More than 450 APA members, Engineered Wood Technology Association (EWTA) members, staff, spouses, and guests gathered Oct. 17–20 at the Coeur d’Alene Golf & Spa Resort, Idaho for the 2015 APA Annual Meeting and Info Fair. In keeping with the meeting theme, “APA Looks Back to Our Future, Driving the Road to Success,” presenters at the meeting shared perspectives on what the future holds for APA and the industry.
The General Session featured a panel discussion with Dr. Thomas Maness, Cheryl Ramberg-Ford and Allyn C. Ford Dean of the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, and Dr. Paul Winistorfer, Dean of the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech. The panelists shared their strategic visions for the industry and provided updates on their programs and the challenges involved in attracting students to their programs and to careers in the industry.
In his State of the Industry address, APA Chairman Tom Temple reported that the Association has been making progress towards the four goals identified in APA’s updated Strategic Plan. Membership continues to be strong, with 163 member facilities in the U.S., Canada, and South America. APA now represents 85 percent of the structural wood panel production, 88 percent of glulam production, 71 percent of I-joist, and 71 percent of laminated veneer lumber production. He also acknowledged that EWTA membership has grown to 108 member companies.
Temple noted the importance of looking to the future, anticipating what’s coming, and positioning APA and its members for success in the long term. “How do we invest and plan for the next 40 years? We need to identify the research and technical know-how that will support market development and building design in areas such as multistory residential and commercial construction,” Temple said. He reviewed key activities in codes and standards, market development, and educational outreach, and emphasized the important role that the Board of Trustees and advisory committees play in managing the Association budget and activities. “We face tremendous challenges in making forward-thinking investments in the facilities and our people, while also recognizing the right scale of activity and being tempted by mission creep,” he said.
APA President Ed Elias noted the Association’s past successes, demonstrating the ability to be nimble as APA adjusted to changes in fiber usage, technology, and more diversified product offerings. As we look to the future, Elias emphasized the importance of strategic partnerships with other industry associations and research organizations. He highlighted emerging opportunities in residential construction, multistory building design, and strong engagement in product standards, building codes, and research related to product performance.
“We have identified the significant challenges and have programs in place to address those key opportunities and threats,” Elias said. “Most importantly, we have the voice of a strong membership that guides us and brings credibility to everything we do.”
In the Marketing Advisory Committee, high-performance building consultant Randy Melvin reported on the innovative floor and wall systems used in the APA Inside View demonstration home constructed earlier this year in the Chicago area. Hans-Erik Blomgren, structural engineer with the global engineering firm ARUP, shared advancements in urban multifamily construction in which his firm had been engaged, and provided an update on tall wood building projects. In other presentations to the MAC committee, APA market coordinators provided updates on the Strategic Marketing Plan initiatives, and Market Research Director Joe Elling described the market dynamics that shaped the market forecast for 2016.
The full schedule of events included meetings of the EWTA Adhesives and Technical Subcommittee, EWTA Advisory Committee, Glulam and I-Joist/SCL Management Committees, the Marketing Advisory Committee and subcommittees, Safety and Health Advisory Committee, and roundtable discussions on safety, environmental regulations, and university programs.
A large number of attendees participated in the Mike St. John Memorial Golf Tournament and the Cripple Coot Shoot sport shooting competition, while spouses enjoyed a variety of tours and programs.
The EWTA Info Fair, a product and services exposition, featured 72 exhibitors, marking continued growth in this popular information sharing and networking event. The EWTA members and exhibitors also hosted a welcome reception and sponsored the sporting events. Twenty-five EWTA member companies were Silver sponsors, 21 were Gold sponsors and seven were Platinum sponsors.