NHLA Elects New Leadership at the 2018 NHLA Annual Convention

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018
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Renee Hornsby, Director of Communications


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National Hardwood Lumber Association Elects New President


MEMPHIS, TENN. – Darwin Murray of McClain Forest Products in West Plains, Missouri became the new president of the National Hardwood Lumber Association at the NHLA Annual Convention & Exhibit Showcase on October 4, 2018 in Toronto, Canada.


Over the last two years, Murray served on the Executive Committee as vice president. He has been a member of the Executive Committee since 2014 and the Board of Managers since 2011. Murray accepted the gavel from 2016-2018 President Brent Stief, of Huron Forest Products, Inc.

Pictured left to right: NHLA Vice President Jeff Wirkkala poses with NHLA President Darwin Murray and former NHLA President Brent Stief.


In his acceptance speech, Murray said, “I want you to know that I am honored to serve as your President. I recognize this as a profound responsibility, an opportunity to give back to an industry and association that has helped define me personally and professionally for 36 years.  I do not see becoming your President as a personal achievement or a privilege.  Whether you are an active, partner, associate, sustaining, inspector, or research member, you have my commitment to consider your needs first in any decisions made by me.”


Also at the business meeting, the NHLA membership elected a new vice president and seven new board members. Jeff Wirkkala of Hardwood Industries, Inc. in Sherwood, Oregon will serve as NHLA vice president.

NHLA President Darwin Murray with NHLA Vice President Jeff Wirkkala.


Wirkkala’s vice president nomination was seconded by NHLA past president, Jim Howard. “Jeff has the rare combination of determination, perseverance, smarts and humility and exemplifies servant leadership.” Wirkkala has served on the board since 2014.

The seven new board members-at-large will each serve a three-year term beginning immediately. The new board members include George Bach of East Ohio Hardwood Lumber Co., John Griffin of Frank Paxton Lumber Co., Joey Josey of Josey Lumber Company, Darrell Keeling of Northwest Hardwoods, Dennis Mann of Baillie Lumber Co., Cameron McRae of McRae Lumber Co. Ltd. and George Swaner of Swaner Hardwood Co. Inc.

Newly elected NHLA Board Members (left to right) Darrell Keeling, George Swaner, George Bach, Cameron McRae, and Dennis Mann.


Additionally, four board members were re-elected to serve another three-year term including; Scott Cummings of Cummings Lumber Co., Mario Lussier of Simon Lussier Ltee, Garner Robinson of Robinson Lumber Co., and Ray Wheeland of Wheeland Lumber Company.


NHLA also acknowledged and thanked five outstanding volunteers for their service to the Board of Managers. Retiring from the board are: Mark Cifranick of Baillie Lumber, Charley Fiala of GMC Hardwoods, Inc., Orn Gudmundsson Jr. of Northland Corporation, Steve Jones of Ron Jones Hardwood Sales and Nordeck Thompson of Thompson Appalachian Hardwoods.


The NHLA board of managers determines and holds the Association to its mission and goals; establishes standing policies to guide the board and staff; ensures financial solvency and integrity and helps represent the Association externally.


(Pictures available on request)


The world’s largest and oldest hardwood industry association, NHLA represents companies and individuals that produce, use and sell North American hardwood lumber, or provide equipment, supplies or services to the hardwood industry. It was founded in 1898 to establish a uniform system of grading rules for the measurement and inspection of hardwood lumber. Since 1980, its headquarters have been in Memphis, Tenn. To learn more about NHLA, please visit www.nhla.com.



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