Congratulations to ITS Class 194!

The National Hardwood Lumber Association celebrated the graduation of the 194th class of the Inspector Training School on Friday, February 26, 2021. The students were the first to graduate from the new, 8-week NHLA Inspector Training School. In total, 5 students graduated: 4 students completed the 8-week Program and one completed the final module of the Online Training Program.

NHLA Dana Spessert, NHLA Chief Inspector and ITS Dean of Education, welcomed and thanked the families, friends, and employers who supported the students during their time away from home.

Bruce Horner, with Abenaki Timber Corporation, and a graduate of the 108th class of Inspector Training School, gave the keynote address. Bruce is also a member of the NHLA Inspector Training School Education Foundation, sits on the ITS Board of Trustees, and serves as the ITS Committee Chairman.

Bruce congratulated the graduates saying, “As a graduate of the NHLA Inspector Training School, I want you to know that the sky is the limit. Your company believed in you enough to send you here, to give you an opportunity. Now it’s time to return the favor. Do the job you are asked to do, keep a smile on your face, and work with precision. You have the skills to be promoted and take your career anywhere you want. Be humble, do your job, and you will succeed.”

Class President, Will Beshear of Beshear Sawmill addressed his fellow students during the ceremony saying, “I want to thank the NHLA staff for their dedication and hard work to the hardwood industry and for getting us here, graduation day. These eight-weeks have been hard with COVID and inclement weather, but we have made memories — memories that will stay with us forever. I want to thank my fellow students for going through this together. This is the beginning of a new chapter, and I want to challenge each of you to be your best self, not just the best lumber inspector, but your best you.”

Class instructor, Roman Matyushchenko told the students he was proud of them, echoing Beshear, commenting, “Despite the inclement weather and everything being shut down, you still wanted to learn and you didn’t miss a beat.”

Graduates of the 194th class were:
• Will Beshear, Beshear Sawmill
• Laban Ehrhart. Clear Lake Lumber
• Manny Ermac, Greentree Forest Products, Inc.
• Zach Smith, Tuscarora Hardwoods
• Evan Vander Kelen, MacDonald & Owen Lumber Company

Outstanding individual awards recipients were as follows:
• Will Beshear, ITS Educational Foundation Award for Highest Overall Average
• Evan Vander Kellen, Howard Hanlon Award for Second Highest Overall Average
• Will Beshear, Westside Hardwood Club Award for Highest Board Run Average
• Zach Smith, Milt Cole Award for Best Attitude/Citizenship

Enrollment is now open for the 195th class, which begins at NHLA headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee, on June 14, 2021. To enroll or learn more about the Program, please click here.