FRA Meetings Matter


Over the years, I have attended many FRA regional and national meetings. Most recently, I was at the FRA Lake States Region Fall Meeting in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Heck, I was planning such meetings in the South a couple of years ago when I was working for FRA. I can’t remember a single meeting where I left disappointed with the experience.
We all have different reasons for attending. Personally, I have always considered networking opportunities to be the highest value for me. Sometimes, it’s one particular presentation of high interest, and other times, multiple sessions draw in attendees. For many, there is important work with the national and region committees trying to make a difference in improving our supply chain. It all has value.
Now, back to the recent Lake States Meeting. Reviewing the agenda before the meeting, I circled several interesting presentations I wanted to attend. Typically, sessions on markets and the supply chain are of most interest to me. During this meeting, we had excellent presentations exploring those topics, as well as data on the forest resources of Wisconsin, regional and global markets, technology solutions, potential benefits of hauling state-legal weights on the interstate in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and forest industry workforce recruitment and development initiatives. There were also panels of experts in attendance discussing the status of the logging sector, northern long-eared bat reclassification, and forests and carbon. Being impressed by the quality and relevance of the subject matter, I sat in on all the presentations.
Other topics covered during the meeting include bat research in the Upper Midwest, trends in carbon stocks and transfers on forestland in the US, and forest wildlife research, all of which can impact our industry’s supply/demand balance. All of the meeting sessions were exceptionally informative and relevant.
As I drove back to the airport, I realized that every presentation covered issues impacting our businesses today and in the future. FRA meetings are an excellent opportunity to stay informed. You need to attend, and you will always learn something. Additionally, we need to encourage our employees in the earlier stages of their careers to participate. These meetings are an important opportunity for them to get exposed to the ever-changing “big picture,” as there is a good chance it will matter at some point in their career. And don’t forget the networking opportunities.
And if anyone wants to talk bats, give me a call.