Financial Chief Retires

Following 32 years of service to SFPA members, Chief Financial Administrator Vernon Barabino retired yesterday. A native of New Orleans, Vernon came to SFPA to work in the mailroom for one year while he earned his accounting degree attending night school. More than three decades of SFPA record-keeping followed, managing complex accounts for international activities, Expo, as well as annual audits.   “It has been a great run,” Vernon said. “I’ve enjoyed the many great people I’ve met in this industry and I thank the association for providing this opportunity to serve the members,” he added.

“On behalf of all members, SFPA greatly appreciates the dedication Vernon has brought to his work throughout his career with us,” said Executive Director Tami Kessler. Rachel Elton has been promoted to the position of Accountant and will assume Vernon’s duties.

Vernon’s immediate retirement plans include preparing tax returns for family and friends,

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Bau Wood Show a Success

For the first time, American Softwoods (AMSO) exhibited at Bau, the largest trade show in Europe for manufacturers and suppliers of building materials. SFPA’s European consultant Charles Trevor, based in London, led an 11-member delegation to Munich, Germany for this marathon six-day exhibition.  Show sponsors claimed that some 250,000 visitors toured displays of more than 2100 exhibitors from 45 countries; there is always a waiting list for exhibit space. Filling 17 halls, the giant show concentrated exhibits of wood products into a single dedicated hall, channeling the right visitors to AMSO’s display. Copies of the SFPA publications Southern Pine Lumber Export Grades and the Guide to American Softwood Species were popular handouts.

Bau was not just a European show. “It should be considered by exhibitors with a focus beyond Europe, and in particular the Middle East and North Africa,” Charles noted in his report.

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SFPA Welcomes New Member

SFPA welcomes Nyle Systems LLC of Brewer, Maine, as a new Associate member.  Established 40 years ago, Nyle Systems aims to be an innovative leader in the drying of lumber using their dehumidification drying equipment, conventional kiln packages and advanced control solutions. All product lines are designed to be not only energy efficient and environmentally friendly, but also easy to use and maintain.  Installation is available for any kiln design and Nyle’s service team offers support anywhere in the world. The company has offices in Westport, Connecticut and a production facility in Brewer, Maine.

Jeremy Howard is Vice President of sales and will represent Nyle Systems with SFPA. Contact him at 800/777-6953, or send e-mail to   To learn more about Nyle Systems, visit

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EXPO 2017 Covers All the Bases

Soon, the wood industry will gather in Atlanta for Expo 2017 – SFPA’s 34th Forest Products Machinery & Equipment Exposition. Over the course of three days, June 14-16, those working in lumber manufacturing, forestry and related processes can inspect the latest machinery and technology for virtually all segments of our industry, serving both softwood and hardwood operations.

“Expo is not just a pine show. In all our promotions, we’ve worked hard to drive home the fact that it’s an all-encompassing industry event,” notes exposition director Eric Gee. “Nearly 30% of the Expo 2017 floor plan features equipment for hardwood operations,” he adds. Beyond lumber manufacturing and engineering services, exhibitors include the biomass, pallet fabrication, material handling, treating and engineered wood segments of the industry.

With booth sales approaching 90% of capacity, some exhibit space remains available.  Exhibitors can enhance their presence at the show using a variety of sponsorship opportunities.

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2016: Record SP Exports

Exports of Southern Pine lumber in 2016 reached a record 688 million board feet valued at more than $413 million. Within this volume, exports of pressure-treated lumber also reached a record, more than double the shipments from just five years ago.

Exports have jumped sharply to regions targeted by the Southern Pine Council’s (SPC) international market development efforts. Record sales were achieved in China and emerging markets recently targeted by SPC in Southeast Asia, Central America, and South America. “Rising demand for Southern Pine lumber is undeniably linked to the industry’s efforts to introduce this species to buyers worldwide,” noted Jerry Hingle, SFPA’s international consultant.

SFPA partners with the Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association (SLMA) to unite the common export objectives of Southern Pine lumber producers under the SPC promotional banner. The associations leverage USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)-administered programs to promote exports of Southern Pine lumber. 

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Staff Welcomes Linda Patch

Linda Patch joined the SFPA staff January 23 as administrative assistant and program director. Linda previously worked at SFPA headquarters in a similar capacity from 1990- 2010.

Linda is assuming Rachel Elton’s job responsibilities. Rachel is transitioning to Vernon Barabino’s financial services responsibilities, pending his retirement at the end of February.

“We are happy to have Linda rejoin our SFPA team,” noted Executive Director Tami Kessler.

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2016: Year of the Flood

Last year will go down as one of historic flooding. In southeastern Louisiana, five days of downpours – rainfall totals that might occur once every 1,000 years – resulted in the worst flooding in the U.S. since Superstorm Sandy back in 2012. More than 60,000 homes filled with the waters of overflowing rivers and creeks, with damage estimates approaching $15 billion.   Hurricane Matthew left a deadly trail of flooded homes in Florida and the Carolinas – more than $10 billion worth. Federal disaster assistance was needed in a long list of other states during the year: West Virginia, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Texas. Schools and businesses closed, roads and bridges were swept away, not to mention the impacts on daily life at home.

A recent article in USA TODAY looked at 2016 weather-related catastrophes and suggested that “improved building practices” may be part of the answer.

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SP Messages Delivered to Dealers

SFPA’s resources for dealers and distributors are highlighted in the latest issue of Building Products Digest magazine. With a cover mention – SOUTHERN PINE UPDATE – the magazine devotes five pages to SFPA’s battery of publications and online tools that dealers can rely on to help them sell more Southern Pine lumber.  Readers are reminded that answers to customers’ product inquiries are just a mouse click away using SFPA’s family of websites. The strength, beauty and treatability of Southern Pine products are explained for a wide range of applications, from raised wood floor systems to decorative interior flooring and paneling.  A summary of wood products research underway at leading universities explains the industry’s scientific advancements.

“In this day of information overload, here is SFPA’s opportunity to explain to this key target audience the helpful resources available, and remind dealers of Southern Pine features and benefits,” notes Richard Wallace,

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IBS Crowds Collect Wood Facts

For three days, an enthusiastic crowd of some 85,000 building professionals plied the aisles of the 2017 International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Orlando. More than 1500 manufacturers and suppliers filled two halls of the Orange County Convention Center. The Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) sponsored a display of wood associations under its Wood, Naturally banner. SFPA was on hand delivering Southern Pine facts, joined by representatives of Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association, Western Wood Products Association, Western Red Cedar Lumber Association and the Western Wood Preservers Institute.

The 20×30-foot exhibit featured a pressure-treated Southern Pine pergola structure with decking. New this year was the popular handout of a project plan showing how to build the pergola. In addition to copies of SFPA publications on hand, visitors inspected samples of specialty items – flooring,

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SP Featured at Builders’ Show

Next week, builders convene in Orlando for the 2017 edition of the International Builders’ Show (IBS). Like last year, Southern Pine lumber will be front and center before an expected crowd of 85,000 building professionals.  Show dates are January 10-12. With some 1,500 manufacturers and suppliers exhibiting, IBS is where new products are launched, the hottest trends are identified and top  building professionals make connections. IBS is once again co-locating with the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS).

With funding support from the Softwood Lumber Board, SFPA is coordinating a wood association exhibit under the Wood, Naturally banner. Joining SFPA in the 20×30-foot space (S823, South Hall) are the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association, Western Wood Products Association, Western Red Cedar Lumber Association and the Western Wood Preservers Institute.

SFPA’s Eric Gee has worked closely with SLB and association partners to design an exhibit that features the strength,

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