March-April, 2002





Review of the Oregon Logging Conference

Last year the Oregon Logging Conference (OLC) was plagued with torrential rains. Folks were packed inside trying to stay warm and dry. This year's conference was practically summer-like. People wandered about - some actually in sunglasses - enjoying the sun and the state-of-art equipment. My impression at the show was one of cautious optimism. Despite the suffering economy, people were considering machine purchases and looking ahead to their continued future in the industry. The numbers at the show seemed a little lower than average, but those who were there appeared to be a serious buyers. But that's just my view. Depending on which person you talk to - a salesman, organizer or educators - you might get a different story. So, to get a better perspective, I asked a few folks how they would sum up this year's show.

The Event 
Rikki Wellman, who organizes the event each year, was pleased: "The weather was great and I feel that was one reason it appeared that the attendance was low - people were everywhere, inside and outside, enjoying the show, instead of being packed inside. 

The last time we had weather this good through the entire show was in 1995." Actual attendance was down a bit (15 percent), but with the economy in the state its in, Rikki wasn't complaining: "I attended the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference in early February and they were down close to 50 percent both in attendance and equipment. 

I didn't attend the Truck Loggers in Vancouver, BC in January, but heard it was down as well. I consider us lucky. "I talked to vendors who felt the show was just as good as in the past. Some even felt the quality of attendees was better than in the past because they felt they could spend time with the "true" buyer instead of splitting their time with the buyer and tire-kickers." Other portions of the show were equally as successful. "Bruce Vincent, the keynote speaker received a standing ovation. We're still receiving phone calls and emails on how well people enjoyed his message," says Rikki. "The annual auction, held by the OWIT (Oregon Women in Timber) grossed $64,000.00 and all of the seminars and panels were well attended."


Education plays a big role at the OLC and this year they added an additional day of training on Wednesday, February 20. Participants included loggers, owner, operators, foresters, a few members of the press and the public at large. Kurt Glaeseman was there to check it out. "Most of participants were highly complimentary about the speakers and pleased at the opportunity to get credit for green certification or for general education," says Kurt. 

"It was a comprehensive and widely-varied program, including speakers in the morning, smaller sessions designed for special interests in the afternoon and a wrap-up session." What also impressed Kurt was the price tag: "Ten dollars for lectures, entertainment, lunch and up to seven units of credit. That's a real bargain with far-reaching effect for both individuals and the industry."

The exhibitors, who invest a great deal of time, money and energy, are a true barometer of a machine show's success. Des Trent, head of national marketing for LogMax, was there for the entire show and was glad he came. 

"The response from the people was better than last year," says Des. "We got a lot more quality inquires and less "tire kickers" than in years past. It was better than I expected in this depressed market."

Final Score
If someone compared only the statistics of this year's show to other years, OLC 2002 would probably score a solid "OK". But if you take into account the adversities the industry is presently battling and the state of the country's economy, this year's show was clearly a triumph. 

Kudos to the top-notch organizers, educators and exhibitors, as well as serious and optimistic attendees who made it all possible.


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