ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The International Wood Products Association (IWPA) March 28-30, 2012 convention in Indian Wells, California drew 270 industry leaders from 25 countries. The ten percent increase over previous year’s attendance speaks to improving market conditions, but also the strength of the educational program content.

The diverse set of speakers included Henry Juszkiewicz, Gibson Guitar CEO; Lori Dennis, noted HGTV celebrity designer; Lynn Michaelis, current RISI economist and previous chief economist with Weyerhaeuser; and several U.S. government and international speakers, including the Hon. Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, the Malaysian Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities.

A half-day workshop on Lacey Compliance and presentations on outstanding global efforts to advance tropical forest management by the Tropical Forest Foundation and what can be done to enhance global marketing of hardwoods by the National Hardwood Lumber Association rounded out the full three-day program.

International delegations from Ghana, Malaysia and Indonesia joined more than a dozen other groups offering input on their initiatives during the tradeshow associated with the event. IWPA’s PAC was treated to a special presentation by Howard Marlowe, President of the American League of Lobbyists on what to expect in this election cycle related to trade issues.

Alan McIlvain, IWPA President said, “IWPA’s conventions are known for strong business networking amongst industry CEO’s and outstanding educational programming. But this year the event was taken to a whole new level. The sessions were packed everyday and the expanded business networking sessions generated fantastic feedback from attendees.”

McIlvain continued, “The tangible value of IWPA membership was clear for all to see. From our work on legislative issues like our Capitol Hill efforts to improve the Lacey Act and advance compliance, to our close work with leading architects and designers to advance the specification and use of international species and products, IWPA's work drives direct financial value to our members. IWPA has made it through the toughest economic downturn since the great Depression without ever running a deficit because our members clearly see the value provided by the association.”

Replacing McIlvain as IWPA President for 2012/2013 is Warren Spitz, President, CEO and Founder of UCS Forest Group of Companies in Toronto, Canada. Warren is supported by an outstanding Board of Directors that include: Elizabeth Baldwin (Metropolitan Hardwood Flooring); Cindy Bergin (Newman Lumber Company); Chris Connelly (Wood Brokerage International); Geoff Doudera (Liberty Woods International); Craig Forester (Rex Lumber Company); Carl Gade (The Penrod Company); Paul Gates (Tradelink Wood Products); JoAnn Keller (Holland Southwest International); John Hedin (Columbia Forest Products); Livy Haskell (Lumber Liquidators); Kenny MacMaster (Argo Fine Imports); Alan McIlvain (Alan McIlvain Company); Bronson Newburger (Clarke Veneers and Plywood); Hugh Reitz (PRS Guitars); Greg Simon (Far East American); Warren Spitz (UCS Forest Group); David Weed (Robert Weed Plywood); Gregg Wilkinson (Bridgewell Resources).

World of Wood 2013, IWPA's 57th Annual Convention, will be held April 17-19, 2013 at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver, British Columbia. IWPA Members may login to access copies of presentations from the 2012 convention; Members of the press should contact IWPA for copies. Photos from the conference are posted on IWPA's Facebook Page. Additional updates are on twitter @iwpawood and on our Linkedin discussion group.

Source: International Wood Products Association


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