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Speakers 2020

Keynote Speaker

Steve Patterson is a well-known comedian, radio and television moderator in Canada and on the international stage. Mr. Patterson began his career in 1997, shortly after ending his advertising copywriter career. In addition to playing in every major city in Canada, he has also headlined in Ireland, United States, United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates. Since 2007, he has hosted "The Debaters" on CBC Radio One, a program listened by 700,000 listeners each week. At the Canadian Comedy Awards, he was twice awarded the "Best Male Stand-up Comedian", twice the "Comedy Person of the Year" and several nominations for his one-man show "This is Not Debatable" and "I Wrecked My House". Painstakingly persistent in creating new material, Steve Patterson gives his very best to each audience he performs for.


Industry Seminar on Economy and Markets


Brendan Lowney is a Principal of Forest Economic Advisors LLC, a premier source for North American wood products analysis. Brendan interprets and forecasts the North American and international economic landscape – analysis that forms the basis of FEA’s industry projections. Brendan is also responsible for deepening FEA’s coverage of the key end-use markets in the residual, manufacturing, and trade sectors. Brendan writes FEA’s Macroeconomic Advisor and he is a contributing author to each of FEA’s Quarterly Forecasting Service publications. Brendan earned a master’s degree in economics from Boston College. He holds a B.S. in mathematics and economics from Union College in Schenectady, New York.



Author, Building Pioneer, Founder, and CEO of Bensonwood & Unity Homes, Tedd Benson is a crucial figure in the revival of timber framing in America. Since the creation in 1973, Bensonwood established itself as a creative leader in timber frame design, engineering, craftsmanship, and CAD‐CAM technology. This work has taken the company to nearly every state in the U.S. as well as Canada, England, and Japan. Bensonwood pioneered the use of Mass Timber and CLT and works towards the development of new systems, processes, logistics and technology that focus on making high performance and sustainable homes the industry norm. Mr. Benson is a nationally known speaker and presenter and is the recipient of many awards, including an honorary doctorate from Unity College, and most recently, The Granite State Award in recognition of his statewide and national influence on best building practices.




Kevin McKinley is President & CEO of the Canadian Wood Council (CWC) since September 2019. Before joining the CWC, Mr. McKinley worked at the Canadian Network of Agencies for Regulation, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Standards Council of Canada, and the Canadian Standards Association. Mr. McKinley is the primary liaison with industry stakeholders and advocates for the positive benefits of using wood products in construction. Mr. McKinly is a mechanical engineer with a degree from Queen's University in Ontario in 1988.


Industry Seminars' Moderator


Professional animator, Karina Lehoux has been awarded more than 200 mandates as master of ceremonies during her career. For the second time at the Montreal Wood Convention, this communication specialist will act like an orchestra conductor in order to establish the links that will harmoniously unite the different talents of our star guests. Whether it is the international speakers who will address the challenges of the wood industry or our star presenter who will warm the lunch atmosphere with his jovial humor, Ms. Lehoux will capture the attention of participants in French, English and Spanish. You will certainly meet her during the event and will be able to share your comments with her through a short vox pop interview. Sparkling and authentic, Karina Lehoux is waiting for you on March 24th, 25 th and 26 th at The Queen Elizabeth Hotel!


Panel with Industry CEOs


Kevin Edgson took leadership of EACOM Timber Corporation in December 2013. He was previously Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Millar Western Forest Products Ltd., the largest Alberta-based forest products company. Kevin joined Millar Western in 1991 as operations accountant at the Meadow Lake pulp mill. He later moved to the company’s head office in Edmonton to serve as Director of Marketing and became CFO in 2006. Kevin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Victoria, an Executive MBA from the University of Alberta and a Certified Management Accountant designation.



William (Bill) Kordyban has been a resident of Prince George, B.C. since 1961. Upon graduating from Duchess Park Secondary School in 1979, he attended the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where he earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1983After graduating, Bill began working full-time in the family business – Carrier Lumber Ltd. Bill had the privilege of working alongside his late father and founder of Carrier Lumber Ltd., William Kordyban Sr., in developing large-scale modular sawmills, designing sawmill machinery, expanding the family business, and contributing to community projects. After the passing of his father in 2000, Bill became the President of the Carrier Group of Companies.



Dan Starr has served as president and CEO of Do it Best, the only U.S.-based, member-owned lumber, building materials and hardware buying cooperative in the home improvement industry, since 2016. Dan joined the company in 2005 as director of human resources and general counsel, was promoted to vice president of human resources the following year, and was named executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2012. Mr. Starr is only the fifth CEO since the company was founded in 1945. Prior to joining Do it Best, he was a partner at a large Midwestern law firm specializing in business transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and tax matters, including years serving the legal needs of Do it Best. Mr. Starr Dan received his law degree, magna cum laude, from Indiana University School of Law in 1994.  


Craig Johnston is the President and CEO of Forest City Trading Group, LLC, one of the largest wholesale distributors of building products in North America. Forest City has also been recognized for many years as the largest private company in Oregon. Mr. Johnston has been with the company his entire professional career, beginning as a lumber trader in the organization after his graduation in 1981 from the University of Oregon School of Business. In 2004, he helped lead Forest City Trading Group’s Employee buyout as they took the company private. Mr. Johnston is currently a Director on the Board of Mosaic Capital Partners, a private investment firm in Charlotte, NC.




Bruce St.John joined Canada Wood in Vancouver as President in June of 2018. Prior to Canada Wood his roles included Vice President International Marketing for Forestry Innovation Investment, Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Western Forest Products and other industry roles in eastern and western Canada. His experience also includes a six-month term managing the Canada Wood offices based in Shanghai and several forest industry board positions.


NAWLA Highlights Women in Lumber Industry 

IMG 0426 2 Mikelle Davenport 2

Isabelle Fradet
Sales Manager

Mikelle Davenport
Spruce Sales Manager
Pleasant River Lumber

Nadine Denault Julie Gravel NB
Nadine Denault
Forest Products and
Customer Service
Group BMR
Julie Gravel
North American Commodities
Sales Manager
Forest Products at RYAM

Karie Berneche NB Web
Karie Berneche
VP Distribution
Cardinal / Sawquip

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