Forty-five speakers and 75 exhibitor companies will participate in the fourth Panel & Engineered Lumber International Conference & Expo (PELICE) to be held Thursday-Friday, March 20-21 at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta, Ga. The event is expected to involve 500 industry professionals from the structural and non-structural wood products industries (plywood, OSB, MDF, particleboard, engineered wood products, timber feedstock).

“We’re really looking forward to this event, because as good as the first three were, they were all still held during varying degrees of recessionary pain,” says Rich Donnell, conference co-chairman and editor-in-chief of Panel World magazine, which is the media host of PELICE. “The fact that single- and multi-family housing starts topped 920,000 in 2013, up over 18% from the 2012 and double what they were during the depth of the recession, and that almost all of the projections call for starts to top 1.1 million in 2014 and escalate significantly again in 2015 bodes well for our industry and for our event.”

PELICE will feature 10 general session keynote speakers (four the first morning, three after lunch on the first day, and three on the second morning). “We approach the keynote sessions differently than most events,” Donnell says. “We shoot for a diverse lineup of speakers and they bring a tremendous volume of insight and data from their specific industries.”

Following the keynote sessions, the conference breaks into individual meeting room sessions that will include topics such as Adhesives Technologies & Research, Technology Improvements, Board Enhancements, Manufacturing Enhancements, Methods & Technologies, Air Emissions, The Dust Factor and Operational Benefits.

First morning keynoters include: Roger Tutterow, Professor of Economics, Mercer University; Joe Andrews, General Manager, Richmond Plywood; Kelly Shotbolt, President, Flakeboard Company; and Dean McCraw, Principal-Timber Supply Specialist, McCraw Energy.

First day afternoon keynoters include: Tom Julia, President, Composite Panel Assn.; Brian Luoma, Senior VP and General Manager, Engineered Wood Products, LP Building Products; and Alberto Goetzl, International Trade Analyst, U.S. International Trade Commission.

Second morning keynoters include: Dick Baldwin, Principal, Oak Creek Investment; Tapani Kiiski, President and CEO, Raute; David Fortin, Senior Economist, RISI.

The speaking rooms are adjacent the exhibitor floor in the Grand Ballroom North, where 75 equipment and supplier exhibitor companies will set up. Exhibitors signed on as either Gold, Silver or Bronze sponsors. Dieffenbacher and Siempelkamp are the Gold sponsors, along with Panel World magazine and Georgia Research Institute.

“I can’t thank all of the exhibitors enough for their participation not only as exhibitors, but for the presentations many of them will be making during the conference,” Donnell says. “I’m also mindful that many exhibitors have participated in PELICE since its inception, even when the economy was flat-lined.”

About 60% of the exhibitors will also participate in the Bioenergy Fuels & Products Conference & Expo, which will be held immediately preceding PELICE on March 18-19 and also in the Grand Ballroom North of the Omni Hotel.