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Softwood Lumber Board announces 2022 board of directors

May 2, 2022  By Softwood Lumber Board

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has reappointed George Emmerson, J.D. Hankins II, Brian Luoma, and Brad Thorlakson to serve second terms on the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) board of directors. He has also appointed past director Marc Brinkmeyer to the board, and Jerome Pelletier to serve his first term. Directors will serve a three-year term of office beginning immediately to December 31, 2024.

Mr. Emmerson is chair of Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI). SPI is a third-generation, family-owned forest products company based in Anderson, Calif. SPI owns and manages more than 2.3 million acres of timberland in California, Oregon, and Washington and is one of the largest U.S. lumber manufacturers. The company also produces millwork, windows, and renewable energy. Mr. Emmerson served as the SLB’s chair from 2019 to 2020 and is active on several boards, including the American Wood Council and the Western Wood Products Association. He currently represents the U.S. West region and is an ex-officio member of the SLB’s executive committee.

Mr. Hankins is the co-owner and vice-president of Hankins Inc. in Ripley, Miss. He is a third-generation sawmiller and was raised in the lumber industry, working in the family mill on weekends and summers growing up. In 1977, he assumed the role of sales manager at Hankins Lumber Company in Grenada, Miss – a position he held until 1988 when he and his brothers created Hankins Inc. He has a total of 44 years of management and ownership experience in the industry, focusing on the marketing and sale of lumber. He is active in the Mississippi Lumber Manufacturers Association and the Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association. Mr. Hankins currently represents the U.S. South region and is a member of the SLB’s finance committee.

Mr. Luoma is president and CEO of The Westervelt Company. Prior to joining Westervelt in 2017, he worked with Louisiana Pacific for 29 years in various positions, including executive vice-president and general manager, siding, and as senior vice-president and general manager, engineered wood products. Over his career, he has been active in several industry organizations, including the American Wood Council and the National Alliance of Forest Owners. He is currently representing the U.S. South region and is the SLB’s second vice-chair. He is also a member of the SLB’s executive committee and chair of the SLB’s programs committee.


Mr. Thorlakson is the president and CEO of Tolko Industries Ltd. He is the third generation of Thorlaksons to lead Tolko and has more than 30 years of experience in the lumber industry. He began his career at the Lavington Planer Mill and progressed through the company to the position of vice-president of marketing and sales before becoming president and CEO in February 2010. He currently serves as chair of the Forest Products Association of Canada and as a director and co-chair on the BC Lumber Trade Council. He is also an active member of the BC Manufacturers’ Advisory Group and CEO Safety Committee. He represents the Canada West region, is a member of the SLB’s executive committee, and is chair of the SLB’s industry relations & governance committee.

Mr. Brinkmeyer owns Idaho Forest Group (IFG). He began his career as an accountant with Arthur Anderson in Portland, Ore. He worked with medium-sized and large companies, including several in the forest products industry. From 1973 to 1981, he was the chief financial officer for Brand-S, which had processing facilities in Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. In 1981, he purchased the Laclede sawmill from Brand-S and formed Riley Creek Lumber Co. In 2003, Riley Creek purchased two additional mills from LP located in Moyie Springs and Chilco, Idaho. He plays an active role in guiding the strategic direction of IFG and is heavily involved in the promotion and development of the Idaho forest products industry. He represents the U.S. West region and previously served on the inaugural Softwood Lumber Board and as chair from 2014 to 2018. He currently serves as an ex-officio member of the SLB’s executive committee as chair emeritus.

Mr. Pelletier is vice-president of the sawmill division at J.D. Irving, Limited. He has 23 years of experience in the forest products industry, all with J.D Irving. He has acquired expertise in operations, sales, finance, and market development. He is the chair of the board of the Canadian Wood Council and is an active board member of the Maritime Lumber Bureau, the Canadian Lumber Accreditation Board, and the New Brunswick Lumber Producers. He represents the Canada East region.

The 2022 Board will have 14 members, including 10 domestic manufacturers and four importers. Members can serve up to two consecutive three-year terms.

“The Softwood Lumber Board thanks Secretary Vilsack for appointing a strong slate of directors who reflect the diversity of the industry and will bring the unique perspectives from their regions,” said Cees de Jager, SLB president and CEO. “The SLB would also like to thank our outgoing director, Todd Payne for his leadership, service, and commitment to the industry.”

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