APEX Board & Investor-Member Meeting Highlights

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

APEX hosted its bi-monthly Board and Investor-Member meeting on Thursday, November 3, 2022, at Pier B and virtually via Zoom. Chair Lisa Bodine welcomed all investor-members and prospective investor-members and introduced keynote speaker Ryan Flom from the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB). After approving minutes and financials from September by the Board, Flom presented on The State of Mass Timber: Opportunities and Building Types to Spur Growth. 

The SLB believes the next building revolution will involve wood. To spur interest, the SLB’s outreach includes funding for initiatives such as WoodWorks, the American Wood Council, Think Wood and the Wood Institute, an educational platform offered in partnership with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ASCA). 

"The APEX region is well-positioned to benefit from mass timber opportunities given the proximity and capabilities of the Port of Duluth, the available wood basket and the need for advanced building systems,” said Flom.

Flom discussed the diverse types of mass timber products available and reiterated that timber is a renewable source that has a smaller carbon footprint than concrete and steel. To advance the use of mass timber in construction, the SLB is working on overcoming challenges such as code adoption, insurance, financing, and fire concerns – but the number one challenge is changing public perceptions about wood and the forestry industry. The SLB is addressing this perception gap by showcasing the benefits of a working forest. Sustainable forest management—harvesting older growth and replacing it with younger trees—produces more timber and increases carbon storage. The SLB hopes to capture this market opportunity and capitalize on carbon advantages to educate the public through the Working Forests Initiative.

Flom closed with a discussion of the US Forest Service’s Wood Innovations Program, which expands and creates markets for wood products and wood energy that support long-term, sustainable management of National Forest System lands and other forest lands. 


After Flom’s keynote, Bodine announced the upcoming Legislative Engagement 101 Board Exclusive session with investor-member Ken Johnson, President and CEO of North Shore Bank, moderating an expert panel to include Zach Martin with Minnesota Power, an ALLETE Company, Sam Richie with Fryberger Law Firm and Roger Reinert of Reinert & Associates, on December 1, 2022, at the Kitchi Gammi Club in Duluth.  




Category: Board Meetings, APEX