International Convention

Forest Products Society


73rd International Convention Plenary Speakers Schedule

June 25-28, 2019  |  Atlanta, GA

Wednesday, June 26

Fred Kurpiel

Fred Kurpiel has a long career, including President IMEAS SrL for North America; Vice President with Siempelkamp GmbH for North America Sales and marketing; Director with APA-The Engineered Wood Association.

President, GRI and associates, conducting Marketing, Finance Studies for mid-cap, high cap brown and green field production plants in the wood industry; Forensic Research.

Adjunct Assistant professor at U of Georgia and Kasetsart University,

Author of over 100 peer and non review, mostly industry related, articles.

Fred has 3 children and 4 grandchildren… and loves fishing!


Richard Vlosky is Director of the Louisiana Forest Products Development Center and Crosby Land and Resources Endowed Professor in Forest Sector Business Development at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center in Baton Rouge. He received his Ph.D. in Wood Products Marketing at Penn State University, an M.S. in International Forest Products Trade from the University of Washington and a B.S. in Natural Resources and Forest Management from Colorado State University. His areas of research and consulting include: Mass Timber adoption, wood-based bioenergy, and forest products marketing and business development, He has authored or co-authored over 155 refereed publications, 19 book chapters and 4 books, and has made over 400 presentations on a variety of topics in the U.S. and 31 countries.

Roy martin

Roy O. Martin III is president, CEO and CFO of Martin Sustainable Resources L.L.C., Martin Timberlands L.L.C., and Martco L.L.C. He is also director and co-founder of Indigo Minerals, LLC, a Houston-based oil and natural gas exploration company.
Born in Alexandria, Louisiana, Mr. Martin is a 1978 graduate of Bolton High School. He graduated from Louisiana State University (LSU) in 1982 after receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering (Tau Beta Pi). He continued his education at LSU, obtaining his MBA in 1985. Mr. Martin was inducted into LSU’s Halls of Distinction of Alumni, School of Business, School of Engineering, as well as Tiger Athletic Foundation. He is currently on the Business School’s Dean’s Advisory Council and the LSU Flagship Coalition.
Throughout the years, Mr. Martin has volunteered his time and served in various board and chair capacities for companies and organizations such as Lions Club, United Way of Central Louisiana (Volunteer of the Year in 1995), Habitat for Humanity (Golden Hammer Award), American Red Cross, Rapides Regional Medical Center, First Commerce Corporation, Rapides Bank/Bank One, CENLA Advantage Partnership, Salvation Army (Dorcas Award in 1992), LSU-Alexandria Advisory Board, Committee of 100/chair of SECURE, chair of Governor-Elect Jindal’s Economic Growth Transition Advisory Council, Louisiana Forestry Association, American Heart Association in CENLA, Chamber of Commerce of Central Louisiana, and Calvary Baptist Church building committee.
Mr. Martin also served on the Louisiana Recovery Authority, Greater Alexandria Economic Development Authority (GAEDA), LSU Health Sciences Foundation, Louisiana Commission on Streamlining Government, and Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council. He and Jonathan Martin were presented with the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Southern District in 2004 and 2016 Manufacturer of the Year for Louisiana by the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry. Mr. Martin was selected by Governor Bobby Jindal to fill the member-at-large position on the Louisiana Board of Regents in January 2012, and was elected chair in 2015.


Market development for Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) continues to grow at a steady pace in North America. The general landscape for CLT is evolving with a number of wood products manufacturers evaluating this market space and potential to participate. In this presentation, key questions for potential market entry will be discussed from a forest products manufacturer perspective. Specifically, what would it take to get into the game to manufacture CLT with Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) in the U.S. South? Issues that will be covered include: CLT proof of concept (mechanical, engineering, fire, wind, termite, earthquake, and other testing), the need for building codes for CLT single and multi-story structures, likely markets for U.S. South SYP CLT, and a summary of elements that would need to be in place to make the GO Decision to Manufacture CLT.


Paul Coats, PE, CBO, is the Southeast Regional Manager for the American Wood Council (AWC), which represents over 80 percent of the North American wood products manufacturing industry and produces recognized design standards such as the National Design Specification for Wood Construction (ANSI/AWC NDS).  Paul has over 25 years of experience in building inspection, plan review, engineering, and consulting.  He routinely assists code officials and designer professionals while being active in national and state-level code development activities.  Prior to joining AWC, Paul was on the Code Development Staff of BOCA International, a legacy organization of the International Code Council.


Since the beginning of modern model building codes, wood buildings have been limited in size and height according to the fire resistance characteristics assumed for conventional lumber and lightweight engineered wood products. But with advances in engineered heavy timber products, especially cross-laminated timber used as solid timber floors and walls, “mass timber” buildings—buildings whose structural elements are massive wood—are being designed and built with structural and fire resistance capabilities far beyond conventional frame construction. There is an important role for both types of construction, but the codes needed to make room to recognize this class of emerging mass timber products.

In 2015, the International Code Council (ICC), at the urging of AWC, appointed an Ad Hoc Committee on Tall Wood Buildings (ICC TWB) to investigate the science of mass timber buildings and make recommendations for the ICC codes. Broad participation by building and fire regulators, the design community, and materials industries including AWC produced a comprehensive set of requirements that created new heavy timber construction types in the model building code that were approved by the ICC membership in late 2018 and will appear in the 2021 edition of the International Building Code. The presentation will highlight what took place to create this remarkable market opportunity for the industry.

Simon Siegert comes to IB-XLAM USA after 15 years of working as a lead designer and project manager of Architectural projects. With experience on a range of projects  from residential, commercial, civic, religious and specializing on building envelope systems, Simon has carried this knowledge over to help with the development of the first southern yellow pine cross-laminated-timber (CLT) manufacturer in the US. With a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and as a LEED AP Simon is looking forward to continue to expand the use of mass-timber as a more sustainable method of construction for generations to come.

Thursday, June 27


R.F. (Dick) Baldwin, Ph.D., CF.   A native of Oregon, Dr. Baldwin draws upon more than five decades of executive, supervisory, and hourly experience across the forest products industry in North America and offshore. Currently, Dick is the Managing Partner of Oak Creek Investments, a firm involved in a variety of plywood and veneer based investments and projects.

Dr. Baldwin holds a B.S. in Operations Management from the University of Oregon, a M.S. in Forestry from Stephen F. Austin State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas/Dallas School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences.

Dick will Welcome, Introduce the speakers, and Moderate the Session. He will also present a brief talk to ‘set the stage’ for the speakers that follow.


Innovation and technology transfer are sweeping across the Forest Products industry at an exponential rate during the first decades of the 21st Century. The resulting innovations, technology transfers, and implementation experiences are driving the new-found competitiveness and expansion of the Forest Products Industry. However, further growth is hampered by a shortage of qualified personnel.

The poor public perception of timber harvesting and forest products managers, the abundance of jobs in other sectors, and previous industry downsizing, such as was caused by the Great Recession, have created a labor shortage now that our industry is again growing. Some describe this phenomenon of a lack of trained replacements as a retirement tsunami. The presenter will analyze the existing state of affairs and review what is being done to overcome current conditions.


Kyle Freres is the Vice President of Operations for Freres Lumber Co., Inc. Since 2001, he has managed and supervised a variety of areas including environmental health and safety, cogeneration, information technology, plant upgrades and maintenance. As a member of the executive team, Kyle is actively involved in long-term strategic planning for the company. Kyle attended Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas where he earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering, a B.A. in Mathematics and minored in Russian Area Studies. Kyle has managed some of the company’s largest capital projects including the Evergreen BioPower cogeneration facility constructed in 2007 and the new Mass Plywood Panel (MPP) facility, which came online in December of 2017. He is an advocate for innovative new production technologies as well as product innovation. Kyle is motivated by the heritage built by three generations of the Freres family, and the dedication of employees over almost 100 years of operation.


In 2015, faced with market related pressure that was adversely affecting US and Canadian plywood markets, Freres Lumber began exploring ways to move away from commodity veneer-based panels towards higher-value products that more effectively utilized the tremendous wood fiber we grow in the Pacific Northwest. From this initial exploration, and after much trial and error, Freres developed a new, patented mass timber product called the Mass Plywood Panel (MPP). This one-of-a-kind production process is currently in operation in Lyons, Oregon, and is delivering panels to the growing mass timber construction market. Kyle will discuss the business drivers leading towards the development of the product, current opportunities, and growth opportunities in the future for this exciting new product.


Richie LeBlanc is the President and CEO of Hunt Forest Products, L.L.C., based in Ruston, Louisiana and the President of LaSalle Lumber Company, Hunt’s partnership with Tolko Industries.

Richie has been in the forest products industry for 19 years, beginning with Willamette Industries in Ruston as the Administrative Manager of the Southern Building Materials Group.  Shortly after joining Willamette the company merged with Weyerhaeuser.  Richie initially served on the integration team charged with merging the cultures of Willamette and Weyerhaeuser, and then became the Land Adjustment Program Manager, embedded in Weyerhaeuser’s North Louisiana timberlands organization. 

Promoted steadily through the ranks, Richie was named the Director of U.S. Real Estate Operations for Weyerhaeuser in 2015, and moved to the company’s headquarters in Seattle, WA. 

In early 2016, Richie returned home to Louisiana to join Hunt Forest Products, where he oversees approximately 400 employees who produce plywood, veneer and hardwood lumber at two mills in central Louisiana.  He is also responsible for the company’s newest project, construction of a state-of-the-art dimensional lumber sawmill in Urania, LA.  LaSalle Lumber Company started producing finished lumber in February 2019.

A graduate of Louisiana Tech University with a degree in business administration and management, Richie began his career as a professional baseball player, pitching for the Kansas City Royals organization.  After “retiring” from baseball, Richie served as Vice President of McIntyre & Associates, a family-owned general insurance agency in Ruston, LA. 

Richie met his wife of 30 years, Holly, while attending Louisiana Tech University, and they have two children, Mary Lloyd and Ben.


Hunt Forest Products is firmly rooted in the traditional forest products industry in Louisiana, with a history going back more than 100 years, but is today helping to lead the industry into a new era of sawmill technology and innovation.

That leadership takes the form of a new, state-of the art sawmill located in the town of Urania, Louisiana. 

Why initiate a greenfield project in a tiny town in central Louisiana?  The answer is simple – it was the right technology, in the right place, at the right time.  A Perfect Storm, if you will, but in a positive manner.   Let me explain. 

Technology:  This is a highly-automated, state-of-the art sawmill, built in turn-key fashion by an experienced construction company in less than a year.  It’s capable of producing more than 200,000,000 board feet of finished dimensional lumber annually, with a workforce of just over 120. 

Workforce: We tapped into a deep, hungry pool of local talent, and the State of Louisiana is helping us develop and run a sophisticated training program. 

Location:  We’re on a greenfield site, co-located with a wood products facility that takes all our residuals, and we are in the heart of a robust, sustainable wood basket – all the timber we need can be drawn from within 50 miles for decades to come. The site had a rail line, so we added a spur to ease shipping logistics and costs.

Operations began in January 2019, and we shipped our first load of lumber in early March.

Friday, June 28


Dr. Brian Via is Regions Bank Professor of Forest Products and is currently the Director of the Forest Products Development Center in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences (SFWS) at Auburn University. He recently took on the challenge of Editor in Chief of the Forest Products Journal and is also on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Analytical Methods in Chemistry.  Recently, Dr. Via worked with the faculty and Dean to start a new undergraduate curriculum Sustainable Biomaterials and Packaging.  This curriculum is a unique model in which we have participation from 5 Colleges/Schools and is housed in SFWS.  Dr. Via has worked at International Paper and Louisiana Pacific Corporations in the area of wood quality and wood composites respectively.  As Director, he works closely with industry for economic development and commercialization and has a current patent that is now in the early stages of approval.  In his role as Director, he also works with the Development Officer to secure philanthropic gifts for Center improvement.  In a research capacity, he has worked to secure over $24 million in interdisciplinary team secured external grants & contracts.


In the fall of 2016, a committee was formed by the Dean to explore the possibility of formulating an across campus undergraduate curriculum in sustainable biomaterials at Auburn University.  This was to be a unique model because it would include participation from the Colleges of Business, Agriculture, Engineering, Architecture, and School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences (SFWS).   During the exploratory phase, we gained advice from faculty and administrators from Universities like Virginia Tech, Michigan Tech, Clemson, Michigan State, and others. During this phase, we saw the potential of packaging as an important platform that undergraduate students were interested in pursuing. In the fall of 2017, we submitted a 120 credit hour proposed undergraduate curriculum in Sustainable Biomaterials and Packaging to the university.  It was recently approved by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education in March of 2018.  Our first students took classes in the Fall of 2018 and we currently have 50% female enrollment in the program.


Professor Qian Xiaoyu is currently the vice president of the China Forest Products Industry Association and the executive chairman of the China Household Industry Green Supply Chain Alliance.

She is also the deputy Director of the Expert Advisory Committee of China Forestry Industry Association, Deputy Director of the Standards Committee; Vice President of the Wood-based Panel Research Association of the China Forestry Society; Deputy Director of the Raw Materials Committee of the China Furniture Association; Deputy Director of the Expert Committee of the China Timber Distribution Association; Development Bank Forestry Project Evaluation Expert; State Forestry Administration Forestry Industry Market Analysis Expert.

Ms. Qian has worked in the forest product this area for more than 40 years, majoring in wood processing (Central South University of Forestry and Technology), minor in law (China Women's College), company management and management (Beijing Normal University), engaged in forestry project investment, business management and industry. For many years, she has served as a director of several wood processing companies. In October 2013, she participated in the training of the Shanghai Stock Exchange and obtained the independent director certificate. she is currently a Hong Kong listed company Hongwei (Asia) Holdings Co., Ltd., Xiamen Gold Brand Cabinet Co., Ltd. and Shanghai Film Independent director of Golmud Co., Ltd.; participated in the forestry large and medium-sized project investment demonstration review, familiar with the development of the national forestry industry, participated in the formulation of relevant national standards and forestry industry related policies; participated in the establishment of Chinese furniture raw and auxiliary materials brand enterprise strategy Alliance, China Forestry Equipment Industry Technology Innovation Strategic Alliance and China Home Furnishing Industry Green Supply Chain Alliance; has presided over the forest industry industry conferences, participated in Chinese and foreign forestry technology exchange activities, and represented China in the world's wood-based panel conference.

Ms. Qian won the “2010 China Forestry Industry Person of the Year”, 2012-2013 “China Forestry Industry Outstanding Contribution Award”, 2014 “China Forest Industry Lifetime Honor Award”, 2015 “China Wood Industry 30 Years Meritorious Person” and 2017 Years of "Beijing Environmental Protection Pioneer" and other honors.


Dale Greene became Dean of the Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources in June 2015. He joined the faculty in 1986 and is known for his research and teaching that focused on improving the economic and environmental performance of the wood supply chain. He was twice appointed by Georgia Governors to the Georgia State Board of Registration for Foresters and has been active throughout his career in the Georgia Forestry Association and the Georgia Forestry Foundation. His recognitions include all three teaching awards given by the Warnell School, the Outstanding Research Award from the Southeastern Society of American Foresters, and the Wise Owl Award from the Georgia Forestry Association. The Society of American Foresters named him to the Georgia Forester’s Hall of Fame in 2007.  Greene and his graduate students are three-time recipients of the National Technical Writing Award from the Forest Resources Association.  In 2017, he was awarded the International Forest Engineering Achievement Award by the Council on Forest Engineering.

Greene holds a Ph.D. from Auburn University. He received his bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and his Master’s from Virginia Tech.  He and his wife Jeanna are forest landowners in Georgia and Arkansas.


The forestry sector in the US South continues to be impacted by the decade-long drop in housing starts that began in 2008.  What began with sharp downside impacts on the lumber and composite sectors of the industry soon created negative ripple effects to the entire forest sector.  The legacy of these impacts continues today where a general oversupply of sawtimber continues to depress sawtimber prices thus discouraging forest landowners making investment and regeneration decisions.  Also during the past decade, Canadian ownership of southern softwood sawmills greatly accelerated due to a combination of negative factors in Canada and opportunities in the US South.  Significant consolidation also occurred in the forest landowner and wood supplier sectors as well.  These issues will be discussed from the perspectives of wood users, wood suppliers, and forest landowners.