Photos by Paul Miller Jr.
Lexington, KY–The Kentucky Forest Industries Association (KFIA) recently completed a successful 56th Annual Meeting, held here at the Embassy Suites. Under the current COVID-19 restrictions, the meeting welcomed 250 in attendance and 26 exhibitors. The KFIA Annual Meeting serves as the premier event for the Hardwood industry in Kentucky.
The meeting got underway with the John C. Smith Memorial Golf Scramble where 65 participants enjoyed a spring day on the University Club of Kentucky Golf Course, while the KFIA Board of Directors took care of association business followed by an evening Welcome Reception.
The next morning, KFIA President Dan Allard, of Domtar Paper Co. LLC, opened the session, followed by a legislative and association update by KFIA Executive Director Bob Bauer. This included an update from Dana Lee Cole, executive director of the Hardwood Federation, on issues in Washington, DC and the COVID impact on the timber industry. The morning finished with a discussion by Cole, Tom Inman, president of Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc. and Jim Maltese, of Stella- Jones Corp., concerning the plan developed by the Real American Hardwood Promotion Coalition that will assist the promotion of the use of American Hardwoods on a national level.
The opening session was followed by the Kentucky Tree Farm Awards Luncheon, which convened with guest speaker Lee Cruse, a stand-up comedian and local television/radio celebrity, providing some comic relief. The luncheon provided an opportunity to honor individuals that help to make forestry and the wood industry a success throughout the state.
The following people were recognized for their contributions to forestry in Kentucky:
- Saul Bex and Rufus “Sonny” Bex, B&B Logging, Falmouth, KY – 2020 Logger of the Year
- Sarah Shewmaker, North Central Region KY Division of Forestry, Frankfort, KY – 2020 Inspector of the Year
KFIA also recognized the following people for their leadership and service to the KFIA Board of Directors:
- Outgoing Secretary/Treasurer – Amy Middleton, Diamond Forest Resources, Morehead, KY
- Outgoing Board Member – MacKay Dickerson, Dickerson Lumber Co., Summer Shade, KY
- Outgoing Board Member – Mike Gomes, Duraflame East LLC, Somerset, KY
- Outgoing Board Member – Chris Terry, Terry Logging Inc., Morehead, KY
- Newly Elected Secretary/Treasurer – Erika York, A&Y Enterprises, Marrowbone, KY
- Re-elected Director: Scott Anderson, Tarter Gate Wood Products Inc., Dunnville, KY
The KFIA’s newly elected directors are:
- Wayland Partin Jr., Partin Logging LLC, Pineville, KY
- Jeff Perry, J.W. Perry Lumber LLC., Leitchfield, KY
- Drew Spencer, S & S Lumber Co. Inc., Rogers, KY
As usual tradition, everyone enjoyed the Robinson Lumber Co. / Van Meter Insurance Hospitality Suite with fellowship and networking opportunities with fresh seafood and cocktails. The day ended with the Exhibitor Reception, which included plenty of time to see some of the latest technology and services being offered to the wood industry.
The final morning of the event opened with Kentucky Department of Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles highlighting the partnerships that are being developed with the wood products industry. He also announced a new program being developed within the department to promote the benefits and assistance available to farmers to improve forest management. A discussion of transportation issues followed and addressed the need for funding for infrastructure. The discussion was led by Mike Hancock, Deputy Secretary for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The ever-popular issue of the labor force and lack thereof was discussed by Michael Cornett and Trish Adams from the East Kentucky Concentrated Employer Program Inc., which provided resources and ideas to help retain good employees and recruit new ones. The final presenter, Mary Beth Cummins, a loan officer for The Citizens Bank, discussed the current COVID relief programs to assist many in the wood products industry with the ongoing PPP program and provided opportunities for assistance to help businesses survive and flourish.
According to event organizers, the meeting was a huge success with many positive comments and showed a real excitement for improving markets and some type of normalcy returning to the industry. Those in attendance gained valuable information while having time to network with others in the Hardwood industry from throughout the country.
KFIA is also pleased to announce that the 2022 Annual Meeting will be in Lexington, KY at the Embassy Suites on April 5-7.
KFIA is a trade association dedicated to serving and promoting the forest products industry of Kentucky. Founded in 1965, it has over 550 members in the areas of primary and secondary wood industry, supplier and service industries, wholesale, loggers and landowners.
For more information about the association contact Bob Bauer at 502-695-3979 or visit online at www.kfia.org.