Speaker Line-Up

Click on the name of the speaker to read their full bio.
Click here to read presentation overviews

  • Rob Third, President – George Third & Son Steel Fabricators:
    “Wood & Steel – Working Together”– insight on working with wood from a steel fabricators perspective
  • Oberto Oberti, President Oberto Oberti Architecture and Urban Design – The Man Behind the Biggest Ski Resorts on the Planet & much more
    “The Gifts Of Timber Structures”
  • Thomas Robinson, Principal, Lever Architecture, Portland; Architect for Framework, North America’s tallest all wood building
    “Innovation with Tall Timber in the U.S.”
  • Derek Newby, Architect AIBC, MRAIC, CPHD, LEED BD+C AP, Senior Associate – Perkins + Will; Paul Cowcher, CPHD, LEED BD+C AP, Project Manager – Perkins + Will;  Eric Karsh, STRUCT.ENG., MISTRUCTE, ING, PRINCIPAL – Equilibrium Consulting Inc.
    “Designing A Prefabricated, Modular, Mass Timber Workforce Accommodation Building In The North”
  • Luke Stern,  Manager of Design Research Patkau Architects:
    “Designing and Constructing Temple of Light” – the “most remarkable thing Patkau has ever constructed”
  • Shinobu Homma, Principal – Bing Thom Architects
    “Guildford Aquatic Centre: Designing the 100 Foot Span, Integrated Truss System”
  • Scott Kennedy, Principal Cornerstone Architecture,
    “The Heights – Lessons Learned from a Large Scale Passive House Project”

Schedule of Events

Click here for a printable version.

Thursday, September 7th

9:30am-10:15am: Registration – Whistler Conference Centre, Main Lobby
10:30am-11:30am: WoodTALKS – Whistler Conference Centre (WCC), Lower Level
11:45am-1:15pm: Lunch & Learn – WCC, Garibaldi Room
1:30pm-4:50pm: WoodTALKS – Whistler Conference Centre (WCC), Lower Level
6:15pm-9:30pm: Welcome Reception at the Roundhouse Lodge – Upload at Whistler Gondola Base

Friday, September 8th

8:00am-9:00am: Hot Buffet Breakfast & Grand Opening Ceremony, Whistler Conference Centre Foyer
9:00am-12:00pm: 14th Annual GBM Networking & Tradeshow
11:45am-1:15pm: Lunch & Learn – WCC, Garibaldi Room
1:30pm-4:00pm: Mini Seminars – WCC, Tradeshow Floor
6:30pm-9:30pm: Evening Networking Dinner/Reception – Audain Museum

Saturday, September 9th

8:00am-9:00am: Hot Buffet Breakfast – WCC Foyer
9:00am-12:00pm: 14th Annual GBM Networking & Tradeshow
11:45am – 1:15pm: Lunch & Learn – WCC, Garibaldi Room


All seminars are approved by AIBC for 1 Core LU / AIA for 1 LU/HSW.*

*The Mini Seminar sessions total: 2 Core LU, 2 LU/HSW

Thursday, September 7


This presentation will provide insight from a steel fabricators point of view into the collaboration and marriage of Timber with Steel into Hybrid Structures that provide both aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound elements.

Providing case studies on selected landmark hybrid structures the presenter will illustrate how steel fabricators can showcase the unique integration that can be created by combining the warmth and wellbeing properties of wood with the strength of steel.  Featured projects will include the Brentwood & Commercial Skytrain Station, the Telus Pavilion Canopy, and the monumental 100 meter arched trusses of the Richmond Speed Skating Oval.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn how ironworkers can prefabricate steel members with wood so the final product can be assembled on site safely and quickly with minimal site waste and why this practice should be more common.
  2. Understand the importance of a partnership between fabricators and designers in the design process before the saws, drills and tools start manufacturing.
  3. Learn how designers can reach out to trades peoples’ outlooks, why they matter and how they can positively affect the out come of the design features.
  4. Learn how “Dirty Rusty Steel” can be safely and effectively welded next to “Finished Glulam Beams” to provide aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound elements; what’s important, what’s possible.


Masonry and stone structures, from bridges to domes, to columns, beams and arches have provided a timeless visual language that has inspired many generations and cultures for thousands of years.

Timber structures too provide a timeless visual language that is particularly effective, and can offer warmer environments than the traditional use of bricks and stones as well as the modern use of reinforced concrete or steel members.

This seminar will discuss the various forms of structural heavy timber and timber frame design and use that can offer aesthetic solutions that combine many benefits including seismic and acoustical advantage.  More importantly, this seminar will discuss how these types of timber designs and structures create an aesthetically rich environment that is economical to build and provides an unparalleled healthy environment for the structure’s occupants.   We call this “the gifts of timber structures”

Learning objectives:

  1. Learn how to maximize the aesthetic and structural qualities of wood in design and construction
  2. Learn about the advantages of timber frame and heavy timber construction including seismic and fire safety
  3. Gain an understanding of the acoustical advantages in appropriate structural and timber frame design
  4. Learn about the economic advantages of exposed wood structures


This presentation will provide an update on Framework, winner of the U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition and slated to become the first all wood high-rise in the U.S. The 45-meter tall, 12-storey wood design recently received regulatory approval for construction and is scheduled to break ground this fall in Portland, Oregon.

The presentation will also discuss the rigorous fireseismic, and other safety tests to prove its durability compared to typical steel and concrete construction.

Framework seek to create a path for wide adoption of mass timber in the U.S. for highrise construction


  1. Learn the practical and environmental advantages of mass timber construction
  2. Understanding of component testing and U.S. regulatory process for tall wood buildings
  3. How mass timber connects urban growth and rural economic development
  4. Learn about Innovative wood design strategies for seismic resilience


This presentation will focus on the design of a prefabricated modular workforce accommodation complex to be built using mass-timber construction techniques.  Measuring over 14,000m2 at build-out, the project will be composed of 400 rooms with associated support functions.  Planned for a remote location in North-east British Columbia, passive house principles have been applied to design a robust building envelope that will address the harsh climate, while offering reduced energy consumption and greater indoor comfort. The health implications of materials used in the project are similarly a key concern, and a highly limited material palate is planned.  The structural design of the facility and accommodation module in particular, will be presented as it relates to fabrication, portability, and fire safety.

As a part of the design process, a full-scale mock-up of the typical module was constructed to evaluate, test, and refine the strategies proposed.

Detailed explanation of the design process and strategic decisions that have resulted in the design will be shared.


  1. Understand the design approach and strategies associated with modular buildings built from timber.
  2. Understand the systems coordination and fire resistance strategies demanded by prefabricated and modular approaches.
  3. Understand the key factors affecting projects intended for remote locations in a sub-arctic climate zone, including sustainable objectives.
  4. Understand the design considerations intended to advance the function and aesthetics of workforce housing to be supportive and pleasing.


The Temple of Light is home to the Yasodhara Ashram Society, a yoga retreat and study centre in Kootenay Bay, British Columbia.  In 2014, a fire destroyed the Temple.  One year later, the community hired Patkau Architects to design and rebuild the temple.  The firm soon discovered that this project was the largest, most complete and complex constructed wood building project undertaken by the architect firm.

This course will focus on the project’s design and fabrication process including 3D parametric design strategy to cope with the challenge of complex non-orthagonal, non-planar project geometry.  It will also discuss investigation into the inherent properties of conventional building materials and how these properties inform the development of structure and shape to create evocative identities and how wood was the natural choice for the design.  Also discussed is the impact of the temple’s role as a cultural vessel serving the community and a means to design/develop/validate/refine a prototype building system for the economical construction of expressive forms using local resources and skills while considering the natural/ cultural landscapes and poetic values as related to the temple’s design.

Learning Objectives

  1. Gain insight into the process to develop, validate and refine a prototype building system utilizing conventional engineered wood components for the economical construction of expressive forms.
  2. Learn why wood was the material of choice for this project due to its properties including aesthetic, environmental and structural
  3. Gain insight into the 3D parametric design methodology which was utilized to cope with the challenge of complex non-orthogonal, non-planar project geometry of this project.
  4. Gain insight into the interdisciplinary collaboration and digital design assist fabrication approach, involving architect, engineers and fabricator, which was utilized for this project.

Friday, September 8


One of the challenges with aquatic centres is that they require a long structural span. The design team wanted the structure to do triple duty: support the roof, act as the final finish in the space, and accommodate the various building services.

Due to the corrosive environment, steel is generally not preferred and given the City of Surrey’s ‘Wood First’ policy, wood structures were investigated as a viable option.

This seminar will take the attendees through the design and construction process which culminated with the final design that consisted of prefabricated, integrated, white-washed wood trusses with all the lighting, mechanical ductwork and acoustic absorption integrated into it that lend both an architectural and technical significance to the project. The seminar will also show how the trusses add a visually interesting texture to the white interior, cleanly integrating the building services and, in a cat walk fashion, making them fully accessible and safe to operations staff at all times.

Also discussed will be how together, the trusses’ unique elements enhance the user’s experience of the space and create the unique physical forms.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn about the design process and decision making that led to the final product
  2. Learn the importance of collaboration between architect and design-builder and how it impacted the final product design and construction
  3. Learn how lighting, mechanical services, and acoustic absorption were integrated into the trusses reducing site construction time
  4. How prefabrication of 100 foot long trusses resulted in rapid installation without use of scaffolding providing safe on site erection
Presenter: Chad Richmond, Territory Manager, Woodtone

This seminar will present a range of prefinished, engineered western red cedar and SPF building products, their advantages and their performance attributes.

  1. Understand the characteristics of engineered products and what makes them a superior building material.
  2. Explain the advantages of prefinishing engineered building materials.
  3. Gain an understanding of onsite installation and finishing of engineered products.

Presenter: Paul Mackie, Technical Advisor, Western Red Cedar Lumber Association

This seminar will present the benefits of designing with sustainably harvested western red cedar

  1. Learn about environmental management & certification
  2. Understand the emotional characteristics of western red cedar
  3. Learn about western red cedar grades and sizes
  4. Gain an understand about finishing and installation best practice

Presenter: Amika Scott, Manager Sales and Marketing, Western Reclaimed Timber

Designing and using reclaimed wood has increased in popularity in recent years in projects both large and small. Demand for wood from deconstruction of iconic buildings is high but there are issues anyone designing or sourcing reclaimed should know. This seminar discusses the reclamation process and descriptions of the types of reclaimed materials which are commonly available and the benefits and difficulties of reclaimed wood.

  1. Learn the advantages of reclaimed wood (environmental, quality, aesthetic)
  2. Discover some of the unique constraints when working with reclaimed wood
  3. Learn how to plan a project incorporating reclaimed wood
  4. Learn about the changes and trends in availability and sources of reclaimed wood

Presenter: Ron McDougall, Mass Timber Specialists, Structurlam Products

Focusing on recent projects, this seminar will discuss the opportunities and challenges Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) has faced over the past year and the progress made with designing and constructing with it.  Also discussed will be the new product developments with CLT and the advantages for the architect, builder and owner.

  1. Learn the benefits and risks of designing with mass timber
  2. Learn how to source certified mass timber products and why this is important
  3. Learn about new CLT products now available
  4. Learn about linking and coordinating design through manufacturing models

Presenter, Bruce Molander, The San Group

Western Red Cedar is one of North America’s most long lasting species. Through engineering WRC products can be produced to offer even greater performance and sustainability

  1. Learn about the new advancements in NAUF resins for engineered WRC products
  2. Learn about engineered siding benefits
  3. Gain an understanding of the sustainability of engineered products
  4. Discover how LEED and engineered wood products are related

Presenter: Ray Green, Sales Manager, Pacific Homes Ltd

This seminar will cover how an energy efficient Pre-insulated Wall System will save both construction, time and provide insulating values up to 128% higher than conventional construction.

  1. Learn how this building system can be utilized to fit in any building design.
  2. Understand the advantages of precision 3D modeling before the manufacturing starts which reduces delays on site.
  3. Learn how Pre-insulated Building Systems substantially reduce build time and site disturbance.
  4. Learn how prefabricated building structures can significantly reduce overall construction costs.

Presenter: Kai Kornith, Business Development Manager, FraserWood Industries
This seminar will provide an introduction to structural moment frames and new timber-based moment-frame systems.

  1. Learn the function of moment-frames as part of the lateral structural system of buildings.
  2. Learn about steel moment frames in timber structures: Their properties and challenges
  3. Understand the properties and advantages of timber moment-frame systems
  4. Learn about the performance comparison: Steel vs. timber moment-frames.

Presenter: Braden Gierc, Fenstur Windows and Doors

This seminar will discuss features to consider when specifying user friendly wood windows and doors for West Coast applications.

  1. Learn about construction and joinery details to look for when choosing quality wood windows and doors
  2. Learn what species and grades will provide maximum performance
  3. Learn about design options and constraints when specifying custom windows and doors
  4. Learn how factory finishing, modern coating technology and appropriate hardware will insure maximum window and door performance and longevity

Presenter: Dale McCormack, Sales Manager, Viceroy Homes

This seminar will cover the “how’s” and “why’s” of specifying prebuilt structures

  1. Discover solutions for architectural design integrating panelized systems
  2. Learn how prebuilt structures significantly reduce building material waste
  3. Learn how prebuilt structures substantially reduce site disturbance and build time
  4. Understand advantages of precision manufacturing and quality control in a factory setting as opposed to on-site framing construction

Presenter:  Quinn Brown, Sansin Corporation
This seminar will explain the benefits of building with wood and how to properly maintain and protect it from the inside out.

  1. Learn why wood as a building material is beneficial.
  2. Learn what protects wood best from all of the various elements it may face including weathering, degradation, fire, bacteria and fungi.
  3. Why water-borne stains protect better then oil-based stains.
  4. Learn what is vital to a successful project

Presenter:  Dan Plouffe, President, National Forest Products Ltd

This seminar will discuss the various design features, benefits, workability, serviceability and cost savings of engineered shingle wall panels. It will discuss the pros and cons of engineered panels VS solid shingle applications.

  1. Learn about the design and size options available with western red cedar shingle engineered wall panels
  2. Understand the serviceability of engineered wall panels and how to effectively install.
  3. Learn how engineered shingle wall panels can be an economical upgrade the conventional hand to ply shingle wall application.
  4. Learn about the environmental advantages of engineered shingle wall panels VS solid wall shingles

Presenters: Dai Ona, Johnny Matak, Daizen Joinery

This seminar will provide a detailed overview of modern timber building techniques including  key aspects of designing and specifying architectural timbers: solid sawn timbers, glulam members and wrapped steel timber

  1. Understand of how to correctly specify heavy timbers in architectural application both from both structural and appearance considerations.
  2. Learn the impact of various timber drying procedures to the overall structure and finishing  performances
  3. Learn about the performances of joinery verses steel connections in seismic zones and which to specify in various design applications
  4. Learn how designing and constructing with prefabricated timber can increase design options, reduce erection time and improve site safety

Presenter: John Lore, President, Live Edge Designs

In a fun and informative atmosphere, we will learn how to specify defect free wood furniture with enhanced art, beauty and meaning.

  1. What is the best BC wine to serve on your wooden dining table?
  2. How to specify the correct moisture content to avoid the #1 cause of defects in wood products.
  3. Where natural wood furniture and surfaces can be used to create move productive work spaces and relaxing environments.
  4. The oneTree experience: How you can use a single tree from your building site and use artisanal talent to preserve its heritage in your project.

Presenter: Curtis Pell, Sales Manager, Cedarland Forest Products

Western Red Cedar is prized worldwide for its natural durability, stability, insulation value, richness of grain, texture and colour.

This seminar will cover the “how’s” and “why’s” of specifying cedar cladding

  1. Learn how to specify custom profiles including design and production limitations
  2. Understand issues relative to replacing or matching cladding on existing projects
  3. Learn about “lessons learned the hard way” regarding finishing cladding for maximum performance
  4. Learn the pros and cons of cedar cladding vs cementitious and other forms of composite cladding

Presenter: Scott Forbes, President, Scotty Wood International

Thermally Modified Wood (TMW) is wood that is modified, chemically free, by heating it in a specialized kiln at a precise temperature for a period of time; essentially cooking the lumber.  The process significantly enhances virtually all the wood’s properties.  The product has been in use commercially and residentially in Europe and Japan for almost 20 years and is now produced in BC!

  1. Learn about the process and how it protects wood from decay and damage
  2. Learn about dimensional stability of TMW
  3. Learn about the best applications for TMW
  4. What species are locally available in TMW

Presenter: Simon Lintz, Business Development Manager, StructureCraft Builders Inc.

This session will provide a general overview into mass timber construction, featuring North America’s newest product Dowel Laminated Timber (DLT);

  1. Learn what is “mass timber”, and the different types available.
  2. Discover DLT – how it’s made, it’s versatility and various applications.
  3. Review the numerous possibilities for architectural refinements and acoustic performance in DLT
  4. Understand the benefits of constructing with prefabricated timber.

Saturday, September 9


The Heights is one of the largest Passive House buildings in North America and the largest in Canada and is just completing construction. This session will highlight lessons learned in undertaking the project beginning with a very brief summary of the target metrics in the Passive House Standard.  The basic envelope details and mechanical systems in the building will be summarized along with the rationale for each design decision.  A brief exploration of the energy model will show how well the design conforms to the targets.  A discussion of what details worked and what might be reconsidered will be undertaken.  The session will look at how large building air tightness testing is done and what needs to be considered to ensure success.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn about current Passive House Standard and a comparison to typical construction metrics.
  2. Learn how envelope details were designed for constructability and reliability.
  3. Learn about Energy modeling using Design PH and the Passive House Planning Package.
  4. Learn about Large Building Air Tightness testing preparation and practicality.


Learn more about the WoodTALKS 2017 speakers

Rob Third 2Rob Third

Rob is the Grandson of company founder, George Third. Fascinated by his grandfather’s strength & skill at the blacksmith’s forge, and watching his father take-off structural drawings at the kitchen table, Rob’s passion for the steel industry has been growing for a long time.

He worked on the plant floor learning the trade, progressed through the firm as Production Manager, Draftsman, Purchasing Agent, Project Manager, and to finally take over the management as a “partner” of the company in 1988, carrying on the firm’s strong family heritage of honest business values and deals sealed with a handshake.

The firm designs, details, fabricates, and erects – structural & architectural steel in the local and international marketplace. Major projects include the Richmond Speed Skating Oval, the 2010 Olympic Ski Jumps and the Telus Pavilion Canopy Hybrid Steel & Timber Structure in Vancouver which recently won the 2016 Architizer A+ Awards

Rob’s 100 year old firm has a reputation as the industry leader in large Architectural Steel structures throughout the Pacific Northwest & GTS gets involved in anything that has steel in it, from stadiums, casinos, mining & petroleum structures and signature architectural homes.

And the blacksmiths forge is still hot every day as the firm has one of the few working industrial blacksmiths in Canada.

Obereto ObertiOberto Oberti

Oberto was born in Italy and grew up as a skier, training at times with the Italian ski and demonstration teams. In 1964, he went to the United States as an exchange student. During that time, he visited Vancouver on a Greyhound bus and fell in love with the city’s watery ways. The following year, Canada—on the lookout for smart young émigrés—paid for Oberti’s plane ticket to return and study engineering. Once here, he realized his passion was architecture, so he dropped engineering to pursue it. “By vocation and profession and dream, I’m a designer,” Oberti emphasizes. “My heart is in the design.”

Today, Oberto’s two companies do everything from designing high-rises, industrial plants, churches, and luxury homes to managing all aspects of resort development. But planning ski resorts and their bases has been a particular passion for Oberti.

“He is fundamentally a humble person but with a very strong inner drive and a true passion for his work,” wrote Oberto’s son Tomaso, who serves as vice president of both his father’s companies. “He is certainly a ‘big idea’ person or visionary who is not afraid to push the boundaries of convention…. He has a particularly strong passion for the mountains and mountain culture.

ThomasThomas Robinson

Thomas founded LEVER Architecture in 2009. His practice is pioneering the use of Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) in the U.S. with Framework, slated to become the first wood high-rise in the U.S.; and Albina Yard, the first building in the U.S. made from domestically-fabricated CLT. Robinson’s other significant projects include student housing for the Pacific Northwest College of Art, workplace designs major entertainment and creative companies, and the L’Angolo Estate Winery. His work has been recognized for design excellence by the Architectural League of New York, Engineering News Record, and the American Institute of Architects (AIA), among others

Derek NewbyDerek Newby

Derek began his career in Toronto and contributed to institutional projects including the University of Michigan Computer Science and Engineering Building in Ann Arbor, MI, Varsity Stadium at the University of Toronto, as well as the Tommy Douglas Library in Burnaby, BC, and Allard Hall, home of the UBC Faculty of Law.

In 2011 Derek joined Perkins+Will’s Vancouver studio and became a Senior Associate in 2014.  He has contributed to Marine Gateway, a large-scale mixed-use transit oriented development in Vancouver, Orchard Commons—a 41,000m2 mixed-use facility on the University of British Columbia Point Grey campus, and the Dilly Creek Workforce Accommodation Facility in Northern BC.

Derek’s diverse experience also includes a strong background in urban design, master planning, and green building, which fosters a holistic approach to each project.

Derek has been LEED accredited since 2001, and is a Certified Passive House Designer.

Paul CowcherPaul Cowcher

Paul joined Perkins+Will in 2006, with experience in project management and architecture technician roles across the world. As a senior member of staff and part of the Vancouver office’s Quality Control (QC) team, Paul helps to run the Technical Design Community for the office.

Paul’s extensive portfolio includes Pitt River Middle School and the award-winning VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre, where he was responsible for the production and coordination of contract documentation and contract administration. Designed to exceed LEED Platinum, the Visitor Centre is pursuing the Living Building Challenge, the most stringent measurement of sustainability in the built environment.

Eric KarshJ. Eric Karsh

In 1998, Eric co-founded Equilibrium Consulting Inc.

He has become a leader in timber engineering and construction, and has earned international recognition on a number of landmark timber projects such as the multiple award-winning Prince George Airport, the Raleigh-Durham Airport expansion and the recently completed and innovative UBC Earth Sciences Building.

Eric is co-author of the widely publicized “THE CASE FOR TALL WOOD” study, featured by CNN, the Economist and National Geographic to name a few. TALL WOOD introduces a structural concept to achieve timber high-rise structures reaching 30 storeys or more. The report was adopted as mandatory reading by a number of architecture schools in North America, including Yale’s School of Architecture.

Eric has a broad experience in sustainable design and has been involved in numerous LEED projects and helped introduce the “Passivhaus” concept to Canada.

Luke SternLuke Stern

Luke joined Patkau Architects in 2009 and became a Senior Design Researcher in 2017. He is Project Architect for Yasodhara Ashram Temple of Light in BC, a project of unique structural complexity. Luke has contributed to several award winning projects, including the Audain Art Museum, Fort York National Historic Site Visitor Centre, Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, Fallingwater Cottages, and Daegu Gosan Public Library. He holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Toronto, where his work in computer assisted fabrication was recognized on the RAIC Student Honour Roll. Luke continues to research the forefront of digital implementation in design and construction.

Shinobu HommaShinobu Homma

Shinobu is a principal with Bing Thom Architects.  He oversees the design development, building envelope, and construction documentation for BTA’s projects. With more than 20 years at BTA, Shinobu is a respected mentor for the younger designers in the office. His expertise in fine detailing and his design sensitivity ensures the quality and integrity of BTA’s designs. Outside of the office, Shinobu is a passionate volunteer in the community and was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 for his service and contributions to Canada.

Scott Kennedy 2Scott Kennedy

Scott is a Principal of Cornerstone Architecture and a professional engineer as well as a graduate of the UBC School of Architecture. He is currently the Board Chair of Passive House Canada.  He has spearheaded Cornerstone’s effort to convince clients to future-proof new buildings by incorporating the principles of the Passive House Standard in their design and execution.  Cornerstone is currently involved in 15 Passive House projects with 3 in the construction phase.