March 2021 Hardwood Matters

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H A R D W O O D M AT T E R S March 2021



T H E O F F I C I A L P U B L I C AT I O N O F T H E N AT I O N A L H A R D W O O D L U M B E R A S S O C I AT I O N S T R O N G R O O T S . G L O B A L R E A C H . | W W W. N H L A . C O M

Quality lumber doesn’t just happen. It starts with quality logs and precision sawing. Checking lumber thickness along with inspectors at every machine center guarantees consistent manufacture and grade.

Pike Brand

That’s what separates ® Hardwoods from all the rest. Getting the details right!


AKRON, INDIANA • U.S.A. P: 800.356.4554 F: 574.893.7400

CONTENTS March 2021 • Issue 220

WHAT'S INSIDE feature 10 Overcoming Recruitment Challenges

departments 10

ONLINE TOP POST OF THE MONTH at Seems like someone might be considering a career change . . .

8 Legislative Log The Hardwood Federation Looks

to 2021: Policy Priorities and The Biden Administration by Dana Cole

15 Rules Corner Rules Change Proposals


Are Due March 31 by Chief Dana Spessert

17 Inside NHLA

reader services


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4 6 16 18

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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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




Pike Lumber Company, Inc.


Tropical Forest Products


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

Carol McElya Inspector Training School Administrator

Dennis Mann Baillie Lumber Co. Convention Scott Cummings Cummings Lumber Company, Inc. Inspection Services Bruce Horner Abenaki Timber Corp. ITS/Continuing Education

Vicky Quiñones Simms Membership Development Manager

George Swaner Swaner Hardwood Communications & Marketing

Dana Spessert Chief Inspector

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Rob Cabral Upper Canada Forest Products, Ltd. Promotion & Advocacy

Roman Matyushchenko ITS Instructor and Associate Dean of Education

Melissa Ellis Smith Graphic Designer


Stephanie VanDystadt DV Hardwoods, Inc. Membership & Networking

Desirée Freeman Controller

Jens Lodholm Data Administration Specialist

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

Rich Solano Pike Lumber Company, Inc. Structure

Joe Snyder Fitzpatrick & Weller, Inc. Rules

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SAVE THE DATE EARLY BIRD OPENS NEXT MONTH! 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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hope you are as excited as I am about potential opportunities that will come when Covid-19 is in the rearview mirror. Realistically, but unfortunately, stopping Covid-19 will most likely take longer than we want. No matter when normalcy returns, opportunities will be everywhere. I envision our industry thriving like we have not seen in many years.

When I became President of NHLA, I was asked to give an acceptance speech. My message centered around the RAHPC (Real American Hardwood Promotion Coalition), modernizing and improving our sales code to improve industry tallies and making our dues structure fairer for our membership. To put us in the right frame of mind, I focused on some key principles. I would like to circle back to one of them. Namely, “you don’t know what you don’t know,” and now I want to add this question for you to ponder, “how do you learn what you don’t know”? In March of 2020, Covid-19 hit us, and no one knew how to protect against the virus. Think about the learning process here. Scientists, who are a whole lot smarter than most of us, began the process

of creating a vaccine. Thousands of mini-experiments happened. Successes and failures occurred. Even failures resulted in something positive because failure tells you what does not work. In an exceptionally short period of time, the discovery and testing of a vaccine occurred. All of us learned what we did not know about the virus by simply listening to the experts. This short paragraph demonstrates two ways how we can learn what we do not know. Learn through experimentation and learn from those who do the experiments. I want to share with you the results of experiments I have done over the last three decades. In college, I majored in mathematics and physics. I share this not to boast but to give credibility to my experiments. Physics is about putting on paper what is happening in the world around us using mathematics. I tend to do things scientifically in our business and use discovered facts to make decisions—our methods of tallying lumber mirror the definition contained in the NHLA Rules Book. We have strived to remove the human element from tallying lumber. I want to share with you some information you do not know so

Data Short Ship Range 1 to .001 0 to -.999 -1.0 to -1.999 -2.0 to -2.999 -3.0 to -3.999 -4.0 or more Total Number of Mills








Average shortage is 2.5%. Median shortage is 2.3% Short Ship Range 20 15 10 5 0 1 to .001


0 to -.999

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-1.0 to -1.999

-2.0 to -2.999

-3.0 to -3.999

-4.0 or more W W W. N H L A .C O M

that you can appreciate why I believe that improving our sales code, industry tallies, and the “4% value variation rule” is so important. My goal is to ensure that the NHLA Rules for Measurement and Inspection of Hardwood lumber and the NHLA Sales Code is the world’s “Gold Standard” for hardwood lumber. In the first 11 months of 2020, our company bought kiln-dried lumber from 45 different hardwood suppliers. We re-inspect and re-tally each load to compare our findings with mill invoices for tally and value. This process is exactly what NHLA inspectors do when they certify a company. On the oppoosite page is a table of data and a graph of our findings. Here is a summary of what we found. As you examine this data, I challenge you to ask the rhetorical question, are these results the kind you would expect from a gold standard? 1. 9 of 45 mills (20%) shipped plus or minus 1% of the invoiced tally. 2. The average short ship amount was -2.5%. 3. The mid-point of the range was -2.3%. 22 mills shipped better and 22 worse than 2.3% short. 4. 43 of 45 mills we bought from shipped within 4% of value variation.

Our flooring partners have had issues with the square footage contained in a bundle of flooring. When the Bureau of Weights and Measures became involved, the result was; it is ok if a bundle of flooring is short in footage if there are bundles of flooring that are long in footage included in the shipment too. Should our standard be “it is ok if a unit of lumber is short in footage as long as there are units that are long in footage in the shipment too?” It would pass the “test” from the Bureau of Weights and Measures. We have formed an NHLA tally and sales code task force to recommend improvements to our sales code. We will keep you posted as progress is made. In closing, I give you something else to ponder. How many times have you backed away from doing something because you thought it could not be done or would be very difficult to do? Try changing your approach to think about “what you can do.” What you wanted to happen may not get done, but by doing “what you can do,” you will open doors of opportunity and will help you to cause improvement to happen. God bless you, each of your families, and your business!

Also, keep in mind that we cull out mills that value and tally poorly. Applying this fact-driven methodology, we identify and buy lumber from the best of our industry. The NHLA sales code allows the industry to ship short, and it is acceptable. Should the NHLA’s sales code allow this?

Jeff Wirkkala, NHLA President Hardwood Industries, Inc.

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he world-renowned business guru Peter Drucker once said, “Effective leaders are not about making speeches or being liked; real leaders are defined by results, not attributes.”

Now I don’t always agree with Drucker’s philosophies, but he was right on the mark in this case. Effective Board leadership is not judged by how well someone is liked. The true test of leadership is determined by how well a leader is respected for their contributions to an organization and its membership. Equally important is a great leader’s respect for the people who serve alongside him. NHLA, our members, and the hardwood industry have recently benefited from a leader whose actions are a true reflection of Drucker’s definition of the word. In 2018, Darwin Murray of McClain Forest Products joined generations of hardwood industry leaders who came before him by assuming the role of President of the NHLA Board of Managers for two years.

His term of service was characterized by his support and followthrough of unprecedented collaboration and consolidation of efforts to make positive changes for our industry. Under his guidance, NHLA joined forces with other leading associations to fund and develop an industry-wide Hardwood Industry Economic Impact Study. NHLA invested $50,000 to support this effort. Fast forward to 2019, and industry associations joined forces once again to create the Real American Hardwood Promotion Coalition. Association executives and industry leaders pledged to work together toward a shared goal of promoting and driving the demand for Real American Hardwood. Once again, NHLA invested $50,000 of our members’ money to support the effort. During Darwin’s two-year term, more new member value was developed than in the previous twenty. NHLA mined our Inspectors’ knowledge and expertise to create our Operations Management Services to increase the profitability and productivity of our sawmill members.

NHLA introduced new webinar NHLA’s socially distanced Director of Membership John Hester programs to provide a new level In his acceptance speech, Darwin outpresents Past President Darwin Murray a token of of education designed to (once again) lined NHLA’s recently minted Strategic our appreciation for a job well done. increase our members’ productivity and Plan. For the first time in NHLA history, profitability. Surveys were implemented to better understand and the plan had been developed with all NHLA member categorespond to our members’ evolving needs. The results were used to ries’ participation. Under his leadership, the plan became a living provide better, more timely information on issues of concern. document and a guide for the NHLA Board and staff. Yet another example of a true leader who knows that engaging his team is funBecause he is a humble man, Darwin will tell the results of his term damental to success. were the product of the Board and staff working together to serve our members at the highest level. The history of our industry is one of struggle, ups and downs in the markets, world wars, and regulatory challenges to our very existence. So, we should not have been surprised when just a few short months Because that is just what leaders do. after he gave his speech, the industry found itself in the middle of a devastating global trade war, and a little more than a year later - just as the trade war ended - a global pandemic. But no matter the adversity or the obstacles we encountered, Darwin’s leadership never wavered, and the NHLA Board and staff never lost focus on responding to the constant challenges our members faced.


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



Cory Christen with NHLA’s Kevin Evilsizer.

Kendrick Forest Products is a member of the National Hardwood Lumber Association’s (NHLA) Facility Grade Certification Program. This is a voluntary quality assurance program where our lumber is re-inspected by the NHLA National Inspector 2-3 times per year to ensure we are representing the lumber properly. It is with a great deal of pride that I can inform you Cory Christen passed his test with flying colors. He was well within what the NHLA allows. Great job, Cory! This certification gives us a competitive advantage when selling in the marketplace as new customers know that we honor the NHLA grades and system. Most mills are not certified. In fact, Kendrick is the only mill in Iowa with this designation and one of only two in the American Walnut Manufacturers Association. Kevin and the NHLA have been a great resource for continuing to build into our team. We look forward to Kevin coming back in the summer.”

— Greg Blomberg, General Manager at Kendrick Forest Products



The Hardwood Federation Looks to 2021: Policy Priorities and The Biden Administration


fter the challenges of 2019, primarily related to the negative impacts the U.S. – China trade dispute had on the hardwood industry; we were all ready for a better and brighter 2020. Just a year ago, the Hardwood Federation and our industry members were celebrating the removal of the retaliatory tariffs on our products and looking forward to increased shipments to China.

Of course, new issues and difficulties pop up when you least expect them, but no one anticipated something on the scale of a worldwide pandemic. As an industry, we worked hard, were deemed essential, secured federal financial assistance through the Payroll Protection Program, and all did the best that we could. Now we find ourselves in 2021, still in the midst of the COVID crisis, sifting through the results of a contentious election and figuring out how to work with the new Administration and Congress. The Federation will continue to be at the tip of the spear for our industry in Washington, D.C., and look forward to the challenges and opportunities 2021 is sure to bring. President Joe Biden was sworn into office on January 20, 2021, at noon. Federal government leadership is now set for the next two years with Democrats in control of the White House and both chambers of Congress (although by razor-thin margins.)


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Obviously, it is early, and policies will be more fully developed over the coming months. Still, there are some indications of the types of challenges and opportunities Washington, D.C. will present to the hardwood industry in the near future. The number one priority for the President and his team is clearly addressing the ongoing human and economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus. The good news is that multiple vaccines have been developed and distributed, with more on the horizon. Implementing policies and strategies that increase the rate of inoculation for the entire U.S. population is top of the list. Coming in a close second is providing economic support to individuals and businesses that continue to struggle as significant portions of the economy remain shuttered. Longer-term, the Administration has made clear that they will make climate change a centerpiece of their agenda throughout their time in office, incorporating climate considerations across government agencies and departments. This is a challenge certainly, but it is also an opportunity for the entire wood products industry, including hardwoods, to present ourselves as part of the solution to climate change concerns, with many tools at our disposal, including sustainable

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. . . IT IS ALSO AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE ENTIRE WOOD PRODUCTS INDUSTRY, INCLUDING HARDWOODS, TO PRESENT OURSELVES AS PART OF THE SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE CONCERNS, WITH MANY TOOLS AT OUR DISPOSAL, INCLUDING SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT AND HARVEST OF FOREST LANDS, CARBON-NEUTRAL ENERGY FUELS, AND CARBON SEQUESTERING PRODUCTS. management and harvest of forest lands, carbon-neutral energy fuels, and carbon sequestering products. There are indications that the new Administration is open to some of the solutions we have promoted over the years, including wood energy, wood product innovation, and green building. We will undoubtedly be looking for opportunities to work closely with our forest products allies to further educate decision-makers in the coming months. The Hardwood Federation team will be directly engaged and carefully tracking developments on all fronts that impact our businesses. We will not stray from our long-time policy positions that support the hardwood industry, including maintaining and increasing access to timber on federal (and private) lands, tax and regulatory policies that support, not harm, business operations, and fair trade agreements that open to global markets to our products. The policy positions were confirmed as important by a survey of the hardwood industry in January and presented to the Hardwood Federation and Hardwood Federation PAC Boards of Directors at their annual winter meeting on February 3. This usually would be an in-person meeting in Washington, DC, to set a policy agenda and advocacy plan of action for the year, but, as has become the norm in our new world, these meetings were held over Zoom. This did not stop our intrepid Board Members from having an active discussion and providing significant industry input. The first order of business was to welcome the members of our 2021 Board of Directors and HFPAC Board of Directors. The Federation Board provides strategic direction for advocacy priorities and outreach efforts, as well as oversight of our budget and other administrative functions. The HFPAC Board is instrumental in raising PAC dollars to support our congressional allies and identifying those we should consider for financial support. This group is vital to our efforts on behalf of the industry, and we rely heavily on their insight and guidance.

gavel to Matthew Smith of Smith Creek in Borden, IN. Troy Brown of Kretz Lumber in Antigo, WI, was elected as the Hardwood Federation Board Vice-Chair. The NHLA will be represented by a total of eight outstanding hardwood industry leaders on the Hardwood Federation and Hardwood Federation PAC Boards, including Nathan Jeppson of Northwest Hardwoods, Darwin Murray of McClain Forest Products, Ted Rossi of the Rossi Group (also Development Chair), and Jeff Wirkkala of Hardwood Industries Inc. NHLA representatives on the HFPAC Board are Jesse Joyce of Middle Tennessee Lumber, Scott Cummings of Cummings Lumber Company, and two newcomers in Dan Mathews of SII Dry Kilns and Joe Pryor of Oaks Unlimited. Retiring from the HF Board this year is former Board President Scott Heidler of Heidler Hardwood Lumber Company. Scott was a fantastic leader for the Federation during some challenging times, and we thank him for his dedication and support. Bob Miller of Frank Miller Lumber chairs the HFPAC Board. The Hardwood Federation Boards are committed to maintaining a vigorous presence on Capitol Hill, even if it is on computer screens. We will look for ways to work with the new Administration and Congressional leaders but will not hesitate to challenge proposals that we believe will be harmful to the industry. Our elected officials will continue to hear from us about the value of our industry to the U.S. economy, and why it is important they make the right decisions on proposals impacting our companies . . . and why the wrong decisions can devastate our industry. The Hardwood Federation is very grateful for the tremendous support and engagement of the NHLA in the Federation. We very much look forward to working with your delegates to our boards and to our continued cooperative engagements with NHLA CEO Lorna Christie and her terrific team.

Departing from his 2-year commitment as HF Board Chair, Rick Holden of Derr Flooring in Willow Grove, PA, passed the virtual

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ecruiting new talent can often feel like you are attempting to climb a large mountain. Every move is perilous, your timing has to be right, and you have to know the exact tools you will need to reach the summit. It is also exhausting. The state of the economy and COVID-19 have made the climb of recruiting employees even more challenging. The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken-up the way recruiting new employees usually works. In pre-COVID days, when a company was looking to hire an entry-level employee, a spike in unemployment would result in a flood of job applications. However, that is no longer the case. According to a recent NHLA survey, 52 percent of member companies are experiencing a spike in open positions, while 81 percent are dealing with a lack of qualified candidates to hire.

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There are several reasons why people aren’t applying for jobs. With schools being moved online, many parents can’t apply because they have to stay home to monitor their children’s education, while others struggle with a lack of childcare. Potential employees are worried about their safety at work due to COVID. They also worry about leaving their current job for fear of a new job proving to be unstable. Another factor is recently boosted unemployment benefits, with 86 percent of

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New Unemployment Benefits Could Still Exceed Current Pay Rates Current Hourly Pay Rate

Estimated State Unemployment Benefits (two-thirds of regular pay)

HEALS Benefits ($200/wk)

Total Unemployment Benefits

Difference from Regular Hourly Pay

Difference Weekly (40 hours no OT)



















































































































Workers will continue to make more money through unemployment than through working


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Workers will make just slightly less money through unemployment than through working

Workers will make more money by returning to work

* Allegis Global Solutions, June 2020

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NHLA member companies say they are competing against unemployment for quality employees. Fortunately, there are ways that your company can overcome these disruptions to recruitment. Allegis Global Solutions, an international recruitment firm, recently released five tips on securing the employees you need. 1. Adjust Pay Rates 2. Pay Retention Bonuses or Monthly Incentives. 3. Take Safety to a New Level, in Communication and Action. 4. Be Creative and Flexible with Work Arrangements, Shifts, and Schedules. 5. Waive Drug Testing for a Temporary period. Many companies in the hardwood industry don’t have the luxury of waiving drug testing – even temporarily - but the other four tips are valid to the industry as a whole, starting with adjusting pay rates NHLA’s study on recruitment shows that 90 percent of members believe they are offering competitive wages. Allegis Global Solutions reports the overall threshold for attracting workers away from enhanced unemployment benefits is to pay $15 per hour, which adds up to $600 for a 40-hour week. (see Figure 1). Allegis also states that COVID 19 may be the tipping point that forces a higher, more ‘livable’ minimum wage, even after the pandemic is over. Our industry seems to understand the importance of higher wages, as 83% of NHLA member companies already increased their pay-rates. While higher paychecks bring employees to the job, you have to focus on keeping them on the job. That’s where retention bonuses or monthly incentives come in. Currently, only 22 percent of companies in the hardwood industry offer retention bonuses or monthly incentives. The type of retention bonus or monthly incentive you choose doesn’t have to break the bank. Take into account how long it took to fill the position you recently hired, how much slower business was without someone in the position, and the value of the time

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spent training someone new. Put a monetary value on the cost of replacing that employee. Then, award that money as a performance bonus if the new employee meets their goals. Monthly incentives are another way to keep employees. One of the best incentives is an attendance bonus for defined periods of time. Another hurdle companies will need to overcome is that employees are still wary of putting themselves at risk of COVID. This is a problem that increasing wages and offering bonuses won’t remedy. What have you done to make your company a safer place to work? Let your employees know it! Did you hire a new cleaning crew? Make sure that you tell your workers and potential workers. Simply saying you are a safe workplace won’t work. You have to show it. A perfect example of a company that took extra steps to show their employees they are making safety a priority is Smith Sawmill Service. Smith Sawmill Service made significant changes to its operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. They hired new employees to clean the shops frequently. They separated staff into two shifts and provided everyone with personal cleaning supplies and masks. They even built a new narrowband saw department because the old department was so small, people had to work shoulder to shoulder. Now they are 10-20 feet apart. Finally, they had their outside sales team stop making personal visits and instead allowed orders to be phoned in and delivered. Being flexible with scheduling is always a plus. Family commitments and childcare are substantive concerns for workers. COVID has caused the average family to struggle to find solutions to synch their work schedule and family time. Many are concerned about schools opening, distance learning, and childcare. Showing appreciation and a fundamental understanding of the challenges employees face can go a long way in developing loyalty. Every company is different. Maybe you cannot afford to build an entirely new room, but you can offer flexible hours or second (and third) shifts. Employee benefits, which are often an afterthought during the hiring process, are another critical piece of the employment puzzle. According to research by Group Risk Development (GRiD), only 22 percent of companies promote employee benefits during the recruitment process, such as listing benefits in job advertisements.

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The benefits you offer can make or break the decision process for potential employees. This is especially true when you are trying to lure them away from unemployment. Most companies in the hardwood industry provide excellent benefits. Nearly 100 percent of hardwood industry companies offer paid vacation, according to the recent NHLA survey. Eighty-one percent offer health insurance, and 75 percent offer life insurance. The majority also offer disability, dental insurance, a 401K, and even 401K matching. Some NHLA member companies take their benefits even further, offering hunting rights, pet insurance, vision insurance, profit-sharing, and even employer-paid pensions. Publicizing the benefits your company offers during the recruitment process will attract the best possible talent, especially if you provide health insurance. GRiD reports that the most important benefit to offer in 2021 is health insurance. COVID 19 taught us anything, it is to value our health. Despite high unemployment benefits right now, people want to work if the job includes health insurance. The HR software company, Zenefits recently completed a survey of small business employees in the U.S. They defined small businesses as those with fewer than 500 employees. Over 50 percent of the surveyed employees said the primary reason they are staying at their current job is health insurance benefits.


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The bottom line is that inflated unemployment benefits will be part of business in 2021, just as they were last year, but that doesn’t mean you cannot compete. By making your employment package even better, you show potential and current employees that you sincerely care about their well-being. This will give your company a long-lasting advantage when it comes to recruiting and retaining the talent you need, both now and in a post-pandemic future.

Sources: NHLA Recruitment Survey (January 2021) by Survey Monkey

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Rules Change Proposals Are Due March 31 by Chief Inspector Dana Spessert


very four years, NHLA reviews the hardwood lumber grading rules and accepts rules change proposals for consideration. The window for submitting change proposals for the 2023 NHLA Rules Book is NOW OPEN. Changes for consideration should be submitted to the Chief Inspector by March 31, 2021. The Rules Committee will review the submitted changes during a meeting at NHLA headquarters. The day and time of the Rules meeting will be announced. The industry has an opportunity to be present at the beginning of the meeting to explain his/her reason for asking for the change or to state a case against any proposed change.

majority of the votes properly cast by the Active Members will be adopted and become effective January 1, 2023. If you have questions regarding the rules change process, please contact Dana Spessert, Chief Inspector at 901-399-75551 or by email at

Submit all Rules change proposals to the Chief Inspector by one of these methods:

During the 2021 NHLA Annual Convention & Exhibit Showcase in West Palm Beach, Florida, there will be a Rules Open Forum. The forum will be held Thursday, September 23, and will give all members the ability to discuss these proposals in detail prior to the vote. The Chief and members of the Rules Committee will be available during this meeting to answer any questions you may have.

Mail to: Dana Spessert NHLA Chief Inspector PO Box 34518 Memphis, TN 38184-0518

In the final step of the process, ballots containing new rules change proposals will be sent to all Active Members after the 2021 NHLA Annual Convention. Each Active Member may vote for or against the proposed rules change provided such ballot is returned to and received by NHLA within 30 days from the date on the ballot. Rules change proposals that receive a favorable vote on a two-thirds

Email to:

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OR Fax to: 901-382-6419

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Intro to Hardwood Lumber Grading

Intro to Hardwood Lumber Grading


14-August 6 New Program Inspector Training School 195th Class

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

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: Yoder Lumber Co., Inc. Millersburg, OH

Venue: NHLA Headquarters Memphis, TN

Instructor: Mark Depp, NHLA National Inspector

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

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

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 headquarters at 901-377-1818 to confirm that these courses are taking place.

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






30-Sept. 1

29-Dec. 10

Inspector Training School Online Training Program MODULE 1

Intro to Hardwood Lumber Grading

13-Nov. 5 New Program

Two weeks of hands-on training.

Venue: NHLA Headquarters Memphis, TN Module 2: Online study Module 3: Three weeks handson training and final testing at NHLA headquarters. Instructor: Roman Matyushchenko, ITS Instructor and Associate Dean of Education


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.

Venue: NHLA Headquarters Memphis, TN

Venue: NHLA Headquarters Memphis, TN

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

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

Inspector Training School Online Training Program MODULE 1 Two weeks of hands-on training.

Venue: NHLA Headquarters Memphis, TN Module 2: Online study Module 3: Three weeks handson training and final testing at NHLA headquarters. Instructor: Roman Matyushchenko, ITS Instructor and Associate Dean of Education W W W. N H L A .C O M


A Message from the NHLA Inspector Training School HELP US, HELP YOU!


he Mission Statement of the NHLA Inspector Training School is to “strive to educate the future lumbermen of tomorrow in hardwood grading rules and ethics.” NHLA is dedicated to working with our members who send their employees for training as Hardwood Lumber Inspectors to ensure each student has received a quality education and is well prepared to return to their employer and make a difference.

As you know, this training provides an excellent option for students who cannot attend college or additional training for college students interested in a career within the hardwood industry.

Over the past few years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of employers ready to hire an Inspector but experience difficulty filling those positions. The Inspector Training School is asking for your help with a student recruitment project to strengthen the industry. The School is reaching out to High School guidance departments throughout the United States to provide them with information about a career in the hardwood lumber industry.

We greatly appreciate your time and effort!

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We are asking our members to pass along contact information for the high school guidance departments in your area so that we may send information directly to them.

Please email Carol McElya at or call 901-399-7563 her with the following: High School Name, City, State, Guidance Counselor Name­­— Contact Information, Phone, Email.

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

AMERICAN HARDWOOD INDUSTRIES American Hardwood Industries (AHI) is seeking a General Manager for their sawmill and kiln operation located in Linden, TN.

Skills & Experience Required • 4-year degree, in a related field is a plus, but not required.

General Manager Job Summary: • Direct and manage sawmill and kiln operations in the areas of safety, production, maintenance, profitability, and quality.

• Proven ability to respectfully manage a diverse workforce.

• Strive to continuously improve all areas of mill performance.

Salary & Benefits Competitive Pay. Full Time First Shift. Full Plan of Benefits.

• Establish and monitor overall plant performance for safety, production, profitability, and quality standards at each location. • Oversee location activities to ensure the total manufacturing objectives are accomplished in a timely and cost-effective manner.

• 10+ years of related management work experience desired.

• Proficient in MS Excel, Word, and Outlook.

How to Apply Send your resume to:

• Ensure the safe operation of sawmill and kiln operations.

American Hardwood Industries Highway 412 West | Linden, TN 37096 540-946-9150 |

• Be aware of OSHA regulations and maintain all mills in accor dance withal local, state, and federal rules and regulations.

CAIRO DRY KILNS Cairo Dry Kilns is in need of a Lumber Inspector.

• Manage capital asset maintenance for division. • Control and minimize labor overtime and repair expenses.

Skills & Experience Required Minimum 2 years of hardwood grading experience.

• Ensure that managers maintain existing plant facilities and equipment; replace or make adjustments to plant facilities and equipment when necessary.

Salary & Benefits Good pay with benefits.

• Provide leadership and training to accomplish the company goals and objectives.

How to Apply Send your resume to:

• Provide direction, development and leadership to location managers.

Cairo Dry Kilns PO Box 547 | Cairo, IL 62914 618-734-1039 |

• Encourage and foster a sense of high, positive morale among the workforce.


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

HMI HARDWOODS LLC HMI Hardwoods is seeking a lumber inspector to inspect and tally lumber according to NHLA (National Hardwood Lumber Association) rules, and specific special orders as correctly as possible, without sacrificing quality, performance, or results. Responsibilities include: • Grade, tally, and inspect lumber for the highest profits. • Maintain a 95% or better grade accuracy to achieve the highest yields. Use best judgement, not to supersede NHLA (National Hardwood Lumber Association) rules/regulations. Skills & Experience Required • NHLA (National Hardwood Lumber Association) certified. • Minimum 1-year experience grading green lumber. • Experience and ability to work in a fast pace environment. • Must be physically capable of performing all duties of the job and any other duties assigned by Supervisor *Safety is of utmost importance and all employees agree to maintain a safe work environment and abide by our safety and other company policies. Salary & Benefits Competitive wages, paid time off, 401k, and benefits. How to Apply Send your resume to: HMI Hardwoods LLC 430 Division St | Clinton, MI 49236 517-456-5714 |

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NEMROC INC. NEMROC is looking to hire lumber inspector(s) to work at it's Alpena and Hillman, Michigan locations. Skills & Experience Required Graduate of NHLA Inspector Training School or equivalent experience inspecting both green and KD lumber. Salary & Benefits Competitive salary based on experience and qualification. Benefits include paid vacation, holidays, sick and personal leave, medical insurance, a tax deferred annuity plan, longevity bonus, and profit sharing. How to Apply Send your resume to: NEMROC INC. 800 Bolton St | Alpena, WI 49707 989-356-6141 | RUTLAND LUMBER COMPANY Rutland Lumber Company is in need of a Lumber Inspector. Skills & Experience Required Ability to inspect lumber according to the NHLA rules. Salary & Benefits Competitive pay and benefits along with holiday pay and insurance. How to Apply Send your resume to: Rutland Lumber Company 1731 Sunset Road | Collins, MS 39428 601-765-8892 |

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

WAGNER LUMBER Wagner Lumber is looking to hire a Sawmill Manager.

How to Apply Send your resume to:

Responsibilities include: • Coordinate mill activities with lumber sales to ensure the total manufacturing objectives are accomplished in a timely and cost effective manner.

Wagner Lumber 4060 Gaskill Rd | Owego, NY 13827 607-687-5362 |

• Ensure the safe operation of the mill by training employees in safe practices and eliminating or controlling safety hazards. • Responsible for operating expenditures, manpower, wages, and salaries of mill workers. • Establish and monitor overall plant performance for production and quality standards. • Monitor sawing of lumber to ensure logs are used for their highest and best use and waste is minimized. • Maintain a preventative maintenance plan focused on eliminating or reducing downtime while effectively controlling costs. • Responsible for the proper use and care of all company assets. • Provide leadership and training to accomplish the company goals and objectives. • Provide direction, development, and leadership to mill supervisors. • Encourage and foster a sense of high, positive morale among the workforce.

WINSTON HARDWOOD, INC. Winston Hardwood, Inc. is looking for experienced lumber inspectors. Lumber inspectors on our green end will operate in an enclosed cab automated grading system. Skills & Experience Required Experience grading hardwood lumber in compliance with NHLA rules required. Salary & Benefits Great pay and benefits package based on experience, including paid holidays and vacation, Blue Cross Medical Insurance, Life insurance, company matched retirement plan, yearly attendance bonus, Christmas bonus, and potential sign-on bonus. If you’re interested please email your resume to jwinstonhardwood@usa. com or call 205-489-2979 for application instructions. How to Apply Send your resume to: Winston Hardwood, Inc 22551 Hwy 195 S | Double Springs, AL 35553 205-489-2979 |

Skills & Experience Required • 5+ years of related management work experience desired. • Bachelor's Degree preferred. • Proven ability to respectfully manage a diverse workforce. • Proficient in MS Excel, Word, and Outlook Salary & Benefits Competitive Pay, Full Time, First Shift, Full Plan of Benefits


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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.

Locations “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

“One day we end weretallies backed Get accurate in up with 12 bundles on our line. seconds with the TallyExpress Normally, it would have taken a app. stressful Just snap30 a photo andto get very minutes the app usesand AI tomoved. measure those tallied With each board. Start to finish, TallyExpress, we did all 12 bundles in about a completed end ten tallyminutes takes and it60-90 was aseconds. stress-free Noexperience.” special – Granite Hardwoods, Inc.

equipment required!


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

“Previously, end tallyingnothing. was “The training is almost aPeople huge bottle neck. We were take pictures with their regularly paying 16 man-hours smartphones every day. It’s of overtime Saturdays just very familiaron technology. to catch up. TallyExpress has Basically, you show someone completely eliminated that how to use it on one bundleextra day of tallying because can and they’re ready to go.we It really process bundles faster during does only take a couple of the week.” minutes to train someone.” -Northwest Hardwoods – Allegheny Wood Products

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(402) 996-2710 |

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