Hardwood Federation Names Columbia Exec to Board of Directors

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Columbia Forest Products' CEO Brad Thompson steps down from the Hardwood Federation's board of directors, to be succeeded by Jim Sitts, Columbia's Appalachian Timber Manager.

The Hardwood Federation and Columbia Forest Products announce that Jim Sitts, Appalachian Timber Manager, has been elected to the Hardwood Federation board of directors, taking the seat vacated by Brad Thompson, CEO of Columbia Forest Products, after eight years of service.

Together with other leading firms in the hardwood industry, Columbia Forest Products played a key role in forming the Hardwood Federation and growing its activities and influence during its first decade of existence. Brad Thompson served on the Hardwood Federation’s board of directors from 2006 to 2014, including terms as the board’s chairman as well as chairman of the Hardwood Federation political action committee (PAC).

The Hardwood Federation includes such groups as the Hardwood Lumber Association, Hardwood Plywood & Veneer Association and National Wood Flooring Association, among many other associations and individual companies, representing the interests of the North American hardwood industry.

The creation of the Hardwood Federation meant that for the first time, the hardwood industry had a permanent presence in Washington, DC. Hardwood Federation staff facilitated the development of cohesive strategies and tactics, enabling it to engage in expert testimony, grassroots organizing, and legislative action.

According to the current executive director, Dana Cole, “Brad has played an instrumental role in establishing the strength and focus for the Hardwood Federation. He has provided excellent counsel and guidance to the staff and membership over the years, helping the Federation determine its path forward.”

At one of the many Hardwood Federation-sponsored gatherings in Washington, DC, Thompson commented about why the Federation matters on The Hill: “We need to educate our Congress, Senators and administrators so that when they hear the story of wood, they stand behind us. They need to hear our voice – and as companies, we need to be able to go back to our employees and tell them what we are doing to protect their jobs and their industries.”

Achievements by the Federation during Thompson’s tenure included:

  •     Built a unique coalition of industry and environmental groups to add hardwood to the materials covered under the Lacey Act in 2008, helping to level the playing field in trade by combating illegal logging.
  •     Spearheaded efforts to include hardwoods in the list of approved products in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Bio-Based Procurement Program which will open the doors to U.S. hardwood businesses for government purchasing programs;
  •     Successfully defended the USDA’s Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program which fund the American Hardwood Export Council’s efforts to promote American hardwood exports internationally.

As CEO of Columbia Forest Products, Thompson leads one of America’s most innovative hardwood producers. Columbia is a leading manufacturer of formaldehyde-free decorative hardwood plywood and veneer products.

Prior to joining Columbia in 1993, Thompson held technical and managerial positions at Champion International and The Weyerhaeuser Company. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BS degree in Forestry, holds an MBA degree from Purdue University, and has been involved in the industry for 35 years.

Jim Sitts Named to Hardwood Federation Board

In related news, the Hardwood Federation and Columbia Forest Products announced that Jim Sitts, the Appalachian Timber Manager for Columbia, has been elected to the board of directors of the Hardwood Federation, occupying the seat vacated by Mr. Thompson.

Like Thompson, Sitts brings a strong industry background and a wealth of interdisciplinary industry experience to his position on the board. He is a 45-year veteran of the forest products industry.

Sitts is a Registered Forester in the state of North Carolina and has earned the designation of Certified Forester through the Society of American Foresters.

In addition to his new position on the board of the Hardwood Federation, Sitts has served on the boards of organizations such as the Forestry Mutual Insurance Company and the National Woodland Owners Association. He holds degrees from Paul Smith’s College and North Carolina State University.

Dana Lee Cole welcomed Jim Sitts to the Hardwood Federation’s board of directors, stating, “Jim is a very capable, seasoned leader who has a keen understanding of the issues foresters face. He recognizes the aspirations of the industry’s practitioners as well as the practicalities of forestry. In addition to being a keen observer and a very good listener, he brings fresh ideas and vibrant perspectives to the hardwood industry’s internal and external stakeholders.”

About the Hardwood Federation

Established in 2004, the Hardwood Federation is the largest Washington, DC-based hardwood industry trade association, representing thousands of hardwood businesses in all 50 states and acting as the industry’s advocacy voice on Capitol Hill. The Hardwood Federation is an umbrella organization representing the majority of trade associations engaged in the manufacturing, wholesaling or distribution of North American hardwood lumber, veneer, plywood, flooring and related products.

The Hardwood Federation’s mission is to:

  •     Promote and represent the common business interests of the hardwood industry’s members, and to improve the business conditions under which they operate.
  •     Maintain a healthy business environment for family businesses and small companies in the hardwood community.
  •     Maintain commercial access to federal and private hardwood timberlands.
  •     Maintain and improve the health of public and private hardwood forests.

For more information about the Hardwood Federation, call 202-463-2705 visit http://hardwoodfederation.wildapricot.org, or e-mail your request to cmoon(at)hardwoodfederation(dot)com.

About Columbia Forest Products

Established in 1957, Columbia Forest Products has provided fine decorative hardwood plywood panels to the woodworking industry for nearly 60 years. Columbia’s decorative veneers and panels are used in high-quality cabinetry, fine furniture, architectural millwork and commercial fixtures.

As an employee stock owned manufacturing firm (ESOP), Columbia is committed to offering products with integrity, originating from responsibly managed forestlands and assembled with EPA award-winning PureBond® formaldehyde-free technology. All Columbia products are backed by exceptional customer service and technical support.

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Todd Vogelsinger

Phillip Nones