INDUSTRY KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
President and CEO, U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities
"Taking Risks to Create New Markets for Forest Products"
Pete joined the Endowment for Forestry & Communities in February 2020 as President based in Greenville, SC eventually taking on the role of President and CEO in November of 2020. Pete oversees the daily operations and the management of the $270 million corpus and the $10-12 million annual investments that benefit the Forest Sector. Pete has worked in the forest industry for over 35 years in land management, procurement, business development, finance, acquisitions & divestitures, renewable energy, and supply chain.
Pete is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Drax Biomass Inc. In this role, he oversaw the company’s global supply chain operations that include several manufacturing facilities and an export terminal in the Southeastern United States. Drax Biomass is a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Drax Group plc, a major electricity generator in the United Kingdom.
Pete graduated in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marlboro College in Vermont. He also earned a Master of Science in Forestry and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of New Hampshire.
Pete began his career as a forest technician in 1988 with the Westvaco Corporation in South Carolina. In 1992, he joined Georgia-Pacific Corporation where he held various positions including operations manager, procurement manager and senior financial analyst.
In 2001, Pete joined Plum Creek Timber Company and held several key positions including director of financial planning, manager of construction materials, senior resource manager, director of regional marketing, vice president of operations support, and most recently as vice president, renewable energy and supply chain.
He formerly served on the board of directors for Keweenah Land Association and is a past member of the Biomass R&D Technical Advisory Committee for the Department of Energy. He currently serves on the Board of the Working Forest Initiative.
Pete has previously served as Chairman of the Advisory Board for the University of Georgia’s Center for Forest Business, Forest History Society, Southeastern Wood Producers Association, Michigan Forest Products Council and the Michigan Renewable Fuels Commission.
COO/Technical Director, Swiss Krono USA
"Building a Data Driven Culture"
Steve joined Swiss Krono USA in 2022 as COO of all USA operations including a thin MDF plant, two paper treating lines, three laminating lines, and three flooring lines. He has over 30 years of industrial experience starting with Georgia-Pacific Corp. in 1991 at Martell CA particleboard (PB). He worked in many roles in his 16-year career with Georgia-Pacific Corp., starting as a Continuous Improvement Manager, then Production Manager, and advancing to Plant Manager at multiple Georgia-Pacific Corp. wood composite manufacturing sites. He worked as Plant Manager for Roseburg Forest Products for four years after the acquisition of the Russellville SC particleboard facility from Georgia-Pacific Corp. Steve worked for Norbord Europe from 2010 to 2015 managing the Inverness, Scotland OSB and Cowie, Scotland MDF/PB sites. Steve worked for Arauco North America from 2015 to 2022 as Director of the Western Region, then Director of the Eastern Region, before advancing to Vice President of the North American operations, which also involved directing the greenfield startup at the Grayling, MI PB and TFL operations.
Vice President of Product Engineering and Quality, Huber Engineered Woods
"Road to Resilience: Building Codes and Residential Retrofitting"
Steve is currently the Vice President of Product Engineering and Quality for Huber Engineered Woods, a manufacturer of innovative oriented strand board (OSB) products and a line of branded accessories, including ZIP System® sheathing and tape, AdvanTech® subflooring, and EXACOR® MgO panels. HEW operates five OSB mills in the US and recently announced the construction of a sixth mill in Mississippi.
Steve has almost 40 years of experience in the certification, inspection, testing, quality, marketing, and design of engineered wood products in North and South America, Europe, and Japan. His experience includes work in the private sector (Alpine Engineered Products, Trus Joist Corporation, Champion International, TECO, PFS TECO) and the public sector (USDA FS Forest Products Laboratory).
Steve holds three degrees, all from the University of Wisconsin-Madison: BS Agricultural Engineering (structures emphasis), MS Agricultural Engineering (wood engineering emphasis), and MS Business Operations (Manufacturing and Technology Management). He serves on several industry committees, including as a Board member of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH); the American Wood Council’s Wood Design Standards Committee and Subcommittee on Structural Design; the Canadian Wood Council; the ASTM D07 Committee on Wood (previously as Chair of ASTM D07.02.03 Section on Structural Composite Lumber); the ANSI/APA PRG 320 CLT Standard Committee; and for 20 years was a member of the US delegation of World Trade Organization (WTO) tri-lateral forest products trade meetings with Japan and Canada. Steve is the author or co-author of more than 25 papers on wood engineering and wood products, and is a Registered Professional Engineer, holding registrations in five states.
Executive Director, Southern Forest Products Association
"The Impact of Processing Technology in Sawmills"
Eric holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Resources from Auburn University and is both a Licensed Registered Forester in the State of Alabama and a Society of American Foresters Certified Forester.
Since 1997, Eric has worked to promote Southern Pine lumber products at the Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA). As Executive Director, Eric directs SFPA’s programs, including the international program and produces the association’s Forest Products Machinery & Equipment Exposition. He also represents the Southern Pine lumber industry at the American Wood Council and the American Wood Protection Association. Prior to joining SFPA in 1997, Eric worked as a consulting forester.
With more than 30-years of experience in the forest and wood products industry, Eric has accumulated an immense wood product knowledge – especially as it relates to the forest resource and Southern Pine lumber.
Ceo Hexas Biomass
"Using Non-Wood Fiber in Structural and Non-Structural Applications: A Change Not a Trade-Off"
Ms. Owens also co-founded and ran an advance composite materials engineering company taking the company from technology development to patenting and commercialization. Ms. Owens served as advisor to the US Secretary of Commerce and US Trade Representative on an International Trade Advisor Committee (ITAC 8) for 14 years.