In late September, BC Wood participated with four members from the log home and timber frame sector in the Denver Log Home show, Sept. 30th-Oct. 2nd. The Denver show featured log home and timber frame displays, smaller out-buildings, and finished building products such as roofing, flooring, decking, and rustic furniture. Over the past few years, a number of BC Wood members from the log and timber frame home sector have used the Denver show to maintain a toe hold in the US market while they cut back on some of their other promotional activities during the slower economic times.
The BC log and timber frame builders have remained active in a number of regional markets in the US, like the Rocky Mountain States, because it has been one of the few areas that has shown some activity. The Rocky Mountain States, due to their close geographic proximity to BC, product acceptance, and the clustering of resort developments catering to a wealthy demographic, have continued to be a relatively strong market for BC producers.
The feedback from the members attending the Denver show was generally very positive. The number of attendees, while not back to pre-2008 levels, was definitely higher than they had been in recent years. Most exhibitors reported a more positive attitude from the attendees at the show. Individuals who had been hesitant over the past few years to take the final step towards building their projects came to the show ready to build.
So, is there really a light at the end of the dreary economic tunnel? Judging from the feedback from the attendees and exhibitors at the Denver Log Home show, we are probably through the worst of it. The recovery will be, without doubt, slow and sporadic. However, I see more and more positive signs coming out of the most recent BC Wood trade show events.
For more background and my own views on the Denver show, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the next couple of months, BC Wood will be coordinating the participation of its members in the BC Log Home and Country Living Show in Abbotsford in March. Held at the Tradex facility in Abbotsford, March 9-10th, this show draws over 12,000 attendees, primarily members of the general public who have an interest in log and timber frame homes. The Abbotsford show has traditionally been the best attended trade event for BC Wood’s log home and timber frame sector, with 12 to 14 members participating in the event over the past few years.
This Abbotsford show features log & timber builders and a range of related products and services that go hand-in-hand with outdoor living. BC Wood’s participation in the 2011 show was marked by a general improvement in the public’s confidence and attitude toward building. All exhibitors reported positively on the improved attitude of the attendees and the quality and quantity of the sales leads they generated from the show.
While most of the exhibitors at this show are manufacturers of log and timber frame structures, there is an opportunity for manufacturers to promote other building and finishing materials including flooring, roofing, kitchens, doors, windows, and exterior finishing materials. The audience is drawn to the show to see a complete range of products, from log and timber frame shells to the materials that are need to finish them.
Space is available for BC Wood members wanting to participate in the BC Log Home, Timber Frame and Country Living show this coming March. I would encourage any companies interested in more information to contact me at email@example.com or in BC Wood’s offices at 604-882-7100.read more
Later this fiscal year, in February 2013, BC Wood will be coordinating a tandem of cost-shared trade shows in the Canadian Market. Member companies will be able to participate in the Montreal Wood Convention in Montreal and the Buildex show in Vancouver. While these shows occur on approximately the same dates, February 13-15th, the two shows target different audiences and are appropriate for different sectors with BC Wood.
Montreal Wood Convention, Montreal, Quebec
February 13-15, 2013
Buildex, Vancouver, BC
February 13-14, 2013
Buildex Vancouver is one of Canada’s largest trade expositions. The show focuses on the design and construction industry, and the manufacturers that supply the finished building materials required by these two sectors. Over 12,000 architects, interior designers, contractors, developers, engineers, and specifers attend the two day show where 600 exhibits showcase products and services.
The Buildex Vancouver show is an excellent opportunity for manufacturers producing custom architectural millwork, furniture, windows, doors, flooring, cabinets, as well as exterior finishing products such as wood roofing, siding, and decking.
In contrast, the focus of the 2013 Montreal Wood Convention is on commodity and specialty lumber products. This year’s convention will be in many ways the rebirth of the industry event that had a long storied history. For years, Wood Convention brought together industry representatives from the lumber industry to build key business contacts.
It is expected that the attendees to the Wood Convention will largely be Eastern based manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of lumber products. In addition, a number of representatives from European companies are also expected to participate in this event.
Space is limited for BC Wood members wanting to participate in these two events, so the sooner you respond the better. For more information regarding exhibition space and costs at the Buildex show and the Montreal Wood Convention, please contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 604-882-7100read more
It is once again time to gather the industry to get your feedback and suggestions on BC Wood activities for the next fiscal year, April 2013 to March 2014. We will be hosting the following meetings at our office in Langley and encourage you to participate and have a say in the cost-shared programs that BC Wood will deliver with industry participation.
If you cannot attend in person, please let us know and we will arrange for you to teleconference in to any meeting you have an interest in.
Log Home/Timber Frame Sector
1:30 Thursday, Nov 8th
Remanufacturing/ Specialty Lumber & Engineered Wood Products
1:30 Tuesday, Nov 13th
Furniture, Cabinets & Millwork Sector
10:00 Tuesday, Nov 13th
8:30 Tuesday Nov 13th
We will also be hosting two special interest meetings:
India Market – 1:30 Wednesday, Nov 14th
European Market 1:30 Thursday, Nov 15th
Please join us and have your say regarding programs developed and delivered for next year! If you have any questions, or are not sure of your membership status, please contact us at 604-882-7100.read more
By Roy Manion
BC Wood continues to develop relationships with contractors and builders. As the readers may know, we are members of the Vancouver Regional Contractors Association (VRCA). Last Thursday, I attended a VRCA breakfast seminar sponsored by Wood Works BC on High Rise Wood Towers, the Next Step for BC. The speaker was Hubert Rhomberg, CEO of Rhomberg Holding GmbH and Cree GmbH, an Austrian company. The presentation was particularly interesting as the Rhomberg group built an 8 storey wood building in Austria (it went up one floor per day) and is one of three groups which have been asked to submit a proposal for the Tall Wood Tower in Prince George.
After the session, VRCA not only invited, but encouraged both BC Wood and Wood Works BC to utilize VRCA’s facilities to host group Lunch & Learn (L&L) sessions for their contractor members. As you may know, BC Wood has held a number of meetings and L&L sessions with several of the larger construction firms. These sessions have all been well received, and as a result, several firms have and continue to use BC Wood as a resource for information and product sourcing.
A few days prior to attending the VRCA breakfast meeting, we also met with the Independent Contractors Business Association (ICBA). The ICBA is an association that represents “open shop” construction companies. We have decided to join the ICBA as their membership is similar in size to the VRCA and provides us with access to additional construction companies. ICBA also encouraged us to use their facilities for group sessions.
In addition to these two associations, BC Wood is now working with the Canadian House Builders Association (CHBC), Sea to Sky (Whistler) Chapter and will be holding a L&L session in Whistler for their members on November 8th. Along with the CHBC members, we invited all of the Whistler architects. If all goes well, and we expect it will, we will look at a holding another session in Whistler with the CHBC in March.
Last Tuesday, we attended the Wood Solutions Fair and met with many architects and a number of companies in our industry who were exhibiting there. I also attended a seminar by Mateo Durfeld on Passive housing. Mateo is quickly setting himself up as the BC expert on passive housing. After Mateo’s presentation, I then scooted over to the UBC Robson Square campus and participated as a speaker at CAWP’s Wood Tech Summit 2012. I gave a talk on marketing to architects.
This Thursday, November 1st, we are holding a seminar at UBC introducing a manufactured in BC hybrid solid wood curtain wall window system. Also speaking with me is an envelope consultant and a government representative on the requirements of the energy efficiency act and associated regulations. All in all, it looks like it will be a great session.
In addition, we are beginning plans for an Okanagan trip in February where we plan on holding group sessions and one or two individual L&L sessions in Kamloops and Kelowna. We already have two companies who have approached us to participate for the Okanagan sessions and we still have room for one or two more.
In the meantime, we are booking lunch & learn sessions primarily with the architect firms at their offices. We expect to do 30 more of these sessions by our fiscal year end, March 31st..
As one can see, the program continues to be very active. The interesting thing to me is that the group sessions we have held this year were all initiated by proactive participants in the program. We would encourage those who are reading this article who are not an active member of the Specifier Program to seriously look into it. You could benefit from exposing your products to the contractors and specifiers. For more information, feel free to contact me at 604-882-7100 email@example.com more
The 8th Annual IDSWest show was held in the New Vancouver Convention Centre, September 27th to 30th, 2012. The Interior Design Show West (IDSwest) is Western Canada’s annual premiere residential design show featuring over 300 exhibitors showcasing quality cutting edge and original design products and services to an audience of industry professionals, architects, designers, consumers, and media. This is about a 30% increase in exhibitors from the past year and all the participants agreed, it was the finest one yet!
An amazing array of both internationally renowned and local designers (including a fab fashion show), critics, and popular magazine editors spoke throughout the course of the event, drawing standing room only crowds over the weekend.
We had good representation of BC Wood members participating in our joint booth this year, including:
Brent Comber Originals
Kettle Valley Moulding & Millwork
vin de garde cellar systems
Wide Plank Hardwood Ltd.
The overall displays were great, offering the 30,000+ audience lots of ideas and opportunities to see what exceptional talent we have here in BC. Results received from members to date make it one of the most successful Canadian activities that BC Wood participates in. Congratulations to all our members for their hard work and ingenuity.
A special display sharing our space this year was the Picker’s Shack, designed by UBC students in Michael Green’s program. The fruit stand was designed for a Naramata orchard that wanted to increase their on-farm produce sales. They wanted something functional, well shaded, naturally ventilated, and moveable. The student’s goal was to rethink the modest fruit stand to attract more drive-by customers. The concept is a functional box with subtle complexity. Protection from the elements, display space, views, and seating are all accomplished through an operable wall system made from custom cut pine beetle infested lumber. The roof is made from reclaimed Canada Place roof fabric. When in its closed state, the fruit stand shows hints of the operable elements. When open, the operable elements reveal colourful surfaces that relate to the families heritage and the colours of agriculture. It was a hit at IDSWest, particularly the fresh apples, pears, and cider that were distributed by the students throughout the event.
To see the program and speaker highlights, as well as listings of all the exhibitors, visit their website at www.idswest.comread more
Demand for reclaimed materials up as buyers seek out beams with character
There’s a lot of spilled beer and good memories on the back of a flat-deck truck at Western Reclaimed Timber’s property beside the Fraser River in Maple Ridge.
Stacked on the truck is about 2,000 board feet of laminated structural beams — known as “glulams,” layers of woods bonded together — removed during construction work at the Fraser Arms Hotel on South West Marine Drive in Vancouver.
“They’re excellent,” allows Western owner Bruce MacDonald, who’s been in the wood-recycling business for 25 years. “Nothing wrong with them at all.”
Crews remove nails from the beams and use metal detectors to probe for potentially dangerous metal bits not visible to the naked eye. The beams will be visually graded according to knots and cracks, then milled into a variety of wood products that could include tongue-and-groove flooring, timber frames, table and counter tops, decking for boats, and wraps for steel beams.
The wood may be old — made from ancient Douglas felled around the 1950s — but in today’s wood-construction market, old has never seemed newer. “The old look is in,” MacDonald confirms. “It’s highly sought after.” The human history of the wood also adds value to the product.
Some of the more recognizable structures from which Western has reclaimed wood include the Woodward’s Building and Drake Hotel in Vancouver, and the historic Glenrose Cannery on the Fraser River in North Delta, which was dismantled due to construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road.
“People are often more interested in the story behind the wood than the wood itself,” MacDonald notes.read more
Last week, BC Wood Specialties Group hosted the 9th annual Global Buyers Mission in Whistler, BC. Among the 19 international delegations that attended were timber importers from India looking to replace current wood sources with Canadian wood products. After attending the successful Global Buyers Mission, the India delegation visited BC value-added wood manufacturers as part of their extended mission. One of the companies they visited was International Forest Products (Interfor) Acorn Division in Delta, BC. The Acorn mill is an export sawmill dedicated to manufacturing high value squares and timbers that are used in housing and industrial applications across global markets.
Dave Hayer, MLA Surrey-Tynehead, opened the event on Tuesday at Interfor by welcoming the India delegation to BC. He stated that one of the goals of BC’s Job Plan is opening up markets abroad for BC goods. “Helping companies like Interfor make connections with new companies overseas is one of BC Jobs Plan initiatives that we have been focused on.” Mike De Jong, Minister of Finance, took the podium on behalf of Premier Christy Clark and Minister Pat Bell to further explain the BC Job Plan strategy and outcome.
Following the opening speeches, the India delegation attended two seminars, went on a tour of the mill, and learned about grading standards at Interfor. The seminars, delivered by John Leahy from Canadian Mill Services, dealt with the phyto-sanitary rules for sending forest products from Canada to India and BC’s tree species and wood products. The mill tour lead the delegation through the mill, letting them observe how a log is remanufactured into a timber product. Lastly, the delegation was shown the different types of wood species Interfor remanufactures at their plant and how they are graded.read more
A few quick thoughts on two markets that are providing members with opportunities but truly are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
As most members know, BC Wood has been active in the Hawaiian Islands for the last decade. Hawaii has proven to be a solid market for companies that manufacture high quality products for the resort, light commercial, and high-end residential construction sectors. In particular, companies in the timber frame, millwork, and Western Red Cedar sectors have all developed sales and market share in Hawaii.
Since all construction materials need to be shipped into Hawaii, BC manufacturers are on an equal playing field with both domestic suppliers and manufacturers from the continental US. For BC companies wanting to develop a market in Hawaii, you can sell contractor direct or to established building product distributors.
One such company who has had considerable success supplying high quality building products to contractors throughout the islands is Seattle based Pacific Source www.pacsource.com
Pacific Source has a six acre yard and distribution facility in Snohomish, Washington and has smaller yards and showrooms on a number of the islands including Kauai, Maui, and Kailulu Kona.
If you’re looking to develop a foothold in the Hawaiian market, it may be worth your while to contact Pacific Source. The key is having a product that is both well suited to the Hawaiian market and is priced well enough that all parties can make a margin. Mark Mason, one of the original partners of the company is expected to be at the GBM next month in Whistler.
Now for the other opportunity, which by all accounts is a far cry from the exotic local of the Hawaiian Islands, is North Dakota. A while back I wrote about the building boom that is currently underway in the northwest corner of the State. Towns such as Williston, Minot, and Watford city are all experiencing extreme housing shortages as thousands of new oil field workers are flocking to the state to work in the booming oil and gas industry.
Today, North Dakota is the US’s number 2 oil producing state, having leapfrogged over Alaska and California. The discovery of vast reserves of natural gas and oil in the northern part of the state have led to a huge influx of oil industry workers moving to the region who require housing. Oil companies have tried to address the shortfall of housing by building temporary housing units known as man camps (picture below), but there remains a serious need for quality residential homes for this well paid workforce.
I will be travelling to the region over the next week to meet with builders, developers, and distributors to gauge the market opportunity for BC suppliers of prebuilt and panelized housing and related products. I will report my findings in an upcoming Wood Connections Newsletter.
For more information on either of these markets, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on my cell at 604-728-8786.read more
Last November, BC Wood, with a small group of member companies, completed a very successful trade mission to Moscow to explore opportunities for value-added wood products in the Russian market, and to participate in the Fall Holzhaus trade show.
BC Woods’ members showcased log home and timber frame structures, factory built homes, high quality millwork, and specialty Western Red Cedar building materials. Members were able to engage with industry professionals from all over Russia and surrounding countries. Developers, architects, builders, distributors, importers, and designers were all in attendance at the show, many of whom came specifically to the show to speak to the Canadian manufacturers.
Based on the success of last year’s program, BC Wood is planning to return to Moscow and the Holzhaus show this coming fall, November 1st- 4th. Space will be available for BC Wood members wanting to participate in the Holzhaus trade shows and I would encourage any companies interested in more information to contact me at email@example.com or in BC Wood’s offices at 604-882-7100.
A reminder of BC Wood’s presence at this year’s Interior Design Show West (IDS West) – September 27-30th. Over the past couple of years, the IDS West has become the venue to see the best of international and local designs. BC Wood will bring together local companies that produce a full range of design-oriented products; everything from custom furnishings and architectural millwork, to cabinets, doors, mouldings, and flooring.
The objective will be to feature the individual companies by drawing more traffic to a centrally located “Design BC” pavilion. The pavilion will be an 1800 square foot of exhibition space, with BC Wood covering a good portion of the hard costs for this sector wide display.
If you plan to participate in the IDS West show this year, please contact me to see how we can save you money and ensure you higher visibility through the “Design BC” pavilion. Call 604-882-7100 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org more
If you have not yet considered participation in the 2012 Global Buyers Mission in Whistler, think of this: What other opportunity would put you face-to-face with 200+ wood products buyers from currently registered markets like Australia, Belgium, Eastern Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Taiwan, United States, and Vietnam?
This is the only event of its kind, specifically developed to help Canadian wood products manufacturers connect with pre-qualified international buyers. It is also one of the most significant events for introducing specifiers like architects, designers, engineers, contractors and developers to our important wood products suppliers, through educational programs and exhibits.
There is still some space available and thanks to our partners and sponsors, at a surprisingly affordable rate, for those looking to expand their book of business into lucrative new markets. You don’t even have to sell abroad to build new business. There are plenty of US buyers and even those from eastern Canada looking for new suppliers.
However, we will be closing our space bookings by August 22nd, so you must call us by then to ensure your participation at what is certain to be your best business building event of the year!
For more information, please email me at email@example.com or call me at 604-882-7100.read more
By Roy Manion
This is a short, midsummer report and it is all about the GBM.
The Specifier Program at the GBM is coming along nicely. All the speakers and seminars for Thursday’s Wood First Forum are in place as is Saturday’s lunch & learn session which features Neil Godin. The entire program provides architects with 9 learning units, half of what is required for the entire year; a great incentive for the architects, so we are expecting a good turnout.
This year, we have developed a brochure for the Specifiers Program at the GBM / Wood First Forum. To access the agenda brochure, click here
Now we are focusing on finalizing the exhibitors who will be participating in the mini-seminar series on Friday afternoon. Everyone involved in the Mini-Seminar session will meet for lunch at Kypriaki Norte Restaurant near the Conference Centre then back to the Centre for the sessions.
This is a great opportunity for exhibitors to reach out to the Specifiers (Architects, Designers, and Contractors) who will come to exhibitor’s booths to receive an education on the nature of the exhibitors’ products. Invitations to the exhibitors to participate will be going out the next couple of days. Some exhibitors are not waiting for an invitation and have already signed up for the program.
Principles, John Lore and Evan Sadler, created Live Edge Design in 2006 through a shared vision and out of recognition for the complimentary nature of each other’s styles.
John Lore started with Pickle Ridge Rustic Carpentry which specialized in twig and log furniture (now celebrated in his Forest Lodge Collection). Evan Sadler was known for his fine reproduction styles under the guise of his original company Sadler Fine Furniture. Both discovered their passion for working with local woods, but each was working at the opposite end of the spectrum: John was creating furniture from willow twigs, alder branches and driftwood; Evan, highly polished furniture using solid wood and traditional joinery techniques. Recognizing the many ways their work complemented each other, they decided to form a new company to create the best of an emerging, unique West Coast style. Now sole owner, John Lore continues to stay on the Edge of Design while maintaining the ethical standards in which Live Edge is rooted.
Live Edge uses wood from trees that have been brought down by storms and salvages what is left behind by companies looking for dimensional lumber. Their products are primarily made from local Bigleaf Western Maple, sought after by wood turners and musical instrument makers for its extraordinary figure and beauty. They also work with other woods like Arbutus, Elm, Cottonwood, and Walnut.
Everything from the cutting, milling, drying, design and product creation is done in their workshop and studio on Vancouver Island, Canada. The entire ‘Tree to Table’ process can take close to a year. Since it’s hard to wait that long for a beautiful piece, Live Edge will match their library of wood to fit your unique project, bringing it to your home or business in less than 2 months.
Award winning Live Edge Design caters to a strong regional and North American market, as well as working with international clients. Among their many clients, they have created unique pieces for Starbucks, Joey’s, and the Hilton Hotel. One of their unique projects was the floating ceiling for the 2010 Olympics. Communities from across BC sent Live Edge Design samples of wood that were representative of their area. Live Edge then incorporated it into creating the Spirit of BC ceiling which still graces the internal skies of the 2010 Commerce Centre on Robson Street in Vancouver.
Live Edge will be featured on CTV and Shaw. Stay tuned to their facebook page for updates: www.facebook.com/liveedgedesign.
For more information on the company, visit liveedgedesign.ca
BC Wood will be ramping up its’ presence at the Interior Design Show West (IDS West) this coming fall September 27-30th. In an effort to bring more attention to the growing strength of wood design and manufacturing in BC, BC Wood has partnered with the show organizers of IDS West to create a high profile “Design BC” pavilion. The pavilion will showcase BC Wood members and their products, everything from custom furniture and architectural millwork, to design-inspired finished products such as kitchen cabinets, doors, flooring and paneling. The objective will be to feature the individual companies, drawing more traffic to the centrally located space. BC Wood is currently working with the IDWS West show organizers to develop promotional strategies that will highlight the companies participating in the “Design BC” pavilion and promote the strength of the growing design sector in BC.
A total of 1800 square feet of exhibition space has been set aside for the “Design BC” pavilion, with BC Wood covering a portion of the hard costs for this sector wide display. If you plan to participate in the IDS West show this year, please contact me to see how we can save you money and ensure you higher visibility through the “Design BC” pavilion. Call 604-882-7100 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You are invited to participate in a special networking event to kick-off the 2012 GBM, on Wednesday, September 5th.
As part of our Extended Mission Program, incoming international buyers will be participating in a private Sunset Dinner & Harbour Cruise aboard the MV Harbour Princess, departing Coal Harbour Vancouver at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, September 5th. This special “pre-event” Global Buyers Mission evening is with our participating International buyers from Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, India, Pakistan, Mexico, and Vietnam.
Due to the popularity of the event, we are opening registration early for all our industry members in BC. Please be advised that space is limited.
This is an excellent opportunity to meet the pre-qualified buyers, particularly if you are not already participating in the GBM in Whistler.
Click here for the registration form to guarantee your space on the Cruise!read more
I am pleased to announce that, effective immediately, Jim Ivanoff will assume the position of Director – Asia Pacific Region with BC Wood. Jim’s broader role within BC Wood will include the responsibility for the day to day operations of BC Wood in the Asia Pacific Region with specific focus on Japan, China, and South Korea. Providing support for its members in these Asian markets is a critical component of BC Wood’s mission and we will maintain our current staffing in Japan, China, and South Korea to carry out this mission. BC Wood’s representatives in these markets will continue their efforts on behalf of our members with an added level of coordination and direction from Jim in Tokyo.
As most of you know, Jim has been valuable asset to BC Wood and its members in Japan since he joined the BC Wood team nine years ago. Jim’s new role and responsibilities will help to integrate BC Wood’s program across the Asian markets and provide even better services for our members going forward. Please do not hesitate to contact Jim at Ivanoff@canadawood.jp for any additional information on BC Wood’s programs in Asia this year.read more
BC Wood Specialties Group 2012 Annual General Meeting
9:30 – 10:15 AM, Thursday, September 6th, 2012
Whistler Conference Centre
BC Wood will be holding its’ 2012 Annual General Meeting on Thursday, September 6th at 9:30 AM at the Whistler Conference Centre in Whistler, British Columbia. All BC Wood members are encouraged to attend.
To register or for more information, please contact me directly at email@example.com or by phone at 604-882-7100 (toll free 1-877-422-9663).
We look forward to seeing you in scenic Whistler, BC for BC Wood’s Annual General Meeting on September 6th, 2011.read more
Vanport Canada, a subsidiary of Vanport International, is an independent marketer of softwood lumber into Asia. The company was established in 1997 in Vancouver, B.C. by Don McGregor as a lumber exporter, representing many B.C. sawmills and selling primarily into Japan.
Over the years, Vanport Canada has developed a niche in providing customized, knowledgeable, and professional service to its myriad of customers. They have extended their operations beyond simple exports into a whole range of lumber-related activities and now use the expertise of their staff to manage numerous custom cut programs for their customers, mainly for the traditional home market in Japan. All Vanport Canada staff speak at least two languages, primarily English, Japanese, and Chinese.
This FSC certified exporter distributes Douglas Fir, Hemlock, and Sitka Spruce from British Columbia’s coastal regions to both domestic and international markets including Japan, China, and other Asian countries. They are currently seeing a growth in their exports to India, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia.
The North Vancouver-based company also has extensive experience working with First Nations groups in North America. One of their projects included assisting a First Nations Group in setting up a sawmill, designing cut specifications optimized for target markets, and training the mill employees and management staff in operations.
Vanport Canada also regularly recruits forest industry trainees from Asia to educate and assist in company operations.
What does a trade show on the skids, mathematical equations, and NHL players loving Kelowna have in common? Read below to find out.
I was in San Francisco last week for the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC). The city was abuzz, with restaurants, car rentals, and hotels at near capacity, so I was excited hoping that the show was turning the corner after being on life support the last five years. Well, like most things, my excitement soon turned as I realized all the buzz was for the Google app conference that was happening at the same time as PCBC. In fact, Google has taken over occupying three of the four massive building that make up the conference center. As late as 2005, PCBC filled these four buildings with the latest in construction and building products supplies, now PCBC is confined to ¾ of the south hall.
That being said, PCBC this year had all the excitement of a party in a kitchen because the small size of the place seemed much busier than it actually was. Show organizers listed some 5000+ attendees at this year’s event, which provided a good venue for networking between builders, architects, and suppliers from the Northern California market. It’s too early to tell what the change in location to San Diego will do to attendance next year, but suffice it to say, the show could not survive another year in San Francisco.
Last year, I did a quick survey of members to see how their “Bid-to-Close Ratio” and see how the downturn had effected their bottom line. As discussed, the ratio last year was skewed, with members bidding on a high number of projects, but closing with far less frequency than in the past. Most blamed the market conditions at the time, as buyers were checking prices with alternative suppliers, and manufacturers were said to be “giving jobs away” just to stay in business. This time, it seems that the bid-to-close ratio is beginning to return to normal, especially with higher value manufacturers in the millwork and engineered wood products sectors. One manufacturer that I spoke commented that while they are signing more contracts, delays on project start dates have impacted the ratio. The bid-to-close ratio is a benchmark for the overall health of the industry and having this ratio gradually return to historic averages is, I believe, reflective of an improving residential and light commercial construction sector.
Finally, on the celebrity front, it seems that we have a few members who like to rub elbows with the rich, famous, and powerful. For example, Kelowna based BC Wood member, Norelco Cabinets, has developed a niche market building custom kitchens, high-end cabinetry, and millwork for NHL hockey players including Wade Redden, Jerome Iginla, and most recently that ginger-haired grinder from Philadelphia, Scott Hartnall. It turns out that Kelowna has become a hotbed for NHL players to live and train during the summer months and a fraternity of players have built homes on Okanagan Lake over the past few years.
Also hobnobbing with the rich and famous is Judson Beaumont of Straight Line Designs. His use of beetle kill pine in recent projects creating one of kind furniture and wall panelling attracted the attention of the Minister of Tourism and Trade, the Hon Pat Bell who stopped by his shop in Vancouver this past week to view some of Jud’s latest designs. It seems that Jud has become a favorite of Victoria’s political elite as he also was commissioned to build a beetle pebble wall a few years back for former premier Gordon Campbell.