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Professional development is key across the building products industry, from retail dealers, to builders, contractors, and architects. Some professions require a certain amount of hours of training to maintain a professional designation, while for others, continued learning is encouraged, if not tracked.
“Since wood has been one of the most popular building materials since Jamestown more than 400 years ago, it’s not often an area where professionals think they need to learn more,” notes Jeff Easterling, president of the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association. “But the truth is just the opposite: as tastes and styles change, rotating in and out of favor, the ways in which real wood like eastern white pine can be used continues to grow. Whether you’re a retailer, dealer, engineer, or on the building side of things, there’s always something new to learn about how wood can be used.”
To fill this learning void NELMA teamed up with AEC Daily, a leading provider of continuing education for professionals, to create the association’s first online course titled “Eastern White Pine: Sustainable Versatility” (course code AEC904).
“We were excited to show the building and design community the complete story of eastern white pine, from its rich New England history to today’s almost unlimited use in home design,” continued Easterling. “We knew the information needed to get out there and an online continuing education credit program was the answer. The results have been more than we ever expected, with professionals from across the board logging in: we’ve had entire architect staffs from some firms, and we just recently had an interior designer for a very popular fast food company not only take the course, but say she’d like to use it in future projects. This kind of reaction bodes very well for the wood industry!”
Located within Section 06 – Wood, Plastics, and Composites, the class is certified by 21 professional organizations, including the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the US Green Building Coalition (USGBC). Professionals who take the class learn about how through sustainable management, the forests of New England have had a remarkable comeback since the 1830s with eastern white pine being the most represented softwood in these forests. This light, yet strong, wood species has been used for generations and today meets the requirements of a renewable and sustainable building material. The course reviews the contribution to the sustainability of eastern white pine, its grading rules, wood products, and its many applications.
Since the class was launched in June 2016, upwards of 512 professionals have downloaded and completed this no-fee, one-hour class. The occupations of learners are widespread, from architects, contractors, and engineers, to interior designers and retailers. Following the class, professionals are asked to answer five evaluation questions; on all five, the “excellent” rating has received the vast majority of responses.
“Our members are thrilled with the results, and we love that this positive wood information has a strong foothold,” concluded Easterling. “The course is open to anyone that truly wants to learn about eastern white pine.”