It is always a hit with FRA members when two regions come together for a joint meeting. This October’s Southeastern and Southcentral Region Policy Committee Meeting, combined with a Southwide Timber Security Group Meeting, was no exception.
The opening event was an October 22 tour of West Fraser’s new Opelika, Alabama pine sawmill. This Opelika facility replaced the old sawmill on-site and included air conditioning (yes!) to maintain a cool atmosphere conducive to retaining workers in a region where competition for labor is intense.
Each of the two southern regions’ Policy Committees met jointly in the Forestry & Wildlife Sciences building at Auburn University the next day, where Forest Operations Professor Tom Gallagher and the Forestry & Wildlife School Dean, Janaki Alavalapati, presented an overview of Auburn’s forestry programs and enrollment trends. Dr. Gallagher noted that Auburn and Oregon State were the only two colleges left in the U.S. that still offer a forest engineering program. He reminded the Committee members that Auburn requires an eight-week summer practicum ("forestry summer camp") as part of its forestry degree program, and the school turns out excellent forestry graduates suited for field forestry jobs and beyond.
The Forestry & Wildlife Sciences building at Auburn University.
The well-attended Timber Security Group Meeting included a great lineup of speakers and topics on October 23 and 24:
Tom Kazee, Woodland Security, Inc. – Internal Controls & Operational Audits by Forest Managers and Wood Procurement Staff
Jeff Widmer, Trimble (formerly 3Log Systems) – Managing Chain-of-Custody and Wood Security Using Technology
Jim Suttlemyre & Clay Montgomery, International Paper – Using Data Analytics and Data Visualization to Detect Potential and Actual Fraud in Fiber Supply
Gary Will, Berry College – Past Case Study of a High-Profile Scalehouse Fraud & Timber Transaction Collusion/Scam
Ted Weisenbach, Green Bay Packaging – Using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) for Recording and Auditing Loads, Scalehouse Transactions, etc.
Brain Clavier, Georgia Forestry Commission, and Jonathan Calore, South Carolina Forestry Commission – State Forestry Law Enforcement Updates on Timber Security
Aaron Gilland, Dendro Resource Mgmt. – Timber Security: Wood Theft is not Always the Problem
(Two or three Timber Security presentation PDFs will be posted in the "Resources/Papers & Presentations" section (member login required) of the FRA website.)Every FRA regional meeting and the annual Southwide Timber Security Group Meeting provide outstanding opportunities for forestry, harvesting, and trucking managers to discuss issues in common and "best practice" ideas for meeting operational and policy challenges. We encourage you to frequent the Events link on the FRA website to see future FRA meeting information. Plan to attend FRA regional and national meetings next year!