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The Place To Be: Pelice 2010

The Place To Be: Pelice 2010

Story by Rich Donnell,
Editor-in-Chief

The second PELICE (Panel & Engineered Lumber International Conference & Expo) will be held February 4-6 at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. It seems like a lifetime ago since the first PELICE was held at the same locale in early 2008.

Do you remember early 2008? The economic numbers had become unsteady. Oil prices were still astronomical. Housing was on the wane. There was talk of a possible recession. But we were viewing it as just another downward lull on the chart of ups and downs in a cyclical industry. “It might get a little worse, but probably won’t last long,” we were told and we told ourselves. It didn’t seem to be anything we hadn’t experienced before. The economy was but one of many topics that the presidential candidates were debating.

Within the year, our economy was on the verge of extinction, the cause of which was reckless lending practices geared to the housing market—practices which international investment entities even more recklessly shaped into various debt investment vehicles. Then when lots of borrowers said they couldn’t afford it, our economy collapsed and the world’s with us. Scenes on television resembled those disaster movies that show sections of the world in utter chaos…“In Europe…In Asia…In Russia…and in the United States…”

And it’s still shaky, but after a major capital infusion by our government into our economy, it has at least settled down. There is even some growth in the economy, which there should be, given the old adage “there’s nowhere to go but up.” Of course we suspect that much of this growth is artificial because of the government input, and we wonder about government debt, and we think that until jobs come back we’re not there yet.

We’ve all become amateur economists since early 2008. But that’s not who we are. We’re professionals in the forest products industry, and we run panel plants as efficiently as possible with the latest technologies, in order to manufacture the products we think our companies are best suited to produce. That’s what we do, whether or not the marketplace is craving our products.

Maybe it’s not as simple as that. When the federal government puts the squeeze on our resin emissions and our air emissions, we have to become almost perfect in our plants in order to find profit margin.
Which brings us to PELICE this February in Atlanta. Here you will become up to date on the latest resin technologies and the latest air control technologies, as well as the latest plant machinery technologies and systems. You will hear about the scramble for woody raw materials, and how the emerging wood bioenergy industry is affecting this scenario. You will hear more about the relationship between what a plant produces and what builders want, and how “green” building preferences continue to impact both. You will hear about one company’s launch of an engineered wood product at a converted OSB plant.

You will also hear forecasts about the wood products industry and about the general economy. Many economists are a little gun shy these days because they didn’t see the tsunami. But don’t be too hard on them. Aw, the heck with it. Be hard on them! See you at PELICE!

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