October 2021 Hardwood Matters

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

NHLA LEADERSHIP AWARD William Milton "Milt" Cole

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

CONTENTS October 2021 • Issue 227

WHAT'S INSIDE feature 14 Presenting the NHLA Leadership Award

departments 14 8

ONLINE TOP POST OF THE MONTH at facebook.com/NHLAOfficial Today is National School Picture Day! We couldn't resist! This is the 163rd graduating class. Find your school picture in our Alumni Gallery.

6 Accolades 8 Education Spotlight The NHLA Inspector Training

School Joins Skills USA

10 Legislative Log Infrastructure Bill Faces

a Bumpy Road by Dana Cole

12 Member Spotlight DMSi 18 Rules Corner Ordering Heavy For Green Lumber


by Dana Spessert

19 Industry Insight Did you Skip Lunch?

Follow us

by Bob Pope

reader services 4 20

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President’s Message Educational Calendar

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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.

Breeze Dried, Inc.

9 Continental Underwriters, Inc. IFC DMSi 6


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 Desirée Freeman Controller




King City Forwarding USA


Pike Lumber Company, Inc.


Tropical Forest Products

Hurst Boiler


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Stephanie VanDystadt DV Hardwoods, Inc. Membership & Networking

Julia Ganey Member Relations Manager


John Hester Director of Membership and Business Development

Burt Craig Matson Lumber Company Membership

Renee Hornsby Director of Marketing/ Communications

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

Jens Lodholm Data Administration Specialist Carol McElya Inspector Training School Administrator Roman Matyushchenko ITS Instructor and Associate Dean of Education Vicky Quiñones Simms Membership Development Manager

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

Melissa Ellis Smith Graphic Designer Dana Spessert Chief Inspector

Dennis Mann Baillie Lumber Co. Convention Scott Cummings Cummings Lumber Company, Inc. Inspection Services Bruce Horner Abenaki Timber Corp. ITS/Continuing Education George Swaner Swaner Hardwood Communications & Marketing Joe Snyder Fitzpatrick & Weller, Inc. Rules

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y the time you read this article, many of us will have returned home from the NHLA Convention in West Palm Beach, Florida. We will be energized from being with other like-minded lumbermen and women. I know our NHLA staff will have put together an excellent experience for all in attendance.

Here are the top 5 desired characteristics based on answers from the search committee: • Leadership Skills • Strategic Planning Skills • Visionary • Relatable, Ability to Connect with Others • Marketing Experience

Many of you contacted our staff or me to notify us of your decision not to attend the convention due to COVID-19 concerns. Without exception, the decision to stay home has been about care and concern for the health of someone in your family or business. I commend each of you who made such a decision. I want to thank each of you who attended for being vaccinated and following the safety protocols of our hosts.

We also gave the poll to our senior staff. Here are the top 5 traits they want to see in their boss. • Relatable, Ability to Connect with Others • Leadership Skills • Willingness to Learn, Humble • Team Player • Good Communicator

I believe the biggest question I will have been asked at the convention is how is the search for the new NHLA Executive Director going? Let me take a moment and visit with you about where we are in the process.

Leadership is a common trait in the eyes of the search committee and our senior staff. If you think about leadership and break it down into what makes a great leader, you will find it encompasses many of the other traits we want.

Since my last update, the search committee spent some time talking about the characteristics we want in a new executive director. It didn’t take too long in our discussion to realize that a person with 100% of what we want does not exist. I had to chuckle when Jon Syre said, “We want a unicorn! Does anyone know where we can find one?” So, we adjusted our sails and decided to list all the characteristics of a “unicorn” and prioritize what we thought was most important. We polled each member of the search committee. It was amazing how focusing on our most desired traits brought the committee together.

The greatest leader I have experienced in my life was my college football coach, Ad Rutschman. He is in the college football hall of fame. He has had many significant successes. If you asked him what is his most important accomplishment. I know he would say, “to have inspired others to be better people and to see them do great things in their lives.” He has written a book called “Winning with Class.” In his book, he list’s seven key traits of leadership.

The result of the poll showed “Leadership skills” to be the most important characteristic.


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1. Honesty – Relationships, communication, and credibility all begin with honesty. 2. Competence – Exhibit knowledge and proficiency in technical and interpersonal skills.

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3. Relationships – People are the heart and soul of any organization, and a caring and trusting climate must be established and practiced daily. 4. Vision – Look ahead at what is possible. How can we get better? How can we build people, a culture, an environment, and an organization?

Isn’t it interesting how these leadership traits are also intermixed in our poll results? Our #1 goal for our new executive director is to find and hire a great leader. If we can find a great leader, they will help us make a great organization. Best wishes for your continued health and success. May God bless you, your families, and your business now and in the future.

5. Personal and Public Role Model – Model ethics, have a good work ethic and values. Live what you say. 6. Inspire Change – Change thinking, then build a desire for improvement. Insist upon quality and excellence.

Jeff Wirkkala NHLA President | Hardwood Industries, Inc.

7. Clear Communication – Communicate content, ideas, and strategies with clarity.

FREE WEBINARS October 14, 2021 and November 11, 2021 Time 9AM PDT / 11 AM CST / 12 AM EST VIRTUAL LUNCH AND LEARN WITH THE WOOD DOCTOR Join NHLA and Dr. Gene Wengert as he answers your questions about drying hardwood lumber.

Sponsored by


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Welcome New Members (July and August)



Blough Lumber Sales, Alto MI Flowers Timber Company,Inc., Seven Springs, NC Gingerich & Sons, Bethany, MO Mill Brothers Sawmill, Jamestown, TN

Maxwell Bros. Lumber, Lewisport, KY Walker Lumber Company, Woodland, PA WV Great Barrel Company, LLC, Caldwell, WV

ASSOCIATE MEMBERS Hill Wood Products, Cook MN Stella-Jones Corp., Fulton, KY

SUSTAINING MEMBER Raptor Nails & Staples, Hutto, TX

RESEARCH MEMBERS Scott Lyon Elmira Ort Tennessee Forestry Association


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Milestone Members Congratualtions to these companies who are celebrating significant milestone anniversaries with NHLA.




MICROTEC Sustaining | September 2016

MIDDLE TENNESSEE LUMBER CO., INC. Active U2 | July 2001 NORTHLAND FOREST PRODUCTS Associate | July 2001 POLLMEIER, INC. Partner | September 2001

UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY Research | September 2016


KEREX, INC. Active U1 | July 2001

LICO MACHINERY INC. Sustaining | September 2001

D & D HARDWOOD Active U2 | September 2016 LNL BUILDING PRODUCTS, LLC Associate | July 2016


TERRY L. GRIFFITH & ASSOCIATES Active U1 | August 2001


THOROUGHBRED HARDWOODS, LLC Active U1 | August 2011 R&M WOOD, INC. Active U1 | August 2011



FINE LUMBER AND PLYWOOD, INC. Active U1 | September 1991

TURMAN TYE RIVER, LLC Active U1 | September 2011

FORESTRY SYSTEMS, INC. Sustaining | July 1991

TYR WOOD PRODUCTS Active U1 | July 2011 VERDE WOOD INTERNATIONAL Active U1 | July 2011

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ISK BIOCIDES, INC. Sustaining | August 1991

YEARS LAPP LUMBER CO. Active U1 | August 1971

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he NHLA Inspector Training School has been accepted into the SkillsUSA Program.

"Working with Skills USA will help us reach students who know they aren't going to choose a college or university education path. SkillsUSA is another resource for recruitment of ITS students, especially those who have already shown strong interest in a skilled trade career path," explained Carol McElya, NHLA Industry Services Administrator. "We plan on attending their annual meeting next year in Atlanta. At the annual meeting, there are competitions for students to participate in, to test their skill level in specific trade areas. Dana and I will be working with them on adding hardwood lumber grading to their list of competitions. The students who

attend these annual meetings have the opportunity to speak to trade school staff in an environment created specifically for them. We are very excited about the opportunity that lies ahead for the Inspector Training School and the hardwood industry by being part of this program." About SkillsUSA SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. We help each student excel. A nonprofit national education association, SkillsUSA serves middle-school, high-school and college/postsecondary students preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service (including health) occupations. www.skillsusa.org

To Learn more watch this video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJ8qoIOBFxM


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If you’re in the Forest Products Industry, get to know us.


Get the insurance coverage you need and the service you deserve.

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To learn how, call 804.643.7800

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he Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats, who cling to razor thin majorities in the House and Senate, continue to try to stitch together a workable compromise on a package of infrastructure spending and social program investments. This process began in earnest back in August, when the Senate approved a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and followed that up with passage of a budget resolution, which provided instructructions to a number of committees to fashion a $3.5 trillion social spending bill. The latter is being pursued through a parliamentary process known as reconciliation, which requires only a simple majority in the Senate instead of the normal 60 vote threshold, but includes fairly strict limitations that prevent the process from being used on just any legislation. The process was deployed earlier this year to enact the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief measure, as well as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017 and the Affordable Care Act during President Obama’s first term. While legislative leaders had hoped for swift enactment of these two measures, progress has encountered headwinds. In the Senate, all 50 Democrat Senators must be on board for the reconciliation process to prevail, as Republicans are unified in their opposition to the reconciliation package. Two moderates, Senators Kristen


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Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), have consistently voiced concern and opposition to spending levels that have been on the table. Likewise in the House, Speaker Pelosi has had to balance the interests of the progressive members in her caucus with moderates in the Blue Dog and New Democrat Coalitions. Our expectation is that a trimmed down package will ultimately be enacted, but later this year, likely around the holidays. The Hardwood Federation team, like most other organizations in town, has been playing both offense and defense in this exercise. On the offense side, there are several provisions in the infrastructure bill that are positive. In the forestry space, the legislation includes measures aimed at reducing the risk of wildfire through forest management. One of the ongoing challenges to making thinning projects economical is access to processing facilities. In many areas in the West, for example, existing wood processing infrastructure is not in close proximity to federal forests that desperately need active management. To address this, the legislation creates a new federal system for subsidizing sawmills and other wood processing facilities, along with $400 million in new financial assistance. The provision specifies that “close proximity” to a sawmill would become a factor for agencies to consider when funding federal land restoration.

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In addition to $110 billion to address the needs of our nation’s aging roads and bridges, the bill authorizes two programs to increase the trucking workforce and help shippers who rely on trucks to move products to market. One is a pilot program that would allow younger drivers between the ages of 18 and 21 to drive trucks interstate. Currently, these younger drivers may only operate within a state’s borders. The other is a provision promoting women in the trucking workforce. Language in the bill directs the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to establish a “Women of Trucking Advisory Board.” The board is tasked with identifying barriers to entry for women in the trucking industry, work across organizations and companies to coordinate formal education and training programs, and help identify and establish training and mentorship programs for women in the industry. Although women make up nearly half of our country’s workforce, they represent less than 10 percent of truck drivers across the country. At a time when trucking companies are struggling to find and retain workers, removing barriers to entry for women is a common sense, practical approach to try to address the driver shortage. And finally for North Carolina, a prime hardwood state, there is a provision grandfathering the current state weight limits on state roads that are slated to become federal interstates. Without enactment of the grandfather clause, weight limits would drop down to 80,000 pounds from the current 90,000 pound limit. Outside the trucking space, there is language designed to help small and medium sized manufacturers make their operations more efficient. Specifically, $2.1 billion is authorized to help manufacturers improve energy, water and material efficiency, load management and onsite generation to reduce waste and pollution while increasing profit. On the defensive front, spending of the magnitude under discussion necessitates finding so-called “pay fors” to offset the cost to the federal treasury. An increase in the corporate tax rate has been on the table for many months. The bidding started at raising the corporate rate to 28 percent from 21, but most believe that the ultimate number will be closer to 25 percent. The Hardwood team has been particularly focused on efforts to roll back the 20 percent deduction that was enacted for S-Corporations and other pass through entities as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), the lead tax writer in the Senate, has authored legislation to eliminate this deduction for business owners making more

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than $400,000. Wyden contends that this deduction, known as Section 199A, is used only by multi millionaires and large businesses. As we know, pass-throughs are a common feature in the hardwood sector and this tax structure is popular across the economy. In fact, pass throughs comprise 95 percent of all businesses in this country and employ the majority of private-sector workers. What Senator Wyden’s legislation does not acknowledge is that Section 199A limits the deduction for larger pass through businesses to those that have significant employment and investment levels. If a large pass through business does not create jobs and invest in its community, it does not receive the deduction. The Hardwood Federation joined several other trade groups in signing onto a letter earlier this year opposing Senator Wyden’s legislation and its inclusion in any reconciliation measure. We are also keeping close tabs on discussions around eliminating the “stepped up in basis” for calculating capital gains on property or assets that are passed on after death. Currently, the cost basis upon which capital gains are calculated receives a “step-up” to its fair market value, or the price at which the property or assets would be sold or purchased in a fair market. Stepping up the cost basis eliminates the capital gain that occurred between the original purchase of the asset and the heir’s acquisition. Eliminating this cost basis adjustment would have a profound effect on both businesses and individuals. Senator Chris VanHollen (D-MD) has introduced legislation titled the Sensible Taxation and Equity Promotion (STEP) Act would eliminate stepped up in basis for all capital gains over $1 million. This proposal has attracted wide spread opposition from sectors across the economy. Perhaps most vocal is the agricultural community where many farms are family owned, purchased many years ago and passed on through generations. We are not expecting the stepped up provisions to make it into any final package, but again we are staying close to the situation. The situation continues to be fluid and, again, resolution not expected until later this year. The above reflects the status of legislative action in late summer . . . the deadline for submitting this article. The Hardwood Federation team will continue to be your voice in Washington throughout this process and will keep you regularly apprised of developments and progress on our priorities.

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any remarkable things call Omaha, Nebraska home: the College World Series, Warren Buffett, and the Reuben Sandwich being some of the most famous. It is also the birthplace of DMSi, born in Omaha in 1976. DMSi began as a software pioneer that made the challenges of running a distribution business easier. Later, DMSi narrowed their focus. They began helping companies specifically in the lumber and building materials industry to better serve their customers.

Today, DMSi continues to provide business software for the lumber and building materials industry. Their software allows customers to manage their entire business in real time with integrated sales, accounting, operations, and inventory management solutions. Among their different programs are Agility ERP and TallyExpress. They recently expanded their offering by buying the software company eLIMBS.


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Henry German, Product Manager for TallyExpress and the son of DMSi CEO Cal German, spoke on how buying eLIMBS would affect their other programs, especially TallyExpress. “The cool thing about the acquisition of eLIMBS is that it’s already part of the market that DMSi specializes in. It’s just further up the supply chain,” said German. “It’s not like it’s a completely foreign W W W. N H L A .C O M

DMSi CEO Cal German with daughter Liz Langan and son Henry German.

“. . . We make our customers’ lives easier through software.” market to us. We bought eLIMBS because it expanded our service chain. Most of our Agility customers are at the distribution end of the supply chain. TallyExpress serves customers further up the same supply chain, in places like concentration yards and mills. With its inventory abilities, we now service the whole hardwood lumber supply chain with software for timber to logs, through sawmills and concentration yards, and finally through distribution facilities and retail. We can do it all.” eLIMBS also has a handheld, real-time data entry system for warehouse management that ties directly to the desktop inventory system. It can be used in the forest, in the yard when the logger shows up, or on site when the green lumber is ready. For German, NHLA plays an essential role for DMSi. “Being a member of NHLA means that we’re at the heart of the hardwood industry. Every time I visit a customer or a potential prospect, I see Hardwood Matters lying on the table. The annual convention brings all our customers to the same spot. We may meet with 20 or 30 companies. It’s such an important event for us and well worth the investment.”

to the success of TallyExpress has been the ability for companies to reduce the amount of time spent on tallying. It’s important. The employee that does the tallying is handling the company’s money. If they miss a row, they lose $60, or whatever that row costs. If they overdo it, customers can demand their money back, which tarnishes a company’s reputation. The person tallying needs to be competent and honest because as they measure the product, they count the money. It isn’t unusual to have a company’s highest-valued employees do the tallying. The TallyExpress app allows the employee to tally in a quarter of the time and then move on to other high-value tasks. TallyExpress also gives companies measurement consistency because computers don’t get tired or sick.”

With all the success DMSi has experienced, Henry is proud to be an independent company, “I think the biggest thing that separates us from our competition is that we are still independently owned and operated. We are in control of our future. We can plan for the long term rather than focusing on short-term profits. This is good for our customers and our employees. We like the hardwood industry because there are a lot of multi-generational, family-owned businesses like us.”

So, what are some long-term plans for DMSi? “We have a lot to look forward to,” said German. “We are advancing our technologies, incorporating AI machine learning, web dynamics, and e-commerce. We want to continue growing, advancing, and enhancing our software to make our customers’ lives easier. That is what we do. We make our customers’ lives easier through software.”

When it comes to the future, Henry is bullish. “We expect to see the same level of success from eLIMBS that we do from TallyExpress. A key

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

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Presenting the NHLA Leadership Award The NHLA Leadership Award is presented every two years to an NHLA member whose leadership has made a significant difference to NHLA, the industry, and our membership. To be nominated for this prestigious award, candidates had to meet specific criteria, including being an NHLA member for at least 20 years. Nominees also had to demonstrate ongoing contributions and dedication to serving the industry. Finally, nominees had to be proven innovators with consistent track records of supporting NHLA and the industry. The Award Selection Committee considered all the nominees and awarded the 2021 NHLA Leadership Award to the late William Milton “Milt” Cole of Cole Hardwood, Inc. at the 2021 NHLA Convention and Exhibit Showcase.

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ave Bramlage of Cole Hardwood nominated Milt Cole. Dave showed how integral Milt was to our industry, saying, “It is with great honor that I submit the name of William Milton Cole for your consideration. Throughout his career, Milt has always been a supporter of NHLA and the hardwood industry. Milt was a very philanthropic and generous man, donating millions of dollars to his community, state, and industry. Three schools that greatly benefited from his generosity were Indiana University Kokomo, Ivy Tech, and the NHLA Inspector Training School in Memphis, which he helped to build through donating $100,000 to the Building Fund.” Dave continued, “Milt loved the hardwood industry dearly; he supported numerous causes and sponsored many events. He encouraged his employees to be generous and active in the industry as well. Milt was a unique individual, the kind you are honored to know. In a lifetime, you’d be lucky to meet someone like him. I knew Milt for almost 42 years and had the honor to work with him, for him, and get to know him on a personal basis. He is greatly missed!!”

Company, Inc. in 1956, where he was the general manager for many years. He purchased the company in 1986, changing the name Cole Hardwood, Inc. He was famous for a saying he had about his philosophy, “We’re all on this stairway, and no one reaches the top without reaching out to others. If you will reach back and help someone who is a step or two behind you, you not only elevate yourself and that person, but you also elevate your local community and society in general.” “Dad certainly elevated the community,” said his son, Keith Cole. “He had given back all his life. He thought the town of Logansport was always good to him, and he wanted to repay that.” It was that generous spirit that led Milt and Jean to donate a million dollars toward the new Logansport Ivy Tech campus in 2008. Ivy Tech Chancellor Emeritus, Steve Daily, told the Pharos-Tribune, “He inspired other people in the community to give, which multiplied his gift many times over.”

Milt was born in 1935 in Drummonds, TN. He graduated from Munford High School in 1952. Milt had very humble beginnings and worked in his father’s sawmill. He lost two fingers, and his father insisted on getting him out of the mill, sending him to the John W. McClure Lumber School (now known as the NHLA Inspector Training School) in 1956, where he graduated with the 16th class.

In 1998, tragedy struck Cole Hardwood. A massive fire broke out in a storage shed and then spread to the other buildings. The fire was enormous, with flames 60 feet tall. The fire burned so intensely that it could be seen from 20 miles away and took over 200 firefighters to get it under control. The fire gained worldwide attention from the media, but the stories didn’t focus on the fire as much as they concentrated on Milt’s compassion.

Milt married Doris “Jean” Rhodes in 1955 and moved to Logansport, Indiana, in 1956. Milt began working for the John I. Shafer Hardwood

He gathered his employees together, greeting each one with a hug and a handshake. When everyone was settled, he addressed the group.


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Dad was a very talented man. He was blessed with immense common sense; he was a hard worker, and he loved humanity. He was the rock of the family.” — Randy Cole

Milt waved his arm toward the devastation of the fire and said, “All of this is replaceable. I’ve talked it over with the family, and we’ve all agreed to rebuild bigger and better than before. If we were only in it for the money, we could grab the insurance payout and run. But that’s not what we’re about. It’s you, the employees. Our employees are number one. You are the ones that make us. The community comes 2nd, and the business itself comes third.” Milt then explained that everyone would continue to be paid through the rebuilding, guaranteeing them their paychecks. He vowed, “Nobody will miss a paycheck.” Milt genuinely cared for his employees, and the fire brought how much he loved them into focus. Jean Cole said Milt’s generosity started from day one, just giving his time when they didn’t have money to spare. Telling his wife that God told him to buy farmland, Milt purchased a Christmas tree farm in the early 1970s. The family would plant and hand trim 10,000 Christmas trees each year. Milt invited his customers to come to the farm to choose their Christmas tree; then, the Cole family would cut down the trees and pack them up for each customer. It was the money earned from the Christmas tree farm that Milt used to purchase crop fields, which quickly became a successful farm. Milt’s son, Randy Cole, said, “Dad was a very talented man. He was blessed with immense common sense; he was a hard worker, and he loved humanity. He was the rock of the family.” Milt always wanted the best for his community. And while he didn’t do it for attention or awards, the list of the recognitions Milt received is quite extensive. Some highlights include receiving the W W W. N H L A .C O M

Logansport Exchange Club’s “Book of Golden Deeds” award, “Sagamore of the Wabash” (Indiana’s highest honor), and the Chamber of Commerce “Man of the Year” award. Milt Cole gave his time as well as his money. In Logansport, he was on the Board of Directors for many groups, including Salin Bank & Trust, the Fanners and Merchants State Bank, the Logansport Rotary Club, Logansport Memorial Hospital Foundation, and many more. Milt served as an Elder at Calvary Presbyterian Church, Treasurer of the Logansport Economic Development Foundation, as Chairman for the Cass County United Way Fundraising, and gave his time to many more charitable organizations. In the hardwood industry, he was CEO of Indiana Dimension, Inc., sat on the Lumberman’s Underwriting Alliance Advisory Board, served on the Hardwood Manufacturers Association Executive Board and the NHLA Board of Directors. He was a Dean’s Advisory Board member for the Purdue University School of Agriculture and sat on the Purdue University Forestry Department Steering Committee. He also served as President of the Hardwood Distributors Association and President of the Indiana Hardwood Lumber Association in 1977. If Milt were alive to accept his NHLA Leadership Award, he would probably use another much-loved Milt-ism, “don’t confuse activity with achievement.” Still, Milt Cole’s activities led him to outstanding achievements throughout his life, including a successful business, a giving heart, and a well-respected leader in the hardwood industry. NHLA is proud to have had Milt Cole as a member and will always be thankful for his kindness, passion for the industry, and philanthropy. O C T O B E R 2 0 2 1 H A R D W O O D M AT T E R S |





ver the years I have witnessed changes in the ways that customers order hardwood lumber. One of the bigger changes has been in the practice of ordering hardwoods and specifying 1/8” heavy for green lumber. There are several reasons why customers order lumber 1/8” over thickness, one is that this has been common practice for a very long time in sawmill production because without the extra thickness the end-user may not be able to manufacture their goods out of the lumber. Closely related to the over thickness ordering practice is the question most often asked in our training classes about paragraph 4, in the NHLA Rules Book:

Second, as part of the Warp and Cup FAS limitations, paragraph 61: “Warp and Cup shall be admitted if the entire board will surface two sides to standard surfaced thickness in accordance with the rules for lumber surfaced two sides” The extra thickness has become normal practice to accommodate these two issues mentioned, as well as the sawing variation that happens throughout the sawing of lumber. A lot of the above issues, especially with the warp and cup can be overcome by proper yarding and kiln practices. If you or anyone on your team have any further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to myself or one of the National Inspectors.

“Lumber shall be inspected and measured as the inspector finds it, of full length, width and thickness. No allowance shall Dana Spessert at d.spessert@nhla.com or 901-399-7551. 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.”

QUESTION: “Does paragraph 4 allow the removal of wane and other defects when the Purchase Order requires 1/8” over thickness?” Answer: Paragraph 4 explicitly states surfacing to “standard rough thickness”, so the answer is, yes, provided the wane and other defects can be removed in surfacing to Standard Rough Thickness then they shall not be considered in the Clear Face Cuttings. Another issue that is closely related to the over thickness ordering practice is warp and cup. In our classes we emphasize that there are 2 different areas in the Rules Book that address warp and cup defects. First, as part of the Cutting definition, paragraph 29: “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”


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f you missed the opportunity to watch and listen to Dr. Gene Wengert, aka The Wood Doctor, during the NHLA Virtual Lunch and Learn . . . well, let's say that you missed a lot. The webinar was presented through NHLA and sponsored by SII Dry Kilns.

a long way from the days of air-dried lumber, vapor tension recorder/controllers, and masonry block kilns. Gene took the time during the webinar to walk through his suggestions for modern hardwood schedules – lower temperatures, smaller depressions, etc., for Red Oak and White Oak.

What did I miss, you ask? As part of the program, Gene offered practical guidance on various topics to help your kiln operator do a better job, produce a high-quality product and keep the drying process efficient.

The question and answer forum proved quite interesting. What are the consequences of mixing various thicknesses in the same kiln charge? Yes, you can combine items, but there is always a trade-off. If you mix different thicknesses, you have increased your kiln samples and control the kiln based on the thickest/wettest material. With that in mind, you will have material that could be dried faster if it were placed in a separate kiln. Perhaps it's time to look at a combination of smaller kilns instead of that single 100 MBF kiln. How can I dry faster? Is slower drying better? What about different humidification systems such as steam spray versus the EMC Mistifyer high-pressure cold water spray? What about the stress test and microwave ovens? These questions and more were answered during this informative webinar to help you provide a quality hardwood product for your customers. If you are not sure that your kilns are operating at 100%, we are ready to help you improve your drying operation.

For example – did you know that the USDA kiln-drying schedules published in the 1950s may not be your best option today? Most of us are familiar with the Dry Kiln Operator's Manual and other publications such as Drying Hardwood Lumber. These publications have been invaluable to help provide a solid foundation on the basics of kiln drying, but our hardwood customer's needs have changed with a focus on brighter wood. Equipment design and materials have also improved dramatically – as an industry, we've come W W W. N H L A .C O M

Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch? If you missed the webinar, you can watch it online as a member through the NHLA website. Non-members can watch it for a fee. Not an NHLA member? Why wait? Contact John Hester at NHLA for membership information. Do you have a question or topic for a future column? Please send your questions and comments to us at info@siidrykilns.com.

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Intro to Hardwood Lumber Grading

Inspector Training School Online Training Program MODULE 1

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


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


8-10 Intro to Hardwood Lumber Grading

Intro class to gain a basic understanding of the NHLA hardwood lumber grading rules and how the rules affect the value of lumber. Venue: UT Extension Western region Location: Jackson, TN Instructor: Roman Matyushchenko, ITS Instructor



Venue: Northwest Hardwoods - Marion Branch Location: Marion, NC Instructor: Mark Depp, NHLA National Inspector

Two weeks of hands-on training.

Venue: Northwest Hardwoods - Marion Branch Location: Marion, NC Module 2: Online study Module 3: Three weeks hands-on training and final testing at NHLA headquarters. Instructor: Mark Depp, NHLA National Inspector





29-Dec. 10


10-March 4

Inspector Training School Online Training Program MODULE 1

Intro to Hardwood Lumber Grading

Inspector Training School 197th Class

Two weeks of hands-on training.

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

| O C T O B E R 2 0 2 1 H A R D W O O D M AT T E R S

Intro class to gain a basic understanding of the NHLA hardwood lumber grading rules and how the rules affect the value of lumber. Venue: WV Wood Technology Center Location: Elkins, WV Instructor: Mark Depp, NHLA National Inspector

Traditional 8-week hands-on training to achieve the certificate of completion in Hardwood Lumber Inspection. Venue: NHLA Headquarters Location: Memphis, TN Instructor: Roman Matyushchenko, ITS Instructor

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At Tropical Forest Products we love what we do, and one way to show it is by supporting the protection of forests and the communities that depend on them. That’s why we’re pleased to introduce the Due Care Legal Lumber™ Environmental Compliance Certification Program, which ensures that 100% verified lumber is being delivered. GOOD FOR THE PLANET. SAFE FOR CONSUMERS AND SUPPLIERS. THIS IS TROPICAL.


905 672-8000 855 344-4500 6200 TOMKEN ROAD MISSISSAUGA, ON L5T 1X7