Speakers & Presenters
The 2022 NHLA Annual Convention boasted an incredible line-up of speakers and presenters, including hardwood researchers, award-winning professors, experts on supply chain management, timber engineers, hardwood promoters, and an international economist guru. These speakers covered everything from labor issues to new markets for hardwood to the future of supply chain management.
NHLA is proud to offer videos of the education sessions with their accompanying slides…for free! Enjoy the videos below.
Dr. Nate Irby, Executive Director of the Railway Tie Association, provides an overview of the dynamics of the wood tie markets and railroads. Hardwood ties and timbers equated to more than 10% of total hardwood consumption in 2021 (source: Hardwood Market Report) and are slated to remain in high demand for the foreseeable future. The railroad industry has consistently used more than 18 million ties every year for the last decade in maintenance allocations alone, plus the newly passed national infrastructure bill has allotted big dollars for regional and short-line railroads to upgrade their corridors. This educational session provided a fundamental scope of the tie sector, a line of sight into tie sawing solutions and relevant grades of ties, and summarized meaningful tie statistics and future demand/usage outlook.
Nate is Executive Director of the Railway Tie Association (RTA). RTA holds several events each year promoting railroad wood usage and provides a forum for data dissemination, networking, outreach, and education for the industry.
He also serves as Adjunct Faculty in the Mississippi State University Department of Sustainable Bioproducts (formerly named the Forest Products Department). Nate treasures teaching and is frequently asked to present on wood preserving and tie industry subjects across the country.
He worked previously as the forest products subject matter expert at Union Pacific Railroad. There, Nate assisted both Strategic Sourcing and Engineering Research & Methods teams on quality assurance, specification detail, and enforcement, and track-side wood-related issues plus he spearheaded wood tie and timber R&D projects.
Nate comes from a hardwood sawmill background and is a timberland owner himself. He also enjoys the great outdoors and quality time with family and friends.
Hardwood lumber is making its way into the timber market, specifically in the manufacturing of cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels. The structural market in the United States and Canada is dominated by softwood lumber species, while hardwood lumber is used mostly for furniture, exports, flooring and molding, pallets, and railroad ties.
Over the last 10 years industry, associations, universities, and the federal government have led several initiatives to establish a market for hardwood lumber as raw material for CLT production with a focus on using yellow poplar or tulip wood. This species is considered because it is abundant, sustainable, and brings excellent strength, machinability, and aesthetic properties.
The joint work among the different stakeholders on hardwood CLT has focused on various aspects, including supply, manufacturing, structural grading, panel performance, and testing. The results are very promising. The last piece of the puzzle for the working partnership is to include yellow poplar CLT panels in the APA-PRG 320 standard. This standard provides the guidelines and technical specifications for the use and manufacturing of CLT panels in the United States and Canada.
This panel includes Dr. Quesada, Tom Inman, and others as they discussed past, current, and future challenges, problems, and opportunities for using yellow poplar for the manufacturing of CLT panels. The panel includes different perspectives, including yellow poplar manufacturers, architects, university researchers, industry representatives, and CLT manufacturers.
Dr. Quesada: After spending 14 years with Virginia Tech, Dr. Quesada now works at Purdue University. He focuses his work on supply chain, manufacturing, and market aspects for renewable-based material industries such as the hardwood industry. Henry is a native of Costa Rica who enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and biking.
Dr. Brian H. Bond: Dr. Bond serves as professor and extension specialist focusing on improving the sustainable use and manufacturing of wood products. He has 24 years of experience in wood drying, sawmill performance, and the performance of wood products (flooring, furniture, etc.). Dr. Bond’s current research includes expanding the use of hardwoods in cross-laminated timber (CLT), specifically on methods to economically produce structurally graded hardwood lumber. He has been teaching classes, conducting research, and supporting the wood products industry as a faculty member at Virginia Tech since 2022.
Ishan Abeysekera: Ishan Abeysekera is one of Arup’s experts in timber engineering. In addition to project work, he is also involved in writing the next version of Eurocode 5 (the Europewide timber design standard) on the design of timber structures. He is also a guest lecturer at Imperial College and Cambridge. Within Arup, he delivers training on timber, buckling, and existing buildings to engineers around the world. He also provides AdHoc specialist advice to colleagues around the Arup globe. He was the engineer behind the Smile, showcasing the potential of Hardwood timber, and has also acted as a specialist timber advisor on Arup’s design of the Haut building in the Netherlands.
David Venables: David is the European Director for the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC). He has held this position since 2000 and, under his direction, AHEC has become one of the most creative and effective wood promoters in Europe. David has been instrumental in getting some of the world’s top designers and architects to collaborate with AHEC and innovate with American hardwoods. He has also been behind the American hardwood industry’s unique and innovative global environmental strategy, and pioneering work in the structural use of hardwood, including CLT. David has a specialist wood background, with a BSc in Timber Technology and more than thirty-five years of experience in the international marketing of hardwood. He is an experienced speaker, frequently making presentations on American hardwoods to trade, manufacturing, and design audiences worldwide.
Tom Iman: Tom is president of Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers, Inc. (AHMI), a regional trade association headquartered in High Point, North Carolina. The group has 200 member companies and was formed in 1928 to promote the Appalachian hardwood resource and ensure a future supply. Inman joined AHMI in 1994 and was named president in 2006. He developed AHMI’s successful Certified Appalachian Legal & Sustainable program and serves on the Board of Directors for the American Hardwood Export Council, the Real American Hardwood Coalition, and the Fellowship of Christian Lumbermen.
Is a normal supply chain in the future? Supply chain issues: we all have them but what’s the reason and when will things get back to normal? Join Dr. Tom Goldsby – co-faculty director for the Global Supply Chain Institute at the University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business, as he lays out the landscape of supply chain issues affecting the hardwood industry.
Professor Thomas J. Goldsby is the Dee and Jimmy Haslam Chair of Logistics at the Haslam College of Business, University of Tennessee-Knoxville. He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Evansville, M.B.A. from the University of Kentucky, and Ph.D. in Marketing and Logistics from Michigan State University.
Dr. Goldsby is immediate-past Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Business Logistics and former Editor-in-Chief of Transportation Journal. He serves as Co-Faculty Director for the Global Supply Chain Institute at the Haslam College. His research interests include logistics strategy, supply chain integration, and the theory and practice of lean and agile supply chain strategies. He has published more than 100 articles in academic and professional journals and serves as a frequent speaker at academic conferences, executive education seminars, and professional meetings.
Professor Goldsby is author of five books: Logistics Management: Enhancing Competitiveness and Customer Value (MyEducator, 2015), The Definitive Guide to Transportation (Financial Times, 2014), Global Macrotrends and Their Impact on Supply Chain Management (Financial Times, 2013), Lean Six Sigma Logistics: Strategic Development to Operational Success (J. Ross Publishing, 2005), and The Design and Management of Sustainable Supply Chains(Cambridge University Press, under development).
Dr. Goldsby is a recipient of multiple best paper awards and he has received recognition for excellence in teaching at the University of Tennessee, The Ohio State University, University of Kentucky, and Iowa State University. In 2019, he was recognized as a “Rainmaker” by DC Velocitymagazine and received the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award from Supply Chain Leaders in Action (SCLA).
Dr. Goldsby delivered a course on Business Operations for The Great Courses’ Critical Business Skills series in 2015, which continues to rate as a bestselling Nonfiction/Business title at audible.com, and was rated among the Top 50 bestsellers (#27) among all audiobooks during Summer 2020 by Newsweek. His supply chain and logistics insights been sought by a wide assortment of media outlets, ranging from NBC News to the Wall Street Journal and National Geographic.
Dr. Goldsby has supervised more than 100 Lean/Six Sigma supply chain projects with industry partners, chaired nine Ph.D. dissertations, and served as an investigator on multiple federally funded research projects, exceeding $3.5 million in grant proceeds. In his spare time, Dr. Goldsby competes as one of the top masters (over-40) runners in America for distances between the mile and the marathon.
Mike Snow has been the Executive Director of the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) since 1999, where he oversees the Council’s promotional programs around the globe and manages AHEC’s overseas offices in Europe, Mexico, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, and China. Previously, he served as AHEC’s Program Manager for Europe, China, and Japan.
Mr. Snow holds a Master’s Degree in International Economics from the George Washington University and a BA in Developmental Economics from the University of Wisconsin. Before joining AHEC, Michael served as a Consultant on international education outreach programs for the National Geographic Society and the Smithsonian Associates. He spent several years in Seville, Spain, teaching economics courses in English and Spanish for the University of Wisconsin.