“Wood is good! And the market is hungry!” ~ Paul Bouchard, founder, BPWood
A hands-on strategy has earned BPWood, located in Penticton, BC, the moniker “the Nimble Innovators™.” Founded in 2000, BPWood was the brainchild of Paul Bouchard, the result of his vision to cultivate high scale specialty wood supply chains, independent of the commodity business. His approach has resulted in strong custom manufacturing and import/export operations, enabling BPWood to deliver a robust range of products to unique customer needs throughout North America and the rest of the world.
Establishing BPWood Ltd: Paul Bouchard’s Inspiring Journey
“My career began in 1977, in hardwoods, millwork and door distribution in Vancouver,” Bouchard explained. “That led me in 1983 to join Forest City Trading Group (FCTG), part of Olympic Industries, a lumber trading powerhouse.” But in 1991 after ‘mastering the rowdy business of commodity trading,’ Bouchard took a lifechanging leap of faith. “With my wife Sally, we upended our lives and bought a resort in BC’s renowned Okanagan Valley. Our vision was to raise our young family at this family resort we’d stayed at for a few years, situated on a stunning lake in Oliver, BC,” Bouchard said. “Sally still runs it to this day! Our two sons even grew up to join the wood business, too.
“Despite the resort’s demands, I traded lumber from the basement. I learned to hire in help for my resort responsibilities, and returned to my true passion: creating specialty woods and the supply chains to support them,” he continued. Crucially, the Okanagan was closer to the mills where Bouchard was developing his unique approach for his growing specialties clientele.
“In 2000, I took a risky step to carve out a very odd niche business,” he said. “The business was, to say the least, unconventional. Enough so that FCTG elected to step back and say, ‘We’re out on this one.’” But that didn’t deter Bouchard. “My commitment to that first ‘weird’ business led to the establishment of BPWood.” By 2008, having grown those types of unconventional businesses (and recognizing FCTG’s preferred scope within the commodity business), Bouchard left on good terms and transitioned BPWood out for good.
Key Leadership: Charting The Course For BPWood
Steve Winstone, a supplier of custom-sawn Lodgepole Pine to Bouchard, became instrumental when he joined as Vice President in 2011. His dedication led to him becoming a partner in 2016. Winstone now serves as COO and President of BPWood.
Winstone’s leadership is characterized by efficiency and calm business operations. As is the norm at BPWood, he travels extensively, gaining an intimate understanding of the business at hand. While he supports his established customers in Japan and China, he has built new, strong relationships with a widening array of European mills and clients since joining Bouchard.
“We travel more than most of our office-bound competitors,” Winstone said. “Our commitment means understanding business at both its source and its destination. You have to see and touch the wood,” he continued. “Building resilient relationships face to face has played a crucial role in our success.”
Building A Cohesive Team: The Foundation Of BPWood’s Success
BPWood’s growth can be attributed to its cohesive group of 12 traders, supported by a strong team of eight dynamic support staff. BPWood’s staff is expertly led by Jackie Del Rizzo, who joined BPWood in 2010. “Our cross-functional admin team efficiently oversees the complexities at the backend of the business,” she said. “They ensure the supply chain flows can weather the ups and downs of the global wood market.”
Navigating The Pacific Northwest: Respecting The ‘King Species’
The Pacific Northwest is home to trees that Bouchard reverently calls the “King Species” – Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, Western Hemlock, Yellow Cedar and Sitka Spruce. These are prized for their long history of performance and quality, both overseas and in North American markets.
Working hand in hand with log buyers and custom cutters, BPWood makes and trades in fine VG clears, architectural timbers, industrials and custom remanned finished goods. Three traders, Don Archer, Kevin Vandervoort and Chris Bouchard, spend a great deal of time embedded in this “bastion of historic enterprise on the BC Coast” as Bouchard puts it. Each has a particular strength which, combined, offers BPWood’s customers a huge supply of experience, supply source and product spec.
Chad Ziegler joined BPWood in 2014 after 10 years in BC’s Interior Spruce-Pine-Fir “big-sawmilling and mill sales.” While Ziegler has a wide diversity of trade routes, he’s BPWood’s closest go-to for industrials and commodities. Ziegler sells to pro-dealers, home-centers and funky industrials alike and is BPWood’s “steady guy for the market of the moment.”
Expansion To Mexico: Opening New Avenues
In 2009, BPWood naturally expanded into Mexico under the leadership of Dan Bouchard. Dan’s professional fluency in Spanish and his extensive travels have facilitated the loyalty of BPWood’s partners there. His efforts have led to sizable multimodal supply programs, from partner producers in Canada, U.S.A. and Europe, serving Mexico’s burgeoning export manufacturing and domestic growth sectors.
Inland Empire Manufacturing:
BPWood’s success was enhanced with the arrival in 2017 of Rick Palmiter, a seasoned Cedar and Pine specialist. Palmiter runs a sizable manufacturing program at Tri-Pro Forest Products in Oldtown, ID. “Tri-Pro are good friends and long-proven manufacturers,” he proclaimed. “We inventory and turn over a few million feet of primarily Western Red Cedar feedstock,” he said, “producing some of the nicest kiln-dried patterns, paneling and every shape of siding imaginable.” A pure Larch business was spun up in 2020 which now also reaches Europe. White Pine and Ponderosa Pine programs round out Palmiter’s repertoire.
Manufacturing Overseas: Taking The BPWood Brand Global
BPWood also custom manufactures overseas in Europe and Asia, catering to higher-end home center and industrial products made from sustainable Euro Spruce, Pine, and from the southern hemisphere, Radiata Pine. It’s led by Darin Frers, a career trader who joined BPWood in 2020. “I’m supported by William Liu and Philipp Klevers, who leverage their native language skills and cultural insights of those regions to strengthen partnerships with our plants abroad” he said.
BPWood and the Future: Embracing ThermoWood’s® Wide Adoption In North America
As BPWood looks ahead, its forward focus is strongly on the exciting future evolving around ThermoWood®.
In North America, ThermoWood® is quickly gaining market due to its durability, stability, aesthetic appeal and green sustainability. Undergoing a trademarked method of thermal modification, ThermoWood® has gained broad use throughout Europe, where its science was perfected. A patented process, using only science, heat and steam, turns fast growing sustainable wood species into incredibly stable cladding, decking, paneling and millwork, that has world class durability. ThermoWood’s® biophilic durability is winning back market share from plastics and composites.
BPWood is the exclusive importing partner to North America of ThermoWood® produced in Belgium by LDCwood. Extolling the benefits, Chris Bouchard leads the company’s go-to-market sales strategy.
Observing its progress carefully for 20 years, Bouchard is certain that BPWood has perfectly timed their ThermoWood® delivery to North America. As he aptly puts it, “Wood is good! And the market is hungry!”
BPWood is a member of the North American Wholesale Lumber Association, the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association and the British Columbia Wholesale Lumber Association.
BPWood welcomes new partnerships and friendships. To learn more about their nimble ways, visit www.BPWood.com.