When D.R. Johnson received the first U.S. industry ANSI certification from the American Plywood Association (APA)- The Engineered Wood Association to manufacture cross-laminated timbers (CLT), it was the culmination of a two-year development process made possible by numerous critical partnerships. The D.R. Johnson team is led by John Redfield, Shawn Westbrooks, and Bill Crowl and the outstanding work of their dedicated crews. Other critical partners include:
Oregon State University, College of Forestry: Thomas Maness, Dean of the College of Forestry, first brought the concept of building with “mass timber construction” to the forefront when he hosted a meeting of several dozen Oregon forest products industry executives in 2013. Since then, he has vigorously championed this revival of building with wood, educating and pursuing support from government, academic, and building code professionals. Professor Lech Muszynski of the OSU Wood Science & Engineering Department has also been an essential partner due to his knowledge of the product, and his testing and teaching in the classroom and wood engineering lab.
USNR: The development of the CLT manufacturing facility at D.J. Johnson was jump started through a collaborative partnership with USNR, which led the engineering and design of the panel press. Since their first patent more than a 100 years ago, USNR has grown into a world leader for wood processors in the plywood and panel, solid wood, and engineered wood sectors. Sam Pope, USNR West Coast Sales Manager, was an important initial connection between the two companies. USNR’s Laura Meeker, Mechanical Engineer and recent MIT graduate, Kevin O’Connell and Jeff Yuh, in partnership with the fabrication crew at D.R. Johnson, designed and manufactured the CLT press for D.R. Johnson. The photo above is of Laura (left) and Valerie Johnson, President of D.R. Johnson (right), taken while the CLT press was being developed.
Oregon BEST and Business Oregon: Another early partner to assist in sparking the development of CLTs was Oregon BEST, an economic development non-profit that nurtures technology innovations to advance sustainability goals. D.R. Johnson co-applied with OSU College of Forestry and received seed grant money to explore the needed technology to manufacture CLTs, as well as the viability of market demand. Additionally, the state’s economic development agency, Business Oregon provided a grant to further the development of this opportunity in rural communities. These financial investments were important, but the morale boost that they provided to continue pursuing innovation were even more important.
University of Oregon, School of Architecture and Allied Arts: Judith Sheine, Head of the Department of Architecture, and Brook Muller, Acting Dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts, have provided tremendous support in bringing an architect’s perspective to the use of CLT. Judith has been exceptionally supportive by educating students and speaking publicly about the tremendous potential and advantages of building with CLTs, as well as making introductions to key players in her professional field. The collaboration between UO and OSU has brought together the fields of wood engineering and architecture in a way that is helping the design and construction professionals to grow the number of building projects choosing to build mid and high-rise projects with mass timber components.
Woodworks: An initiative of the Wood Products Council, Woodworks provides technical assistance in the development of non-residential wood buildings. Ethan Martin P.E., one of WoodWorks leading civil engineers and the NW Regional Director, provided critical expertise to D.R. Johnson and our other partners during the development of our CLT production. Ethan is a top flight expert on wood construction and building codes, including mass timber construction systems and CLT panels, and an excellent resource for professionals in design, engineering and construction fields wanting to know more about building with wood.
American Plywood Association (APA)- The Engineered Wood Association: As the lead testing and certification agency for engineered wood products nationwide, APA- The Engineered Wood Association was a critical partner in working with D.R. Johnson to assure our panels are completely compliant with ANSI standards. Tom Williamson, a recently retired APA-The Engineered Wood Association executive, was also an early resource to the company to begin unraveling the various building code requirements and challenges to CLT acceptance.
Many, many encouraging partners: Over the past two years, we have received market interest and specific inquiries from many architects and developers. Additionally, many contractors and engineers have contacted us to get information regarding building with CLT panels and mass glu-lam beams. We are confident that many of these jobs, still on the drafting table, will come to fruition and give D.R. Johnson the opportunity to manufacture beautiful, sustainable building components for construction projects for years and years to come.