Another Successful Event for Top Industry Decision-makers

From the May issues of BPD and Merchant Magazines. 

The 2018 NAWLA Leadership Summit and Western Wood Products Association (WWPA) Annual Meeting was held last month, April 8-10 in Austin, Texas. With an increased attendance over previous years, the event proved to be successful for all attendees and a beautiful week in Austin. LS1.jpg

Attendees traveled about 30 minutes outside of Austin to the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa. With a ranch feel on the banks of the Colorado River, the resort provided a perfect backdrop for industry leaders and their guests to enjoy the event.

Saturday welcomed the attendees with an icebreaker time for networking. Despite chilly temperatures on Sunday, attendees enjoyed the annual Wine, Dine + Nine friendly golf tournament and viewing of the final day of The Masters golf tournament. Opposite of the golf tournament, nearly 30 attendees took a scenic bike tour of downtown Austin and Lady Bird Lake and took in the views. 

Sunday wrapped up with an evening reception in a pavilion overlooking the river.

Monday was a jam-packed day of networking, education and activity. Before the opening education session, attendees had time for breakfast and visiting with the 28 table top exhibitors that lined the meeting space foyer. Adrian Blocker, Senior Vice President – Wood Products, Weyerhaeuser, was first on the stage to discuss today’s employment climate and the challenges of attracting and retaining talent. Blocker shared Weyerhaeuser’s strategic focus on People Development.LS2.jpg

Following this discussion was Eric Grandeen, President & CEO, Idaho Pacific, with his presentation: Optimizing Customer Service Through Technology for Both Internal and External Customers. Grandeen talked about implementing new technology for the younger generation and how that will create long-term value for your company.

Spouses and companions snuck away for a few hours mid-morning to head downtown to the flagship Kendra Scott store, a high-end jewelry designer founded in Austin. They took advantage of a private tour and shopping session before taking in the other shops and restaurants downtown.

Meanwhile, back at the Resort, attendees heard from Brad Conlon, Vice President – National Accounts, DR Horton, as he discussed the general purchasing structure of a big builder and how they make decisions on products and trades. This session really shared insights on what makes a builder tick. This session was a nice breaking point before the Industry Luncheon & Awards.

During the annual luncheon, WWPA presented their prestigious WWPA Master Lumberman Awards to: Randy Allen, Idaho Forest Group, LLC; John Arlich, Mendocino Forest Products; Sam Garcia, Hampton Lumber Mills; Dean Harding, Idaho Forest Group, LLC; Ronald McCutcheon, Mendocino Forest Products; Jeff Quimby, Bennett Lumber Products Inc.; Nathan Rasor, Idaho Forest Group, LLC; Dave Reader, Hampton Lumber Mills; and Ray Stegman, Hampton Lumber Mills. Safety, Hi-Q, District, and Service awards were also presented. 

After lunch, Brian McCoy, President and CEO, McCoy’s Building Supply rounded-out the day’s education sessions by sharing how his company braced themselves for Hurricane Harvey and the challenges that faced them in the aftermath. He spoke to his leadership through this time and how he led his company to best serve their customers in need and build back Texas with a mission and purpose. 

The evening was capped with the annual Chairman’s Dinner, this year hosted by outgoing NAWLA Chairman, Jim McGinnis and incoming Chairman, Nick Fitzgerald. They presented updates to the organization and the announcement of the return of the John J. Mulrooney Award that will be presented at Traders Market this fall. The night ended with dancing to the some of the crowd-favorite hits played by local artist, Haywire. LS4.jpg

Tuesday, the final day of events, finally brought some nicer weather. After time networking with table top exhibitors, attendees convened in the main event space to hear from keynote speaker, Scott Moore, Navy SEAL Rear Admiral (ret.) as he shared stories of teamwork and focused on how to transform individuals into a cohesive team.

Attendees also heard from Laurie McCabe, Marketing and Sales Supervisor, TradeTec Computer Systems, reflect on how the modern sawmill has evolved into the array of technologies that it is today, how those technologies are being maintained, and what that means for the future as mills become more integrated into the IoT.

Back by popular demand, the Legends of Lumber session rounded-out the event’s program on Tuesday afternoon. Rick Ekstein, CEO, Weston Forest, and Mike Phillips, President and COO (retired), Hampton Affiliates, shared their history, experience and industry insights with attendees. Grant Philips moderated the interactive session where attendees asked questions the two speakers could respond to. LS3.jpg

Save the Date for the 2019 Leadership Summit 

March 10-12, 2019
Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa
Tucson, AZ

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