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NWPCA Annual Meeting Draws a Large Crowd
NWPCA Annual Meeting: Members of the National Wood Pallet and Container Association gather in Florida for annual business session, program and networking opportunities.
By Ed Brindley
Date Posted: 4/1/2006
This year’s NWPCA Annual Leadership Conference (ALC) drew way over 300 registrants with total attendees including spouses and guests being about 445, making it the second largest meeting in association history. While it is true that the economy was good, which usually precipitates a good turnout, it is also true many people feel that networking benefits are increasingly valuable. No matter how one might have viewed this year’s ALC, everybody thought it was full of activity. The rapid pace of change today put a perspective on this year’s slogan: "Shared Vision and United Goals."
Karen Wanamaker, the vice president of industry and government affairs, put together a very well designed power point presentation that put this year’s slogan in perspective. Anybody who asks what the NWPCA has done for its members and the industry should have come away from this meeting with a much better understanding of the answer. The NWPCA has a CD series available that covers all of the program content, including the business session and power point presentation mentioned above. Contact the association at 703/519-6104 to order this CD series.
I have always said that the number one reason to attend an association meeting is networking. Numerous conversations throughout the three days of the meeting repeatedly reinforced this concept. Close to 40 exhibitors presented their products and services in the exhibit hall. Networking activity was strong throughout the meeting.
Attendees have had the option of attending a sunrise church service for almost ten years now. Each year attendance has grown a little, but this year over 70 got up early to attend the sunrise church service. This was the biggest annual growth that I can remember. Steve Miller of Millwood shared from his heart and spoke boldly on the topic of stepping forward in life to share your spiritual beliefs. Every year attendance grows as pallet people step up to deliver really strong messages; our industry is loaded with talented and willing people.
This year marked the second year that Bill MacCauley from John Rock has conducted the Pallet Foundation Auction to raise money for the Foundation; earlier auctions went to the former Penny-a-Pallet program. Industrial Reporting, Inc. donated a subscription to the Pallet Profile and one to our Recycle Record. For the second year in a row, Bill got two people to tie for the top bid on the Profile; so again we were pleased to contribute three subscriptions to the services and products he auctioned. This year’s auction reportedly raised over $15,000. The Pallet Foundation, which was celebrating its 10th anniversary, recognized founding members with a beautiful plaque of appreciation. Industrial Reporting, Inc., is happy to have been one of the many founding contributors.
International and customer relationships again dominated the program topics. Justin Chen from China and Ted Kawamura from Japan presented interesting information about the Pacific Rim pallet industries and the growing use of pallets in that part of the world. Dr. Eric Allen of Natural Resources Canada, John Jones of USDA-APHIA, and Dr. Chuck Ray of Penn State spoke on the scientific, commercial and political aspects of ISPM 15 and international shipping.
Geoff Webb of Kop-Coat spoke to a capacity room about eradicating mold and stain. Adele Abrams, well known to NWPCA members for her work with the association and its members, handled questions about OSHA and plant safety consultation. Elizabeth Dickson of Ingersoll-Rand Company spoke on the essential worker program and the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition. Drew Graham, Janet Houfek, and Gary Le Master participated in a panel discussion that focused on using pallets as a base for container production.
A pallet user panel has become a popular annual feature at NWPCA Annual Leadership Conferences. This year Edward Grassinger of Constar, Kent Longardner of Kohler, and Charles Sullivan of Sonoco Packaging Company participated in what was certainly one of the best user panels that ALCs have ever experienced.
Dr. Chuck Ray of Penn State University and Dr. Diana Twede of Michigan State University presented preliminary results from two new NWPCA sponsored studies. Chuck spoke on the economic and environmental impact of the EU initiative to require bark-free pallets, a greatly debated issue on the international scene. Diana spoke on MSU’s market-driven investigation of trends in the grocery industry’s warehousing and distribution. Both of these studies are available as part of the ALC’s CD series.
Atlas Pallet Corp of Harrisville, RI and Battle Lumber Company of Wadley, GA were recognized for reaching their 25th year milestone as NWPCA members.
The NWPCA Board welcomed five new members: Howe Wallace of Pallet One, Greg Vipond of Girard Wood Products, Stephen Grimes of Pallet Resource of NC, Clint Binley of Pallets, Inc., and Stan Bowes of W.H. Shaw & Son, Ltd. in England (international director). Michael Doyle of The Pallet Factory is the new chairman of the Board, Sam McAdow is the new chairman-elect, and Bob Wenner is returning as secretary-treasurer.
For more details on the NWPCA or its CD series for this year’s ALC, call 703/519-6104. It is too late to attend this year’s ALC, but one could make plans now to attend next year’s ALC, which is being planned for late February in Orlando. It is still possible to partake of the information presented this year by purchasing the CD series.