October 2020 Hardwood Matters

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H A R D W O O D M AT T E R S Family Business in the Time of Covid-19

October 2020

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



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CONTENTS October 2020 • Issue 216


feature 10 Family Business in the Time of Covid-19

departments 8

8 Member Spotlight The Horton Group

ONLINE TOP POST OF THE MONTH at facebook.com/NHLAOfficial This MAN, right here taught the NHLA Inspector Training School for 27 years. On July 31st he "graduated" with 192nd class and officially became an ITS graduate and alumni! The love and admiration that we have for him can never be expressed-here's to you Rich!

16 Rules Corner Defect Indentification

by Chief Dana Spessert

reader services 4 6 18 19


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


Follow us

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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) info@nhla.com • www.nhla.com

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.

Ally Global Logistics, LLC


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




Serra Sawmills

IBC TallyExpress by DMSi


Tropical Forest Products


King City/Northway Forwarding, LTD


Wood-Mizer, LLC


Pike Lumber Company, Inc.


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David Mayfield Mayfield Lumber Co. Membership & Networking

Desirée Freeman Controller


Julia Ganey Member Relations Manager

Stephanie VanDystadt DV Hardwoods, Inc. Membership

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

For advertising contact: John Hester, Director of Membership and Business Development at j.hester@nhla.com or 901-399-7558 or Vicky Simms, Membership Development Manager at v.simms@nhla.com or 901-399-7557

Rich Solano Pike Lumber Company, Inc. Structure

Vicky Quiñones Simms Membership Development Manager Melissa Ellis Smith Graphic Designer Dana Spessert Chief Inspector

Rob Cabral Upper Canada Forest Products, Ltd. Promotion & Advocacy Dennis Mann Baillie Lumber Co. Convention Scott Cummings Cummings Lumber Company, Inc. Inspection Services Bruce Horner Abenaki Timber Corp. ITS/Continuing Education Brin Langmuir Falcon Lumber Ltd. Communications & Marketing Joe Snyder Fitzpatrick & Weller, Inc. Rules

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y the time you read this article, we will have had our 2020 NHLA virtual convention. It will have been a witness to the resilience of our industry, our NHLA members and our Association.

A year ago, who would have guessed a pandemic called “COVID – 19” would be affecting our families, businesses, and NHLA? The answer to the question is: no one. Nobody saw a pandemic coming. To begin my NHLA presidency, I want to commend our past president, Darwin Murray. In the 40 plus years I have been involved in the lumber industry, I cannot remember a more tumultuous two-year period. Darwin led us through the tariff dispute with China. This dispute resulted in a glut of lumber on the market and a precipitous fall in lumber pricing. Many of our members struggled. Then just when the tariffs on lumber shipping to China were lifted on March 1, 2020, Covid-19 roared to life and created more chaos. I have been so fortunate to have had the opportunity to watch Darwin handle these situations. I know we are all grateful to Darwin for his leadership through these unprecedented times. In the spring of 2018, Pem Jenkins called me and asked me to consider stepping in line to be NHLA President. I was both surprised and humbled by the request. I remember Pem specifically saying. “We’ve had a couple of great years, your time as president is likely to be some of the best times in our industry.” I believe Pem said that in truth. When it becomes my time to contact members for the nomination committee, I will say, “it will be an exciting opportunity.” It seems the only constant about our future is that it is uncertain. I accept the honor to serve as your president. I believe in the men and women of this industry. I believe we have good things in our future and want to be a part of making them happen. I do not remember a president of the NHLA from the West coast. I am sure that is a concern for many of you. I will share a bit of my family history to help you to get a feel for who I am.


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I grew up in the foothills of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest (GPNF) in Skamania County, Washington. Most of you know where this is because Mount Saint Helens is in the Northwest corner of the county. I was coming out of church on that Sunday in May of 1980 when the mountain blew. I will never forget seeing the plume of ash billowing up in the sky. I would estimate 80% of the land in Skamania county is in the GPNF. I lived in a small town like many of you do, named Carson, Population 310, unincorporated. We had one yellow flashing light, two mom and pop grocery stores, two taverns, a couple of churches, a post office, a hardware store, a fire station, a grange hall, and a barbershop. That was about it. Every night I went to bed listening to a de-barker and woke up to the same. WKO Lumber Company was less than a mile from my home. I remember one summer when I was about 10 years old, the county was fixing the Wind River Highway, and the detour routed traffic past my front door. Not having much to do, I counted both the number of log trucks and how many one log loads went by the front of my house. If I recall correctly, the most one log loads I counted in one day was eleven. They were quite a sight. I saw the effect of the spotted owl, the “Friends of the Gorge,” and the shutdown of all but one sawmill in the county when the GPNF was closed to logging in the early '70s. I know at one-point unemployment was 22% in Skamania county, and alcoholism was rampant. My dad got caught up in the latter as he lost the job that meant so much to him. Before my time, the lumber industry was in my family. If you google “Inventor of the bell choker,” this will pop up (see box on page 5). Oscar Wirkkala was my great uncle. He was a big-time innovator. He had many patents and was part of changing logging methods in the Northwest. He was part of the ownership of Wirkkala Brother’s Logging. I found an advertisement for their company, it read, “If

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Wirkkala Career. Wirkkala invented and developed the high lead method of logging. This skyline (or "spar") method, ideally suited for steep terrain, revolutionized the industry. He also invented important pieces of that industry's machinery used during the first half of the 20th century, including the ubiquitous choker hook. en.wikipedia.org > wiki> Oscar_Wirkkala

OSCAR Wirkkala - Wikipedia we can’t save you 50 cents per thousand in the removal of your timber from the forest; we’ll do it for free.” That was when 50 cents meant something. My parents told me to do anything I wanted with my life, and I ended up in the lumber industry. I am passionate about forests, trees, lumber, and other products we make from our forests. There is so much improvement we can make in this industry. I envision greatness for our industry. It starts with leadership and a belief that great things can happen for us. Positive things can happen by making incremental changes. Mini experiments in search of improvement, new knowledge and understanding. We will build an army of passionate industry people. We will arm them with facts,

knowledge, and enthusiasm. I really believe we can change the world for the better. I am excited to lead NHLA through the next two years, no matter what happens. I am looking forward to the challenge. When you can help, jump in. I guarantee it will be rewarding for you.

Jeff Wirkkala, NHLA President Hardwood Industries, Inc.

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HLA is proud to announce an important new addition to our educational offerings, NHLA’s online learning portal. The portal includes a series of webinars focusing on the most current and relevant technical and business issues impacting our members’ bottom line. Webinars are based on member input on educational topics that are important to their business. NHLA’s traditional educational programming has focused on helping increase the overall success and profitability of member companies for years. Most classes have been historically offered by the NHLA Inspector Training School and in-person short courses. And while rulesbased training will always be a core member value, we recognized that members need more in order to compete in today’s brave new world, particularly since so many in-person educational programming had to be canceled because of the COVID-19 epidemic. Clearly, new approaches were necessary if we intended to fulfill our educational obligations to our members. We chose webinars as our educational vehicle because they present an affordable and effective way of reaching more members with more training opportunities they can access at their own time, day or night. NHLA’s educational programming is developed specifically for the hardwood industry. We offer programs to propel your individual career as well as programs that will contribute to the overall success and profitability of your company.

The instructor for the first round of our webinars is none other than leading industry expert Eugene Wengert, President of the Wood Doctor RX, and Professor Emeritus of the University of Wisconsin. Our thanks go out to Dr. Wengert, who volunteered his time and expertise in making the webinars possible. All webinars have received high marks from participants. And better yet, — members don’t have to worry about COVID as they can now access invaluable educational opportunities taught by leading industry experts without the economic burden of travel expenses. More importantly, the live webinars allow for multiple individuals from the same company to view at the same time. After the live event, all webinars are posted on nhla.com, allowing members to further study the guidance offered to enhance the learning opportunity. Be sure to visit nhla.com/education/webinars/ to register for our upcoming webinars, learn about our new webinar events, and check out our webinar replays.

Lorna D. Christie, NHLA CEO l.christie@nhla.com

In order to serve our members in these unprecedented times, we took a step forward and created NHLA Webinars On Demand. And because of the dedicated support of our NHLA member sponsors, we are able to offer the webinars free of charge to members – another critical benefit in today’s business environment. Webinar topics range from a four-part Kiln Drying Series to Finished Goods and Gluing. Future webinars will focus on business and leadership topics.


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Horton Group employees attend and sponsor the “Little Black Dress” event supporting Goodwill of Michiana. The company believes in Goodwill’s mission to strengthen communities by empowering individuals and families through education, training, and job placement.

The Horton Group


ounded in 1971 in Orland Park, IL, the Horton Group began as a small, eight-person family-owned insurance agency specializing in auto and home insurance for individuals. Since then, it has expanded into commercial insurance, employee benefits, and consulting services. Today, the Horton Group is ranked as the country’s 37th largest insurance brokerage by Insurance Journal, with seven offices around the Midwest, nearly 400 employees, and over $75 million in annual revenue. The Horton Group is an insurance, employee benefits, and risk advisory firm that leads clients with complex needs and limited resources to a higher performance level. This philosophy enables them to focus on specific practices and specializations, such as wood & lumber. Consequently, they help lower the actual cost of risk by focusing on risk management, supported by industry-leading claims advocacy, loss control, and risk advisory services.


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Mike Kocourek, a Marketing Communications Specialist with the Horton Group, talks about how they cater to the hardwood industry, “We discovered the lumber industry’s needs through active involvement in the National Hardwood Lumber Association, as well as other associations. Then, we specifically designed our wood products program with the lumber industry’s needs in mind. We offer dedicated programs with comprehensive insurance coverage. It is W W W. N H L A .C O M

“. . . We offer dedicated programs with comprehensive insurance coverage. It is with this focus and intent that we continue to advise our customers to plan and achieve a higher level of performance. ” — Mike Kocourek with our pursuit of talent that shares our vision and values, as well as clients—and know that we can confidently serve them well and have a terrific client and employee experience. Many of our clients don’t want face-to-face interaction right now. Thus we have been doing renewals on Skype or over the phone. We have all of our staff working remotely from home, and the response time to customer requests is actually better than when they were in the office.” To keep employee moral high, the Horton Group hosts periodic theme days, including this friendly competition between their Wisconsin and Chicago offices on the opening day for Bears vs the Packers.

Kevin is also proud of the Horton Group’s work within the community. The Horton Group hosts events like “Little Black Dress” benefiting Goodwill of Michiana, and food drives for the South Bend Foodbank. They also support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, hold blood donation drives for local blood banks, and participate in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, donating Christmas gifts to children in need. Kevin’s commitment to this industry is noted in his involvement in NHLA and other associations. He is the current president of IHLA and is on the board of the NAFF. The key to the Horton Group’s success can be boiled down to three words: People and Vision. Dan Horton, CEO of the Horton Group, explains, “I feel that once we defined the traits of people who are best suited to work at our firm and everyone had clarity on where the firm is going, we had a better guide for our decision-making.

Horton Group employees working at the South Bend food bank, where they donate food twice a year.

with this focus and intent that we continue to advise our customers to plan and achieve a higher level of performance. We aim to help our clients improve their risks and become more attractive to the carriers through proactive loss control. Improved property conservation programs and culture changes in housekeeping strategies are just a few of the ways they work to partner with their clients.” Their outstanding services haven’t changed as COVID-19 upends businesses across the country. Kevin Mershimer, a sales executive with the Horton Group with over 20 years of experience insuring sawmills and wood product risks, explains that they began working from home in mid-March. “We had been working on the technology to enable a work-from-home environment for some time, so the pivot was quite smooth. We have learned to blend a virtual and physical environment, and in some ways, completely change the way we work. There was no disruption to the way we serviced our clients. And in some ways, it’s allowed us to broaden our geography—both W W W. N H L A .C O M

Dan also credits the success of the Horton Group to it being a family business, “Being owned by one man with a value system is important to us. He invests any proceeds back into the company and is all about ensuring quality and doing the right thing.” Dan says, “The Horton group has an exciting future ahead of us, even as we find ourselves in an environment where there is tremendous consolidation. By one statistic, it’s estimated that 40% of agencies will be acquired by 2025. To me, that means we have the opportunity to build a special company - that’s Successful, Good, and Passed to Future Generations (the three pillars of our vision) ­—one that defines our future on our terms. We are currently one of the top 50 largest brokers in the US, which is pretty impressive, considering we are a privately held company. With my father helping me, we have a very bright future, one that will continue with the values it had at the very beginning.” You can reach the Horton Group by calling (724) 699-4550, emailing Kevin.Mershimer@thehortongroup.com, or visiting their website, www.thehortongroup.com. O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0 H A R D W O O D M AT T E R S |


You may have heard the old Chinese proverb, “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.� The adage of building windmills is an excellent example of how businesses that plan for difficult times harness the power of the crisis and make it through. This maxim should be kept in mind as we battle the impact of COVID-19, and it is especially true for family businesses.

Family Business in the Time of COVID-19


amily businesses are naturally resilient – because their success isn’t just crucial for the owner, but for the many generations of family that follow. Look at how many long-established family businesses made it through world-changing events like stock market crashes, world wars, emerging technologies, and natural disasters. Family businesses have many advantages that help them in times of crisis: employee loyalty, long-term decision-making opportunities, and the flexibility to enact those decisions without first going through committee after committee.

Left to right: Jordan McIlvain, Weld McIlvain, and Alan McIlvain III

Team Swaner, in 2017, celebrating 50 years in business.

Of course, family businesses can suffer the same personal and financial loss as publicly held companies, but they are unique in how they face the challenges. One of their advantages comes in the form of employee loyalty. Family business owners are known to be dedicated to their employees – especially long-term employees, whether they are family or not. Employees often reciprocate this loyalty. According to Continuity Family Business Consulting, “When economic challenges exist, long-term employees of family businesses are more likely to work with family owners that have gone above and beyond for them in the past.” They feel like they are a part of the family. Jordan McIlvain is the Vice President of the Alan McIlvain Company, a family business specializing in hardwood lumber and custom mouldings for the past 222 years. Jordan has a great story about employee loyalty, “We have employees that have worked here for over 40 years. When I started (in 2008), I wanted to give out gift cards to longstanding employees as a sign of appreciation for their decades of hard work. At first, I planned to give the gifts to employees with 20 years of service, and I quickly realized that would be most of our employees. I wanted it to be special, so I bumped it up to 25 years, and only one less employee qualified. I ended up choosing to award those with over 35 years of service, and there were six employees (not including my father and uncle.) We are very proud of our employees, and we do what we can for those who work hard and look out for the customer’s best interest.” Swaner Hardwood Company, a manufacturer and distributor based in Los Angeles, is another example of a successful family business. Founded in 1967, the company is now run by the third generation of the family. George Swaner, the Vice President of Purchasing at the Swaner Company, adds,

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Clockwise from top: Early beginnings at the Alan McIlvain Company, using horse-drawn wagons. The Alan McIlvain Company lumber yard in 1948. Alan McIlvain Company’s family tree 1740 - 1948

"We do have quite a bit of employee loyalty - people who have been here multiple decades. When someone is hired, we try our best to treat them like they are a part of the family. We know how important each role is and try and give them the tools they need to not only succeed but grow within the company.” Peter Englisch, a partner at Price Waterhouse Cooper, points out the importance of family unity during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, “Family owners need to stand united, define their commitment to their business and speak with one voice. They need to send a powerful message to their employees, business partners, and the public that they are backing the business. If they do this right and do not compromise their values, they will build trust and confidence, which will help them when the economic situation improves.”


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Alan McIlvain Company shows its commitment through the stability of the family. Jordan points out, “We currently have three family members from the 7th generation working at the company today. I am the youngest of the three and serve as Vice President and head of domestic and imported lumber purchasing. My older brother, Weld McIlvain, is our Distribution Manager responsible for lumber order processing. The oldest of our generation is my cousin Lan McIlvain, who followed his father as President of the company. He has many responsibilities in almost every facet of the business. With all of our daily responsibilities as employees, there is constant communication with our employees. I am active on the boards for NHLA, IWPA, and Penn York Lumberman’s Club. Lan maintains communication with some industry contacts as well as all non-lumber related businesses. Lan and I also speak to customers daily to help our sales W W W. N H L A .C O M

“. . . We are very proud of our employees, and we do what we can for those who work hard and look out for the customer’s best interest.” — Jordan McIlvain

team when they get busy. On top of all this, we recognize this company does not just support just one family. There are about 80 families that rely on this company, and some of those families also have multiple generations working here.” During times of crisis, family members set aside petty arguments that may have haunted them in the past and work together to do whatever it takes to keep the family business alive. When you have so many dedicated people working toward a company’s success, it makes the family more robust as well. Swaner points out, “Our family is very involved in the business. My grandfather is 93 years old and would still be coming into the office every day if not for the whole COVID situation. My father is still very active in the company, which is now in its third generation, including myself, my brother, and two cousins. We all play a key part in the business; each of us brings a different skill set to the table, which is why we all work so well together.” Family businesses have another advantage in the way they make decisions. Public companies make decisions intending to please their shareholders in the current quarter. However, family businesses are making decisions that might not pay off for years because they think about the business’s vitality for their children and grandchildren. Like public companies, they make cuts to budgets and staff, and some even take reduced salaries. But family businesses will see a higher return on those cuts in the long-term because they kept the company alive for the family.

More information & contact:


XE 135 XE 160

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24 HOURS A DAY 7 DAYS A WEEK It’s not too late to catch up! The NHLA On Demand Virtual Exhibit Hall is Open until December 31st. Connect with hardwood industry suppliers about a wide range of products and services, including insurance companies, logistics suppliers, equipment manufacturers, software providers, hardwood lumber producing companies, and more.

That brings us to another advantage for family businesses: decision-making flexibility. Families can make business decisions and implement those decisions in real-time without much red tape. This flexibility also allows the next generation to be involved in decisions that will affect them in the future. The future generations can learn how previous generations survived troubled times in the past. The Harvard Business Review reports that family businesses can achieve success by following four rules: preserve wise governance, W W W. N H L A .C O M

Visit the online exhibit hall today! bit.ly/NHLAexhibithall O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0 H A R D W O O D M AT T E R S |


Clockwise from top left: Lumber at Swaner Hardwood waiting to be custom milled to order. Swaner Hardwood Company founder and CEO Keith Swaner, with his wife Beverly, receiving their first carload of lumber at the new Burbank, CA location in 1969. In 1970 preparing to install diesel fuel tanks for the new fleet of trucks.

“. . . We all play a key part in the business; each of us brings a different skill set to the table, which is why we all work so well together.” — George Swaner find and develop talent both within the family and outside of the family, pursue a well-ordered succession, and protect family gravity. The Family Business Network International (FBNI) conducted a study to define ‘family gravity’ and discovered that it is comprised of six essential factors: • Having a value system • A clear vision for the future • Knowing the level of involvement that is expected • Clearly defined roles • Having an ability to work together and communicate effectively • Family governance


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The first factor, having an established value system, gives the family a template for creating relationships with other businesses and your community. Think of it as your core moral code that will help your business survive when faced with challenges like COVID-19. Having a known value system makes your business stand out in a sea of competitors during difficult times. Having a clear vision for the future that puts all family members on the same page is the key to family businesses setting goal and priorities for the future. There can be no ambiguity about each person’s role and the expectations their involvement requires. All leadership roles must be expressly defined – for the family and those working with them.

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“When economic challenges exist, long-term employees of family businesses are more likely to work with family owners that have gone above and beyond for them in the past.” When times of trouble come knocking, you don’t want your business arguing over who’s in charge. Swaner explains his family’s vision for the future, “To continue to build upon the foundation that my grandfather, father, and uncle laid for us. I feel very blessed to be a part of something that has been in our family for over 50 years, and I think I can speak for everyone here and say that we want to continue to grow and be around another 50+ years. We are constantly looking at developing trends and thinking about staying relevant to an everchanging customer base.” Communication is another factor that helps family businesses survive. The way people treat each other makes a difference. To cohesively work together, everyone must have a mutual understanding of respect and support the decisions made. If you have clear lines of communication, you’ll have an environment that encourages the healthy exchange of ideas, allowing the family to become more resilient and adapt to change. Finally, a business with sound family governance ensures that decisions are made in an orderly manner, and authority guidelines are followed. Family governance is a commitment to professionalism that will help the business attract and retain the best employees.

When a business combines these six factors, they are more likely to succeed; however, the study found that a mere 40 percent of medium-to-large family businesses with yearly revenues above $500 million perform well in just three of the six factors. Family businesses in the hardwood industry that build windmills using all six factors of family gravity have an edge that can sustain their business no matter what the world throws their way. These businesses, like Swaner Hardwoods and the Alan McIlvain Company, make the most of their advantages to ensure they are on track to leave the next generation an adaptable, reliable, and successful company.

https://hbr.org/2019/06/6-traits-of-strong-family-businesses https://familybusiness.org/content/5-ways-family-businesses-can-adapt-to-covid-19 https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/services/family-business/assets/family-businesses-and-covid-19.pdf https://continuityfbc.com/the-good-news-family-business-resilience-and-the-pandemic/




Januray 4-March 26, 2021 Memphis, TN “Many people think they know the Rules, but they don’t actually know what the book says. Learning the Rules at the NHLA Inspector Training School has helped our sawmill identify mistakes that were costing us $130,000 to $180,000 a year depending on species.” — Grant Dorris, ITS Class 188, Volner Sawmill, Inc.

NHLA . . . WHERE HARDWOOD LUMBER INSPECTORS ARE MADE! To register call 901-399-7563 or visit nhla.com/education W W W. N H L A .C O M

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Defect Identification by Chief Inspector Dana Spessert


ne of the most difficult aspects of inspecting hardwood lumber is defect identification. As hardwood lumber inspectors, we must look for clear wood. Sometimes the “clear wood” has defects that may or may not be removable by surfacing to either “Standard Thickness” or “Standard Thickness for Surfaced Lumber,” and it’s our job to know. What defects are allowed, if they can be surfaced off? This question has two distinct answers. First, if we look on page 4, paragraph 4 of the NHLA Rules Book, 2019 edition. “Lumber shall be inspected and measured as the inspector finds it, of full length, width and thickness. No allowance shall be made for the purpose of raising the grade, except that in rough stock, wane, and other defects which can be removed by surfacing to standard rough thickness shall not be considered.” In the above “General Instruction” it clearly states that any defect that can be removed by surfacing to Standard Thickness (chart on page 6, paragraph 13) shall not be considered a defect. The second answer option we have is limited to only three defects - season checks, stain, and warp - and it is allowed as long as it will surface off at “Standard Thickness for Surfaced Lumber” (chart on page 6, paragraph 14). These three descriptions can be found in three different locations in the Rules Book.



In the Rules Book on page 8, paragraph 22, under “Season Checks” it states: Season Checks: “Season checks are considered ordinary and are admitted in clear face cuttings if they will dress out at standard surfaced thickness.”


On page 9, paragraph 24, under “Stain,” it states: Stain: “Stain shall not be admitted in clear-face cuttings unless it will dress out in surfacing to standard thickness for surfaced lumber, except in species where rules specifically state stain is admitted.”

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n On page 9, paragraph 29, under “Cutting,” it states:

Warp: “A portion of a board or plank obtained by crosscutting or ripping, or by both. In the Common grades, a cutting shall be flat enough to surface two sides to standard surfaced thickness after it has been removed from the board. In the grades of Selects and Better the entire board must be flat enough to surface two sides to standard surfaced thickness (for skip limitations, see page 58 under the rule “Clear-Face” Cutting Grade).”

This is a lot of information and areas to reference. It is one of the more confusing aspects of hardwood lumber grading. It is also part of the reason it takes so much time to study to become efficient and effective at hardwood lumber inspection. Throughout the summer, NHLA has been offering free webinars to educate the industry on different areas of hardwood production. The webinar “Proper Air & Shed Drying of Lumber Prior to the Kiln Drying Process” is one in particular that I feel would help many practicing hardwood lumber inspectors. The webinar explains in great detail how to avoid or at least minimize some of the drying defects that can occur, which not only helps a hardwood inspector do their job better but also saves the company a lot of money! I encourage you to watch the replay of this webinar and view all of our webinar replays and upcoming webinars at www.nhla.com/education/webinars.

If you have any lumber grading questions, please reach out to me at d.spessert@nhla.com or call me at 901-399-7551.

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TRANSLATING OUR KNOWLEDGE INTO RESULTS FOR YOUR BUSINESS . . . THE NHLA INSPECTION SERVICES TEAM OF EXPERTS The NHLA Inspection Services Team is available to help you overcome any issues or problems you may be having. Reach out to your area inspector to arrange a consultation by phone or an in-person visit. We Are Here to Help You!


n n n n n

Dana Spessert Chief Inspector 901-399-7551 d.spessert@nhla.com

Mark Bear Tom Byers Mark Depp Kevin Evilsizer Simon Larocque

Mark Bear Tom Byers Mark Depp Kevin Evilsizer Territory: USA - Southern Region Territory: USA - Northern Region Territory: USA - Mid-Atlantic Region Territory: USA South East and South Central North Central and North East East and South East Midwest & Western Regions 205-295-8018 814-431-5699 814-246-4941 North Central, Midwest, West and m.bear@nhla.com t.byers@nhla.com m.depp@nhla.com International 417-260-5416 k.evilsizer@nhla.com

Simon Larocque Territory: Canada 819-712-1640 s.larocque@nhla.com




Lumber Workshop

From fundamentals to advanced: students will learn not only what to do but how and why. New kiln operators, trainees, supervisors and managers can advance their skills by attending. Venue: NHLA Headquarters Memphis, TN Instructor: Gene Wengert – “The Wood Doctor� Sponsored by



Finished Goods Webinar Series 10am cst

Finished Goods Webinar Series 10am cst

Machining: Defects and Cures

Rough Mill: Yield Improvements

Learn ways to obtain more usable product from the raw material to increase profits.

Presenter: Gene Wengert – “The Wood Doctor�

Presenter: Gene Wengert – “The Wood Doctor�

Register At: www.nhla.com/education/ webinars/

Register At: www.nhla.com/education/ webinars/




30-Dec. 11

5-March 26

Advanced Kiln Drying Lumber Workshop

Inspector Training School Online Training Program MODULE 1

Inspector Training School 194th Class


w!26-29 NeComplete Kiln Drying


Increase productivity and yield by understanding proper techniques.

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





This class is designed for people who have some experience running drying equipment. Basic procedures such as measuring moisture content are NOT covered. Students should bring real-life problems to the instructor for evaluation, discussion and resolution. Venue: NHLA Headquarters Memphis, TN Instructor: Gene Wengert – “The Wood Doctor� Sponsored by

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Two weeks of hands-on training.

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

Traditional 12-week hands-on training to achieve the certificate of completion in Hardwood Lumber Inspection. Venue: NHLA Headquarters Memphis, TN Instructor: Roman Matyushchenko, Associate Dean of the Inspector Training School

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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 www.nhla.com/industry-services/job-board. MIDWEST TERRITORY SALES REPRESENTATIVE - U-C COATINGS U-C Coatings is looking for a dynamic salesperson in the hardwood/ softwood lumber industry to cover the Midwest/Great Lakes Region. The position requires sales experience and a solid knowledge of primary and secondary wood markets. There will be a heavy emphasis on growth in the region in addition to maintaining a current customer base. Travel can be up to 50% of the time. The candidate must be a self-starter with a proven ability to work with minimal supervision. Establishing long-lasting customer relationships and understanding the value of excellent customer service are of the utmost importance. Our salespeople don’t just take orders; they provide expertise and bring value to our customers.

SKILLS & EXPERIENCE REQUIRED • NHLA certified or equivalent experience. • Experience with both green and KD lumber. • Forklift, planer, and other machine operation experience a plus.

SKILLS & EXPERIENCE REQUIRED • Minimum 3-5 years of sales experience in the hardwood or softwood lumber industry • Bachelor’s degree in Wood Science, Forestry or related field preferred • Understanding of consultative sales approach • Effective communication skills a must • Willing to travel up to 50% of the time • Proven record of sales success • Outgoing, personable, honest, and dependable

Kamps Hardwoods Inc. 6925 Dutton Industrial Park Dr. SE | Dutton, MI 49316 616-554-9339 | www.kampshardwoods.com

SALARY & BENEFITS U-C Coatings offers a base salary + commission, performance bonus health insurance, 401k plan, life insurance and paid vacation. HOW TO APPLY Send your resume to: chris@uccoatings.com U-C Coatings 2250 Fillmore Ave. | Buffalo, NY 14214 716-853-9270 | www.uccoatings.com LUMBER INSPECTOR - KAMPS HARDWOODS INC. Kamps Hardwoods is in search of a Hardwood Lumber Inspector for its kiln drying facility located in Dutton, MI (near Grand Rapids). This is a first shift position, Monday-Friday, in a climate-controlled facility. JOB RESPONSIBILITIES • Inspect kiln-dried lumber. • Work and interact well with team members. • Meet productivity goals, while ensuring accurate grade and high- quality work. • Maintain a safe work environment and stay compliant with corporate safety guidelines. • Keep workspace clean while meeting the company’s high standards for housekeeping. • Increased responsibilities to include team and production supervision/management will be discussed and offered to an experienced and professional candidate. W W W. N H L A .C O M

SALARY & BENEFITS This is a full-time position with competitive wages and benefits, including health, dental, and vision insurance, life insurance, 401(k), paid holidays, and vacation. Overtime hours offered regularly. HOW TO APPLY Send your resume to: robk@kampshardwoods.com

LUMBER INSPECTOR - DWIGHT LEWIS LUMBER COMPANY Dwight Lewis Lumber Company is looking for a full-time lumber inspector to grade green and KD hardwood lumber in northern Pennsylvania. Duties include: Grading green and KD lumber according to NHLA rules, operation of handheld computers to input lumber grades and forklift and machine operation. SKILLS & EXPERIENCE REQUIRED • NHLA lumber inspection certificate • Competent math skills • Ability to use handheld computers • Reliable and safety conscientious • Experience operating sawmill equipment and grading lumber is preferred. SALARY & BENEFITS Dwight Lewis Lumber Company offers 401K plans, excellent health insurance, and competitive pay. HOW TO APPLY Send your resume to: aaronl@dlewislumber.com Dwight Lewis Lumber Company 1895 Route 87 | Hillsgrove, Pennsylvania 18619 570-924-3507 | www.lewislp.com

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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. DOMESTIC HARDWOOD SALES REPRESENTATIVE MISSOURI WALNUT LLC Missouri Walnut is looking for a strong hardwood salesman for our Pennsylvania and greater New York area. This person will work out of the Pennsylvania Cherry office in Mercersburg, PA. Will work to establish a sales base for Walnut, Cherry, and White Oak. SKILLS & EXPERIENCE REQUIRED • 5-10 years of hardwood lumber sales experience. • You must have great communication skills. • The ability to understand a sales forecast and establish a budget is a must. • This person will work closely on maintaining current customers as well as establishing a great working relationship with new customers. • Must be motived and have a high level of integrity. SALARY & BENEFITS Missouri Walnut provides a competitive benefit package that consists of Health, Dental, Vision, Life Insurance, and a 401K with matching options. HOW TO APPLY Send your resume to: gmckinnis@missouriwalnutgroup.com Missouri Walnut, LLC. 11417 Oak Rd | Neosho, MO 64850 417-455-0972 | www.mo-walnut.com HEAD SAWYER - ALMAGUIN FOREST PRODUCTS Almaguin Forest Products (a division of Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve) is looking to hire a full-time head sawyer. Reporting to the Manager, the Head Sawyer will be primarily responsible for operating the headsaw and controlling the pace of the mill. JOB RESPONSIBILITIES • Operating the headsaw • Training and working collaboratively with other employees who are designated as back-up headsaw operators • Keeping a clean and safe workspace at all times. • Performing all tasks in accordance with established safe work practices and standard operating procedures • Other duties as assigned SKILLS & EXPERIENCE REQUIRED • Experience with operating a headsaw • Experience Working with bandsaws, hardwood lumber grades, and generally hardwood sawmill operators • Previous experience in a sawmill environment would be considered an asset • Ability to work in a physical product type environment • Ability to embrace hands-on solutions to complex challenges • Positive attitude and strong work ethic


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• The schedule for this role is Monday to Thursday 10 hours per day. • • Flexibility and ability to work overtime as required. SALARY & BENEFITS Compensation will be determined based on the experience of the candidate. Similar to all positions with Haliburton Forest & Wildlife Reserve and its subsidiaries, this position offers three weeks of paid vacation, health benefits after six months, and unlimited recreational access to the 100,000 acres of private land owned and managed by Haliburton Forest & Wildlife Reserve. HOW TO APPLY Send your resume to: hlloyd@haliburtonforest.com Almaguin Forest Products 39 Ena Ave, Box 746 | South River, Ontario P0A 1X0 1-905-260-4311 | www.almaguinforest.com HARDWOOD LUMBER GRADER - ROBINSON LUMBER COMPANY Robinson Lumber Company is looking to hire a full-time Hardwood Lumber Grader at our facility in New Albany, Indiana. Primary duties and responsibilities include consistent and accurate grading of lumber. A successful candidate must be NHLA certified or have equivalent experience and have the ability to work in a team oriented, fast paced work environment. This is an opportunity to join an established family company in an entrepreneurial stage of its long history, and for a motivated individual to grow both personally and professionally. The new generation of family ownership places no limits on leaders, regardless of last name, and the company’s most successful people aim to spend the rest of their careers here, forming tight personal bonds with their colleagues. SKILLS & EXPERIENCE REQUIRED • Visually inspects lumber according to species, grade, and dimension; • Uses NHLA lumber grading rules to inspect lumber; • Able to re-manufacture and upgrade lumber to increase value • Control quality and productivity throughout the inspection process • Communicate quality issues with other team members • 3+ years experience • Experience with NHLA rules • Effective written and verbal communication • Ability to work well with others with excellent attendance record. • This is not an entry level position and will require proven competencies. SALARY & BENEFITS This is a full time position with competitive wage and benefits. HOW TO APPLY Applications will only be accepted via our website: www.roblumco.com

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


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


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

Live in 70+ 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

How accurate? In the field, the “One day we were backed up difference between TallyExpress with 12 bundles on our line. and a hand tally by tape Normally, it would have taken a measure is less than 1%. It also very stressful 30 minutes to get “learns” as it’s used, making it those tallied and moved. With even more accurate TallyExpress, we did with all 12time. And the app is so easy to use,and bundles in about ten minutes get accurate measurements ityou was a stress-free experience.” –fast Granite Hardwoods, - no matter who Inc. is tallying.

“In thetraining past, you had to nothing. find “The is almost the right tally person who was People take pictures with their detailed and patient. With smartphones every day. It’s TallyExpress, we get the same, very familiar technology. accurate results regardless of Basically, you show someone who does the work.” how to use it on one bundle and they’reLumber ready to go. It really -Brownlee Co. does only take a couple of minutes to train someone.” – Allegheny Wood Products

Contact DMSi, your exclusive TallyExpress reseller, to start your free 30-day trial.

(402) 996-2710 | tallyexpress.com

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