Enjoy Florida’s Landscape For AHMI Annual Meeting

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The 2024 annual meeting of the Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc. (AHMI) was recently held at The Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, FL, with approximately 120 members and guests treated to more than two full days of networking, business, educational and leisure opportunities.

The AHMI business presentations included:

InventWood Makes Poplar Truly Hard – A Maryland company has designed a process to press Poplar and other lumber into a stiff building material. The company is a leader in cellulose-based material innovations. Senior Process Engineer Charles Sturman said the advanced cellulose materials have better performance, lower costs, and are far more sustainable than alternatives the world uses today.

The startup company developed out of the University of Maryland’s incubator program. Since its founding in 2016, InventWood has received close to $25 million in federal grants.

The company’s flagship product is called MettleWood and begins with kiln-dried Poplar lumber. It is processed through lignin modification and densification. The lignin modification is intended to break the lignin bonds and allow the cellulose fibers to move closer together during densification.

This forces the cellulose fibers of the wood to align far more closely with new hydrogen bonds formed and removing the inherent porosity found in regular wood. Sturman said the material combines the best of metal – strength and durability – with wood, which is lightweight, low-cost, and sustainable.

Railroad Tie Demand in 2024 – Bill Behan, vice president of Koppers and a past president of the Railway Tie Association, discussed tie demand in 2024. He said several factors are impacting tie production including the ability of mills to buy logs and produce ties; the performance of wood ties and their service life; and demand for ties.

He compared the pricing of railroad ties versus Red Oak lumber in three regions and ties values were stable. Behan said there are alternatives being considered like southern yellow pine to address swings in Hardwood markets.

Real American Hardwood Campaign – RAH Coalition Board Member Amy Snell of the Wood Components Manufacturers Association reported on the Magnolia Network campaign and results from social media. Millions of consumers have been reached in the first six months of the promotion.

She explained that continuation will require additional funding from the industry. Attendees were asked to give at www.realamericanhardwood.com/industry.

White Oak Initiative Educates Landowners – WOI Executive Director Jason Meyer shared the group’s mission to educate landowners on forest management for White Oak.

Hardwood Federation & Campaign 2024 – Executive Director Dana Cole shared key Hardwood issues in the 2024 Presidential and Congressional campaigns. She said election years always require extra effort to educate legislators on bills that effect the Hardwood industry.

The Federation Fly-in is scheduled for May 21-23 in Washington, DC.

DoughHCM – AHMI has partnered with payroll companies to provide solutions for small- to mid-sized companies with technology that helps attract and retain talent. Principal Nick Koen explained the program and rebates companies can receive. 

Lumber Payroll, a division of DoughHCM, is designed specifically to help the lumber industry drive productivity and reduces costs. It offers comprehensive payroll, kiosk, and human capital management innovative technology solutions that drive efficiencies and reduce expenses throughout any organization. The service is available to AHMI members and other hardwood industry companies.

AHMI Board Member & Officer Elections – Chairman Tom Sheets presented the State of the Association and member anniversaries and new Board members and officers were approved. The new officers for 2024-26 are:

Chairman: Roy Zangari of Meadow River Lumber, Rainelle, PA

Vice Chairman Elect: Scott Cummings of Cummings Lumber, Troy, PA

Vice Chairman of Finance: Tony Honeycutt of Mullican Flooring, Johnson City, TN

Past Chairman: Tom Sheets of Blue Ridge Lumber, Fishersville, VA

Board members are: 

Sebastian Church, Church & Church Lumber, Millers Creek, NC

David Pierson, Pierson Lumber, Clay, WV

Jamie Coleman, Robert S. Coleman Lumber Co., Culpeper, VA

Ray White, Jr., Harold White Lumber, Inc., Morehead, KY

Dean Alanko, Allegheny Wood Products, Inc., Petersburg, WV

John Pysh, Pennsylvania Hardwoods Co., Pleasantville, PA

Joe Pryor, Oaks Unlimited, Inc., Waynesville, NC

Andy Nuffer, RAM Forest Products, Inc., Shinglehouse, PA

Jeff Gowder, Southern Forest Products, Appalachia, VA

Darryl Eslinger, Conestoga Wood Specialties, East Earl, PA

Chris Osborn, Kentucky River Properties, Hazard, KY

Mark Vollinger, W.M. Cramer Lumber Co., Inc., Hickory, NC

Producer & Distributor Division Meetings – Separate sessions for these AHMI groups discussed issues of importance.

The sporting tournament winners were:

Golf Friday: Low Gross – 1st Brandon Turman, Turman Hardwoods; 2nd Jay Reese, Penn-Sylvan International; Low Net: 1st Alan Robbins, USNR; 2nd Steve Heintzelman, Keiver-Willard Lumber; Long drive Joe Pryor, Oaks Unlimited; Closest to the Pin Peter McCarty, TS Manufacturing.

Saturday Golf Scramble: 1st Jeff Gowder, Southern Forest Products, and Bruce Horner, Abenaki Timber; 2ndAlan Robbins, USNR, and Phil Cornett, WVGBC; Long drive Alan Robbins and Closest to the Pin Bruce Horner.

Fishing tournament winners: Largest fish- Daniel Harris, Cooper Machine; Most fish: Jason Meyer, White Oak Initiative.

Croquet tournament winners: Duke and Mary Catherine Baldridge, Dominion Risk Advisors. More than 30 people participated in the annual croquet tournament.

Mark your calendars for July 20-23 for the 2024 AHMI Summer Conference Meeting, to be held at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. Learn more at www.appalachianhardwood.org.

By Miller Wood Trade Publications

The premier online information source for the forest products industry since 1927.

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