Organizers of the 2016 Panel & Engineered Lumber International Conference & Expo (PELICE) have announced several keynoters from the structural panel segment of the industry. Keynoters from the non-structural composite side will be announced soon.

The fifth biennial PELICE will be held April 7-8, 2016 in the Grand Ballroom North of the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Hosted by Panel World magazine, PELICE in 2014 attracted 420 industry professionals who enjoyed 10 keynote presentations as well as forecasts and technical presentations delivered by 45 industry experts, supported by 75 equipment and technology companies that exhibited in the Ballroom.

PELICE will be immediately preceded by the fourth biennial Wood Energy Conference & Expo on April 5-6.

“The 2014 PELICE was refreshing because it was the first one going back to 2008 where all the talk wasn’t about the recession,” comments Rich Donnell, co-chairman of PELICE and editor-in-chief of Panel World magazine. “There was a lot of enthusiasm about projects-in-the-making. I believe that enthusiasm will continue into PELICE 2016 as housing and remodeling markets continue to climb. There will also be a definite buzz in the air at PELICE because it will be held right in the middle of the primary season for the 2016 presidential election.”

Donnell also notes that since the last PELICE there have been a number of production technology developments that will be addressed at PELICE 2016, as well as developments in engineered wood products, such as cross laminated timber, and in composite panels.

“We’ve rounded up a great lineup of keynote speakers from the structural segment of the industry,” Donnell adds. “We’ll now turn our attention to the non-structural side for additional keynoters.”

Jonathan Martin

Steve Swanson

Donnell says two keynoters—Jonathan Martin, chairman & CEO of Louisiana-based Martin Companies, L.L.C.; and Steve Swanson, president and CEO of Oregon-based Swanson Group, will speak under the heading: “If I Could Build a New Plant In 2016, Here’s What I Would Do.”

Martin will address the development of Martco’s new oriented strandboard plant being built in Corrigan, Texas. The company currently operates an OSB plant in Oakdale, La., which it built and started up in 2006. Its history with OSB dates back to 1982 when it built and started up a plant in Le Moyen, La. It also operates a softwood plywood plant in Chopin, La., another greenfield project.

Swanson will address the new plywood and veneer facility Swanson Group is building in Springfield, Ore. to replace the plant that a fire destroyed in July 2014. Swanson Group operates veneer, plywood and lumber operations in Glendale and Roseburg, Ore. Swanson Group also purchased Olympic Panel Products in Shelton, Wash. in March and is relocating those assets to the new Springfield facility.

Also on tap is Kurt Liebich, CEO of RedBuilt and New Wood Resources, both companies part of Atlas Holdings. RedBuilt manufactures I-joists, open web trusses and LVL at several manufacturing plants primarily in the Western U.S.

Liebich joined RedBuilt’s predecessor, Trus Joist, in 1994 and served in numerous senior management roles. He remained with the company when Weyerhaeuser acquired it in 1999, and was appointed vice president of Trus Joist and later VP of marketing for Weyerhaeuser’s iLevel division. When Atlas Holdings acquired the former commercial division of Trus Joist from Weyerhaeuser in 2009, it appointed Liebich as president and CEO of the company, which they named RedBuilt.


Kurt Liebich

Brian Carlson

Atlas Holdings also appointed Liebich as president and CEO of Wood Resources LLC, which later sold with two plywood mills to Boise Cascade. Atlas subsequently formed New Wood Resources with Liebich as CEO. New Wood Resources operates the long-running plywood plant in Omak, Wash., and is also building a new plywood plant in Louisville, Miss., known as Winston Plywood & Veneer.

Brian Carlson, president of OSB manufacturer Huber Engineered Woods LLC, will also join the keynoters lineup. Huber operates five OSB plants. Carlson has worked at Huber for 20 years and in various capacities prior to his promotion to president, including as product and field sales director, VP of sales & marketing and overseeing business development and strategy.

The remaining keynoters as well as the complete agenda of speakers and technical session topics will be released in September.

As of early August, numerous equipment and technology companies had already signed on as exhibitor sponsors of PELICE. Leading the way is Babcock & Wilcox MEGTEC, which is a Gold sponsor not only for PELICE, but for the preceding Wood Energy Conference & Expo.

Early Silver sponsor exhibitors for PELICE include Baumer Inspection, Biele Wood, Brunette, Cogent Industrial Technologies, Con-Vey, Dieffenbacher, Electronic Wood Systems, Evergreen Engineering, GP Chemicals, Globe Machine Manufacturing, Hexion, Imal-Pal, M-E-C, Merritt Machinery/Meinan Machinery, Mid-South Engineering, MoistTech, Raute, Sweed Machinery, TSI/ Sigma Thermal, USNR, Venango Machine, Veneer Services, Westmill Industries, Willamette Valley, as well as Bronze sponsors Ventek and GreCon.  (Brunette, Cogent, Con-Vey, Dieffenbacher, Evergreen Engineering, GreCon, Imal-Pal, M-E-C, Mid-South Engineering, MoistTech, TSI-Sigma Thermal, Veneer Services/Bio­mass Engineering & Equipment will also join B&W MEG­TEC as exhibitors in the Wood Energy Conference & Expo.)