Skip to main content

graduate students outside sfws building after graduation






Conference Speakers

Experts from Auburn University, Clemson University, University of Miami, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials (CORRIM), WoodWorks, TimberLab, Inc., SmartLam N.A., Cooper Carry Architects, RDH Building Science, and more are excited to share their stories, insights, and goals.

Welcome and Opening Remarks Provided By


Janaki Alavalapati

Dean, College of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University

Speaker Bio: Prior to joining Auburn University as the Dean of the College of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Alavalapati served as a professor and department head of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment. Previously, he was a faculty member in the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation from 1998 to 2008. Alavalapati has a doctorate in forest resource economics and a master’s degree in rural sociology, both from the University of Alberta, Canada, and earned his master’s degrees in botany and forestry from universities in India. He has published more than 200 publications and made more than 150 professional presentations relating to forests and natural resources.
James W Rane

James W. Rane

Trustee, Auburn University Board of Trustees | Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Great Southern Wood Preserving , Inc.

Speaker Bio: James W. Rane is Chairman, President, and CEO of Great Southern Wood Preserving, Inc., one of the leading producers of pressure treated lumber in the United States. Rane has been a member of the Auburn University Board of Trustees since 1999. Rane, from southeast Alabama, graduated from Marion Military Institute before earning his bachelor
of science in business administration at Auburn University. He received a doctor of jurisprudence from the Cumberland School of Law of Samford University. He has also successfully completed the Owner/President Management Program, the Sustainable Marketing Leadership Program, and the Families in Business: From Generation to Generation Program at the Harvard Business School.

Meet Our Speakers

Following a design and theme centered on the CLT supply chain, speakers will explore diverse topics from forest management techniques to the importance of using sustainable wood materials and the operation of CLT buildings. Click on each speaker’s photo to learn more about their area of expertise and presentation topic.

Jeff Peters, P.E., G.C.

Regional Director, WoodWorks - Wood Products Council

Presentation Title: What's Your Why?

Speaker Bio: As WoodWorks’ Southeast Regional Director, Jeff provides free technical support to developers and design/construction teams working on commercial or multi-family wood buildings. With both structural engineering and construction expertise, he provides assistance and education on topics that range from heights and areas to acoustics, construction management, durability and local code requirements. It is this breadth of knowledge in a regional context that has enabled Jeff to support some of the most innovative mass timber and light-frame projects in the U.S. South. It also makes him a sought-after speaker at AEC and university events, a resource for Authorities Having Jurisdiction, and a participant in initiatives supporting the local advancement of wood building design. He has a bachelor’s degree in Civil/Structural Engineering from the University of Florida and served five years in the U.S. Air Force.

Pat Layton, Ph.D.

Director, Wood Utilization + Design Institute, Clemson University

Presentation Title: Mass Timber Growth and Sustainability

Speaker Bio: With a background in forest management and forest genetics, Layton examines carbon sequestration and the environmental impact of forests, forest conservation and tree farming as well as the application of mass timber construction and utilization of Southern yellow pine cross-laminated timber (CLT) for increased carbon sequestration. Layton spent 25 years working with government programs and in the pulp, paper and wood products industries. She was a senior director with the American Forest & Paper Association where she represented the industry in the area of recycling, life cycle analysis, sustainability and energy. She worked at The Scott Paper Company and previously as a forester, starting her career as a tree improvement specialist.

Derek Ratchford

Chief Executive Officer, SmartLam North America

Presentation Title: Southern Pine - Mass Timber Trajectory

Speaker Bio: For over 27 years, Derek has thrived in the rapidly changing world of Engineered Wood Products. Derek began his career with Trus Joist MacMillan working in the I-joist/LVL business. He spent 15 years working with Anthony Forest Products/Canfor managing their I-Joist/Glulam operations and one sawmill. Derek served two years as Tolko’s VP of US Operations and has been CEO of Smartlam North America for the last year. His academic credentials and technical expertise in structural wood products, along with his enthusiasm for the tall wood building revolution, drive his desire to provide the best engineered wood products in the US. He encourages his team to find quality mass timber solutions that are environmentally friendly, offer aesthetic benefits, and are structurally sound.

Christopher Meyer, AIA

Assistant Professor, University of Miami School of Architecture | Principal, Atelier Mey

Presentation Title: Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Speaker Bio: Christopher Meyer is a principal at Atelier Mey, a design practice interested in confronting the realities of the built environment, the work of Atelier Mey strives to be conscious and generative. Architectural explorations are informed by cultural and environmental narratives and driven by a collaborative design process. A tireless search for the embedded logics of material and place connects our building to the people and the environments they emerge from. In conjunction with leading Atelier Mey, Chris Meyer is an Assistant Professor at the University of Miami School of Architecture and the director of the Littoral Urbanism Lab [LU_Lab].

David Roueche, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Auburn University

Presentation Title: Advancement of Cross-Laminated Timber Panels as Structural Elements in Timber-Steel Composite Floor Systems

Speaker Bio: David Roueche is an Assistant Professor of Structural Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Auburn University. His research focuses on characterizing and modeling the performance of low-rise buildings under extreme winds, with particular emphasis on timber structures.

Devon Dartnell

Director of Market Analysis & Research, Georgia Forestry Commission

Presentation Title: Carbon Credits for Building with Mass Timber and Other Sustainable Materials

Speaker Bio: Devon Dartnell has worked for the Georgia Forestry Commission for 19 years in various positions including wild land firefighter, Director of Field Operations and currently as Director of Research & Market Analysis. Prior to his employment with the Forestry Commission, he worked for 16 years in the oil exploration and drilling business. He worked on offshore drilling rigs as an engineer in South America, Gulf of Mexico, Africa, Asia, and as a manager in Alaska, Canada, and Texas. He graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Electrical Engineering.

Brian Via, Ph.D.

Regions Bank Professor | Director of Forest Products Development Center at Auburn University

Presentation Title: Auburn University's Development of Forest Products for CLT

Speaker Bio: Dr. Brian Via is Regions Bank Professor and Director of the Forest Products Development Center (FPDC) since 2012. This Center is the hub for scholarly research and economic development in the forest products industry for areas like cross laminated timber (CLT). Dr. Via has over $32MM in research grants and contracts and he holds two patents on using soy flour for substitution into wood adhesives used for many products including CLT. He has also recently published a paper predicting the “live” price of lumber based on internet search behavior, which can be useful for CLT business managers. He is currently working with the College of Engineering to understand the life cycle of hybrid steel and CLT buildings and has a post doc working on testing adhesives for CLT from southern pine and using acoustics to find downed timber that is suitable for products like CLT.

Chris Isaacson

President & CEO, Alabama Forestry Association

Presentation Title: The Importance of CLT to Alabama’s Forests and Forest Economy

Speaker Bio: Chris Isaacson has served as the President and CEO of the Alabama Forestry Association for 16 years and is responsible for all operations of the Association as well as a number of affiliated organizations and foundations. Over his career, Chris has worked in the forest products industry in land management, wood procurement, corporate planning and corrugated container plant management. He has also served on the faculty of Auburn University and, most recently, was a partner in a wood supply company with harvesting, woodyard, and sawmill operations in Alabama and Georgia. Chris currently serves as President of the Forest Workforce Training Institute. He also serves on numerous Boards including the Alabama Forestry Foundation, Alabama Forest Products Industry Workmen’s Compensation Fund, AFA Health and Welfare Plan Trust, Alabama Forests Forever Foundation, Alabama Log-a-Load for Kids Foundation and the Alabama Forest Resources Center. He received a BS in wildlife management and MS in forest ecology from
Auburn University. Chris currently holds designations as a Registered Forester and Certified Wildlife Biologist. Chris and his wife Kathy live in Opelika, Alabama and have 7 children and 4 grandchildren.

Kadir Sener, Ph.D., P.E.

Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Auburn University

Presentation Title: Advancement of Cross-Laminated Timber Panels as Structural Elements in Timber-Steel Composite Floor Systems

Speaker Bio: Kadir Sener, Ph.D., P.E., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Auburn University. His primary research interests are investigating the behavior and design of concrete, steel, and timber structures subjected to demands arising from seismic, fire, impactive-impulsive, and fatigue loading. In the past, he has led multiple research projects pertaining to various types of structures; including nuclear power plant, high-rise building, and bridge structures. Dr. Sener is currently leading several research projects by conducting large-scale experimental and computational evaluations on innovative composite structural systems that utilize innovative materials/combinations for implementation in civil-structural engineering applications.

Colin Shane, M.ENG., P.ENG., P.E.

Principal, RDH Building Science

Presentation Title: Moisture Management + Mass Timber

Speaker Bio: Colin is a Professional Engineer in the United States and Canada and a Principal at RDH Building Science. Colin has a broad knowledge of building construction and applies building science principles to analyze and design durable, energy-efficient building enclosures. Colin has consulted on numerous mass timber projects, and shares his experience by regularly speaking about topics related to mass timber and building enclosures at events across the United States.

Brian Campa, AIA, LEED AP

Principal, Cooper Carry

Presentation Title: Building & Designing with Southern Yellow Pine CLT

Speaker Bio: As a Principal with Cooper Carry, Brian Campa provides design leadership across a diverse range of building types. He leads by focusing on the principles of innovation and the desire to craft a genuine experience through inspirational architecture. He masterfully integrates visionary designs with functional approaches for higher education and science + technology projects. He has expertise in mass timber projects, a green and sustainable method for creating buildings that truly reflect the context and environment of a place. Above all, he creates spaces that enrich communities and foster interaction among users.

Annie Perkins

Sr. Director, Green Building and Supply Chain, Sustainable Forestry Initiative

Presentation Title: Advancing Sustainability through SFI Certification

Speaker Bio: Annie works to inspire and advance positive change by accelerating sustainable development through the use of certified wood products. Experience in product transparency, climate change, and the circular economy, coupled with a passion to improve communities, supports that mission. As an accredited LEED Green Associate, Chair U.S. Green Building Council MN, and Councilmember, Annie casts a wide net in efforts to improve the world. A love for all living things fuels her work and play - where you’ll find her skiing or biking in the mountains or chillaxing along the banks of the National Wild & Scenic St. Croix River.

Aaron Gould

Sustainability Manager, VaproShield LLC

Presentation Title: Moisture Management for Mass Timber Buildings - Risk Assessment and Appropriate Strategies for Construction in Wet and Varying Climates

Speaker Bio: Aaron Gould has 20+ years of international experience in building design and construction. He is now engaged in his 10th year leading sustainability efforts at VaproShield. Examples from his project CV, include: hospitals, hotels, high rises, mixed-use, net-zero/passive builds, government facilities, art museums, historic restorations, higher ed., and the occasional treehouse. He lives outside of Chattanooga, TN, with his wife and children. Aaron’s professional focus with mass timber is fostering a spirit of collaboration with amazing people to achieve resilient, regenerative buildings. "If a building leaks, it is not sustainable." Aaron is a member of: midfulMaterials, WMF, IIBEC, ILFI, NIBS/BEC, ABAA, TVOS, RAiNA, and Green|Spaces.

Shawna Meyer, AIA

Principal, Atelier Mey + Collaborator University of Miami School of Architecture LU_Lab

Presentation Title: A[mass]ing a Wood Design Language

Speaker Bio: Shawna Meyer is a founding principal of Atelier Mey architecture practice based in Miami, FL and a faculty member at the University of Miami School of Architecture. The work of Atelier Mey acknowledges an obligation to confront the blase attitude towards architectural decision making, responsible for shaping the natural and built environments. Her work in practice, teaching and research exists at the confluence of social, cultural, economic and environmental forces. The overarching trajectory of Shawna’s career has been in pursuit of architectural attunement through the lens of energetics, matter, and the craft in their assembly. As principals of Atelier Mey, Shawna and Christopher received a 2021 AIA Honor Award for Sustainable Architects of the Year from Miami AIA chapter.

Elaine Oneil, Ph.D.

Director of Science and Sustainability, CORRIM

Presentation Title: Carbon Smart Forestry as a Precursor to Carbon Smart Buildings

Speaker Bio: Dr. Elaine Oneil serves as the Director of Science and Sustainability for CORRIM (Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials), a university research consortium that has spent 26 years conducting life cycle inventory and life cycle assessments on wood products from cradle to grave. Dr. Oneil has spent nearly 40 years in the forest sector including operational forestry and management, conducting research on climate change, timber supply modeling and analysis, forest carbon dynamics, life cycle assessment of forest operations and wood products, and integrating these elements within a policy and economic framework.

Tom Chung, FAIA

Principal, Leers Weinzapfel Associates | Professor of Practice, Auburn University CADC

Presentation Title: Cross Laminated Timber Typology, Architecture, & Education

Speaker Bio: Tom S. Chung FAIA, is a Principal at Leers Weinzapfel Associates, recipient of AIA Firm Award and Professor of Practice in Architecture at Auburn University. Tom is a national leader in mass timber architecture and education. His mass timber projects include the Olver Design Building at UMass Amherst, recipient of the AIA COTE Award and Adohi Hall at the University of Arkansas, recipient of the AIA National Housing Award. Born in Seoul, Korea and raised in the US, he received his degrees in Architecture at the University of Virginia and Harvard University and currently serves on the board of WoodWorks.

Jeff Morrow

Mass Timber Business Developer, Timberlab, Inc.

Presentation Topic: Incorporating Beauty and Sustainability into Building Projects

Speaker Bio: Jeff Morrow is a mass timber industry advocate and 25+ year veteran in the construction industry who pioneered the 1st CLT Hotel in the US and the 1st Zero Energy Duplex in the US. He has worked in public-private partnerships with the Department of Defense and worked across military, university, commercial, hospitality, single-family and multi-family residential construction sectors. A nationally recognized leader in mass timber, Jeff was an integral collaborator in the testing of fire and blast performance of Cross Laminated Timber and worked toward the expansion of 2021 International Building Code to allow for taller timber buildings. He was recognized by Professional Builder Magazine’s “40 Under 40” awards and has been featured in multiple webinars, conferences and green building events showcasing mass timber. He also received the Patriotic Public Service Award from the U.S. Department of the Army. He earned a B.S. and M.S. in Building Construction Management from Purdue University.

Melinda Gable

Executive Director, Forest Landowners Association

Speaker Bio: Melinda Gable has been advancing natural resource policy issues for 25 years. Her focus is on accomplishing measured results benefiting the stakeholders, the economy, and the environment. She is well regarded for taking ideas from conception to execution and the facilitation of bringing federal, private, and NGO partners together to develop programs to achieve common goals. Most recently her focus is on promoting the sustainability and economic viability of family forest landowners and the stewardship of the natural resources under their care.

Melinda has worked with the Archery Trade Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, National Sporting Library & Museum, Outdoor Channel, The Land Report, Southern Group of State Foresters, and Association of Consulting Foresters.

Close Menu