Quality attendance at Forest Expo
Quality attendees were very much in evidence at the Forest Expo show held in Prince George.
By Jim Stirling
Large numbers are nice, but quality numbers are better. The quality was evident in abundance at Forest Expo 2002, which succeeded again in bringing together the top buyers and sellers of the latest forestry equipment, suppliers and services. "We heard over and over again that there were qualified attendees," reports Kelly Morris, executive assistant for Forest Expo, held in Prince George, BC in May.
The contingent representing Daewoo Heavy Industries, for example, needed no convincing of that. Daewoo, a first time participant at Forest Expo and on an initial foray into Western Canada, displayed its 70,000 pound heel boom log loader. "When they dropped by before going home they were ecstatic. They'd sold one machine here and had strong interest for another," says Morris. The show's final numbers were far from shabby. There were 314 exhibitors, occupying 572 booth spaces, viewed by 16,607 attendees during the three-day show.
Morris' appraisal was confirmed by Ken Pendergast, first vice-chairman of the show's volunteer board of directors. "I talked to a number of people and they were pleased with the show and said they'd be back," says Pendergast. "We recognized going in that the numbers would be smaller this year and we attribute that to the economy of the (forest) sector." He credits general manager Trudy Swaan and her staff for a "fantastic job" in best balancing exhibitor numbers with facility space, and maintaining a professional quality show.
This version of Forest Expo had greater participation from the secondary wood manufacturers, the so-called value-added sector. It's a trend set to continue. Attendees in both the mainstream forest industry and the general public glimpsed the possibilities through a versatile range of wood products and crafts. The use of denim pine-the attractive and durable wood stained blue by the mountain pine beetle-demonstrates intriguing international marketing potential in everything from flooring and cabinetry to luxury log homes.
Other ingredients in Forest Expo's proven mix were two mornings of industry seminars at the nearby University of Northern BC, daily loggers' sports demonstrations and competitions and tours of industrial plants and a forest nursery. The charity auction-run by Ritchie Bros-has evolved into a Forest Expo highlight. The efforts of Forest Expo's volunteer team and the generosity of the local community, despite the adverse economy, resulted in about $140,000 being raised.
The bulk of that will go to the Prince George Hospice Society to operate its support, training and palliative care programs. The Canadian Women in Timber organization will receive 10 per cent of the auction proceeds to boost its education programs. A significant and symbolic ceremony marked the opening of Forest Expo. Premier Gordon Campbell and BC Forests Minister Mike de Jong accompanied local dignitaries in recognition of five billion seedlings planted in the province.
The commemorative tree, a white spruce approximately 17 years old, planted outside the Multiplex building, will be a permanent reminder of the reforestation milestone. Seedling production in the province has become increasingly sophisticated with annual numbers peaking at around 250 million in 1995. Today, more than 40 nurseries in BC produce seedlings with about 35 per cent of them planted in the Prince George Forest Region. Forest Expo appears poised for growth in new directions. For one, it will be re-scheduled approximately a month to the first Thursday to Saturday in June, which, in 2004, will be June 4th to 6th.
Pendergast says the easing of road bans, drier ground and fewer run-off concerns in June open the door to the possibility of live equipment demonstrations in a bush setting becoming part of Forest Expo. The time frame still fits into the break-up period before the summer logging season begins for most contractors, he adds. Pendergast, who officially assumes the chairmanship of the Forest Expo 2004 board this fall, anticipates the challenges as Forest Expo charts its future. "I look forward to them," he says.
This page and all contents
©1996-2007 Logging and Sawmilling
Journal (L&S J) and TimberWest Journal.
last modified on Thursday, October 07, 2004