Wood Conference connects forest products to designers

Mass Timber + Maine panel: Moderator Ryan Kanteres, Scott Simons Architects; Tom Chung, Leers Weinzapel; Russell Edgar, UMaine; Casey Malmquist, Smart-Lam, and Matt Tonello, Consigli Construction.

For those who attended MFPC’s 2016 annual meeting in Orono, there was a definite deja vu vibe at the Maine Wood and Sustainability conference May 9 at the University of Southern Maine. The conference, attended by about 170 people from Maine, New York, Massachussetts, Vermont and New Hampshire, brought together architects, engineers, builders and developers. It also highlighted the use of mass timber/CLT.

Theresa Kerchner, Kennebec Land Trust (KLT), Lloyd Irland, Irland Associates; Sue Bell, KLT Board; Ken Laustsen, Maine Forest Service; Kirsten Brewer, KLT; Jean-Luc Theriault, KLT, and Lee Burnett, Local Wood Works.

“The conference was really beneficial as it brought together the forest product industry and architects to discuss the uses and sustainability of wood,” said Alex Ingraham, president of Pingree Associates, who was a presenter on Manufacturing in Maine. “It was really encouraging to see so many people in one room from very disparate backgrounds excited about wood and the potential growth of forest products and the local Maine Economy. Hopefully this is the first of many successful conferences.”

The Wood Conference agenda included sessions on everything from codes/policy to ways, to wood heat,  to how to turn ideas into action. The session on Mass Timber + Maine, for example, featured three panelists who presented at MFPC’s 2016 Annual Meeting: Russell Edgar of UMaine, representing the Maine Mass Timber Commercialization Center (MMTCC); Casey Malmquist, president of SmartLam, and Matt Tonello, project executive, Consigli Construction.

Jason Brochu, Pleasant River Lumber; Nick Holgorsen, LignaTerra, and Chris Brochu, Pleasant River Lumber.

“We found the Maine Wood and Sustainability Conference a big help in continuing to educate critical stakeholders (architects, engineers, contractors, building code officials, fire marshals, etc…) on the benefits of Mass Timber technologies,” Edgar said. “The growth and success of Mass Timber manufacturing in Maine is likely to be a boon to the forest products economy in the state.”

Another important event to continue the “positive momentum” in the state and region,” Edgar said, will be the Maine Mass Timber Conference Oct. 11 at the University of Maine in Orono.