West Coast woods are regular fodder for political discussions. Sometimes it involves negotiations with trading partners. Sometimes it involves social topics centering on high costs of real estate and allied concerns over homelessness. Here in Vancouver, the mayor’s aims of making this city the ‘greenest’ on the planet stirs an electorate with each new bike lane that is announced. So it is that a 24 hrs Vancouver columnist’s concern over costs involving the removal of one tree atop a condo tower caught a lumber trader’s attention, though it had nothing to do with NAFTA or SLA negotiations. See: Condo Tree
The cost of planting one tree (not on top of a condo building) is estimated at around $75. This means condo owners at Eugenia Place could effectively plant 7,300 trees for the price of the one they’ll be installing on their roof.
When my daughter Evie’s kindergarten class lined up Friday for Sports Day races with teams named after B.C. resource exports, we knew they were into serious learning. The team from NAFTA failed to show, but in the end we learned the lumber team won at least a participation ribbon. After the cheese pizza everyone went home happy.
It’s been said that economics is an imperfect science. So it is that sometimes even lumber market forecasts have been known to be less than perfect. In some aspects related to the woods business, accuracy can be critical – as in when you’re aiming to fall a towering Douglas Fir that’s been growing in your backyard for a century. Unfortunately due to root rot, this giant had to be removed in Langley on Thursday. We can appreciate there was little margin for error. Some days are like that. Thanks to Duke and Tracey for the video!
“Tune in!” shouted Mike Foley, Certified Speaking Professional and founder of Clarity Central, keynote speaker yesterday at the Northwestern Building Products EXPO in Bloomington, Minnesota. That’s how Mike suggests we differentiate ourselves in a world where everyone is distracted, overwhelmed, overworked – and no one is present. “Tune in to your kid, your boss, your partner, your customer,” said Mike, while noting the attention span of a millennial (8 seconds) is shorter than the attention span of a goldfish (9 seconds).
In his breakfast presentation, Mike expanded on his four keys to “letting go” and “losing the junk in our trunk”: grow your comfort zone, find your balance, manage your mind, lighten your load. It was a fast-paced workshop. One memorable round table exercise quickly revealed how growth can only occur outside the comfort zone, in “the stress zone”. How to manage your mind? “Become a fine connoisseur of the present moment! Where do you live? In the past, present, or future? How does this affect your life? How would it change if you lived moment to moment?” His segment on the importance of credibility and balance – “responding skillfully” – was perhaps most relevant to many attendees engaged in lumber trading.
While Dakeryn has been an associate member of the Northwestern Lumber Association for a number of years, this was our first time attending and exhibiting at the Northwestern Building Products EXPO. Held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Bloomington, MN, the show was tight and upbeat. Virtually every key US distributor in the region was represented. Most retail dealers in attendance acknowledged that business was ticking along – unseasonably steady for January. While the show’s slogan was A World of Opportunities, the majority of Midwest lumber dealers we spoke with openly expressed apprehension over looming cross-border trade constraints. Most-asked question: “What’s going to happen?”
Lauren Chimko, Lumber Trader
With Northwestern Lumber Association President Cody Nuernberg at the breakfast session
This year, Dakeryn has decided against buying TV ad time for the Super Bowl. The decision is based on analysis of how to most effectively nurture the relationships with our valued customers and supplying mills. It could be that the $5 million-plus cost for a 30-second ad played into the decision as well. But that hasn’t deterred 84 Lumber. According to this report at Adweek, 84 Lumber will make its Super Bowl advertising debut just before halftime of this year’s event – the only brand to purchase more than a minute of airtime for a single spot.
We’re told the purpose of the ad is to launch a year-long campaign focused on recruitment, targeting men aged 20 to 29. According to the report, 84 Lumber includes some 250 locations across 30 states and made Forbes’ 2016 list of “Largest Private Companies in America.” It is also one of the biggest such businesses run by a woman; Hardy Magerko was chosen by her father at the age of 27 to lead the company he founded in 1956.
Our industry is going through a period of extreme disruption. And I’ve always preferred to be the one doing the disrupting, rather than the one being disrupted. But to do that, we need to hire and train people differently. We need to cast a wider net, and to let the world know that 84 Lumber is a place for people who don’t always fit nicely into a box.
– Maggie Magerko
Here are 17 questions that Harderblog will be watching in 2017, in search of answers:
- (See Question #1 from last year)
- Will Trump really build a wall and have Mexico pay for it?
- Will the softwood lumber dispute have found a satisfactory resolution?
- Will anticipated countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber shipments to the US be applied retroactively?
- Will Trump really pull the US out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement?
- In the face of “Fake News” and misinformation that poses distraction to sound decision formulation on many fronts, will lumber dealers lean more heavily than ever on trusted wholesale relationships to interpret market changes?
- Will Trump really pull the US out of the Iran Nuclear Deal?
- Will there be 100 million consumers shopping in augmented reality (AR) by the end of 2017?
- Will a measure of sanity return to the Vancouver housing market?
- Will the record number of homeless people identified in the City of Vancouver’s 2016 Homeless Count be broken again in 2017?
- Will tensions with China escalate over trade and Taiwan?
- In light of increased hacking of connected products, will questions surrounding cyber security have become a make-or-break issue by the end of 2017?
- Is there any indication that by the end of 2017 a future of driverless transport trucks could promise enhanced just-in-time lumber deliveries?
- Will anybody care if the Vancouver Canucks fail to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
- Will BC Premier Christy Clark’s Liberal Party secure a fifth term in May?
- Will the global crises surrounding issues of displaced peoples/refugees have eased anywhere?
- Will general predictions forecasting a “bumpy ride” for 2017 come to fruition?
The ringing of bells at this time of year signals news on different fronts – as in heralding the Advent Season – or, marking the close of another trading day. Both bring news and welcome respite.
In recent months we’ve probably all felt like midwives to an age that’s giving birth to the post-industrial society. In experiencing the tightening grip of hands, there is a sense that someone should be calling for a doctor in the house.
We are mindful that in reporting on this atmosphere we are helping to shape it. Although acknowledging risks peculiar to the time, there is a sense of opportunity and responsibility to share in a vision for the future. It includes looking beyond early vibrations of the historic free trade agreement with the US. That picture anticipates greater stability in the 90’s – where some economic units will learn to survive without growth at the same time as others seek economies of scale cost advantages through consolidation. It suggests our function will expand to interpreting forces beyond supply and demand. Attitudes will reflect sensitivity to shaping quality of life for future generations. Already a new awareness of the fragile nature of international interdependence is evident amid the unpredictability of financial markets and lumber markets globally.
Into this reality the essence of Christmas comes with timeliness this year. It seeks the good in humanity while promising hope and restoration for the soul. It celebrates childhood joys and speaks of innocence that would believe in “Peace on earth and Goodwill to all”.
– Ernie Harder, Dec. 1987
Vancouver (Dec. 9, 2016)