Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association, Rutland

Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association, Rutland

$50,000 for innovation assistance and workforce development for wood manufacturers by use of communications and one-on-one assistance to help enhance the industry’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.

The Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association represents and supports nearly 110 wood-products manufacturers throughout Vermont. After receiving a $50,000 Working Lands Service Provider grant in 2015, the VWMA partnered with the Northern Forest Center to facilitate technical assistance, strategic planning, marketing services, lean-product process development, and networking for five wood product companies: Appalachian Engineered Flooring in North Troy, Built by Newport in Newport, J.K. Adams in Manchester, Lyndon Furniture in Lyndon, and Maple Landmark in Middlebury.

Wood manufacturers profoundly impact Vermont’s economy. Factoring in the aid provided by the 2015 Working Lands grant, these five companies collectively employ 265 staff and generated $37.1 million of revenue in 2016 (an increase of $5.1 million and 23 employees since 2015). As a service provider, VWMA facilitated access to highly customized technical assistance to each of the five companies via expert consultants. For two of the companies located in the economically challenged Northeast Kingdom, the grant served as the catalyst for staying in business; both are now stable and growing additional opportunities.

“As part of a $1.5 billion wood-manufacturing industry, these companies are a critical part of Vermont’s economy,” says Kathleen Wanner, executive director of the VWMA. “Utilizing products from the forest and secondary manufacturing keeps money local and provides value-add opportunities for the innovative and highly skilled craftspeople who are attracted to Vermont.”

“The one-on-one technical assistance provided by the Working Lands grant played a key role in helping these companies to grow,” says Dave Redmond, of the Northern Forest Center. “WLEB has taken a leading role in elevating this industry, and helping to shine a brighter light on the role forestry and wood products play in Vermont’s economy