March 2024

March 2024

March 2024

Cover: The Ninth Annual Panel & Engineered Lumber International Conference & Expo Preview

Has it been two years already? Apparently so, as the ninth Panel & Engineered Lumber International Conference & Expo (PELICE) comes back to life March 14-15 in Atlanta.

Inside This Issue

PELICE 2024 Preview

Covering both the structural and non-structural panel industries, the event is set for March 14-15 in Atlanta.

SUBSCRIBE TO PANEL WORLD TODAY TO GET YOUR COPY OF THE ANNUAL DIRECTORY & BUYERS’ GUIDE

UPDATE
  • Hampton Lumber Purchases Rebuilt
  • Boise Announces New Investments
PROJECTS
  • Automated PRS Boosts Kalispell
  • Hunt Modernizes Lathe Operations
  • Glulam Project Names ERP Provider
SUPPLY LINES
  • Pankoke Directed Hymmen Growth
  • Siempelkamp Deals With Sunds Fibertech
  • Hoffman Played Key Role
  • Lander Takes Over As CFO
CLIPPINGS
  • Roseburg Names Ramm Senior VP
  • Oenning Steps Into New Role
  • Blackburn Named VP-Operations

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Forest Products Industry Says Goodbye To Walter

Article by Rich Donnell, Editor-in-Chief, Panel World

 

Walter Jarck, whose career in the forest products industry spanned 65 years and ranged from logging machinery to engineered wood products, died January 3, surrounded by his children, in North Wilkesboro, NC. He was 92.

 

Jarck spent the last two decades of his life trying build a high scale, commercial production TimTek (formerly Scrimber) composite lumber manufacturing facility, and nearly pulled it off; but long before then as a forest engineer he was a pioneer innovator of pulpwood loading and forwarding machinery, and log harvesting and processing machinery.

 

Jarck was born on May 7, 1931 in Queens, New York, and learned a hard work ethic from his immigrant parents. It was when he moved with his mother to the Catskill Mountains of New York that he fell in love with the woodlands.

 

He graduated in 1953 from the New York College of Forestry at Syracuse and entered Naval Officer Candidate School. He became a destroyer officer and ultimately retired from the Naval Reserves as a Captain. He recalled while in the Navy working with ships and mechanical, propulsion, steam and hydraulic systems.

 

Upon leaving the Navy he went to work for Caterpillar Tractor Co. as a logging engineer and spent a year in their sales training program and experienced the welding, mechanical and engine shops and was involved in the development of root rakes. “By the time I left I knew how a scraper was built, how a bulldozer was built, so I was really turned on by that,” Jarck said.

 

In 1958 he moved to the South and went to work as a forest engineer for Bowater, which was building a paper mill in Catawba, SC. “My boss said, ‘we have a six hundred million dollar paper mill being built and we’re going to be relying on the sweat of a few laborers to hand load and to bring wood in. There’s got to be a better way.’”

 

While Jarck was supervising the construction of buildings and wood yards for the new mill, he started looking at ways to mechanize logging equipment, which would alleviate the traditional practice of mills having to stockpile six months of logs in their wood yards to overcome the winter weather.

 

In the early 1960s Jarck led the development of the Go Getter pulpwood forwarder and in the mid 1970s working with Charles Allen the Allen Jarck Harvester for felling pulpwood and processing it into sticks, an early version of today’s cut-to-length machinery.

 

In 1982 Jarck joined Georgia-Pacific as assistant vice president and senior forester. He was involved in policy making and in several acquisitions. He retired in 1996 from Georgia-Pacific as corporate director of forest resources and then taught industrial forestry courses at the University of Georgia for several years.

 

Jarck was far from retired. In 2001 he and partner Geoff Sanderson acquired the world rights to the Scrimber technology from the Australia government interests that invented it in the mid 1970s. Scrimber was produced from small plantation trees to form a reconsolidated wood product with uniform properties comparable to sawn timber.

 

Jarck and Sanderson formed TimTek (they didn’t purchase the Scrimber name) and their newly formed company purchased the pilot plant in Australia and relocated it to the campus of Mississippi State University.

 

They wanted to build a true scale plant that would produce a product up to 48 in. in width, up to 6 in. in thickness and almost any length. TimTek beams, they said, would compete favorably in the large sizes for trusses, garage door headers, joists, rimboards and long-span structural timbers.

 

Jarck wrote: “Our process can best be summarized by crushing the debarked small diameter stems in a scrimming mill, then drying the scrim or mat of fibers, adding adhesives, collating the mats, steam pressing, then cutting to size and finishing. The resource can be softwood or hardwood in the 4-8 in. diameter classes. Resources of this nature are available at delivered prices that are one-fourth or one-fifth the cost of resources purchased in the sawtimber or veneer log categories.”

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Oregon Truckers File Suit Against State

Oregon truckers file suit against state

Rob Freres, president of Oregon-based Freres Engineered Wood, a manufacturer of lumber, veneer, plywood and mass timber, has thrown in his support for a lawsuit filed by the Oregon Trucking Assn. and three Oregon-based trucking companies against the state of Oregon for overcharging truckers under the weight-mile tax.

“For decades, Oregon trucking companies, the vast majority of which are small, family-owned businesses, have paid far more than their fair share of transportation taxes,” Freres writes in a company blog. “By 2025, the trucking industry is expected to have overpaid by half a billion dollars. Trucking companies in Oregon simply cannot sustain paying the highest transportation taxes of any state in the country any longer.”

Oregon Trucking Assn., Combined Transport, A&M Transport and Sherman Bros. Trucking filed a lawsuit against the state of Oregon, the Oregon Dept. of Transportation, Gov. Tina Kotek, Senate President Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) and House Speaker Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis). The lawsuit claims that the state’s weight-mile tax is unconstitutional by forcing truckers to pay more than their fair share.

At the center of the lawsuit is Article IX, section 3a of Oregon’s constitution, which “ensures that the share of revenues paid for the use of light vehicles, including cars, and the share of revenues paid for the use of heavy vehicles, including trucks, is fair and proportionate to the costs incurred for the highway system because of each class of vehicle.”

According to the lawsuit, truckers have been paying “an ever-increasing and disproportionate share” of the state’s road revenue. Under the same section of the Oregon constitution, the state must submit a Highway Cost Allocation Study every two years. That study determines the proportionate share that heavy and light vehicle users should pay.

According to the 2023-25 Highway Cost Allocation Study, truckers are being overcharged by the weight-mile tax as a proportion of road use.

“Under existing tax rates and fees, light vehicles are projected to underpay their responsibility by 12.2%,” the study states. “Heavy vehicles are projected to overpay by 32.4% during the next biennium.”

The last three studies have concluded that truckers in Oregon are overpaying. Despite the study results, the state has continued to collect road taxes without adjusting for equitability between vehicle types.

“Oregonians deserve safe roads, and Freres Engineered Wood is willing to pay our fair share—as required by Oregon’s constitution—as long as Oregon Department of Transportation keeps up its side of the agreement,” Freres writes. “But, to date, major road improvements have not been completed, road maintenance has been delayed, and our roads are less safe for passenger vehicles and trucks. Meanwhile, trucking companies are forced to pass astronomical tax rates on to consumers, who end up paying more for household goods.”

Freres points out that Oregon is the last state in the country to collect taxes based on weight and miles. All other states collect fuel taxes to fund roads. “It’s overdue for Oregon to eliminate the administrative cost of collecting weight mile taxes and move to a fairer fuel tax,” Freres says. “If you are able, consider contributing to the Oregon Trucking Association’s Legal Fund.”

The issue is not lost on some state lawmakers. Rep. Shelly Boshart Davis, R-Albany. “As a proud owner of a family-operated trucking business myself, I fully support the Oregon Trucking Association’s lawsuit against the state of Oregon for overpayment of weight-mile taxes. Our trucking businesses have been paying far more than our fair share of highway taxes for too long. By 2025, that number will total half a billion dollars in overpayments. I urge my colleagues in the Legislature to consider future opportunities to resolve this injustice.”

The lawsuit claims that the Legislative Assembly “failed to comply with its constitutional obligations.” The Oregon Trucking Assn. is asking the court to declare the defendants violated the constitution by not making mandatory weight-mile tax adjustments. Furthermore, the lawsuit seeks to stop the “unconstitutional” weight-mile tax from taking effect in 2024 and for the state to conduct an immediate review and adjustment of revenue sources.

Plaintiff trucking companies also are seeking to recover the amount of weight-mile tax they have overpaid. Between those three companies alone, that amount comes to nearly $1 million.

“For far too long, Oregon trucking companies have paid far more than their fair share of transportation taxes,” Oregon Trucking Assn. CEO Jana Jarvis said in a statement. “By 2025, the trucking industry is expected to have overpaid by half a billion dollars. Trucking companies in Oregon simply cannot sustain paying the highest transportation taxes of any state in the country any longer.”

The lawsuit was filed in the Douglas County Circuit Court in the state’s 16th Judicial District in Roseburg.

“We initiated this lawsuit not because we don’t want to be paying taxes, but because we simply want to pay our fair share,” said Andy Owens, CEO and manager of A&M Transport. “Since 2022, we have paid over $292,000 more in taxes than we should have, based on the findings of the state’s own Highway Cost Allocation Study. Not only is the overpayment not sustainable for a family business like ours, it’s in violation of Oregon’s constitution.”

The other plaintiffs, Combined Transport Inc. of Central Point, contends it overpaid by $470,619 in taxes from Jan. 1, 2022 to the present, and Sherman Bros. Trucking of Harrisburg was overcharged $153,198 in taxes during the same time.

According to the Oregon Trucking Assn., the state constitution requires that the tax rate paid by trucks be “fair and proportionate to the costs incurred for the highway system because of each class of vehicle.” However, for at least the last six years, the state’s trucking companies have been forced to pay more than a third of all taxes owed by Oregon motorists despite trucks representing only 15% of vehicle miles traveled in the state.

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Roseburg Names Tony Ramm Senior VP Of Manufacturing

Roseburg Names Tony Ramm Senior VP Of Manufacturing Roseburg is pleased to announce that Tony Ramm has accepted the role of Senior Vice President of Manufacturing, effective April 8, 2024. Ramm will drive an increased emphasis on the sustainable, long-term success of...

Roseburg Names Orozco To Direct Strategic Business

Roseburg has annouced that Nadine Orozco has been promoted to Director of Strategic Business Development. She has served as manager of strategic business development since 2022, and has been deeply involved in key company projects, including the recent sale of Roseburg’s Simsboro, La., particleboard plant to Kronospan and the company’s historic $700 million investment in Oregon manufacturing.

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When Grant Led The Way

When Grant Led The Way

When Grant Led The Way

Article by Rich Donnell, Editor-in-Chief, Panel World July 2019

The story in this issue on Georgia-Pacific’s OSB plant in Clarendon County, South Carolina brings back memories. Not memories of Georgia-Pacific, but rather of Grant Forest Products, the Ontario-based company that built an OSB plant in Allendale, SC, then immediately started construction of the one at Clarendon, before undergoing financial pains during the recession and ultimately selling both OSB plants to GP (owned by Koch Industries) in 2010.

My memories go back to September 1989 when I visited Grant Forest Products’ new OSB line in Englehart, Ontario. The Grant connection to the GP story prompted me to look into my old files. I have thinned them out through the years, but some I’ve kept because the subject matter left an impression. Sure enough, the Grant file on the Englehart startup was there, fully intact, perhaps untouched in, could it really be, 30 years?

It’s a thick file. Much of the material is the literature that Grant produced for the grand opening of the OSB line, such as the layout of the plant, the history and current makeup of the company, and most impressively a colorful magazine that delves into the development of the project and its successful realization.

Another item in the file is a printout of an article, written by my predecessor Griff Griffin, that appeared in the February 1983 issue of Panel World on Grant’s new waferboard mill that had started up in 1982, one of several waferboard mills coming on line about that time. That article refers to 38-year-old Peter Grant as a “gutsy entrepreneurial.” He was the oldest of eight sons born to the late Morgan Grant, and most of them were involved in managing the various businesses founded by their father, including farming, trucking, construction and sawmilling.

Another reason the Grant file was so thick was that 30 years ago people still used typewriters, and so there are pages of my typed up interview with Peter Grant from when we sat in his office for a good hour before I toured the new OSB line.

Grant, educated in civil engineering at Michigan Tech, had worked in construction in the U.S. before returning to the family business. He became general manager of Grant Lumber’s planing mill at Elk Lake, before venturing into waferboard.

Grant told me the new OSB line cost about $75 million. It was located adjacent the waferboard line, each with their own dryers, blenders, forming line, multiple-opening press, and trim saw lines.

Peter Grant was known for his innovations and I recall the new OSB line using a combination of liquid and powdered resins, longer (6 in.) strands in the board, fines put back in the board. “We do things much much differently than anybody else does. I can assure you that,” Grant told me.

I had interviewed another waferboard/OSB pioneer, LP’s Harry Merlo, four years earlier. About the time I interviewed Grant, LP seemed to be building an OSB mill every year. I wondered then if Grant would follow such an accelerated path. He didn’t go that route, seemingly content on what he had built at Englehart, until his 2005 announcement to build two OSB plants in South Carolina.

Those didn’t pan out for Grant, but his legacy is all over them today. Meanwhile I hear that Grant has recovered nicely in the farming industry.

 

 

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Arauco Closing Eugene MDF

Arauco Closing Eugene MDF

ARAUCO announced it is closing its medium density fiberboard (MDF) production facility in Eugene, Ore. as of May 1. ARAUCO states it will continue to support customers from its other facilities, and that the decision was based on an assessment over several years that the older manufacturing platform was less competitive compared to the company’s other more advanced MDF platforms.

“Decisions regarding plant closures are difficult,” says Pablo Franzini, president of ARAUCO North America. “We are working diligently to provide options for Eugene employees to help them through a difficult transition. We are committed to meeting our customers’ needs from our other facilities.”

A month earlier ARAUCO announced it is closing its particleboard line in Moncure, NC Carolina as of April. It cited similar reasons.

ARAUCO’s Moncure MDF line will be integrated with a molding line to create an advanced MDF millwork operation that will drive efficiencies and support the company’s commitment to provide customers with value-added products. “The new investment will strengthen our millwork footprint to better serve our customers,” Franzini says.

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Roseburg Names Orozco To Direct Strategic Business

Roseburg has annouced that Nadine Orozco has been promoted to Director of Strategic Business Development. She has served as manager of strategic business development since 2022, and has been deeply involved in key company projects, including the recent sale of Roseburg’s Simsboro, La., particleboard plant to Kronospan and the company’s historic $700 million investment in Oregon manufacturing.

Find Us On Social

Newsletter

The monthly Panel World Industry Newsletter reaches over 3,000 who represent primary panel production operations.

Subscribe/Renew

Panel World is delivered six times per year to North American and international professionals, who represent primary panel production operations. Subscriptions are FREE to qualified individuals.

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When Grant Led The Way

Where Plans Take Shape

Where Plans Take Shape

Article by Rich Donnell, Editor-in-Chief, Panel World March 2020 

From the looks of it going in, the Panel & Engineered Lumber International Conference & Expo (PELICE), which is scheduled for March 12-13 at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta, Ga., is offering up its best lineup of speakers and sessions since the inaugural PELICE in 2008. That’s saying something, because there have been some good ones.

Take a look at some of the keynote speakers from producer companies from both the structural and non-structural sides of the wood products industry: Ashlee Cribb of Roseburg, Steve Carroll of Arauco, Mark Lindquist of Huber, Bernd Bielfeldt and Luciano Tiburzi of Egger, Terry Secrest of RoyOMartin, Jerry Uhland of CalPlant I. All of these people and their companies have been in recent years or are currently going through some major mill projects. They’ll be addressing these projects but also providing insight on the makeup and direction of their companies as we enter the year of perfect vision. If you look at the titles of some of their talks, you see “Growth through Innovation,” “Building a Future,” “Journey to a World Class Safety Culture.”

As always, the PELICE keynote lineup includes somebody who can provide the “big picture” in terms of production, market and economic trends for North America. That would be Frank Goecke of AFRY (formerly Pöyry), whose talk on the second morning of PELICE is entitled: “Dynamics in Wood-Based Panels and Engineered Wood Products—Opportunities and Challenges for the North American Industry.”

Breakout sessions on the first day include Handling & Process Technologies, Project Implementation (if you want some insight into project engineering and construction, this is a must), Air Emissions Treatment, Board Scanning Technologies, and Women in Manufacturing. We noticed that last year RoyOMartin held a Women in Manufacturing Day,” so we decided to insert the topic in PELICE, and as a result Michelle Driscoll from RoyOMartin and Anna Umphress from Georgia-Pacific will deliver talks on the subject.

One thing that stands out about 2020 PELICE is that the second day sessions are exceptionally strong including: Mass Timber Developments, Fiber Developments, EWP Performance and Process Improvements (those sessions combined include 14 presentations). All of these follow the morning keynote session, which includes three speeches, ranging from markets to adhesives to decorative veneer. The amazing thing is that all of this is concluded by noon. PELICE has always prided itself on packing a lot into what amounts to a day and a half long conference.

As we go into PELICE, impeachment is over, the presidential primaries are upon us, housing starts have ticked upward, and the stock market (as I write this anyway) has been very good.

As you read this you can probably still preregister on the show site: www.pelice-expo.com, and by all means feel free to walk up the day of the conference and register at the PELICE desk in the Omni North Tower Grand Ballroom.

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Roseburg Names Orozco To Direct Strategic Business

Roseburg has annouced that Nadine Orozco has been promoted to Director of Strategic Business Development. She has served as manager of strategic business development since 2022, and has been deeply involved in key company projects, including the recent sale of Roseburg’s Simsboro, La., particleboard plant to Kronospan and the company’s historic $700 million investment in Oregon manufacturing.

Hoffman Companies Acquires Besse Forest Products Group

The Hoffmann Family of Companies (HFOC), a Florida-based family-owned private equity firm, has acquired Besse Forest Products Group, the longstanding Michigan-based family-run company with 10 manufacturing facilities, including four sawmills, a lumber drying concentration yard, four veneer mills and a cut-to-size plywood mill.

Find Us On Social

Newsletter

The monthly Panel World Industry Newsletter reaches over 3,000 who represent primary panel production operations.

Subscribe/Renew

Panel World is delivered six times per year to North American and international professionals, who represent primary panel production operations. Subscriptions are FREE to qualified individuals.

Advertise

Complete the online form so we can direct you to the appropriate Sales Representative. Contact us today!