Category Archives: Uncategorized

Employee Appreciation

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At Commercial Lumber and Pallet, we recognize that we could not do what we do without our amazing employees. They are our number 1 Asset! Every July we try to hand out something that helps get them through the hot temperatures while trying to maintain safety as our number 1 priority. This year we chose safety T-Shirts and Cool Hats as our giveaway to all of our employees.

Thank you Team for all of your hard work and efforts!

NWPCA Congressional Fly-In 2017

Fly In Labor

By Houston Smith

Member of the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) took to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, June 20th, 2017. Armed with a schedule packed with meetings with congressional and committee offices, the Association contacted nearly 9% of the United States Congress in one day.

The NWPCA along with Lobbyit, a professional lobbying firm, helped guide members through the maze of the House and Senate Buildings, plugging members into offices that represented their home state or even home district. The primary issues covered in the meetings included the Cary Institute report and the defense of ISPM 15. Out of these issues, members were briefed on the facts and how best to address their representatives: ISPM 15 works, and the Cary Institute needs further evidence to back up its claims, Labor, immigration, and health care also became important talking points, and ones that congressional staff were especially receptive to.

Kathleen Dietrich, a member of both the NWPCA and the Western Pallet Association (WPA), spoke directly to the staff of her Senator, Kamala Harris (D-CA), about the effect that these issues had on her business. Other WPA members in attendance included Jim Schwab, Pallet Logistics of America; Mike Hachtman, reLogistics Services; LeRoi Cochran CHEP; Howe Wallace, PalletOne; and Scott Vipond, Girard Wood Products.

In addition to the House and the Senate, members met with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to discuss pest management, and the Department of Labor to discuss the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and its relationship with the pallet industry.

Throughout the discussions between the Association and its representatives, it became clear just howimportant it is for members of government to meet face-to-face with the people who make up the industry. By reaching out and visiting the capitol, members also encouraged their congressmen to return the favor, and tour their wood pallet and recycling facilities themselves.

Industry Thought Leaders Share Two Sides to Softwood Lumber

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            The U.S. and Canada have long disputed over the issue of Canada softwood lumber being imported into the United States. While there are nuances to the issue, the main cause of the disagreement is that much of Canadian softwood forest is publicly, owned, compared to most privately owned forest land in the United States. Consequently, the provincial governments of Canada have greater control over stumpage fees, where U.S. lumber producers are subject to supply and demand market forces to set the pricing. With different forces driving price, the two countries continue to disagree over the existence of competitive advantages in the marketplace for softwood lumber.


            The modern framework of the dispute can be traced back to 1982, when the first countervailing duty (CVD) petition was filed by U.S. softwood producers, claiming that Canadian softwood lumber was unfairly subsidized. Nothing consequential came from this petition because of technicalities, but a second petition was filed in 1986, where the International Trade Commission (ITC) and U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) determined that Canadian Lumber was subsidized by a rate of 15%. This determination lead to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two countries until 1991, where Canada agreed to impose an original export tax of 15% on softwood lumber. Canada withdrew from the MOU in 1991, after which came several years of dispute that included required cash deposits and a CVD that totaled 21-26% on Canadian lumber. In 1996, the first Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) was established between the two countries to normalize trade. This SLA set a tariff-rate quota (14.7 billion board feet) on much of Canadian lumber, and shipments that exceeded the quota were taxed by the Canadian Government. If prices exceeded a “moderate level,” Canadian lumber could enter the U.S. tax-free. The U.S. reciprocated by not imposing a CVD or other restricting action.
            The SLA expired in 2001 amid allegations that Canadian lumber companies were making slight modifications to the lumber so that it would classify under exemptions to quota. Upon expiration, the DOC and ITC reviewed petitions by the U.S. lumber industry against Canadian lumber entering the U.S. where the original determination was made that it would be subject to a CVD and anti-dumping duty (AD) totaling 27.2%. Canada made several appeals in the subsequent years, which resulted in reductions in payments.
            The second SLA came into effect in 2006, where the U.S. agreed to terminate both CVDs and Ads. Canada agreed to collect taxes and made quota restrictions on lumber exports. Fees were assessed from 2.5% to 15% based on the region of production and prevailing retail price. Both U.S. and Canadian entities were scrutinized for proper enforcement over the following years, but the agreement held until its expiration in October 2015.
            A one year extension was put in place while two countries attempted to reach a new deal, but one was not reached. As of October 2016, softwood lumber had been entering the U.S. freely without a duty or tax. Soon after, the U.S. Lumber Coalition filed another CVD/AD petition with the threat of retroactive duties limiting the amount of lumber crossing the border from Canada.

April 2017 Duties Announced

            On April 24, 2017, the Trump Administration took retaliatory action against Canada over the softwood lumber issue. Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross announced a preliminary countervailing duty (CVD) rate of 19.88% will be levied against Canadian softwood lumber exports to the United States. Individual rates will be assessed to the five companies that were investigated. They are: West Fraser, 24.12%; Canfor, 20.26%; Tolko, 19.5%; Resolute, 12.82%; and J.D. Irving, 3.02%. The weighted average of those five companies’ rates determine the “all other” Canadian companies, which means those duties will be retroactive 90 days from when the CVD determination is published in the Federal Register Notice. Mr. Ross said the tariff would be applied retroactively and imposed on Canadian exports to the U.S. of about $5 billion a year. Commerce Secretary Ross said the dispute centers on Canadian provinces that have been allegedly allowing loggers to cut trees down at improperly subsidized costs and sell them at lower prices.

The Future of U.S. & Canada Softwood Lumber Trade

            In talking with various leaders in this industry, we have heard different stories about what to expect next. There’s a feeling among some players that nothing can be done about the tariffs, which will inevitably rise. Others believe that it can be fought, reversed, or negotiated.
            There is more room for negotiation potentially coming up this year, and with the tepid response from Congress to Trump’s recent outline of priorities on this treaty, almost any outcome is still on the table.
            The U.S. softwood producers have shown strength in their win this round, while forces on the other side are quickly mobilizing. They realize that, in a battle like this, if you don’t show up to fight, you could easily become a casualty. The players in favor of the increased tariff include virtually all of the U.S. lumber producers and their trade groups, lawmakers from logging states, local community leaders from those areas where U.S. logging jobs are based, plus the entire economic supply chain related to U.S. logging. They’re happy with the early action taken by President Trump.
            On the other side you’ll find (unsurprisingly) all of Canada (logging to them is like movie-making or the software coming out of silicon valley). But also, there are plenty of U.S. interests that are opposed to the tariff: homebuilders, lawmakers who believe in free-trade (which includes most Republicans in the Congressional majority), some retailers that sell lumber. Even the Heritage Foundation has opposed this, pointing to harm that will occur to other sectors of the economy and how Canada could sell their lumber to Asia while the U.S. ends up with higher prices in the long run. Then there are some Canadian lumber companies with a large presence operating the U.S> that could benefit either way.
            The U.S. Department of Commerce will play the primary role in tariff determinations, which are levied at specific companies or industries at their discretion (subject to U.S. law and treaties, of course). Secretary Wilber Ross has taken a conciliatory tone toward Canada on the tariff changes. The U.S. Commerce Department is expected to make a final determination to the anti-dumping case by June 23, 2017. There has been no progress to date on the Softwood Lumber Agreement or expected timeline for completion. On May 18, 2017, the United States officially indicated its desire to enter into discussions on renegotiating NAFTA, triggering a 90-day consultation window before formal talks begin. It is highly unlikely a new Softwood Lumber Agreement would occur prior to the NAFTA negotiations.

“We have not yet felt the impact, other than lumber prices skyrocketing as everyone speculates. As pellet kits are included for the first time, we are on a “wit and see” mode to see what changes occur once all the dust has settled. Countervailing but pallet kits? This is a whole new world.”
– Kathleen Dietrich

“Disruption for the sake of disruption? No. We are in full support of the concept of the 2017 softwood lumber agreement with Canada. The U.S. Dept. of commerce has stated that exporters of softwood lumber from Canada currently receive and have received subsidies between 3% and 25% which gives them an unfair advantage against U.S.-based companies. Furthermore, the vast majority of standing timber in Canada is owned by provincial governments, which are free to dump their lumber at virtually no cost in order to stimulate their forest industry. Naturally, resistance is heard from people who are profiting from this arrangement. I recently read that a mattress frame company said the wood they need has small knots and fine grain, a characteristic of softwood species grown in colder climates like Canada, and opposes the tariff. As far as I know, there are multitudes of other woods that can be used in lieu of “cold-grown” wood or perhaps something as simple as reengineering is in order. Either way, it’s not the end of anything, just a recalibration.
            Will certain costs increase? It’s not only likely, it’s expected and encouraged. We support the leveling of the playing field to allow American companies to complete and succeed.”
– Anonymous Pallet Manufacturer

“The announcement on May 8th on Countervailing Duties (CVD) of 19.88% with a 90 day retroactive period against certain wood packaging products manufactured from softwood lumber (SPF) has affected a number of Canadian exporters adversely. In the wood packaging industry, the area most affected is the annual export trade of around 300,000 mbf of unassembled pallets (HTSUS 4415.20.8000) and notched stringers (HTSUS 4415.20.8000). Also affected are smaller volumes of softwood lumber pallet cut stock. Many of the manufacturers affected had anticipated the duties but early this year. Most have lain off staff, but some have closed operations altogether. The impact that will be felt by the U.S. pallet manufactures is considerable, they are faced with replacing long established supplies of high quality SPF raw material with substantially higher priced domestic material.
            From an overall industry perspective, unassembled pallets and pallet cut stock exports represent 2% of overall Canadian wood packaging production but the recent CVD decision has created a large amount of confusion and uncertainty around other exports. It’s unclear whether assembled pallets were targeted in the Scope of investigations into Countervailing Duties and Antidumping (assembled pallets trade using the same HTSUS code as unassembled pallets as historically they were both considered finished products and exempt from duty.)
            Exporters are also experiencing confusion at the border and transportation delays are expected. Exports of non-targeted species such as aspen pre-cut material has seen prices rise and demand strengthened in the last few months.
            This trade dispute was supposed to be about softwood lumber exports of dimensional lumber but a wide variety of finished products made of softwood have been targeted as well, and the CVD announcement has forced many secondary producers who cannot pass on the increased costs to look for alternative markets.”
– Brian Isard, Canadian Wood Pallet & Container Association

NWPCA Congressional Fly-In

Fly In Hearing

We would like to share some photos from the NWPCA Congressional Fly-In which our very own Kathleen Dietrich, participated with Government legislators, representing Commercial Lumber and Priority Pallets. This was an event in with issue-briefings, Capitol Hill visits, Federal agency meetings, and lots of networking.

Did you know that 95% of all Pallets in the United States are Wooden Pallets?  Over 1.3 trillion dollars in merchandise is transported by Wooden Pallets Annually.  Wooden Pallets are Sustainable and Recyclable and do not enter into landfills. They are the only shipping platform that has been deemed as Bio-Preferred by the USDA.  In the United States, over 50,000 people are employed in the Pallet Industry.  The Pallet Industry uses 45% of all hardwood lumber and 15% of all softwood lumber produced!

Industry Roundtable 2017


Leadership Roundtable: A group of industry leaders discuss key issues from human resources to changes in the pallet lumber and core markets to robotics and competitive challenges. This is the first article in a multi-part series.

by Staff

Leadership Roundtable:
A group of industry leaders discuss key issues from human resources to changes in the pallet lumber and core markets to robotics and competitive challenges. This is the first article in a multi-part series.

As has become a recent tradition, the Enterprise editorial staff has moderated a roundtable discussion with key industry leaders from all aspects of the pallet supply chain and turned the discussion into a series of articles for the magazine. This lively discussion covers many key trends and current issues affecting the U.S. pallet industry. It provides a great snapshot of where we are today and what lies ahead.

The discussion was moderated by Chaille Brindley, publisher of Pallet Enterprise, and it addresses key concerns from the pallet lumber market to machinery to customer expectations and much more.

A special thanks goes to those who participated in the roundtable this year. Each participant is an accomplished industry leader who has something important to say. The panel includes: Kathy Dietrich of Commercial Lumber & Pallet, Ansir Junaid of Prime Woodcraft, Bill MacCauley of John Rock Inc., Bob Swan (father) and Rob Swan (son) of Battle Lumber Co.,  Bill Hildenbrand of Pallet Express, Lindsey Shean of Valley Pallet, and Nick Wenner and Luke Wenner of Pallet Services in Minnesota.

Pallet Enterprise: If you could wave a wand and fix any machinery or equipment challenge that you face, what would it be, and why?

Bill Hildenbrand: Being a recycler mainly, I have found that automation can fix problems, but it also creates new ones for us. It hasn’t been a cure-all. We have two plants, and one has an automated repair line. Automation in our recycling helps save a lot of space in the building. If you have a confined space, it cuts down on forklift traffic. It can also help you maintain quality control. But it doesn’t resolve any problems that have to do with employee attendance — worker absenteeism.

From my perspective, automation has created issues and solved them. Overall, it’s been good, but it certainly is not a cure-all.


Lindsey Shean: Our biggest bottleneck comes at the tear-down process. In a perfect world, if there was some sort of magic cure to speed up and automate the tear-down process and to make it safer for our workers, that would be something we certainly would like to see.





Bill MacCauley: We’re pretty automated, but you can always do better. I’d like to see more robotics put in. The labor force is a constant challenge. You go from needing the labor to needing an electrical engineer to maintain the equipment. It all gets down to labor, and how do you cut labor out or use it more efficiently. I would like to see more robotics in the sawmill process. Grading and culling lumber is a challenge, but how do you do it with machines?




Pallet Enterprise: How has your mixture of lumber types and dimension changed over the past few years? For example, are you using more softwood compared to hardwood? Are you using more cut stock or cants? What about recycled lumber? For pallet recyclers, have your core sources or supplies changed much? Why? How have raw materials and supplies changed lately, and where do you see them headed?

Kathleen Dietrich: We’re kind of waiting for the dust to settle with the countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber. We’re in a very foreign area right now. We haven’t had to deal with it in a long time. We’re in a wait-and-see mode. We buy cut stock and dimension lumber. Like everybody else, we have to fly by the seat of our pants and see what makes sense cost-wise. Price increases are really tough for us and our customers to swallow.

Lumber prices have risen 45% since last fall. When you have a customer and need to raise your price 25 cents, that’s one thing. When you have to raise it $2-3, it sends everyone scrambling. We have to wait and see what happens.



Lindsey Shean: The one thing that’s going to happen…I think we’re going to see a lot of customers go to a low-grade pallet…an expendable pallet if that’s an option for them.

We’re sort of in a different position right now. We’re not hurting for recycled pallets, but the impact of softwood pricing is going to drive more people to recycled pallets. We’ve already seen it happen with two larger customers. They loved the new pallet we were supplying, but they’re back on recycled because they don’t want to absorb the price increase for softwood. Some people may move to rental pallets; it’s a scary place to be in. There are so many unknowns.

Ansir Junaid: Our company is also  involved in commodities, such as handling and recycling corrugated and shrink wrap. A notable change we see is that when consumers order merchandise online, they take the packaging and throw it away—instead of going back to the distribution center. It becomes consumer scrap. This may create a supply/demand issue.

We have seen approximately 100,000 storefronts dissipate due to growth of e-commerce in the last six months, and the need for pallets may go down. If you don’t have a store, the pallet will stay in the DC, and it will impact our supply chain in the long term. On the other hand Amazon is working to build another 25 to 30 distribution centers. In the short term, there will be significant growth. Even online retailers need a supply chain, and an infrastructure.

Bill MacCauley: No one likes the kiln-dried softwood increases. It’s driving people to look back at hardwood. From what I see, we’re making more and more knock-off 48×40 pallets because the quality of the cores is so low. So there’s more demand for one-way, 48×40 pallets.

Bill Hildenbrand: We’ve been working for Amazon for four years. Initially they were much more of a buyer. Ansir Junaid mentioned some of the dynamics taking place. Amazon has gotten to be more of a pallet producer, and they’re buying less. That’s tens of millions of pallets nationwide.

As Bill MacCauley said, the pool is terrible. The pallets going into the pool are inferior. This whole quality issue will continue to go on and on. Ultimately, what worries us the most is the big guns who are our clients, they are going to be driven by cost, and the total lack of cost and the availability of a rental system.

Rob Swan: Over the past few years, we have seen many of our customers reduce dimensions to save costs. We are still a majority hardwood sawmill, and most of our pallets are made of hardwood, but we have been utilizing more green southern yellow pine due to cheaper prices and easier availability. This has helped us lower costs and meet demand for our customers when hardwood was scarce.

Our customers are very price sensitive, so we do everything we can do to reduce costs. The Pallet Design System™ has been a great asset for us because it allows us to show customers ways to reduce costs without harming the integrity of the pallet.



Luke Wenner: We are using more kiln-dried softwood now than a few years ago. The main reason being customers need dried wood versus green material. Mold and moisture are becoming more and more of an issue for many of our customers, so the dried pine has proven to be the best option for most. Currently, with the high cost of kiln-dried and heat-treated lumber, some customers may switch to partial hardwood or all hardwood construction.

Pallet Enterprise: How many of you would say you’ve seen a significant move to rental pallets in the last year or two? Has that stabilized or do you have more customers looking into it?

Ansir Junaid: Many of our customers are shifting toward a pooled pallet—six customers in the last year switched to pooling companies. There is competitive pricing between CHEP and PECO—it is starting to compete again with prices for recycled pallets. Customers may prefer a rental pallet when it’s affordable and if recycled pallets have quality issues. Since new pallet manufacturing is stagnant, it affects the quality of recycled pallets.

Lindsey Shean: In the last two years, we saw two larger customers move, one from a new GMA and the other using a recycled pallet. Both customers went to rental pallets.

Pallet Enterprise: When customers move to rental pallets, what are the key drivers?

Lindsey Shean: For one customer, pricing was an issue. Another customer that used recycled pallets, their driver was more of a quality issue. It was all a material handling thing. Price and quality — both reasons came into play.

Pallet Enterprise: Almost everyone reports having problems finding good workers. What are you doing to address this problem? Is it working? Have you discovered any ways to improve performance of personnel or employee retention?

Bill Hildenbrand: We have found everywhere there is an epidemic of drug use. It’s worse than ever. We are trying everything in our power to eliminate people with a drug problem from coming into our facility. That’s become a massive problem. And trying to help people who become addicted or relapse…It’s an issue for hiring and retention.

Kathleen Dietrich: We’re early into an incentive bonus program. If someone refers a person for employing, they get an incentive bonus after the person has worked a certain number of days, and the new employee gets a bonus. We’ve seen a little uptick in hiring good people since then.

Ansir Junaid: We continuously strive to create an ideal work setting to have a better facility, superior forklifts, safer practices, and foster gratitude within the workplace. If employees feel like they work in a safe and clean environment, coupled with high spirits, it fosters retention. We benefit tremendously when our facilities are more safe and presentable.

Rob Swan: One of the many things we are doing to try to combat this issue is offering our employees more incentives. We started with an attendance-based system that allows the employee to gain extra vacation days for perfect attendance. This is a new system that we have just implemented, but it seems to be working so far. We also pay our machine operators on a production-based bonus system that gives them incentive and motivation to build more pallets.

Nick Wenner: We have made wage adjustments upwards, mainly in our plant personnel to compete with other employers (particularly manufacturers) for what seems to be a shrinking labor pool. We are also trying to more actively engage our employees wherever we can to try to make working here more than just a paycheck.

We all face many significant challenges in our lives, and coming to the realization that not everyone has positive resources for seeking wise counsel or support in a time of need is something we are trying to be more cognizant of. For some their place of work may be one of the few stable things in their life. We are looking for ways to build on that.

We are rolling out a chaplain program to offer resources to our employees in times of need and allow time for relationships to be formed. We’re also trying to be more intentional about celebrating successes, recognizing individuals and groups within the company and in general… just trying to show our people that they are loved and valued by our company and by our God.

January WPA Meeting Roundup

WPA Meeting Roundup

By Chaille Brindley

A large group of pallet and lumber industry members gathered in Palm Desert, California for the annual Western Pallet Association meeting. Literally, one of the hot topics at the meeting was the current problems in California with suspicious pallet fires. Arson is suspected to be the cause in many instances. Commercial Lumber & Pallet (CLP) was recently a victim, and Kathleen Dietrich, the WPA president, spoke about her experience at CLP. She said that the situation could have been much worse. But fire safety procedures and a rapid response from the fire department made all of the difference.

None of CLP’s buildings were damaged in the incident. One of the reasons is that CLP has started putting stacks of lumber between stacks of pallets. This forms a fire break of sorts because lumber takes longer to get going than pallets do. Also, the company has created significant spacing between pallet stacks and structures.

A security guard spotted the arsonist and quickly called fire authorities to respond. Lighting around the perimeter, security cameras and security guards are all steps that companies in California are taking after a rash of suspicious fires over the last few years.

Other problems facing pallet companies in California are recent incidents of fraudulent orders and thieves steeling trailers full of pallets. In a few cases, security guards were overpowered and tied up because the assailants had fire arms. Security has become a major consideration for many pallet companies in California.

Another issue being discussed at the meeting was the impact of rising softwood lumber
prices. The main driver is speculation over what will happen if duties are placed on Canadian lumber sometime later this year. Several panelists agreed that the market seems to be trending upward. Other lumber brokers said in private that the big gains may have already happened until anything new breaks with the softwood lumber dispute or increases in Asian purchases. The general thought is that prices are likely to go up depending on what happens with duties.

Canadian and some U.S. industry leaders have raised concerns with U.S. officials about how previous NAFTA exempted categories could disrupt markets that are not central to the softwood dispute. Now, everyone is in a waiting game to see what will happen. U.S. officials could decide to exclude pallet kits, stringers and other previously NAFTA exempted items. If companies have the ability to do so, they may want to consider building some extra inventory to be able to withstand whatever the outcome is on Canadian duties, which could range anywhere from 20-50%.

Patrick Atagi of the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) spoke on efforts by the associations to fight corrugated pallet initiatives aimed at wooden pallets. Specifically, he pointed to success in beating a bill in Oregon aimed at giving preferential purchase authority to corrugated pallets for state procurement. The bill was sold to legislators as good for the environment, especially climate change mitigation.
You can see the latest video from Blue Ox Pallet at

Atagi’s primary goal was to encourage the industry to realize its power if everyone works together. He also highlighted some of the ways to use new materials from the Nature’s Packaging initiative. If you haven’t checked out the website, you need to do it and download the logos and messaging to use in your marketing. You can find more at

Ashley Delgado, a lobbyist working with the NWPCA on behalf of pallet and lumber issues, spoke on the latest developments in Washington as the Trump administration prepares to take office. Her basic premise is that we should expect the unexpected with Trump. Some key positions have yet to be nominated, especially the Secretary of Agriculture who will oversee the Forest Service, the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and other key forest related agencies.

Key areas that will impact the pallet and lumber industries are Obamacare repeal, tax reform, and regulatory roll backs. Daniel Mitchell, a senior fellow at the CATO Institute, covered the economics of minimum wage laws. He suggested that Trump is a wildcard on minimum wage even though his pick to head up the Department of Labor (Andrew Puzder) has been very solid on the issue. Trump has been all over the map on the issue from supporting a $10 per hour federal minimum wage, to no change at all to allowing the states to decide. As Mitchell commented, the states are driving the issue now. Look for continued pressure on the local level for higher wages even if the federal government does nothing.

I spoke at the convention on Moments of Change, looking at key decisions that made success possible for a number of pallet and lumber companies. The key take away is that labor challenges are continuing. You need to get good people and resource them. Smart companies also need to look at automation and machinery to reduce the labor burden. While building and moving plans are necessary in many cases, you need to expect that it will cost 10-25% more than at first expected.
And finally James Ruder of L&R Pallet and Ryan Sterns of Atlas Pallets in Nampa, Idaho shared on how they have used innovative human resources approaches to handle labor challenges. Ruder has turned to Burmese refugees to help solve his labor problem. And he has developed a whole new approach to managing his people. You can read more online at
The WPA meeting continues to be a great place to network, share ideas and hear from top speakers. Due to its smaller size and the WPA’s reputation for friendliness, the WPA meeting is a desirable place to come during the winter if you want to meet other pallet people.

Congressional Fly-In Receives Rave Reviews

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NWPCA’s Congressional Fly-In this June received an extrememly positive response from those who participated in Washington DC, including a number of WPA members.

“I really enjoyed the whole experience,” stated Kathleen Dietrich,Operations Manager of Commercial Lumber and Pallet Company and Current President of the Western Pallet Association.

“I believe the collaboration with NAM (National Association of Manufacturers) really gave us an opportunity, with appointments to meet with those legislators specific to our districts and states. It was all very informative and the lobbyists from NAM really were prepared. It made for such a fun and knowledge gaining experience. The evening at the Capitol Hill Club, where we actually met congressman and senators from different states, was such an intimate setting and you really got to literally ‘hand shake” with the legislators directly, and hear their viewpoints on those matters important to our industry.”

“It was a very eye opening experience to see a small glimpse into how Capitol Hill works,” added Caroline Beach Skinner, WPA Past-President. “NAM put together a great program and  they were very accommodating to our schedules. Meeting with different senators, representatives and their staff and listening to them speak about their viewpoints gave us great insight to the struggles that go on in Capitol Hill.” She added that it was great to participate in having the industry’s concerns being heard by lawmakers, and that she found a new found appreciation for what people like Patrick Atagi and others do on a day-to-day basis.


WPA Director Jeff Carr of Northwest Hardwoods was also enthusiastic about his experience in Washington DC. “The Fly-In was excellent as well as surprising,” he said.

“NAM and NWPCA organized the event very well. I was surprised at how many congress persons that I had access to and how much time I had with them for my own company’s concerns. We will happily attend next year’s event if the opportunity presents itself, likely with a couple company representatives, if possible.

“The NWPCA Congressional Fly-In was a great success, and the impact of having our West Coast members participate and discuss issues important to the industry was significant,” stated Patrick Atagi, Vice President of NWPCA. “It shows that our industry has depth and that it spans the entire country.”

Atagi added that many positive measurable outcomes come from these meetings. For example, Jacqueline “Jackie” Garduno from The Pallet Center Inc. was able to meet with the office of Congresswoman Torres (California 35th) and secure a commitment for a Congressional Mill tour at The Pallet Center Inc. in Riverside, California.

Mill tours not only educate Members of Congress first-hand on the issues facing the wooden pallet industry and small businesses, but help companies show they are a positive part of the community providing jobs and contributing to the local economy.

All in all, the Fly-In received high praise as a successful event.

Part of Our Story

CLC collage page 001

In 1962, Ray Gutierrez started his first year of work at Commercial Lumber Company and was hired as a yard worker pictured in the upper left corner. Now, he is our President-CEO. The collage of these pictures were all taken in 1962 and all of these employees transferred with us to City of Industry when the pallet company began in 1975.

We wanted to share these interesting pictures to display the rich history and hard work behind CLC Pallets.

Commercial Lumber and Pallet Company backs responsible procurement


Commercial Lumber and Pallet Company backs responsible procurement with their recent 5 year renewal audit for SFI Certified Sourcing.

City of Industry, California

As part of its broad commitment to the corporate social responsibility, Commercial Lumber and Pallet Company announced today it will meet Sustainable Forestry Initiative© (SFI) lumber sourcing requirements across its City of Industry and Beaumont location.

The SFI certified sourcing label tells consumers at least two-thirds of Commercial Lumber and Pallet Company’s lumber comes from a company certified to the procurement requirements of the SFI 2015-2020 Standard, a third party certified forest and/or from pre- or post-consumer recycled sources. There is also a risk assessment of any raw material from outside of North America to avoid controversial sources such as illegal logging operations.

“We know our customers care about how forests are managed”, stated Ray Gutierrez, President-CEO of Commercial Lumber and Pallet Company. “SFI certified sourcing tells them our products are made with fiber from responsible sources—and our procurement practices are third party audited”. “With SFI certified sourcing, Commercial Lumber and Pallet Company, and our customers, can show we support improved forestry practices and strong communities across North America.”

Through its certified sourcing, the independent, non-profit SFI program stands apart from other certification programs by addressing the fact that 90 percent of the world’s forests are not certified. An SFI certified sourcing label tells consumers that lumber in a product is from legal and responsible sources, regardless of whether the forest is certified.

“By achieving SFI Fiber Sourcing requirements, Commercial Lumber and Pallet Company joins more than 245 companies that meet the mandatory practice requirements for the responsible procurement of all fiber sourced directly from the forest, whether the forest is certified or not. Among other requirements, SFI Fiber Sourcing includes measures to broaden biodiversity, use Best Management Practices to protect water quality, invest in forest-related research and conduct landowner outreach.” Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.

Commercial Lumber and Pallet Company was established in 1941. They manufacture and recycle new and used wooden pallets. They have two locations, City of Industry and Beaumont California.

About SFI

SFI Inc. is an independent 501c (3) nonprofit charitable organization, and is solely responsible for maintaining, overseeing and improving the internationally recognized Sustainable Forestry Initiative. (SFI) Program. ( Across North America, more the 195 million acres are certified to the SFI forest management standard, making it the largest single forest standard in the world. SFI chain-of-custody certification tells buyers the percentage of lumber from certified forests, certified sourcing, and/or post-consumer recycled content. The SFI program’s unique lumber sourcing requirements promote responsible forest management on all suppliers’ lands. SFI Inc. is governed by a three chamber board of directors representing environmental, social and economic sectors equallty.