I was first introduced to the extraordinary community that is the Guild back in April 1999. The previous year I happened upon a radio wave drying technology that appeared to be well suited to drying Douglas fir timbers. My market research consisted of purchasing Timber Homes Illustrated and cold calling every advertiser in it. The response was at best lukewarm until I got to Ben Brungraber, at the time with Bensonwood Homes. Being an engineer, Ben had run into the occasional issue with green timber and was keen to find a solution. He suggested he could come and visit me, as the Guild’s 1999 western conference was being held in Whistler, BC, only 45 minutes from where I was intending to set up the kiln. I now had a “stretch goal” – be up and running by April 1999. We succeeded and 21 years later, among other things, we’re still removing water from wood.
That first conference and introduction to the Guild was a game changer for me, my family, and my business. It was the first of 20+ conferences in a row I attended and those conferences took me all over North America. Through the Guild, I met friends, mentors, vendors, and suppliers. And as many of you know if you show the slightest interest in helping in any way you’ll soon be recruited. I was first elected to the board of the TF Business Council in 2004 and soon after was elected (perhaps appointed) treasurer, a position I held until the two organizations merged in 2014. For the last few years, I’ve been a member of the Guild’s Finance Committee.
I believe the purchase of Heartwood fundamentally changes the future of the Guild. Historically, the Guild has relied heavily on members and volunteers to drive the organization. This has created the unique community we have today; however, this reliance on volunteers can be limiting at times. The running of a school, managing of larger and more complex community projects, growing the ATP, and so on, will require more management, oversight, and guidance than ever before.