Vermont Forest Industry Summit

June 28-29, 2018
Burke Mountain, East Burke, VT

Stay tuned! The 2nd Vermont Forestry Industry Summit will be announced soon!

More than 150 people attended the 1st Annual Vermont Forest Industry Summit June 28-29, 2018 at Burke Mountain Resort.

  • We launched the Vermont Forest Industry Network, made up of forest and wood products industry members and service providers who want to advance Vermont’s forest and wood products sector, grow markets for Vermont wood products and improve our forest supply chains.
  • Click here to read a re-cap of the Summit and next steps for the Network.

Morning Plenary: Forests of the Future: Taking the Long View

What do we want Vermont’s forests to be in 50 years? A panel of distinguished industry experts explores this question in the context of local, regional and global issues that impact today’s forests and the industry that both stewards and depends on them.  How are other regions viewing forests of the future, and what actions are needed today to insure Vermont has the forests it envisions for future generations?

Sean Ross, Managing Director/Director of Forestry Operations, Lyme Timber Company, LP; Hanover, NH


  • Kathryn Fernholz, Executive Director, Dovetail Partners, Minneapolis, MN
  • Craig Rawlings, President/CEO, Forest Business Network, Missoula, MT
  • Michael Snyder, Commissioner, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation
  • Alex Barrett, Consulting Forester, Long View Forest Management, Westminster, VT

Track One AM: Beyond the Woodstove: Thinking big about renewable energy and wood

This panel discusses how energy users across the scale are utilizing wood and moving away from fossil fuels. How will the emergence of home and business scale Combined Heat and Power (CHP) impact the market for pellets and chips in Vermont and the region? What do forest and wood products businesses in Vermont need to know about converting away from fossil-fuel based energy systems? Learn how the public utilities are using Tier III dollars to help forest industry businesses move away from fossil fuels.

Moderator: Adam Sherman, Biomass Energy Resource Center, Burlington, VT 


  • Dutch Dresser, Maine Energy Systems, Bethel, ME
  • Jack Byrne, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT
  • Jeffrey Monder, Green Mountain Power, Rutland, VT

Track One PM: How Company Culture and Efficient Operations Can Improve Your Bottom Line

Workforce development continues to challenge Vermont businesses grappling with a shortage of workers and many forest products business owners are reaching retirement age. Overseas and over-the-border competition continues to put downward pressure on product prices. Staying focused ON your business and not just working IN your business can be hard to prioritize. Vermont forest and wood products businesses discuss how they have overcome challenges recruiting and retaining quality employees, as well as how they’ve invested in operational efficiencies that are yielding results. Stories of what can happen when the business is not attending to these needs are shared.

Moderator: Lawrence Miller, Business consultant and founder of Otter Creek Brewing Company


  • Jennifer Fraser, General Manager, Appalachian Engineered Flooring, North Troy
  • Chris Brooks, Owner, Vermont Wood Pellet Company, N. Clarendon
  • Andrew Pearce, Owner, Andrew Pearce Bowls, Hartland

Track Two AM: Mass Timber in Vermont and Beyond: Products, Projects and the Case for Local Timber

Due to their high strength, dimensional stability and positive environmental performance, mass timber building products are quickly becoming materials of choice for sustainably-minded designers. Regions of the country such as the Pacific Northwest, the southeast and New England have shown particular interest in adopting this new style of construction, undoubtedly in large part due to their abundant forest resources. This presentation provides an overview of the variety of mass timber products available, including glue-laminated timber (glulam), cross laminated timber (CLT), nail laminated timber (NLT), heavy timber decking, and other engineered and composite systems. Applications for the use of these products under modern building codes are discussed, and examples of their use in U.S. projects reviewed. Next, the results of a recently completed mass timber feasibility study on a 5 story mixed-use project in Brattleboro are presented, with an emphasis on cost, assemblies and lessons learned. Finally, non-structural wood species native to Vermont is discussed, highlighting possible applications for these products in mass timber buildings.

Moderator/Speaker: Ricky McLain, WoodWorks, Cabot, VT


  • Jillian Tomaselli, Stevens & Associates, Brattleboro, VT
  • Paul Frederick, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation

Track Two PM: The Forest Story: Connecting the Dots between Forests, People and the Industry in the Middle

Research shows that consumers have an innate love of forests and a desire for quality wood products – two things Vermont has in spades. How can forest and wood products businesses more effectively tell their stories and emphasize their role stewarding the forests people love and making the wood products people want?  Hear results from a recent survey of Vermonters and visitors about their perceptions of our forests and wood products and learn about a new regional marketing campaign to grow the market for automated wood heat.

Moderator: Kathleen Wanner, Owner, GWC Communications and Executive Director, Vermont Woodlands Association 


  • Maura Adams, Northern Forest Center
  • Christine McGowan, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund

Track Three AM: Local Wood: Supporting Vermont’s Economy through Local Wood Sourcing

A look at case studies of previous and current efforts to source local wood. What lessons can be learned by previous efforts to develop a Vermont wood supply chain from landowner to consumer? Examples of current local sourcing efforts are discussed.

Moderator: Ellen Kahler, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund


  • Joe Nelson, Consulting Forester, Addision, VT
  • Andy Harper, Winterwood Timber Frames, East Montpelier, VT
  • Michael Rainville, Maple Landmark, Middlebury, VT
  • Tony Fletcher, Green Mountain Grain & Barrel, Richmond,

Track Three PM: Global Trends and Native Vermont Species: Where Can We Compete?

Trends come and go, but the trees that grow in Vermont and the region are steady. What are the latest trends in wood use? What species are coming into vogue for architectural design? How is Amazon impacting the market for cardboard? Are we taking full advantage of the species that grow in Vermont, and are there opportunities for underutilized species to meet consumer demands?

Moderator: Ellen Kahler, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund


  • Donna Cassese, SAPPI
  • Craig Rawlings, Forest Business Network
  • Sam Lincoln, Deputy Director, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation

Closing Panel: An Industry in Transition: A Last Word from Forest Industry Entrepreneurs and Emerging Leaders

Shifting markets, an aging workforce and global trade all could be seen as formidable challenges to Vermont’s forest and wood products businesses. But Vermont’s forest and wood products industry also has plenty of rising stars who see a future in our forests. This closing panel explores the future of Vermont’s forest and wood products industry.

Moderator: Ian Hartman, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board


  • Charlie Hancock, Consulting Forester, North Woods Forestry, Montgomery Center
  • Kyle Pratt, Logger, Jericho
  • Peter Gardner, Clifford Lumber, Hinesburg
  • Adam and Andrew Rainville, Maple Landmark, Middlebury
  • Carina Driscoll, Vermont Woodworking School, Cambridge
  • Ben Nottermann, Green Mountain Technical & Career Center, Hardwick

Get in Touch

Contact Christine McGowan
Forest Products Program Director
(802) 828-5770

Vermont's Forestry Industry

Vermont’s forest products industry generates an annual economic output of $1.5 billion and supports 10,000 jobs. In addition, Vermont’s forest recreation economy generates another $1.9 billion in economic output, and supports 10,000 additional jobs. The industry was hit hard in the 2008 Recession, and finding markets for low grade wood (the majority of wood harvested from Vermont’s forests) is becoming increasingly difficult due to a sharp decline in the region’s pulp industry, combined with the low price of oil and a move away from expanding electric-only biomass in the region. Markets for high grade wood are healthy, but cannot singularly sustain Vermont’s forest products industry. Without healthy markets for low grade wood, Vermont is likely to see continued decline in the industry’s in-state infrastructure such as logging operations, sawmills and kilns, as well as the local jobs they sustained.

Our Role

Over the past 20 years, the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund has provided industry analysis, expertise and project support, which positions the Vermont Forest Products Program to have a positive impact on the state’s forestry sector in rural communities throughout the state. Vermont’s forest products industry is imperative for job creation and sustainability, providing economic, environmental, and social benefits for rural communities that have limited economic opportunities. The Vermont Forest Products Program aims to help create and sustain thousands of jobs for Vermonters.

The Vermont Forest Products Program is supported by the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative, the High Meadows Fund, the Windham Foundation as well as the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the Northern Border Regional Commission.

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