Secondary wood manufacturint
Secondary wood manufacturing contributes 8,884 jobs and $1.8 billion to Maine's economy, about 20 percent of the forest products industry’s impact.

FOR/Maine announces plan to grow forest economy

FOR/Maine (Forest Opportunity Roadmap), a broad coalition working to diversify the state’s wood products businesses, attract capital investments, and develop greater economic prosperity for communities impacted by recent mill closures, is pleased to announce an action plan to grow Maine’s forest economy from the current $8.5 billion (annual) to $12 billion by 2025. This growth would position the state to compete in and take advantage of substantial global market opportunities.
 
The Roadmap Action Plan outlines how the industry will achieve the projected 40 percent growth, much of it coming from new markets for the state. The sector will build on traditional strengths like saw logs and paper, and add new layers of innovative products – including eco-friendly chemicals, bio-degradable plastics, and medical and technical products made from nanocellulose – many of which can be made from the residuals of other wood manufacturing processes.
 
The Roadmap is the culmination of two years of coordinated research and strategy development, informed by extensive data, global benchmarking, and industry expertise. It reveals Maine’s competitiveness in new global markets, and outlines five goals and 17 matched strategies to realize the opportunity, and build a more diverse $12 billion forest economy annually:
 
Goal #1: Sustain and grow Maine’s existing and emerging forest products economy, reaching $12 Billion in economic impact by 2025. This includes attracting investment in the forest products industry, marketing Maine’s bioeconomy to national and global audiences, and accelerating innovation in forest products and applications to leverage Maine’s leadership position within the industry.
 
Goal #2: Manage the wood resource using sustainable and responsible forest management practices. This is informed by accurate and current data about Maine’s forests.
 
Goal #3: Prepare workforce for the future of the forest products economy. This entails making sure that current workers have the skills they need, and that Maine is positioned to attract and prepare the necessary workforce for emerging products and new opportunities.
 
Goal #4: Increase prosperity in Maine forest economy communities, especially those in rural Maine, including those affected by mill closures. This involves coordinated efforts across local, regional, state, and federal entities to attract capital investment.
 
Goal #5: Organize the forest products industry with committed public sector partners, including the University of Maine, to implement the vision and goals. This requires sustained, collaborative and coordinated effort across local, regional, state and federal entities.
 
The benefits of a strong forest products sector extend far beyond the companies and workers directly in the industry. Indeed, 1 of every 24 jobs in Maine and estimated $1 out of every $20 of Maine GDP come from the forest industry. In addition to economic benefits, working forests provide environmental benefits including carbon sequestration, filtration of the water supply, and habitat for wildlife, as well as recreation and quality of life for Mainers and tourists.
 
The opportunity to create the next great era of Maine forestry is available, but to seize this economic growth for Maine, we must all work together to create the conditions to attract new investment here. This will include ongoing coordination and cooperation between industry, state and federal government, and forest communities, supported by the Maine public and non-profits.
 
For more information, and to read the full Roadmap report, please visit: www.formaine.org. You can also follow us at: www.facebook.com/formaine.
 
Thank you!

Sarah Curran
FOR/Maine Program Director
Maine Development Foundation | 295 Water St., Ste. 5 Augusta | ME 04330 
O: 207-626-3116 | www.mdf.org
www.formaine.org
www.facebook.com/forestopportunityroadmapME
 

2018 seems like a year of recovery for forest products

After a roller-coaster period of declines, 2018 seems like a year of recovery. Investments in our remaining pulp and paper mills are strong as they diversify their production lines. Markets for lumber and building products also are doing well and there is significant activity surrounding emerging technologies that could fit in Maine. However, there are still regions where markets are poor and more should be done to attract investments.

The Council has made considerable investment in the FOR/MAINE strategic planning process, with many members involved in this broad-based effort. Consultants have provided us with a better idea of where we fit in the global economy. We know where and what species of wood we need to focus on, and we’re developing recommendations for the coming administration that are an important part of implementing the plan. We think we can grow Maine’s forest industry from $8.5 billion to $11 billion if policymakers make the right choices.

To be honest, I’m not sure I can make any sense out of the drawn out “short session” of the 128th Legislature. Energy issues were not significantly advanced. Some gains were made with tax conformity. The Taxation Committee was responsive to our policy concerns and rejected changes to the Tree Growth and forestry excise tax programs, and the UT budget. The Agriculture,Conservation and Forestry Committee was engaged in battles with the administration and was hearing mixed messages from the industry. The governor’s record use of vetoes – 643 over his eight years, according to the BDN, compared to 469 for all governors dating back to 1917 – affected the discipline of the legislative body.

We pushed back on threatening policies and mainly prevailed. However, our 20-year resistance to arming forest rangers was overruled this session. There’s a certain irony in that because the emerald ash borer invasion demonstrated our point that threats to natural resource protection – not ranger safety – are growing.

On the regulatory front, we made some gains. LUPC is leading a discussion about planning in the unorganized territory by examining the adjacency rules. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a determination that the endangered species designation for Canada lynx should be dropped. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection petitioned the federal EPA to remove Maine from the Ozone Transport Region. DEP’s action was based on sound science and an understanding that these regulations are detrimental to our recovering industry. The Council’s advocacy efforts, including strong testimony from sawmills, pulp and paper mills and wood manufacturers, resonated with state regulators, who moved forward with these important changes.

Many thanks to the talented MFPC team, Sue McCarthy, Roberta Scruggs, Pat Sirois, Michele MacLean and Bill Ferdinand, who are committed to serving members and looking out for our collective best interests.

To me, these are rewarding times in the management of the Council! I look forward to the next year armed with proactive legislative ideas from you and our strategic planning process. I also count on your active involvement as we work together to build a stronger forest economy in the coming year.

Mark Doty receives prestigious Albert Nutting Award

On Sept. 17,  Mark Doty of Madison, who recently retired from Weyerhaeuser, received the Maine Forest Products Council’s most prestigious award at MFPC’s Annual Meeting in Phippsburg.

The Albert Nutting award was created in 1990 to honor Al Nutting, the former director of the School of Forestry at the University of Maine, Maine Commissioner of Forestry and one of the founders of the Maine Forest Products Council.  The plaque is printed on a piece of black locust that grew on the lawn of the Nutting homestead in Otisfield before 1850 by a Nutting ancestor. This award is presented annually to an individual who “have demonstrated recognized qualities of leadership and integrity, as well as a commitment to the values both public and private, generated from the working forest.  His or her experience will reflect concern for the sound environmental use as well as the economic value of the forest to industry and the community at large.”

“In recognition of his innovative and effective leadership; his exceptional communication skills; his strong commitment to sustainable forestry and conservation and his unwavering advocacy for the forest products industry not only in Maine, but also in New Hampshire and Vermont.”

Jim Robbins Sr. of Robbins Lumber presented the award, saying, “It is my honor tonight to present this award to one of the finest gentlemen in the industry, Mark Doty. It has been my pleasure to work with Mark on the Executive Committee of the Maine Forest Products Council for many years and view firsthand his leadership abilities.  As a leader Mark always keeps his cool, makes sure everyone has their say and is respectful to everyone.

“Mark is a great leader recognized not only in Maine but also in other New England states.  Let me read some of his accomplishments to you. I’m sure most of you don’t know that Mark worked draft horses at a horse farm in Morrill during 1977 and 1978 and helped haul shavings for their bedding from the Robbins sawmill in Searsmont.

“He went on to also earn a B.S. degree in Forest Engineering (Summa cum laude) from the University of Maine in Orono in 1986. On the Scott Paper landbase, worked as a summer intern while in college 1985 and 1986, was hired full time in 1987 as a dirt forester (by Doug Denico), joined the manager ranks in 1993 eventually being responsible for management of 500,000 acres. He then moved into Community Affairs, Government Affairs and Communication from 2007 (following Doug Denico’s retirement) until Mark’s retirement in 2018, having worked for five landowners on the same land base (Scott Paper, SD Warren, Sappi, Plum Creek, Weyerhaeuser). 

“Here are some of Mark’s other accomplishments: 

  • Maine licensed forester #1073 since 1987
  • Maine Forest Products Council, board member 2007 to present, and past president
  • Vermont Woodlands Association, board member, 2014 to 2018
  • Vermont Forest Products Association, board member, 2012 to 2018
  • NH Timber Owners Association, board member, 2014 to 2018, resigned as president elect 2017
  • Maine SFI Implementation Committee 2007 to 2016, and past chair
  • Cooperative Forestry Research Unit, CFRU, board member 2008 to 2014, and past chair
  • Sportsmen/Forest Landowner Alliance 2007 to 2017, and past chair
  • University of Maine, School of Forest Resources, Robert I. Ashman Scholar 1985-86
  • Northeast Logger’s Association, Outstanding Leadership in Industry Award 2017
  • Vermont Forest Products Association, Vermont’s Outstanding Leadership in Industry Award 2017
  • Purchased and began management of 160 acre woodlot with his family in 2014
  • Town of Madison – resident 2008 to present, planning board member 2013 to present, Lake Wesserunsett Association current president
  • Town of Cornville – resident 1993 to 2008, member of the volunteer fire department for 10 years, Comprehensive Planning Committee
  • Town of Caratunk – resident 1988 to 1993, held positions as selectman, planning board member, code enforcement officer and fire department member
  • Appalachian Trail corridor monitor, Maine, 2009 to present

Last, but certainly not least, Mark and his wife Lilly raised two wonderful sons, one settled in England training museums in the use of archiving software and the other is a forester with Two Trees Forestry in Winthrop Maine. Mark is enjoying his retirement and now works only 40 hours a week surveying, running  GPS and total station instruments. He’s also active recreationally – mountain climbing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, kayaking and sailing, mountain biking. 

“You just have to wonder how he’s found the time to do all that,” Robbins joked. 

Outstanding! Sarah Medina of Seven Islands receives 2018 Abby Holman Public Service Award

 

“In recognition of her lifelong commitment to Maine’s natural environment and those that enjoy it, with particular focus on her work with North Maine Woods, IF&W’s Sportsman / Landowner relations program, Maine Snowmobilers Association, Maine Sporting Camp Owners Association, Maine’s UT land use planning, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust, and her leadership at UMaine.”

Steve Schley, president of Pingree Associates in Bangor from 1989 to 2017, presented the Abby Holman award to Sarah Medina, Seven Islands land use director, saying, “It gives me great pleasure this evening to present the Maine Forest Products Council Abby Holman Public Service Award.  Abby Holman devoted herself to this industry and her clients and this evening’s recipient has done the same.  I have been my privileged to call Sarah Medina a friend for over 40 years.  One of the first times I met her she loaned me her motorcycle so I could take a run to the coast and see my grandparents.

“Some of you may not know that Sarah Medina was the first female graduate of UMaine’s forestry school.  Sarah has served on UMaine curriculum and accreditation committees, their Forest Resource Advisory Committee (FRAC), and participated in classroom settings inspiring other women to pursue the profession. 

“Seven Islands Land Company was lucky enough to hire Sarah out of college and is been blessed that she remains an integral part of the team today.  Sarah has marked wood for harvest, laid out roads and just about everything else you can imagine but her work with the public sector is why she is being recognized tonight.

“Sarah was there when LURC was created by the legislature.  She has worked with LURC issues, now LUPC, her entire career and I have often heard it said that as LURC staffers came and went, everyone recognized that Sarah knows Unorganized Territory regulatory and management issues better than anyone.  Sarah has the same experience with Maine’s Tree Growth Tax law, witnessing its birth and participating in the constant legislative consideration for change.  Sarah has had a lifelong passion for in-woods recreation helping found North Maine Woods for public use accommodation and has always been an active participant in Maine’s snowmobile industry.

“Sarah has been mentoring Hannah Stevens at Seven Islands in Bangor for the last couple of years.  Hannah has noted that Sarah is known all over the state, not only within the forest industry, but within state agencies, non-profits, and other outside groups.  Hannah remembers a staff member at a land trust remarking that before she writes a reply email to someone on any remotely contentious issue she takes a breath and thinks, “what would Sarah write?”  Sarah has an amazing way of stating her (or the company’s) position on an argument firmly and professionally with a wealth of background information to support her point.  She has a long track record of working with different folks to find common ground on which to proceed, and also with holding strong when needed. 

“Sarah is generous.  She is generous with her time and her knowledge.  She has a great passion for education, evidenced by her long service to organizations like Girl Scouts and Project Learning Tree.  She’s been involved with Make-A-Wish projects and many other things in her personal time, like her hometown food co-op.

“I am very pleased to present Sarah the 2018 Abby Holman Public Service Award.”

John McNulty, Alex Ingraham, Hannah Stevens, Sarah Medina and Steve Schley.

2018 President’s Award goes to Ken Laustsen

By Jim Contino, outgoing president of the Maine Forest Products Council

The President’s Award is a recognition reserved to the Presidents discretion.  I get to give it to anyone I want – it’s one of the few perks of the job…  Since I am the outgoing President, this is essentially my last gasp! It is my pleasure to present this award to Ken Laustsen.

 “In recognition of his public service to the forest products industry as state biometrician, as well as his unique ability to make a complicated subject easily understood. His advocacy for better forestry communications went far beyond insuring that facts and figures were correct. He helped people evaluate the credibility and usefulness of information so that they could make better decisions.”

Ken has recently finished a distinguished Forest Products career that started in 1974 as a ROW Foreman doing brush control work for Asplundh and ended this year when he retired from the Maine Forest Service as as our Forest Biometrician.  He was not always the inventory geek that most of us know and love today.  In between he had lots of different jobs:

  • 1975 – 90: A bunch of forest operations jobs for Great Northern.
  • 1990 – 99: He gravitated to become the inventory guy for GNP.
  • 1999 – 2018: He served as the Biometrician for the State.

Many of you might not know exactly what a Forest Biometrician is.  I suggest you think of it this way:

  • One part mensurationist (Timber Cruiser)
  • One part statistician (Poker Player)
  • One part modeler (Computer Geek)

Ken Laustsen and Jim Contino.

Shake them together vigorously and you get a guy who can tell you just about anything that you need to know about the forests of Maine.  Not only can he tell you how much standing timber there is but he can model its growth and availability.  Many of us in this room have developed love affairs with the forests of Maine.  We go to sleep at night and we see pictures of the places we have worked come to us in our dreams.  I think Ken is different because in his dreams he is watching movies rather than just looking at pictures.  Ken is an extraordinary Biometrician because he has seen the Maine forest change through the last 45 years and he is gifted enough to play that movie into the future for the rest of us.  A good Biometrician knows how to model change.  Ken is a very good Biometrician!

Ken is worth his weight in gold to anyone that needs to scope out the available wood supply for expansions or new projects.  I worked closely with Ken when we were doing the wood supply projections for the Bucksport mill biomass project.  Sadly, that project could not prevent the demise of our mill there but I can tell you that Ken helped us nail the volume of material that was available to us from the counties surrounding Bucksport.  Three years after the project, we conducted a post capital review to measure the success of the project and it turned out that our supply assumptions and resulting wood cost projections were incredibly close to what we projected.  There is simply no way I was smart enough to have done that without Ken’s help.

It strikes me that we really need someone to fill this role for us in Maine as developers and new technologies look to create new markets and investments.  Ken left some very big shoes to fill and I am certain they are very important shoes to fill as well.

But it was never all about the Forestry Stuff for Ken.  He is incredibly devoted to a number of community service organizations including:

  • Abanaki Girl Scouts
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Maine Tree Farm
  • Society of American Foresters
  • Project Learning Tree
  • Accredited softball and soccer umpire

The volunteer list goes on, but the umpire role seemed to make perfect sense to me.  The one guy in the room that I could not imagine arguing with over a tough sports call would be Ken.  He would absolutely always get the benefit of the doubt from me.

2018 Outstanding Forester: Vern Labbe, Maine BPL

BPL Forester Vern Labbe, Maine State Forester Doug Denico and MFPC President Gordon Gamble.

At MFPC’s 58th Annual Meeting in Phippsburg Sept. 9, Maine State Forester Doug Denico presented the 2018 Outstanding Forester Award to Vern Labbe of the state Bureau of Parks and Public Lands. “

In recognition of 44 years of exceptional service in implementing sustainable forest management for the people of Maine on the Bureau of Public Lands.”

“It is with the greatest pleasure I am presenting this award to Vern,” Denico said. “I came to know Vern about 3 1/2 years ago when we began working together in Public Lands.  I consider this a good bit of luck to have come to know Vern. Tonight, Vern is being honored for his 44 years of exemplary professional forestry work across an unbelievably broad spectrum of forestry activities.   

“Unless you are involved with Public Lands, you can’t understand the complex and demanding type of work that is required.    From the top, or bottom, depending on your perspective, Vern has had multiple bosses at the same time. The public, Legislature, department heads and someone like me have oversight over Vern; a barely functional type of management structure.   

“Public Lands practices uneven age silviculture, a complicated system at best. Growth and harvest have to be balanced by small geographic units of about 30,000 acres, another tough hurdle.   Silvicutural prescriptions are limited to 11 examples and policy is dictated by a document called the Integrated Resource Plan. Also, Public Lands is dual certified under SFI and FSC, and practices under Outcome Based Forestry. Given these restraints, Vern has made some remarkable achievements.   

Doug Denico, Joyce and Vern Labbe.

“Vern has doubled the amount of pre-commercial thinning on Public Lands over the last three years. He has introduced areal herbiciding to help broaden the tools to use against beech.  His willingness to productively engage in wildlife management is outstanding. Along with managing a working forest, Vern has tens of thousands of ecological reserves to manage.   

“Also, Vern has found the time to assist in purchasing more public lands and resolving many of our common and undivided parcels. The public gets a chance every five years to give Public Lands its insight into what kind of recreation is best to serve public needs on each of its 14 management units.    Vern has built a great infrastructure of hiking trails, campsites, boat launchers, and added access for persons with disabilities in key areas.   

“Vern introduced service contracting to Public Lands in about 2012 to gain the benefits all major landowners have come to enjoy.  But the process to create renewable contracts, pay for services weekly and have a fair and equitable bid procedure is nearly impossible to make work within a state system not used to dealing with a business. Vern has been instrumental in negotiating with mills for products produced. Negotiating on behalf of the people of Maine is not like negotiating to improve the bottomline.   

“Vern finished his state employment on Public Lands as its deputy director this past August. But true to his belief in and love of Public Lands, Vern has agreed to stay on in a contractional arrangement. I might add, in spite of more lucrative offers.   

“Vern, my heart felt appreciation goes out to you.  You have raised the bar on what the people of Maine can expect from its stewards of Public Lands. 

“Thank you, Vern.”

Treeline Inc. of Lincoln named 2018 outstanding trucker

Left to right, Crystal Wilcox, Floyd Wilcox, Brian Souers, Denise Souers, Lisa Bethune and Bob Bethune.

The Maine Forest Products Council (MFPC)  announced its annual awards for the best of 2018 at its 58th annual meeting Sept. 18, including Treeline Inc. of  Lincoln, which received the Outstanding Trucking Award.

“In recognition of outstanding forest products trucking through tireless pursuits of innovation, loaded miles and a commitment to quality service.”

“Treeline is pleased to be serving so many quality Maine Forest Products customers and looks forward to serving them well,” Souers said. 

Treeline has been in business for 38 years and  Started hauling round wood with two loader trucks in 1985. In the late 1980s, Treeline began growing the tractor trailer fleet and in  hauling biomass chips in 2003. The trucking service peaked in 2015 with 25 trucks, 55 trailers and 10 contracted trucks. In 2016, the company scaled back to 20 trucks, 45 trailers and two  contracted trucks, because two wood yards were shut down and biomass and pulp markets declined.

Jason Brochu (right) of Pleasant River Lumber presents the Outstanding Trucking Award to Brian Souers, Treeline president.  

In 2017, Treeline began flatbed hauling, predominantly lumber out of Maine and logs back in. Currently the company is dispatching 8 to 10 flatbeds, of which two to four are owner operators. These trucks are now covering a good portion of the East Coast.

The company began hauling water tankers for Poland Spring on Aug. 1, 2018, and currently is doing this with four trucks and eight drivers. So total fleet is now 32 trucks, 60 trailers and four to six contracted trucks.

Most of the credit goes to Operations Manager Bob Bethune, Souers said, who has been a Treeline Team Leader for over 31 years now. Bethune  has been joined by one of  Treeline’s  top drivers, Floyd Wilcox, who has stepped up to develop and oversee the flatbed and water hauling business.

Treeline understands the industry’s need for safe and efficient transportation providers as well the challenges of professional driver development. To that end, the company has developed an aggressive safety and compliance program as well an in-house Driver Apprentice training program.

Outstanding logger of 2018: Nicols Brothers of Rumford

The Maine Forest Products Council (MFPC) chose Nicols Brothers Logging of Rumford as Maine’s Outstanding Logger

“In recognition of exemplary on-the-ground performance, longstanding commitment to the well-being of their employees, the community and Maine’s logging profession.”

“I’d like to thank the Council for this award,” Jim Nicols said. “I’m honored and humbled to receive it.”

John McNulty, president of Seven Islands Land Co., presented the award Sept. 17 at MFPC’s annual meeting in Phippsburg, saying, “Nicols Brothers started in the early 1980’s when Jimmy and Billy both ran cable skidders and “cut from the stump.”  Since that time they have grown into a full service logging and trucking company with over twenty employees. They offer cut-to-length harvesting, whole-tree harvesting, concentration yard log processing, trucking, firewood, road construction and maintenance services and contracted chipping/grinding.

“Innovation characterizes their brand.  One of the first contractors in Maine to embrace CTL logging.  In the mid-1990’s they were early adopters of early commercial thinning with 2 Rottne 2000’s, small processors ideally suited for thinning dense softwood stands originating from the 1938 hurricane in the western mountains.  Their willingness to try something new and untested has been a hallmark of their company.  This attitude has enabled them to grow and expand the suite of services they offer landowners.  

Jim and Carlene Nicols, and John McNulty.

“Located in the western Maine Mountains where skid distances often exceed ½ mile, the Nicols Brothers were one of the first in the region to utilize six wheeled grapples to improve skidding efficiencies – another example of their willingness to adapt and innovate to improve their operation.

“The success of the operation lies in their professional employees and the owners who both spend a great deal of time on the logging sites. Billy is a processor operator and Jimmy serves as a woods boss/foreman. With the Nicols Brothers, it is all about quality. The right harvesting system is tailored to the needs of the landowner. Each team member takes great pride in what they do and maintains a professional manner and work ethic.

“They are active in the logging community as members of the CLP, Master Logger Program and the PLC. Jim has served as a past PLC president and on several occasions the company has hosted the annual spring safety training at their garage.

“Also a family operation, Jim’s wife Carlene serves as the secretary and Bill’s wife Pam provides other services. Ryan and Nate, who are Jim and Bill’s sons respectively, currently run the firewood operation.

“Their innovation, business acumen and interest in seeing that both the landowner and Nicols Brothers prosper and benefit from exemplary management, sets them apart as one of the top performing loggers in Maine and New England!”

Outstanding Manufacturer of 2018: Maine Woods Pellet

From left, Bruce Linkletter, Sandy Linkletter, Debbie Linkletter and Robert Linkletter of Maine Woods Pellet Co. in Athens.

“In recognition of outstanding innovations and investments to merge technologies for the efficient production of wood pellets and electrical power.”

At MFPC’s 58th Annual Meeting in Phippsburg Sept. 9, Rich Smith, wood buyer at Pleasant River Lumber presented the Manufacturer of the Year to Maine Woods Pellet Co.

“The three Linkletter brothers – Robert, Richard and Bruce – began redeveloping their Athens, Maine, industrial site 12 years ago. Construction lasted 16 months,” Smith said. “Maine Woods Pellet began operations with 20 employees, producing 50,000 tons per year. Now, Maine Woods Pellets is on pace to produce 120,000 tons of pellets with 35 employees.

“Four years ago, they also added a 120,000 ton per year biomass burner to both generate electricity and utilize excess heat to pre-dry feedstock for pellet production.

“The Linkletters’ manufacturing success can be measured by their efficient pellet production, electricity generation and fully integrated operation from forestland ownership, logging, trucking and chipping, through pellet sales. On top of that they are successfully competing in energy markets, not just traditional wood products markets.

“Congratulations to the Linkletter family and Maine Woods Pellet Co. for being named Manufacturer of the Year.” 

MFPC 58th Annual Meeting: Candidates and much more

More than 100 people attended MFPC’s 58th Annual Meeting, which included appearances by all four gubernatorial candidates, great presentations and awards for outstanding contributions to Maine’s forest products industry.

PHIPPSBURG — Maine’s four gubernatorial candidates, Republican Shawn Moody, Democrat Janet Mills, and independents Terry Hayes and Alan Caron, spoke about forest products issues, including Tree Growth Tax, work force development, and research and development for new wood-based products at the Maine Forest Product Council’s 58th Annual Meeting on Sept. 17.

“Access to the gubernatorial candidates was very much appreciated by the members,” said Executive Director Patrick Strauch. “Our industry has a lot at stake in picking the right leader because we can offer the next administration an opportunity to capitalize on our ability to grow the economy in rural parts of Maine if we make the right decisions.” 

Thanks to our generous sponsors (see below), more than 100 people enjoyed the two-day event at Sebasco Harbor resort, which included awards for outstanding contributions to Maine’s forest products industry and presentations on: 

  • The unified paper industry’s effort to slow the decline in paper consumption from Mary Anne Hansan, president of the Paper and Packaging Board (P+PB), who spoke about the “How Life Unfolds” campaign. Since 2015, about $20 million annually has been spent to reach a target audience of 38 million Americans and, according to Cornell economist Harry Kaiser, the marketing campaign has contributed nearly 500,000 short tons a year to paper-based packaging consumption from 2015 to 2017. See report.

“I only wish they were promoting all wood products, not just paper and packaging,” said Bill Ferdinand of Eaton Peabody. “Maine should consider ways to promote wood products from our state.”

  • How St. Croix Tissue has revitalized Woodland Pulp from Marco L’Italien, vice president of International Grand Investment Corp. Marco L’Italien, vice president of International Grand Investment Corp., owner of the Woodland mill.
  • FOR/Maine update from Steve Schley, chair, Executive Committee; Sarah Curran, FOR/Maine program director, and Charlotte Mace, executive director, Biobased Maine, will talk about the progress of the roadmap and about promising companies that have been identified as part of the Maine Technology Institute process. 

“I heard lots of comments about the quality of programming,” Strauch said, “including Marco’s commentary on the success and opportunities of the Baileyville mill, a report on the FOR/Maine planning process and Mary Ann Hansan’s description of the paper and packaging campaign.” 

Outstanding! Brian Souers, Mark Doty, Jim Nicols, Vern Labbe, Ken Laustsen, Sarah Medina and Robert Linkletter.

MFPC also announced its annual awards for the best of 2018, including:

  • Mark Doty of Madison, retired, Weyerhaeuser, winner of the Albert D. Nutting Award, “in recognition of his innovative and effective leadership; his exceptional communication skills; his strong commitment to sustainable forestry and conservation and his unwavering advocacy for the forest products industry not only in Maine, but also in New Hampshire and Vermont.” Learn more.
  • Sarah Medina of Dixmont, Seven Islands, Abby Holman Public Service Award, “in recognition of her lifelong commitment to Maine’s natural environment and those that enjoy it, with particular focus on her work with North Maine Woods, IF&W’s Sportsman/Landowner relations program, Maine Snowmobilers Association, Maine Sporting Camp owners Association, Maine’s UT land use planning, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust, and her leadership at UMaine.” Learn more.
  • Ken Laustsen of Oakland, retired biometrician, Maine Forest Service, President’s Award, “in recognition of his public service to the forest products industry as state biometrician, as well as his unique ability to make a complicated subject easily understood. His advocacy for better forestry communications went far beyond insuring that facts and figures were correct. He helped people evaluate the credibility and usefulness of information so that they could make better decisions.” Learn more. 
  • Vern Labbe of Frenchville, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, Outstanding Forester, “in recognition of 44 years of exceptional service in implementing sustainable forest management for the people of Maine on the Bureau of Public Lands.” Learn more.
  • Robert Linkletter, Maine Woods Pellets, Athens, Outstanding Manufacturer, “in recognition of outstanding innovations and investments to merge technologies for the efficient production of wood pellets and electrical power.” Learn more.
  • Jim Nicols, Nicols Brothers, Mexico, Outstanding Logger, “in recognition of exemplary on-the-ground performance, longstanding commitment to the well-being of their employees, the community and Maine’s logging profession.” Learn more.
  • Brian Souers, Treeline Inc., Lincoln, Outstanding Trucking, “in recognition of outstanding forest products trucking through tireless pursuits of innovation, loaded miles and a commitment to quality service.” “Thank you for a really nice time on Monday evening!” Souers emailed. “The venue was perfect, the room was very comfortable and we certainly appreciated the recognition.” Learn more.

“It’s always rewarding to me to see the wide variety of our membership and to know that no matter how competitive we may all be in the marketplace,” Strauch said, “when we come together as the Maine Forest Products Council, we all understand the power of seeking common ground in advancing our forest economy.”  

“The Maine Forest Products Council meeting was very well attended this year.  The program was very interesting with emphasis  on the status of the paper industry in Maine, which actually is much healthier than I had realized,” said Jim Robbins of Robbins Lumber. “Another highlight of the meeting was the appearance of all four gubernatorial candidates who each spent about a half hour explaining their positions and answering questions.”


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