Industry News – May 2024

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Industry News - May 2024 1
Gerry VanVeenendaal

Ram Forest Products Welcomes Gerry VanVeenendaal

Gerry VanVeenendaal recently joined the sales team of RAM Forest Products, a manufacturer of high quality Northern Appalachian Hardwoods located in Shinglehouse, PA.

RAM Forest Products produces over 25 million board feet annually in all grades in Hard and Soft Maple, Ash, Red and White Oak, Cherry and Poplar from their sawmill and has a drying capacity of 1.5 million board feet.

The Company is a member of the National Hardwood Lumber Association, Hardwood Manufacturers Association, Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc., and The Appalachian Lumbermen’s Club.

VanVeenendaal grew up in New York’s Hudson Valley until his family moved to Central Pennsylvania. His father held various positions at different Hardwood companies exposing VanVeenendaal to the industry at an early age. While he has been in the forest products industry in one form or another his entire life, he joined AWP’s sales group in 2014 and recently joined Ram Forest Products sales team in 2024.

VanVeenendaal and his wife Lisa live in Holidaysburg, PA, and they have one daughter. He enjoys spending time with his family and fishing.

 For more information, visit www.ramforestproducts.com.

Industry News - May 2024 2

Baillie Lumber Co. Introduces Ryan Brunner

Caption: Ryan Brunner

Baillie Lumber Co., located in Hamburg, NY, recently announced Ryan Brunner as one of the company’s new sales representatives in its ripping division.

Brunner has been with Baillie for over six years, where he started in the industry as a sales assistant and then went on to hold the position of ripping division sales coordinator, before recently transitioning to the role of sales representative.

Brunner attended Hamburg High School in Hamburg, NY from 2004-2008. He then attended Canisius College in Buffalo, NY from 2008-2014, where he earned a bachelor’s of science degree in health and physical education and a masters of science degree in sports administration. 

In his free time, Brunner enjoys spending time with his wife, Missy, and their growing family. They have a one-and-a-half-year-old son, and are expecting a baby girl in June. When time allows, he also enjoys playing golf, softball and basketball and is an avid Buffalo Bills fan.

Baillie is a member of the Indiana Hardwood Lumbermens Association and the North American Wholesale Lumber Association.

For more information, call 716-912-3764 or visit www.baillie.com.

Industry News - May 2024 3
Pat Oakley

Mullican Flooring Names Pat Oakley As President

Mullican Flooring, located in Johnson City, TN, a leading U.S. manufacturer of Hardwood flooring recently announced the promotion of Pat Oakley to president. Oakley succeeds Neil Poland, who will serve as executive chairman of the company.

A veteran of the Hardwood flooring industry for more than 25 years, Oakley joined the Johnson City, TN-based company in 2000 as a regional sales manager. He was promoted to national sales manager in 2005. In that position, he supervised regional managers, oversaw national sales goals and managed relationships with key distribution partners and retailers. In 2017, Oakley was promoted to vice president of marketing and led various strategic initiatives, including rebranding the company in 2018.

“I am honored to lead a company as strong and committed to excellence as Mullican Flooring,” Oakley said. “During our almost 40-year history, Mullican has become one of the top national Hardwood flooring manufacturers, largely through the guidance of Neil Poland — a proven leader who embodies Mullican’s standards for sustainability, innovation and quality.

“I am excited to carry on with the exceptional direction he has set for this company, and I am committed to ensuring Mullican continues to create great experiences for our customers.”

Poland served as president of Mullican Flooring since 1999. He was responsible for leading the company’s significant growth and diversification during that time, expanding its product line to become one of the most comprehensive in the industry, and steering Mullican to its current position as one of the leading Hardwood flooring brands in the United States. 

“Pat is a proven leader who exudes a relentless work ethic, tremendous energy and enthusiasm for our business,” Poland said. “He has done a superb job managing two segments within our company, and this should be a natural step in Pat’s career.”

For more information, visit www.mullicanflooring.com or www.baillie.com.

Industry News - May 2024 4
Mike Ballard

Sawmill MD Makes Installations At Hart County Hardwoods

Sawmill MD, located in Crestview, FL, announced that Hart County Hardwoods in Munfordville, KY, has recently started up two SiCam ResawX Scanning systems to maximize the efficiency and yield from their Horizontal Resaw systems. The ResawX systems provides Hart County Hardwoods cant sizing detail and recommended sawing solutions to the operator via a 10-inch touch screen quickly and accurately. The ResawX system will improve both Resaws operating results by reducing wasted lines and measurably reducing shims. ResawX allows the management to set sawing pattern recommendations based on size and grade, which improves the ability to maximize the output of desired products based on current requirements. The start-up was completed in less than two working days with minimal interruption of production. After a few minor adjustments and calibration the ResawX was scanning quickly and accurately providing size and sawing solutions to the operator.

When Paul Byler or any of the Hart County team visited Sawmill MD’s booth at the Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association convention in February, the comments were exemplary, said Mike Ballard. Comments about saving time, improved production of ties, and the accuracy of the ResawX system were the normal comments from the team. The brother that runs one of the Resaws came by and said, “I do not know how we ran without this system in the past.”

Contact Mike Ballard or Duncan Ferguson at SawmillMD@mindspring.com for more information on the SiCam ResawX Scanning System, or visit www.SawmillMD.com to see videos of the ResawX System and additional Sawmill MD videos.

Hoffmann Family Of Companies Expands With Besse Forest Products Group Acquisition

The Hoffmann Family of Companies (HFOC) recently announcesd its acquisition of Besse Forest Products Group (Besse), a longstanding family-run company with a rich history in the wood products manufacturing business.

This strategic move adds to HFOC’s portfolio, complementing their existing Ferche Millwork operations. With over 2 million square feet of production facilities and a workforce of more than 1,400 people, the combined strength of Besse and Ferche positions HFOC as a significant player in the wood products manufacturing industry.

Besse, a leading manufacturer of high-quality Northern Hardwood lumber, veneer and specialty plywood, has played a crucial role in supplying products for cabinets, doors, flooring, furniture, industrial pallets, millwork, musical instruments, railroad ties, sporting goods, wall panels, windows and other wood products used worldwide.

Besse operates a network of sawmills, wood drying facilities and veneer and plywood factories across northern Michigan and Wisconsin. It has been an integral part of the industry for over a century. The company, founded in 1966, has remained 100 percent family-owned, growing from a modest workforce to employing hundreds of individuals across the United States.

The acquisition further solidifies Besse Forest Products Group as one of North America’s largest privately-owned producers of Hardwood lumber, veneer and specialty plywood. With 10 manufacturing facilities operating in the United States, including four sawmills, four veneer mills, one lumber drying concentration yard and one cut-to-size plywood mill. According to a company spokesperson, the company stands as a pillar in the wood products industry. Greg Besse will continue in his role as CEO of the Besse Forest Products Group, overseeing the entire operation and ensuring the success of the organization.

HFOC is a multi-vertical family-owned company consisting of over 100 national brands, employs 9,000 global employees with businesses located in 30 countries and 250 locations around the world. HFOC’s verticals include aviation, agriculture, financial services, hospitality, business and professional services, industrial, manufacturing, marine, media and marketing, real estate and transportation. 

For more information, visit www.hfcompanies.com or www.bessegroup.com.

Industry News - May 2024 5
Dennis Easter

Wellborn Introduces New CEO And Releases New Products

Wellborn Cabinet, Inc., a leading family-owned American made cabinetry manufacturer, headquartered in Ashland, AL, announced Dennis Easter as the company’s new CEO and the launch of four new door styles and three new finishes to the already broad offering.

Paul Wellborn, chairman of the board and president of Wellborn Cabinet, announced that the board of directors has appointed Dennis Easter to chief executive officer. 

According to a company spokesperson, the board believed that as a seasoned executive with over two decades of leadership experience across diverse industries, Easter is the ideal CEO to lead Wellborn’s next phase of growth and success. 

Previously, Easter held pivotal roles including vice president of Global Commercial Operations at Koch Engineered Solutions and vice president and general manager at Georgia-Pacific Chemicals. His tenure at these organizations was characterized, by a company spokesperson, by strategic planning, business growth, fostering high-performing teams and achieving substantial growth in profitability.

Before his roles in the manufacturing sector, Easter made significant contributions to renowned companies such as The Coca-Cola Company and Procter & Gamble. At The Coca-Cola Company, he spearheaded end-to-end sales and marketing initiatives, earning recognition for outstanding execution. During his time at Procter & Gamble, Easter honed his financial expertise, specializing in comprehensive economic analysis and strategic business planning, further enriching his leadership repertoire.

The four new doors that were recently launched will be available in multiple species and MDF, with Everett and Langley doors available in Cherry, Maple and Oak, the Breckenridge door available in Maple and Oak and the Ridgebrook door available in Cherry. The doors will be added to the Premier product line while Breckenridge and Ridgebrook will also be available in the Aspire product line. These transitional doors offer an update to the traditional shaker look with clean lines and a more refined aesthetic.

Two of the finishes offer new options in a wood stain. According to a company spokesperson, Boardwalk is a breath of fresh air that allows the unique wood grain to remain center stage and provides a look similar to White Oak at a much more affordable price point. Peppermill brings a darker brown with a grey undertone to the table that coordinates well with lighter colors. The third, Alabaster is a painted finish bringer a warm neutral white to the palette, allowing it to work with a variety of other paints and stains beautifully.

Paul Wellborn established Wellborn Cabinet Inc. in 1961 providing and manufacturing high-quality home cabinets for kitchens and baths in Ashland, AL. It all began in a small cabinet company that made American-made cabinets for local markets. Since then, Wellborn Cabinet has expanded into a cutting-edge production plant with over 1.8 million square feet of space, combining some of the industry’s most advanced technology systems with over 60 years of gained knowledge and expertise in high-quality cabinetry workmanship.

For more information visit www.wellborn.com.

Fiscal Year 2024 Spending Package Promotes Carbon Stored in Wood Products

In a victory for the Hardwood Federation and its partners in the Wood Products Coalition, Congress finally passed the Fiscal Year 2024 spending package on March 8, narrowly averting a government shutdown, that includes instructions for the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) to embark on a study quantifying the amount of carbon stored in wood products. Specifically, the new law states that the FPL must “continue research to advance wood markets, including research on the amount of carbon stored annually in wood products, evaluated by specific wood producing sectors.” The law goes on to state that “efforts will also continue to focus on the environmental lifecycle benefits of wood products in the built environment,” providing tools for the industry to utilize when promoting markets for hardwood and other wood products.

For more information, visit www.hardwoodfederation.com.

Industry News - May 2024 6
The MP280 Moulder Planer is the all-in-one machine that is a perfect solution that is easy to use and produces premium wood products.

Wood-Mizer Introduces the MP280 4-Sided Planer/Moulder

Capturing the growing interest of the professional woodworker movement, Wood-Mizer, located in Indianapolis, IN, introduced the versatile MP280 4-Sided Planer/Moulder. The MP280 planer/moulder joins the established Wood-Mizer range of woodworking products that includes jointer/planers, two-sided planer/moulders, four-sided planer/moulders, slab flattening machines, dust collection systems, planer blades, moulder knives, table saws and more.

The MP280 is a versatile and compact machine for professional woodworkers that planes and moulds material on all four sides at one time. This all-in-one machine is easy to use and produces premium wood products. Made of a cast iron table, robust steel frame and high-quality components, the MP280 includes one horizontal top cutter, one horizontal bottom cutter, and two vertical side cutters for planing and moulding on the top, bottom and sides of material at the same time with each pass. All four cutters can be fitted with planing knives or moulding profile knives to produce flooring, planed boards, crown moulding, cabinet trim, paneling, door and window frames, furniture components and more.

“Wood-Mizer is committed to providing our customers with the equipment necessary to process material from forest to final form. With its exceptional value and premium components, the MP280 is perfect for woodworkers who value precision, affordability, and the versatility to complete projects from trim and flooring to furniture,” said Chad Sanders, Wood-Mizer Woodworking Product Specialist.

Compared to the popular MP260 planer/moulder, the MP280 features multiple upgrades for durability and performance including reinforced metal construction, standard infeed and outfeed tables, longer in-feed fence, additional cutter head and dust collector controls and more.

Since 1982, Wood-Mizer has served more than 100,000 customers throughout the world From Forest to Final Form®, Wood-Mizer offers an extensive line of  equipment including narrowband portable and industrial sawmills, wideband sawmilling equipment,  band resaws, board edgers, wood kilns, planer/moulders, firewood processing equipment, pallet recycling equipment, material handling equipment, sawmill blades and blade maintenance equipment  for woodworking and forestry hobbyists and professionals all over the world. Visit www.woodmizer.com for more information.

NAR: Existing-Home Sales Vaulted, Largest Monthly Increase in a Year

According to the latest data available, existing-home sales surged 9.5 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.38 million, the largest monthly increase since February 2023. Sales declined 3.3 percent from the previous year.

The median existing-home sales price elevated 5.7 percent from February 2023 to $384,500 – the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

The inventory of unsold existing homes increased 5.9 percent from one month ago to 1.07 million at the end of February, or the equivalent of 2.9 months’ supply at the current monthly sales pace.

Existing-home sales climbed in February, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Among the four major U.S. regions, sales jumped in the West, South and Midwest, and were unchanged in the Northeast. Year-over-year, sales declined in all regions.

Total existing-home sales– completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – bounced 9.5 percent from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.38 million in February. Year-over-year, sales slid 3.3 percent (down from 4.53 million in February 2023).

Total housing inventory registered at the end of February was 1.07 million units, up 5.9 percent from January and 10.3 percent from one year ago (970,000).

Single-family home sales grew to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.97 million in February, up 10.3 percent from 3.6 million in January but down 2.7 percent from the previous year. The median existing single-family home price was $388,700 in February, up 5.6 percent from February 2023.

At 480,000 units, existing-home sales in the Northeast were identical to January but down 7.7 percent from February 2023. It’s the fourth consecutive month that home sales in the Northeast registered 480,000 units. The median price in the Northeast was $420,600, up 11.5 percent from one year ago.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales propelled 8.4% from one month ago to an annual rate of 1.03 million in February, down 3.7 percent from the previous year. The median price in the Midwest was $277,600, up 6.8 percent from February 2023.

Existing-home sales in the South leapt 9.8 percent from January to an annual rate of 2.02 million in February, down 2.9 percent from one year earlier. The median price in the South was $354,200, up 4.1 percent from last year.

In the West, existing-home sales skyrocketed 16.4 percent from a month ago to an annual rate of 850,000 in February, a decline of 1.2 percent from the prior year. The median price in the West was $593,000, up 9.1 percent from February 2023.

By Miller Wood Trade Publications

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

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By Miller Wood Trade Publications

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

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