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Oct  2003

EQUIPMENT PROFILE

New dates for Forest Expo

The 2004 edition of the Forest Expo show in Prince George will havesome new features including an expanded added-value section, and new dates: June 3 to 5.

By Jim Stirling

The 2004 version of Forest Expo is moving dates to June for the first time and adding a host of new features to complement its proven business and educational forums. Forest Expo consistently earns top forestry show in Canada status in terms of exhibitors, attendees and reputation. The 2004 edition, scheduled for Exhibition Park in Prince George, British Columbia June 3 to 5 is shaping up to continue that enviable history of success. Forest Expo has evolved into the forestry trade show of choice.

Part of that is location, location, location. Prince George is a natural, positioned at the heart of Canada’s largest softwood lumber producing region. Its companies are in the vanguard of technological innovation. But from the show’s inception—approaching 20 years—the focus has not wavered from a goal of creating a workable environment for buyers and sellers of forest industry equipment and services.

The focus for Forest Expo is consistent: creating a workable environment for buyers and sellers of forest industry equipment and services.

Exhibitors from 57 countries have utilized the show to do just that through the years. The decision to move Forest Expo from its traditional dates in early May to the first week in June was not taken lightly. Trying to fix what isn’t broken can be dangerous. But there were persuasive reasons. One concerned conflicts on the use of Exhibition Park’s facilities. “We did major research about the dates,” recalls Trudy Swaan, Forest Expo’s general manager. “We wanted to make sure we could continue to give exhibitors good benefits for the dollar spent,” she says. “And we wanted to ensure we would not be in conflict with other trade show dates.”

The first week in June remains in the break-up period for the majority of log harvesting contractors. It has snowed during previous Forest Expos but June should be milder and dryer and that presents a window of opportunity for the show’s development. “We are looking at the potential for going out in the woods with active equipment demonstrations. We are lobbying our customers and looking for interest,” says Swaan. If it’s there and the organizational pieces fall into place in time, a start on an active logging component could begin with the 2004 show.

Most of the show’s volunteer board of directors and their supporters work directly in the forest industry. All are dependent upon it. That practical knowledge and understanding has contributed to the show’s stability. The board of directors have decided not to raise exhibitors’ prices for 2004, choosing to keep them at the 2002 level in recognition of the cost-conscious realities of the industry. Over the years, forest industry-related groups have incorporated their events under the Forest Expo umbrella, and June 2004 will be no exception.

Organizations on board include annual general meetings for the Central Interior Wood Processors Association; the provincial Women in Timber; the national Association of Woodland Trainers and the Central Interior Logging Association (CILA). It was the CILA that in 1984/85 initiated the business/public education format for what has developed into Forest Expo. A highlight event in 2004 will be a Bio Energy Conference and Exhibition staged in conjunction with Forest Expo. Swaan reports keen interest has been shown in the Bio Energy Conference and attendance of up to 400 people is predicted.

The event will be held at the University of Northern British Columbia’s Prince George campus (UNBC) beginning June 2 and overlapping with Forest Expo’s opening the following day. Conference participation is anticipated from manufacturers in the bio energy industry, academia, levels of government and wood biomass related groups and associations. On the local government front, for example, the city of Prince George is investigating the feasibility of a community energy system for various downtown buildings, Swaan noted.

Study tours of wood processing plants and educational institutions in the surrounding region are being planned during the conference. The exhibition component will feature displays dedicated specifically to conference attendees and Forest Expo in general. Swaan says delegates to the Bio Energy Conference will receive free passes to Forest Expo and will be encouraged to participate in the show’s social events. UNBC will remain part of Forest Expo’s focus as host to the popular seminar program geared to the log harvesting sector.

The emerging role of secondary wood manufacture—the so-called value-added sector—will be reflected at Forest Expo with an expanded presence. An entire pavilion at Exhibition Park will become a Value-Added Market Place. “It’s for artisans and commercial producers of value-added products,” outlines Swaan. “If anyone in the value-added sector wants to increase market awareness, they should be in the Value-Added Market Place.” A juried wood product competition will add spice to the Value-Added Market Place and demonstrate the versatility of the medium. Student, woodcrafter and commercial production groups from 100 Mile House north are encouraged to participate.

Categories include: wood turning; home accessories/decor; home accessories/functional; corporate gifts; toys; sculpture; musical instrument and commercial. All entries must use BC wood species. One category, open only to high school and college woodworking classes and students, highlights creativity and imagination. The goal is to produce a wood product(s) from a single eight foot long 2x4. Further information on the Value-Added Market Place along with all other aspects of Forest Expo 2004 including registration is available at the web site: www.forestexpo.bc.ca; E-mail: info@forestexpo.bc.ca or Tel: 250 563 8833.

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