By Linda Jovanovich
HMA Executive Vice President
Not certain which adjective - interesting, challenging or heartbreaking – best describes the past year. But I do know that I’m definitely tired of hearing the term “uncharted waters!” Thankfully, my work for the HMA is providing a sense of purpose and keeping me grounded.
Despite all the noise and outside interference of the past 12 months, HMA has maintained its commitment to Hardwood Promotion. In this issue of The Link, in an article entitled, “Solid American Hardwood Promotion,” you’ll find details of some of those projects, and the success they have enjoyed. (Take a look, please.)
Several other promotional activities have involved me directly, and I thought it important to share those projects with you.
Red Oak Reimagined was a unique and rewarding collaboration of the HMA-sponsored American Hardwood Information Center and the Industrial Design Department of New York City’s Pratt Institute.
- The semester-long course for graduate students focused on working with red oak as a sustainable material for the 21st century.
- I was honored to teach a class on American hardwoods, with a syllabus that focused on the sustainability and the physical attributes of red oak, as compared to other well-known hardwood species, most especially white oak.
- The special project for the class was a furniture design competition – “Red Oak: The Sovereign Wood” – to design and make creative use of 75 BF of lumber in residential furniture, with footprints small enough for compact urban living.
- The students’ design pieces were extraordinary, and at the close of the semester were exhibited at Wanted Design Brooklyn, a world renowned international fair.
- That event, covered by every major news service, television, radio and design publication, resulted in considerable exposure for our Hardwood message. And yes, the students were interviewed regarding their designs, the thought process behind the design and why red oak. (Like I said, it was rewarding!)
Real American Hardwood Promotion Coalition (RAHPC) is a voluntary, industry-wide domestic promotion initiative that is making crucial progress in its efforts to establish a united marketing strategy for the American hardwood industry. HMA is a founding partner of RAHPC, and I’m pleased to serve as an Executive Committee member.
It is very exciting! To date, RAHPC has generated over $238,000 from 25 industry associations. Those dollars are funding the first phase of our project - research and brand development. And professional companies are under contract to provide market research and develop brand messaging.
Once travel restrictions are lifted and industry gatherings resume, RAHPC members and I will again be attending industry/association meetings to inform and discuss the Initiative’s efforts. Until then, details on the effort are available at the ‘Hardwood Promotion’ tab at www.HMAmembers.org. Please take a look.