WBPI -- the voice of the global panel industry

13 July 2016

Sadly for me, this is the last issue of WBPI for which I will be fully responsible.

Having reached that certain age, I am handing over the editorship of the magazine and taking retirement.

I won’t be gone completely, however, as I will continue to work in a part-time consultancy role on WBPI, assisting the new editor, in the role of Editor Emeritus.

Stepping into my place as full-time Editor will be Julian Champkin and we have already worked together, on this June/July issue.

Julian is a highly-experienced editor, having worked on UK national newspapers and a variety of magazine titles, including technical business-to-business magazines. He has also travelled extensively, involving expeditions to Mount Everest, the North Pole and Africa, to name but a few.

I know that Julian will be able to rely on our readers and advertisers to help him to get to know this fascinating industry, just as they helped me so much when I became editor – with no specific industry experience – in 1995.

Wherever I have travelled in my role as editor I have always found a great welcome from the panel industry’s participants, in all its fields of operation, for which I am very grateful.

Returning to this June/July issue we have the first of our two MDF industry surveys, covering Europe and North America.

The industry in North America has not had the strong recovery that many expected a couple of years ago. As is now well-known, global economic issues have affected the US economy adversely, as they have everywhere else. However it is not bad news, just less-good news, and Mexico has added to its capacity total in 2015.

Meanwhile Europe is, of course, also suffering from global economic impacts and the MDF industry is grappling with a sharp decline in demand for laminate flooring. This has put increased capacities of raw MDF on the market which are looking for customers.

Continuing our series of interviews with people involved in shaping our industry, this issue’s interviewee is Jackson Morrill, president of the Composite Panel Association(CPA), which represents particleboard, MDF and fibreboard suppliers in North America. Mr Morrill tells us what the association is doing for its members and the industry, from raw material issues to industry regulation.

So, as I head for my semi-retirement I would like to thank everybody in this wonderful industry for their generous help, support and hospitality over the past 21 years. I have been immensely proud to hold this position and I wish my successor as much enjoyment as I have had from working on Wood Based Panels International.

Mike Botting