Prescribed fire activities that are restricted to the inactive (hibernation) season, provided they are more than 0.5 miles from a known hibernacula and do not result in changes to suitable forested/ wooded habitat to the extent that the habitat becomes unsuitable for the northern long-eared bat.

The agency goes on to outline nine examples of project types that are likely to trigger new ESA restrictions, including:

1. Unauthorized destruction or modification of suitable forested habitat (including unauthorized grading, leveling, burning, herbi-


cide spraying, or other destruction or modification of habitat) in ways that kill or injure individuals by significantly impairing the species’ essential breeding, foraging, sheltering, commuting, or other essential life functions.

2. And Unauthorized removal or destruction of trees and other natural and manmade structures being used as roosts by the northern long-eared bat that results intake of the species.

In response to several questions posed by stakeholders, FWS pointed out that the industry can consult the agency’s Ecological Services Program, including representatives in eight regional field offices, for practical questions related to specific projects. FWS personnel also stated that they will publish formal guidance arising from the new rule in early 2023. We have picked up from conversations with colleagues that the Service is contemplating 1000-acre buffer zones from known roost trees and known maternity trees. This would be a much more stringent restriction than the current 4(d) rule, which is based on “known and occupied” roost trees. We have also heard discussion of imposing buffers around maternity tree “colonies,” where the assumption is that if there is a known maternity tree, those trees surrounding it are likely to be roosted in as well. The bottom line is we may be seeing potentially severe seasonal harvesting restrictions in those states that do not have a habitat conservation plan in place. Of course, nothing is final until formal guidance is issued, and we will be diligently tracking the process.

Hardwood Federation staff will be reaching out to both the US Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service to emphasize the importance of implementing rules in the most flexible manner possible in order to minimize impacts on timber harvest projects. To learn more about the latest on the NLEB, please visit www.hardwoodfederation.com

Millwide. Worldwide.


Companies across the globe swear by the motto, “work smarter, not harder.” While hard work is essential to success, there comes a point when you must look for ways to make it easier to grow. That’s where NHLA member DMSi comes in.

Founded in 1986, DMSi Software provides a complete cloud-based business platform for the building materials industry. This technology includes missioncritical inventory and supply chain management software and other digital tools for warehouses and lumber yards across North America.

DMSi builds and services full Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), which is a set of integrated applications for managing a company’s core business processes – including inventory and order management.

Henry German, the President of eLIMBS (a DMSi company), loves working for DMSi, saying, “I have been with DMSi for over ten years. I began taking phone calls in our support department, then moved to implementations, new product releases, and new acquisitions in the hardwood industry. I love the culture at DMSi and the problems we solve for our customers.”

The latest addition to DMSi’s lineup is their new Neural Grader, which grades lumber using similar technology to their TallyExpress software (the AI-driven end tally system). German explains, “The Neural Grader uses industrial cameras and artificial intelligence to identify defects and assign grades to lumber. Many companies are ready to welcome the Neural Grader with open arms as labor issues are still causing slowdowns across North America. The Neural Grader will bring affordable, automated grading technology to the hardwood lumber industry. We think the key to its adoption will be its quick and affordable installation cost.”

Henry German

German continued, “Neural Grader is in the late beta stages, and currently masters grading red and white oak as well as Ash. We will continue to master the other American hardwood species each month. Neural Grader is designed to be installed in about two days without the need to drastically reconfigure or adjust grading lines. Compared to existing options on the market, this results in much lower installation costs and negligible disruption of production lines. DMSi partnered with Fordaq, the same team that developed TallyExpress, to bring Neural Grader to the American hardwoods market.”

DMSi is a longtime member of NHLA and one of the Association’s strongest supporters. This year, NHLA celebrates 125 years of serving the hardwood industry. German shared why their membership in NHLA is important to them, saying, “We want to be where our customers are. NHLA helps us learn the challenges our clients are experiencing so we can better serve their needs. Plus, the annual

“I think our size and dedication to this industry help us stand out. We can leverage the resources at DMSi to build or add applications and shared services for the hardwood industry that other competitors in this market can’t.”

NHLA Convention is important to us. We think it’s one of the top services NHLA provides. We also appreciate their advertising opportunities like e-newsletters and trade magazines.”

DMSi is committed to success in the future, both for the company and its customers. German points out, “I think our size and dedication to this industry help us stand out. We can leverage the resources at DMSi to build or add applications and shared services for the hardwood industry that other competitors in this market can’t. We have over 20,000 users and 200 employees. Our strategy for growth is to listen to our customers and hire smart, hardworking, customer-obsessed people who fit our culture. There are a lot of moving parts in an ERP system, and it’s not fun to change them. But, when you do the right thing and listen to your customers, they tend to stick around.”

In German’s opinion, Neural Grader is “an exciting product, but just one of many offerings DMSi has. Our vision is to be the leading software provider in the hardwood industry. From timber to the consumer, we’re able to help our customers up and down the supply chain more easily communicate with each other through our systems. It’s highly likely you are either buying from or selling to a DMSi customer.”

To get in touch with DMSi, visit www.dmsi.com or call 402-330-6620.

Neural Grader


Three and a half years ago, 24 hardwood industry associations got together to form the Real American Hardwood Coalition (RAHC) with the mission of uniting the collective efforts and resources of the industry to advance American hardwoods as the Naturally Authentic™ choice.

And today, the vision is clear. Backed by the support of 30 associations and more than 130 companies and individuals, the RAHC is working to connect the world to the benefits, beauty, and enduring value of American hardwoods for a sustainable future.

Working on this mission and achieving this vision begins with promotion—and it’s been a long time coming for a united industry effort. Here’s a recap of what’s been accomplished and a preview of what’s to come.


In July 2022, the RAHC launched RealAmericanHardwood.com— the industry’s new consumer promotion website and a valuable resource for information seekers. Complete with dazzling photography, interactive modules, project ideas, maintenance tips, and environmental data, the site was designed to help consumers separate fact from fiction when it comes to choosing what building materials to bring into their homes.

If you haven’t spent time on the site, take a few minutes to explore all the inspiration and information it has to offer.


The RAHC is working with CANVAS United—the creative minds behind RealAmericanHardwood.com—on a social media campaign to promote hardwood products on popular networks—including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. Each month, the team develops original, branded content that’s designed to inspire, educate, engage, and ultimately influence consumers.

All posts can be shared by your company, and you’re encouraged to do so. Make sure you’re following @RealAmericanHardwood on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube; and @RealAmericanHwd on Twitter. And use #RealAmericanHardwood in your company’s posts to help our industry tell our story.

OppOsite page: Michael Martin, CEO and President of the National Wood Flooring Association, at Magnolia’s annual Silobration in Waco, Texas with Chip and Joanna Gaines Photo Courtesy Michael Martin, NWFA.

Stuffing Stockings

Heading into the holidays, the RAHC coordinated a Holiday Gift Giveaway on Instagram for a cellphone speaker amplifier in collaboration with woodworking duo Siroh & Ivy from Beaver, Pennsylvania. The handmade passive amplifier was crafted from walnut and aspen, donated by Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring (Hickman Woods), based in Emlenton, Pennsylvania. To enter, participants were asked to share their favorite holiday gift they ever received, tag three friends, and follow the RAHC, Siroh & Ivy, and Hickman Woods accounts.

Launched on Black Friday, the giveaway was designed to boost the RAHC’s following, drive engagement, and promote hardwood. And with those goals in mind, the giveaway was a booming success, with the RAHC gaining nearly 300 new followers over the two-week entry period. All in all, more than 230 people entered to win, and the entry post received 18,116 impressions and generated 1,018 content interactions.

If you missed this one, keep a lookout. Plans are in the works for a Super Bowl Gameday Giveaway that will begin in late January.

Let’s inspire a stylish and healthy environment by educating consumers and design pros on the many benefits of Real American Hardwood flooring, cabinetry, furniture, and millwork.
FOrever Cabinets by KendriCK ManningtOn Mirage HardwOOd FlOOrs tHe FrenCH address

Hitting the Ground Running in 2023

As we enter a new year, the RAHC is beginning to implement the next phase of its promotion plan, which focuses on content integrations with home improvement programming and on-screen personalities, amplified with paid social and digital support.

Planning has been going on behind the scenes for several months, and seeds were planted for an exciting partnership in late October 2022 when Michael Martin, CEO and President of the National Wood Flooring Association, represented the RAHC at Magnolia’s annual Silobration in Waco, Texas. There, Michael met Chip and Joanna Gaines, as well as Warner Bros. Discovery executives, laying the foundation for a potential partnership with Magnolia Network in 2023. He also was able to tour the Gaines’ latest renovation project, The Castle, which is a hardwood showcase featured on the recent season of “Fixer Upper” on Magnolia Network—and an excellent conversation starter for why an integrated partnership with the popular network would be a win-win opportunity.

Reaching Out to the Design Community

Later this year, once the consumer promotion campaign is well underway, the RAHC will begin focusing on outreach to the design/build community through a comprehensive media and public relations campaign. The strategy will include collaborating with architecture and design magazine editors, exhibiting at design, art, and cultural events (such as the Design Pavilion in New York or

the Stagecoach Festival in California), sponsoring projects (like the Southern Living Idea House or the HGTV Dream Home), and developing continuing education units that enable design professionals to learn more about Real American Hardwood™ products.

In addition, the RAHC will begin partnering with established and up-and-coming content creators who have a passion for design, renovation, and DIY projects—as well as audiences who trust their opinions on products. These partnerships will help showcase the natural beauty and attributes of hardwood and shift the narrative in favor of real wood over wood-look alternatives.

Making a Real Impact

Visit RealAmericanHardwood.org to learn more about the RAHC and lend your support. As an industry, let’s inspire a stylish and healthy environment by educating consumers and design pros on the many benefits of Real American Hardwood flooring, cabinetry, furniture, and millwork.

Real American Hardwood and Naturally Authentic are trademarks of the Real American Hardwood Coalition.





As NHLA Chief Inspector, I am lucky to have the opportunity to meet and speak with so many people in the hardwood industry. As you can imagine, meeting so many different people allows me to hear many differing opinions and understand various ways of doing things, especially when it comes to hardwood lumber inspection

Something I hear often and something I find troubling is, “if the board is a unit or two short, I put it in there anyway.” This statement may not sound like a bad idea on the surface, but let’s compare it to a paycheck. Your check is “only $20 less than it should be”, or how about buying gasoline at a convenience store, “it’s almost a gallon.” I could give countless examples of how shorting anything in life is a bad idea, but I think these examples have proven my point.

The NHLA Rules were put into place to provide a measurement for the volume and quality of each and every piece of hardwood lumber that is produced. The hardwood inspector’s job is not to decide what is acceptable. Their job is to determine if it meets the minimum requirements to be in that grade.

Too often, in today’s world, we accept “close enough” or “nobody cares” when in fact, the vast majority of people that I have met in this industry do care, and they expect everyone else to care and do their jobs correctly.

So, this brings me to the point of this article, a good Hardwood Lumber Inspector may be enough to get by, be close enough, but a great Hardwood Lumber Inspector will make your company more reputable and, at the end of the day, will make you more money. To be a great Hardwood Lumber Inspector, you need to have the education necessary to achieve greatness.

NHLA has the tools necessary to help anyone that needs or wants to move their company to the next level. Since 1948, NHLA Inspector Training School has been teaching the hardwood lumber grading rules; we have a team of National Inspectors in different areas of the US and Canada, whose sole purpose is to be ready and available to assist our industry.

NHLA has developed programs to monitor grade accuracy and observe many other areas of the lumber manufacturing process to help your company achieve the best possible products and ROI.

Let me ask you, are you taking advantage of all these assets that are sitting at your disposal? If not, why? Contact me today; I would love to hear your challenges and help you find a way to overcome them and have your industry thrive! I can be reached at d.spessert@nhla.com or 901-399-7551.

RULES FOR THE MEASUREMENT & INSPECTION OF HARDWOOD & CYPRESS Plus NHLA Sales Code & Inspection Regulations Effective January 1, 2023
National Inspector, Tom Byers teaching a Three Day Short Course.
WE TAKE CARE OF ALL your transportation and forwarding needs YOU SAW IT WE SHIP IT CANADA: 1-800-355-5394 PLOVETT@KINGCITYNORTHWAY.COM USA: 1-855-682-1637 LLOVETT@KINGCITYUSA.COM Contact us today for compititive rates and - unparalleled service since 1977!



Jan. 9-Mar. 3

Inspector Training School

201st Class

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

Venue: NHLA Headquarters Location: Memphis, TN

Instructor: Roman Matyushchenko, ITS Instructor


March 20-31

Inspector Training School Online Training Program MODULE 1

Two weeks of hands-on training.

Venue: NHLA Headquarters Location: Memphis, TN

Module 2: Online study Module 3: Three weeks hands-on training and final testing at NHLA headquarters.

Instructor: Roman Matyushchenko, ITS Instructor


April 24-26

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 Location: Memphis, TN

Instructor: Roman Matyushchenko, ITS Instructor


Aug. 21- Sept. 1

Inspector Training School Online Training Program MODULE 1

Two weeks of hands-on training.

Venue: NHLA Headquarters Location: Memphis, TN

Module 2: Online study Module 3: Three weeks hands-on training and final testing at NHLA headquarters.

Instructor: Roman Matyushchenko, ITS Instructor

22 | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2023 HARDWOOD MATTERS WWW.NHLA.COM Register for classes at www.nhla.com/Education.

“I enjoyed and was extremely impressed with our 3-day Intro to Grading Hardwood Lumber class. The class was very informative and truly gave me a different perspective on what’s involved in the hardwood lumber grading process. Roman did an awesome job as our instructor. Everyone at NHLA welcomed us and treated us as a part of their family. I applaud everybody involved for a job well done.”

Frank Hooks

NHLA certified lumber grader at Beasley Flooring Products


Sept. 6-8

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 Location: Memphis, TN


Roman Matyushchenko, ITS Instructor

Sept. 25- Nov. 17

Inspector Training School

203rd Class

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

Venue: NHLA Headquarters Location: Memphis, TN


Roman Matyushchenko, ITS Instructor


Oct. 23-27

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: Wood-Mizer, LLC

Location: Indianapolis, IN

Instructor: Kevin Evilsizer, National Inspector


Nov. 27-Dec. 8

Inspector Training School

Online Training Program


Two weeks of hands-on training.

Venue: NHLA Headquarters Location: Memphis, TN

Module 2: Online study

Module 3: Three weeks hands-on training and final testing at NHLA headquarters.


Roman Matyushchenko, ITS Instructor



Here you will find our current job listings. To see more details or to post a job, visit www.nhla.com/industry-services/job-board.



Northcentral Technical College (NTC) is seeking a knowledgeable, energetic, professional full-time faculty member to teach in its Associate Degree Wood Science Program. This unique two-year program is taught out of NTC’s beautiful, one-of-a-kind 27,000-square-foot Wood Technology Center of Excellence. This bright and modern facility houses state-of-theart equipment used for both the Associate Degree program as well as several certificates and Continuing Education classes. Due to the unique learning environment, businesses send students from around the country to NTC for this exceptional training. Located in Antigo, Wisconsin, the area offers many lakes and expansive forested areas featuring numerous outdoor activities, including hunting, fishing, hiking, golfing, camping, skiing, snowshoeing, and biking. With a population of around 7,700, the city of Antigo has a small-town feel yet is large enough to meet your daily needs with multiple dining and retail businesses, and it is only 40 minutes from Wausau.

Skills & Experience Required

• Must have a minimum of two years (4,000 hours) full-time (or equivalent) demonstrated relevant wood industry occupational experience, one of which must be within the last five years.

• Bachelor’s degree in Wood Science and Technology or related field, or an Associate’s degree with the agreement to obtain a Bachelor’s degree upon hire.

• Willing/able to meet Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and Higher Learning Commission (HLC) requirements, accreditation standards, and/or licensing standards where applicable.

• Experience in teaching and working with diverse populations is preferred.

Salary & Benefits

• Health and Dental Insurance

• Vision Insurance

• Life and Long-Term Disability Insurance

• Short Term Disability

• Wisconsin Retirement System

• 403(b) Pre-Tax Retirement Savings

• 457 Deferred Compensation Plan (Pre-tax & Roth Option)

• 529 Plan

• The Standard -Accident, Critical Illness (voluntary)

• Paid Holidays & Sick Leave

• Professional Development

How to Apply

Send your resume to: katrina@ajdforestproducts.com

Northcentral Technical College

1000 W Campus Dr. | Wausau, WI 54401 715-803-1483



Brownlee Lumber Company is searching for a Lumber Grader (Inspector) to work with green and kiln-dried hardwoods at our sawmill/kiln drying facilities in Brookville, PA.

Brownlee Lumber, Inc. is a preferred provider to those seeking premium quality kiln-dried hardwood products.

The Lumber Inspector’s Responsibilities are:

• Use visual judgment and knowledge to inspect and grade lumber: deter mine species, grade, and volume according to NHLA grading rules.

• Respectfully and effectively communicate with other team members

Skills & Experience Required

• High School Diploma or GED

• Skilled / Certified in NHLA rules

• Two or more years of experience as a Lumber Inspector

• Outstanding attention to detail

• Team-work focused

• Ability to work at a fast pace

• Ability to lift 50 or more lbs

Salary & Benefits

• Pay Range: $18 – $22 per hour

Our company culture focuses on People, Integrity, Courage, Endeavor, Excellence, Learning, and Balance. The Lumber Grader (Inspector) can expect EXCELLENT wages & benefits, including:

• Health, Life, Vision, and Dental Insurance

• Flexible Spending Account / Health Saving Account

• PTO – Paid Vacation and Floating Holidays

• Paid Sick Leave

• Rewards and Recognition Programs

• 401(k)

• Learning and Development Opportunities

• Regular Company Celebrations / Events

• Employer Assistance Program

How to Apply

Send your resume to: mhopkins@brownleelumber.com

Brownlee Lumber

2652 Hazen Richardsville Road | Brookville, PA 15825 814-328-2991



Hardwood Markets Matter and it is important for NHLA to share market details of the entire Hardwood Industry. We appreciate the support of allied associations and publishers in gathering and sharing this important market information that can help you understand the complete hardwood industry picture.



#1 Common

Though prevailing Red Oak prices have fallen sharply since August, the pace of declines has slowed and price bottoms should be reached within the next 60 days, supported by production declines. KD 4/4 upper-grade Red Oak prices (averaged across regions) fell $110 in August, and common-grade prices fell around $80. The monthly pace of declines accelerated by roughly $40 for each grade in September before production cutbacks slowed price declines in October and November. In addition to production cutbacks, the number of producers drawing “price lines” in the sand—below which they refuse to sell—has grown, which is also working to slow declines in prevailing prices, even though less lumber is being sold at those stabilizing prices. Finally, producers have shifted more Red Oak production into industrials, limiting grade lumber inventory growth.

While Red Oak prices are expected to level out shortly, price gains will depend on rebounds in domestic and export demand, which are not immediately forthcoming. Though 30-year fixed mortgage rates

have dipped below 7%, broader economic uncertainty will continue to limit homebuyer demand, muting the spring bounce in single-family housing starts. Though some exporters have noted increased interest for Red Oak from China, most say little is shipping due to buyers’ very low price expectations. As such, there may only be enough demand early in 2023 to support stable pricing and, perhaps, some whittling down of stored inventories.

$600 $800 $1,000 $1,200 $1,400 $1,600 $1,800 Jul 1 Aug 1 Sep 1 Oct 1 Nov 1 Dec 1 $/MBF Gross Tally
Prevailing KD 4/4 #2/Btr Red Oak Prices #2 Common * Prices Averaged Across Regions


The HMR Demand Index (HDI) is a feature in HMR Executive® that illustrates monthly trends in reported demand from 10 major domestic markets for hardwood lumber. Components of the index are color coded with various shades of blue when demand is slow, they transition to gray when demand is fair, and then to light red and deep red when demand moves from good to strong.


Residential Flrg.

Truck Trailer Flrg.

Upholst. Furniture

Wood Furniture


Wood Components

Board Road


Railroad Ties

Dec-20 Jan-21 Feb-21 Mar-21 Apr-21 May-21 Jun-21 Jul-21 Aug-21 Sep-21 Oct-21 Nov-21 Dec-21 Jan-22 Feb-22 Mar-22 Apr-22 May-22 Jun-22 Jul-22 Aug-22 Sep-22 Oct-22 Nov-22 Dec-22
Quite Slow Slow Fair/Steady Good Quite Good


The hardwood industry can be (at times) volatile with different hardwood commodities in opposing spectrum to one other in pricing and volume. Our current climate is heavy crosstie considerate, as railroad inventories are low and crosstie production has been insufficient for well over a year now – meaning demand for crossties will be high well into the next twelve to eighteen months. In contrast, several competing hardwood lumber species/grades are in recession, with little to no hints of increases anytime soon. Our industry is hurting and our sawmills are strained as production is being dictated by “what we can move” rather than by implementing strategic sawing solutions. We wish all the best for those able to continue to operate in this time.

I attended a South Arkansas hardwood sawmiller funeral in mid-December. The operator and his family have always been first-class yet very humble people. I consider them dear friends although I’ve known them less than a decade. They diversify their output, and are the “count their pennies so the nickels and dimes take care of themselves” types. Accordingly, they regularly attend sawmill club and railway tie association meetings to stay informed. Those events facilitate a number of things, perhaps most importantly is the networking/engagement aspect with end-users, fellow producers and suppliers.

The South Arkansas sawmill family taught me a lot, not just about sawmilling, the hardwood industry and cattle, but how to be a better person, by virtue of being welcoming and honest. Their dad was borderline brash to me the first time I met him, but his directness was acute and targeted, and since I did not back down, nor lie to him, every subsequent time I visited after I encountered increasing kindness and kinship. The day of his funeral was a cold, dreary mid-December day. But, the community showed in large numbers, and almost every hardwood sawmill competitor in the surrounding area came to pay their respects to his family. That says a lot about our industry, and the prevailing respect we have for one another as operators within.





Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, N Indiana, N Illinois: Smaller mills can't afford to carry log inventories now, larger mills are keeping logs in check. A lot of snow and bitter cold followed by rain making for very poor logging conditions.


Virginia: Pallet and Flooring markets are still slow. Log decks are shrinking somewhat due to bad weather for logging.

North & South Carolina: There is no demand for lumber

West Virginia: Lumber pirces continue to drop. Some mills are low on logs for this time of year of heading into winter. Some of that is by choice because of dropping prices and sales orders.


New England 1: Mills are continuing to drop log prices, and are shying away from Red oak logs. Logging conditions are poor. Tie production continues to increase due to softening of demand and price for pallet material and grade lumber.

Pennsylvania: Pricing is still down on most hardwood products. Logging conditions are very poor at this time. More mills are interested in sawing ties now.


Missouri: Broader hardwood markets have softened, thus creating more sales value opportunity for crosstie production.


Mississippi: Demand for ties remains strong. Weather will be a factor over the next few months



Nearly 59 percent of respondents to the 2023 NWFA Industry Outlook survey forecast increased demand for white oak and around 23 percent expect increased demand for red oak. Just over 30 percent of respondents expect the desire for exotic species such as santos mahogany and wenge to decrease.

It’s time to pick your booth! Make plans to exhibit October 4-6, 2023 Contact a member of the Business Development Team Today! John Hester at j.hester@nhla.com or by phone at 901-399-7558 or Vicky Simms at v.simms@nhla.com or by phone at 901-399-7557

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