Hear from world-class speakers and panelists
We've lined up some of the most respected leaders in the allied forest products industries from around the Southeast — along with several of the foremost authorities in international forest products trade — to deliver an information-rich program guaranteed to deliver value to your business operations.
View/download PDF versions of the speakers' presentations by clicking on the link below each speaker's bio.
U.S. Forest Service Chief
Tom Tidwell has spent 38 years in the Forest Service. He has served in a variety of positions at all levels of the agency, including as district ranger, forest supervisor, and legislative affairs specialist in the Washington Office. In 2009, after being named Chief, Tom set about implementing the Secretary’s vision for America’s forests. Under his leadership, the Forest Service is restoring healthy, resilient forest and grassland ecosystems—ecosystems that can sustain all the benefits that Americans get from their wildlands, including plentiful supplies of clean water, abundant habitat for wildlife and fish, renewable supplies of wood and energy, and more. Under Tom’s leadership, the Forest Service is working with states, tribes, private landowners, and other partners for landscape-scale conservation—to restore ecosystems on a landscape scale. Tom is married to Kim, and they have one daughter, MacKenzie.
Watch Tom Tidwell's presentation
Partner, Forest Economic Advisors, LLC
Lynn Michaelis has nearly 40 years’ experience in the forest products industry. Most of the experience was with Weyerhaeuser Co., where Lynn was the Chief Economist and Vice President, Marketing and Economic Research for over 20 years. In this capacity, Lynn led a team of economists and market research analysts covering every aspect of the industry that was important to Weyerhaeuser. This included timber, wood products, containerboard, pulp and paper, plus housing issues which were crucial to their real estate companies. After retiring from Weyerhaeuser in 2009, Lynn worked with RISI focusing on housing and wood products issues. He is currently a Partner with Forest Economic Advisors and an adjunct faculty member of the Forestry Department of the University of Washington. Lynn earned his PhD from Washington State University in Economics and a B.A. degree from the University of Utah in Mathematics.
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W. Ford Graham
Director of International Strategy & Trade, SC Department of Commerce
As leader of the newly created Division of International Strategy & Trade since October 2015, W. Ford Graham directs all aspects of the agency’s international efforts including South Carolina’s four international offices in Delhi, Munich, Shanghai, and Tokyo, uncovering foreign direct investment opportunities, and assisting South Carolina companies with exporting their products to the rest of the world. In 2015, Graham led the agency’s 13-member recruiting team as Director of Global Business Development. From 2011 to 2014, he served as the Director of International Investment as well as the managing director of the State of South Carolina Europe Office in Munich, where he was responsible for leading the agency in foreign economic development efforts.
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Director, Business Advisory Services, US-China Business Council
Ashton began her China career as an intelligence officer for the Department of Defense, where she briefed the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense and top military officials on strategic China issues. Following her time at the Defense Department, she worked for her home state of Arkansas to develop a strategy for recruiting Chinese investment, organizing and managing visits by Chinese trade delegations and identifying a Chinese consultant to represent Arkansas in Beijing. From 2008 through 2012, she worked in the International Division of the US Chamber of Commerce, primarily focused on China trade and investment issues. She then worked as an economic and trade analyst at the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission while pursuing a J.D. at Georgetown University. After graduating from Georgetown, Ms. Ashton spent time working on international trade cases at Perkins Coie LLP.
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Assistant Professor and Associate Director, University of Washington's Center for International Trade in Forest Products
Dr. Indroneil Ganguly is Assistant Professor at the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences and Associate Director of the Center for International Trade in Forest Products (CINTRAFOR). His research interests include, environmental assessment wood based bioenergy solutions, international trade in wood products, and green building programs with an emphasis on modeling social, economic, and industrial aspects of adoption and diffusion of innovative building materials. On the international trade front, Dr. Ganguly’s research investigates the role of trade regulations on the global wood products industry with a focus on the United States, Canada, China, India, Vietnam and Thailand. Dr. Ganguly teaches environmental economics, forestry and applied biostatistics courses at the University of Washington.
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Senior Agricultural Marketing Specialist, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service
Ibrahim Sirtioglu has served as the Senior Agricultural Marketing Specialist in the Istanbul, Turkey office of the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service since 1989. In addition to leveraging his commodity expertise in oilseeds and oil products, cotton, forest products, hides, seafood and wine, Sirtioglu also plays a key role in coordinating the agency’s work in the banking sector. Sirtioglu is a graduate of Marmara University School of Business Administration, and he earned a master’s degree in International Management in 1979 from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird).
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Trade Commissioner, Consulate General of Canada (retired)
Bill graduated from Cornell University and the State University of New York with a B.A. in Latin American Affairs, Commerce & Languages. He is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish, and spent the first 13 years of his career in Brazil. The first two were in the US Peace Corps, followed by five with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and six in the private sector. After returning to the US Bill worked in private sector international sales & marketing positions, and joined the Consulate General of Canada in Atlanta as a Trade Commissioner in 1989. He retired in July. Bill seeks business opportunities in the Southeast USA for producers of green & sustainable forest products & technologies; water & wastewater products, services and technologies; and architectural products. Bill, a LEED AP, focuses his practice on Sustainability, the only viable path forward in the 21st century that will protect Planet Earth and offer true quality of life solutions for our children and grandchildren.
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Commercial Officer, U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (U.S. Department of Commerce)
Isabella Cascarano is a member of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service and has been with the U.S. Department of Commerce since 1993. She is the newly assigned Deputy Senior Commercial Officer (DSCO) to the U.S. embassy in Mexico City. Her previous assignments include Senior Commercial Officer (SCO) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; SCO in Kuwait City, Kuwait; and DSCO, Cairo, Egypt. She also served as Principal Commercial Officer at the U.S. Consulates in Munich, Germany and in Guadalajara, Mexico, which was first overseas assignment. Previously, Cascarano served as the Director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Denver. At DOC headquarters, she served as the Project Manager of the U.S. Rural Export Initiative in US&FCS’s Office of Domestic Operations, and as the Italy and Benelux Desk Officer. Cascarano has a master's degree in Economics and Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy and a bachelor's degree in International Economics from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She speaks German and Spanish, and studied Arabic at FSI.
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Download Isabella Cascarano's second presentation
Associate Professor, Virginia Tech
Henry Quesada is an associate professor and extension specialists at the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials at Virginia Tech. He focuses on developing and disseminating sustainable and innovative solutions for wood products businesses in the areas of operations management, logistics and international marketing. He has conducted research and consulting in international markets for wood products in Central America, South America, Western Europe and Southern Asia through organizations such as USDA-FAS, Rainforest Alliance, PaceWorks, USDA-FSMIP, USAID and the Softwood Export Council.
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CEO, Tides and Times
Jimmy Lee is CEO of Tides and Times Group, a lumber manufacturer and exporter group located in Charlotte, NC. Jimmy is a graduate of Northwest A&F University where he received a master’s degree in Wood Science.
After graduation, Jimmy worked for International Paper’s China division for 1 year and quickly started his own lumber business in China and Hong Kong. He moved to the states in 2004 as a lumber trader & exporter, and then purchased his first sawmill operation in 2009 and now owns 12 mills in 4 states, exporting around 400 containers of lumber and 100 containers of logs monthly. Lee is the Chairman of Carolinas Chinese Chamber of Commerce whose mission is to bridge business, trade, and education between the Carolinas and China.
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President, Klausner Trading
Since 2007, Thomas Mende has served as the President of Klausner Trading USA, Inc. located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In this role, he has marketed Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) lumber in both European and Asian countries. In recent years, Thomas has overseen the location and construction of Klausner’s sawmilling capacity in the US Southeast. Thomas is a graduate of Coastal Carolina and the USC Darla Moore School of Business where he received a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and an MBA – International Business degree, respectively. Thomas resides in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
António Porto Monteiro
Head of Colombo Energy Business
A native of Portugal, Antonio Porto Monteiro is the head of Colombo Energy’s wood pellet operation near Greenwood, South Carolina. Antonio has been employed by The Navigator Company (formerly Portucel) since 1997 in key marketing positions for pulp and paper products in 40 European markets. In previous positions with Emerson and Metso Automation, Antonio’s responsibilities were in product sales in Europe, Middle East and Africa. His educational degrees are in Electronic Engineering and International Management. He is married with 4 children and speaks 5 languages.
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Principal, Cogent Fibre
Cogent Fibre is a privately held company that produces and exports pine and hardwood chips from the eastern coast of the United States. To date, Cogent Fibre has exported more than three million metric tons of pine wood chips and is proud to be the leading wood chip exporter on the eastern coast of North America. Cogent Fibre is the exclusive wood chip exporter from East Coast Terminals and The Port of Morehead City, two world-class wood chip loading facilities located in Savannah, GA and Morehead City, NC. Cogent Fibre’s facilities possess 250,000 metric tons of wood chip storage capacity and ideally positioned in the heart of the abundant US South woodbasket.
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Director, U.S. Commercial Service’s U.S. Export Assistance Centers
Dorette is the Director of the U.S. Commercial Service’s U.S. Export Assistance Centers in Columbia, Charleston and Greenville. The South Carolina U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs) are linked with 80 such trade centers located in the U.S. and linked with over 100 overseas offices. Dorette leads a team of international trade professionals who assist small-sized U.S. businesses with export planning and processes, and locating qualified overseas buyers.
Dorette has a background in economic development and business consulting for various private and non-profit organizations that brings a dynamic approach to international business, capacity building, research and project management. Her professional areas of interest lie in technology commercialization, innovation, global business development, and SME capacity building.
A native of South Africa, Dorette has over 15 years of consulting experience, a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Pretoria, in South Africa, and an MBA from the Moore School of Business in South Carolina.
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International Strategy & Trade Division, SC Department of Commerce
Patel’s mission is to assist companies with increasing their sales and revenue through exporting. In this role she manages the deliverables for the Export Incentives program for the state. Patel’s duties also include providing export counseling, implementation of trade workshops/seminars, organizing international trade missions, managing program goals, client and partner relations, communication and referral system, conduct evaluation and assessments, grant management and report generation and surveying. Prior to joining SCDOC, Patel was the Director of Research for ECI-Find New Markets, a private non-profit organization. In this role, Patel worked with companies to identify new markets for their products and services, assisted with product positioning and created customized market entry strategies to help clients grow their businesses.
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Forest Products Marketing Specialist, SC Forestry Commission
Edgar Arias received a B.S. in Industrial Production Engineering from Costa Rica Institute of Technology in 2002, an M.B.A also from Costa Rica Tech in 2006, and a PhD. in Forestry and Forest Products from Virginia Tech in 2014. His doctoral research addressed the exports of American wood products to Asia and Western Europe. The focus of Edgar’s work is on increasing demand for the state’s forest resources through market research, product promotion through trade shows and missions, and improving the flow of market information. Edgar is originally from Costa Rica and currently resides in Columbia, S.C. with his wife Marcela and daughter Veronica.
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National Operations Manager, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
After receiving a BS degree in Biology and Field Ecology from the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, Laney became a permanent USDA-PPQ officer in 1988. In 1999, she accepted a position at the PPQ - Eastern Regional office as a Program Manager. Her current responsibilities are geared towards export certification and international trade. She is responsible for assisting the PPQ field offices, concerning issues of movement of US grown commodities to international countries. She assists the Phytosanitary Issues Management staff with bilateral negotiation, which allows domestic and international trade to commence. She is responsible for ensuring that Field Operations Export Certification Specialists and Trade Specialist in all 50 states and U.S. territories are current in their accreditation as outlined in the International Standards. She also assists Export Services staff with export certification non-compliance notifications from foreign countries.
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Technical Sales Service Representative, Kapstone
After receiving B.S. and PhD in Chemistry from the College of William and Mary and Louisiana State University, respectively, Jim has been with Kapstone for 28 years. His first 20 years were spent with Corporate Research and Development as well as Business Development groups on projects dealing with a wide range of areas including forestry, environmental, pulping, bleaching, recovery, paper making, novel coatings, and others. Jim transferred into his current position in the Charleston mill in 2008. His main focus is working with customers on performance-related paper issues but also enjoys opportunities to help customers improve their service to their customers. In his free time, Jim enjoys spending time with family and friends, his leadership role in a local Boy Scout troop and backpacking.
Vice President for Corporate Development & Strategic Sourcing, Ingevity
AStacy Jordahl earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Iowa State University. With 20 years of experience in specialty chemicals, he has worked with Ingevity since 1999, serving in numerous senior business leadership roles during that time. He has developed strategies, recruited commercial and technical talent, built teams, created partnerships, invested in manufacturing capabilities, mitigated risks and commercialized products. The result has been over $500 million growth in annual sales. Stacy lives in Charleston, SC with his wife Rana, daughter, Kennedy and son Mason.
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Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, S.C. Ports Authority
Paul McClintock is Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing for the S.C. Ports Authority. His areas of responsibility include all sales and marketing efforts for Charleston and Georgetown, as well as break bulk and bulk development functions. McClintock has 34 years of experience in maritime and general supply chain logistics. He has held executive positions in sales and operations management. He previously served as Vice President North America Sales for MOL (America) Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL), one of the world’s largest multi-modal shipping companies. McClintock earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Scranton. He joined the Authority in May 2009.
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State Forester, South Carolina Forestry Commission
Gene Kodama became the South Carolina State Forester Jan. 1, 2008 where he represents the Forestry Commission and state forestry interests at local through national levels. Gene came to the Forestry Commission with three decades of professional experience in forest industry and his own land management and investment companies. He has forestry degrees from Clemson University and received numerous alumni and forestry professional awards and most recently the prestigious Society of American Foresters’ Gifford Pinchot Medal in 2015. A native South Carolinian, Gene is an avid outdoorsman and conservationist and active in many related organizations.