LYONS, Ore. - Freres Lumber has been named to Fast Company’s annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019, ranking fifth in the Urban Development/Real Estate category.
The list honors the businesses making the most profound impact on both industry and culture. Half of the companies on this year’s MIC 50 list are appearing for the first time.
“We are honored to receive this prestigious award and to be recognized for the innovation and application of our invention of Mass Plywood Panel (MPP),” said Rob Freres, president of Freres Lumber.
Freres' massive panels, which Woodworking Network covered last year, are assembled by combining densely layered, extremely thin layers of Douglas Fir veneers. MPP would be used for floors and walls in multi-story commercial buildings, and they could be made to order. Panels can be as much as 12 feet wide and 2 feet thick.
Freres says there are many potential benefits.
Structures made of MPP could be made in days instead of months, says Freres, and use 20-30 percent less wood than cross-laminated timber. The lightweight nature of MPP could reduce truckload transport costs. Large format panels could be manufactured at a facility to include window, door, and all other required cut-outs – minimizing waste and labor on the job site.
Freres has acquired U.S. and Canadian patents for its MPP. At Oregon State University, MPP are being used to construct an advanced wood products laboratory.
Fast Company’s editors and writers sought out groundbreaking businesses across 35 industries and every region. They also judged nominations received through their application process.

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