In the News
February 4, 2019

Kris Long Promoted to Vice President, National Sales for Atlanta-Based AHC Hardwood Group


ATLANTA, GA -- Atlanta Hardwood Corporation, parent company of AHC Hardwood Group, is excited to announce the promotion of Kris Long to vice president of national sales.  Long brings 25 years of experience to the new position and will manage U.S. and Canadian sales.  AHC Hardwood Group specializes in wholesale and commercial sales of domestic hardwoods, softwoods, imported lumber, including exotic African hardwoods, and mouldings.
Starting as an entry-level lumber stacker in 1993, Long worked his way through the organization in positions as tally person, lift operator, shipping manager, distribution sales and national sales representative.  His knowledge of production and sales complements a strong work ethic and natural sales ability.  Long and his wife, Elyse, along with children, Jackson (14), Davis (5) and Lydia (2), reside in Huntersville, North Carolina.  Long is based in the AHC Hardwood Group Huntersville office.
According to Hal Mitchell, president of Atlanta Hardwood Corporation, “Kris adds a new level of depth to our sales management team. His understanding of industry needs and our perceived value allows him to build partnerships with our customer base and respect within the sales team.”  Mitchell adds, “We are excited about the new level of communication that Kris brings our sales team to ensure our customers receive top-level service, quality and dependability.”
Atlanta Hardwood Corporation is the flagship of a family of forest product companies, which includes AHC Hardwood Group, AHC Import Lumber, AHC Export Lumber, White County Mouldings and Hardwoods Incorporated of Tennessee, LLC.  Atlanta Hardwood Corporation provides premium, renewable hardwoods to customers throughout the U.S. and internationally.  Since 1952, Atlanta Hardwood Corporation has grown to be one of the largest groups of kiln drying concentration yards in the eastern U.S., processing and distributing more than 65 million board-feet of premium hardwood lumber each year.  The company offers more than 60 species of domestic and imported lumber, making available some of the most desired species from around the world to address the needs of distributors, architects, designers, and manufacturers.

Contact information for Kris Long, vice president, national sales, AHC Hardwood Group:  Office 704.875.6587; Cell 704.614.1569; email


February 4, 2019

Zack Rickman Promoted to Vice President of Operations for Atlanta-Based AHC Hardwood Group


ATLANTA, GA -- Atlanta Hardwood Corporation, parent company of AHC Hardwood Group, has announced the promotion of Zack Rickman to vice president of operations. Rickman brings an extensive background in production, from green lumber through finished millwork, to the position.  AHC Hardwood Group specializes in wholesale and commercial sales of domestic hardwoods, softwoods, imported lumber, including exotic African hardwoods, and mouldings.

Rickman has grown with the company, building a rich history of hands-on experience to his new position, having served in numerous roles, which began with a summer internship and include moulder operator, NHLA-certified lumber grader, rough mill supervisor, procurement agent, sales support and general manager.  In his role as vice president of operations, Rickman will be responsible for production at four lumber yards, including remanufacturing and millwork facilities, distribution, production personnel and capital expansions. Rickman is based out of AHC Hardwood Group, North Georgia, home of White County Mouldings and the production location for VikingWood® thermally modified hardwood. Rickman and his wife Ashley reside in Cleveland, Georgia with their children Reese and Wyatt.

“Zack provides AHC Hardwood Group with tremendous production knowledge, including green supply and lumber through finished millwork,” says Hal Mitchell, president of Atlanta Hardwood Corporation.  Mitchell adds, “We are excited about the opportunity to leverage his success with our White County Mouldings facility to expand value-added, vertical integration to our other facilities.”

Atlanta Hardwood Corporation is the flagship of a family of forest product companies, which includes AHC Hardwood Group, AHC Import Lumber, AHC Export Lumber, White County Mouldings and Hardwoods Incorporated of Tennessee, LLC.  Atlanta Hardwood Corporation provides premium, renewable hardwoods to customers throughout the U.S. and internationally.  Since 1952, Atlanta Hardwood Corporation has grown to be one of the largest groups of kiln drying concentration yards in the eastern U.S., processing and distributing more than 65 million board-feet of premium hardwood lumber each year.  The company offers more than 60 species of domestic and imported lumber, making available some of the most desired species from around the world to address the needs of distributors, architects, designers, and manufacturers.

Contact information for Zack Rickman, vice president of operations, AHC Hardwood Group:  Office 706.865.3166; Cell 404.323.7380; email


December 2018

AHC White County Mouldings is proud to contribute to another project, the Forest History Society library and offices at Duke University. Below is a sneak peek inside inside the new library.

New Library Ceiling

Etched Glass Panels Installed in Reading Room

Library Shelves Being Stocked

View of the Library

August 2018

AHC Hardwood Group is proud to contribute another project to this award winning magazine, highlighting the use of exotic lumber in a unique setting. AHC Import Lumber provided the hardwood lumber free of charge. This is a sneak peak of our article as it appears in the 2018 edition of International Wood Magazine.

Setting the Tone for Success

When walking into the front lobby of the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Atlanta, Georgia, you are immediately struck by a lobby that perfectly balances sophistication with an open welcoming atmosphere. The lobby is part of a much larger capital campaign that allowed Cristo Rey to expand by renovating a former Oxford Industries building. Much like the school’s approach to its education priorities, the renovation breathed life into a building that no one was sure what to do with and made it shine.

Cristo Rey is no ordinary Catholic school. It offers a very unique high school education experience, giving Atlanta’s economically disadvantaged students a way to prepare for college, the workforce, and life. Cristo Rey’s unique program offers students a college preparatory curriculum, but this intensive program doesn’t come free. “When all of our students come here to register for school, we also register them as our employees,” explains Bill Garrett, President of Cristo Rey. Students attend classes while also working for one of the school’s corporate partners, earning a large portion of their tuition. Parents are also expected to chip in, on a sliding scale. “Two-thirds of our operating budget is provided by students working with our corporate partners,” explains Camille Naughton, Vice President of Advancement and Corporate Partnerships. The remainder of the costs are covered by parent contributions and philanthropy.

The lobby of their new education building was an important design element. The lobby needed to set the tone of success for the school,” Naughton explained. “We are very pleased with the design. The lobby needed to be sophisticated, polished, and professional while also giving being warm and inviting and I feel that’s exactly what was achieved.” She continued, “What an amazing gift AHC Hardwood Group has given us.”

AHC Hardwood Group frequently donates wood for non-profit community projects. Chief Executive Officer Jim Howard feels strongly about giving back. “As a company, it’s important that we support programs in our local communities”. He explained, “By donating exquisite hardwoods for community projects, we are able to provide high quality environmental and architecturally interesting building products, showcasing the warmth and versatility of wood, and help support the community.”

Details, a local corporate interior design firm, proposed a high visibility wood treatment for the lobby. AHC Hardwood worked with Details Owner and Designer Jillian Carr Mitchell to select the perfect wood. “With over 45 wood species to choose from, we worked to find the right combination of look and function for the project,” explained Stewart Sexton, Import Lumber Senior Product Specialist for AHC Hardwood Group. “We chose White Limba for its clean lines and contemporary feel.” The design plan called for a wood with straight grain, consistent color, and a modern look overall. The golden colored sapwood also coordinated well with the anigre furniture used in the space. “We are really pleased with how the wood wall project came out,” said Naughton. “When people come into the lobby, they are immediately drawn to the wall. Many even reach out and touch it.”

The lobby is just the start of the variety of ways that Cristo Rey sets the tone for success. With their first graduating class leaving for college in 2018 with a 100% acceptance rate and over $12.8 million in financial aid and scholarships, Cristo Rey Atlanta is well on its way to leaving their mark.

Cristo Rey Atlanta thanks the 2018/19 corporate sponsors for their continued participation and support.  The Cristo Rey Network is comprised of 32 high schools that serve over 11,000 young people from low-income backgrounds, living in urban communities with limited educational options.  If you would like to learn more about the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Atlanta, visit their website:,

June 11, 2018

Atlanta Hardwood Corporation Sells Three Distribution Locations
Company Continues to Serve International and U.S. Markets for Kiln-Dried Hardwoods and Thermally Modified VikingWoodTM

ATLANTA, GA -- Jim Howard, chief executive officer and owner of Atlanta Hardwood Corporation, parent company of AHC Hardwood Group and Hardwoods LLC (operating under the trade name Hardwoods Incorporated), today announced the sale of Hardwoods of Atlanta, LLC, Hardwoods of North Georgia and Hardwoods of Alabama, LLC. The three locations, which include Alabaster, Alabama (greater Birmingham), Atlanta and Cleveland, Georgia, have served as distribution facilities for wholesale lumber products for Atlanta Hardwood Corporation and AHC Hardwood Group.

The three distribution facilities were sold to New Hampshire-based Rugby Architectural Building Products, a division of the publicly traded Canadian-based Hardwoods Distribution Inc., North America’s largest wholesale distributor of architectural building products to the residential and commercial construction sectors. Rugby Architectural Building Products has been a long-time customer of AHC Hardwood Group, with operations in 35 states.

Atlanta Hardwood Corporation was founded in Atlanta, Georgia in 1952 and has operated as a family owned business for more than 60 years.  According to Howard, “The sale is bittersweet given the long-term employee loyalty and friendships. The sale of these distribution locations will allow us to focus on and grow our core strategic markets for domestic and imported hardwood lumber, VikingWood and moulding products.” Howard continued, “A big part of our decision was based on the best outcome for our long-term employees. We chose Rugby because they have a strong track record of retaining employees following an acquisition.”

Operating under the Atlanta Hardwood Corporation family of forest products companies, AHC Hardwood Group will retain its distribution sales operations and kiln drying yards in Clarksville, Tennessee and Huntersville, North Carolina, along with kiln drying yards in Crystal Spring, Pennsylvania, and Cleveland, Georgia. White County Mouldings, home to the first closed-system thermal modification kiln in the U.S., will continue to produce naturally chemical-free VikingWoodTM exterior siding and decking, along with custom mouldings, handrail and S4S from its base in Cleveland, Georgia.

AHC Import Lumber, which specializes in African hardwoods and quality tropical lumber, distributing to customers throughout the U.S. and Canada, will continue to operate out of the Huntersville location, along with AHC Export lumber, which sells U.S. hardwoods internationally.  Atlanta Hardwood Corporation is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.


March 27, 2018
What is Thermally Modified Lumber?

By Hal Mitchell, President, Atlanta Hardwood Corporation

It’s not often that we see a revolutionary new process in the lumber industry. New developments in thermal modification may well be one of these processes.

The idea is relatively simple: heat lumber to above 320° F in a low-oxygen atmosphere to produce chemical and physical changes in the wood’s cellular structure. The heat treatment results in improved durability and increased dimensional stability. The improved stability allows for a superior flooring performance where minimizing movement is important.

Thermally modified lumber (TML) has been widely accepted in Europe for decades and is finally making its way to North American industrial production. While the treatment concept is relatively simple, the technology is complex and costly. Also, there is little history of treatment schedules (recipes) for most North American species. Each species and thickness requires a unique treatment temperature and duration to achieve proper modification levels. Entry barriers, lengthy learning curves, and lack of production standardization have kept American production relatively low.

There are two basic treatment systems: open and closed. Open systems use atmospheric pressure or a vacuum during treatment, while closed systems operate under high pressure. Open systems require drying the wood to nearly zero percent moisture content during the treatment phase to reach temperatures above 212° F. Open systems comprise most of the worldwide production. Closed systems require high pressure often above 100 psi. This allows for the material to retain moisture during treatment, which results in less shrinkage stress and lower degrade. Closed system cycle times are much faster, but the throughput is typically lower. Additionally, closed systems may not require as much heat to provide sufficient modification levels.

The treatment process uses only heat and steam, so it is completely “green” with no introduced chemicals. During treatment, the wood undergoes both physical and chemical changes. Some sugars are “burned” away (decomposed), leading to a reduction in food source for decay fungi. Wood color is changed through its cross-section to a darker color resembling walnut or tropical imports. The energy input also develops a much more stable product. Bond sites on cell walls provide for dimensional movement in wood as they attract and release water molecules with environmental changes.

One theory on the increased dimensional stability of thermally modified woods is that during the thermal modification process, enough energy is introduced to crosslink these sites and limit the woods ability to absorb water. Thermal treatment significantly reduces the available bond sites for water molecules, so dimensional stability is improved. Research indicates that dimensional movements due to moisture uptake can be reduced 50-90 percent (Jamsa and Viitaniemi, 2001). 

Thermal modification reduces many of the mechanical properties of wood. Increased brittleness and decreased strength occur with bending strength reductions of 30 percent or more depending on treatment intensity (Kubojima et al., 2000). Hardness decrease is relatively limited at approximately 3 percent, but can vary tremendously by treatment levels. A “burnt” odor is produced during the process and can remain present in the wood. The unpleasant smell results largely from furfural production and can be limited if a vacuum is pulled during the final production phase. The odor will dissipate over time and can be negated once sealed.

The stability enhancement can allow wood products to be used in new and improved applications including flooring. Treatment will limit the dimensional change of wide plank flooring. This idea is often used by European plank flooring manufacturers when decay is not an issue as the dimensional stability can be greatly enhanced without reaching full modification and color change. Where stability is extremely important, such as basement or porch flooring, thermal modification will provide significant performance improvement. Of course, no wood product is 100 percent stable, so often micro-beveled edges are used in areas subject to large humidity changes. Moisture content is lowered in treated wood. Typically, thermally modified wood is dried to 4.5-6 percent. Lower moisture content is a good attribute when lightweight installation is needed such as garage doors and shutters.

Current markets, particularly in Europe, consist heavily of three products: cladding, decking, and flooring. Softwoods comprise the majority of the worldwide production, but hardwoods are gaining popularity. Historically, untreated American hardwoods could not be used in cladding or decking, but with the thermal treatment process, they perform well.

TML characteristics are similar to the untreated species characteristics. After treatment, finish quality often improves, grain patterns remain the same, and the sapwood and heartwood often become difficult to distinguish. Increased brittleness requires sharp tooling and often eased or beveled edges are preferred due to chipping. The material glues well with non-water based adhesives.

Stainless steel fasteners are often necessary for installation. Flooring installation requires extra caution with the degree of brittleness. Brittleness is dependent on treatment level and species, tongue breakage is a concern.

Finishing typically requires oil-based products, but there are specially formulated water-based products that are becoming popular as well. The wood oxidizes (grays) quickly to a silver patina unless treated with a UV inhibitor. While the finish life is improved due to increased wood stability, the UV inhibitors will typically need to be reapplied annually in areas with direct UV contact.

North America currently lacks the support of a thermally modified wood industry association to promote increased production and utilization of thermally modified wood; however, the American Wood Production Association (AWPA) is working to provide standardization. To ensure that TML manufacturers are properly treating their material and not overstating the performance properties, there will need to be a collaborative effort to provide user standards. Mechanical and durability tests will need to be performed on the North American species; some of this work is currently underway by the University of Minnesota Duluth at the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI). Product quality can vary due to initial lumber quality, treatment recipes, and kiln types. It will be imperative that specifiers, installers, and consumers are educated on proper installation techniques and performance expectations to prevent market failure and “overselling” of performance capabilities.

We have a unique opportunity to create new and improved uses for North American lumber through the thermal modification process. This opportunity is rare in our industry, and we must be diligent to ensure manufacturers and customers have realistic expectations of the TML.

Hal Mitchell is President of Atlanta Hardwood Corporation based in Mableton, Georgia. He has been with the AHC Hardwood Group since 1999 and has a Master of Science Degree in Forest Products Marketing and Management from Virginia Tech. AHC operates a closed-system thermal modification plant in Cleveland, Georgia. He can be reached at 404.792.2290 or via email. To learn more about Atlanta Hardwood, visit

Jamsa, S., Viitaniemi P., 2001. Heat Treatment of Wood Better Durability Without Chemicals. In: Rapp, A.O., Review On Heat Treatments of Wood. Cost Action E22. Proceedings of Special Seminar, Antibes, France, pp. 17-21.
Kubojima, Y., Okano, T., Ohta, M., 2000. Bending Strength and Toughness of Heat-Treated Wood. Journal of Wood Science 46, pp. 8-15.

April/May Edition of Hardwood Floors

July 2017
AHC Hardwood Group Invests in the Advanced Technology Of Thermal Modification to Introduce Versatile VikingWood for Exterior Applications
Mableton, GA - Atlanta Hardwood Corporation, located here, which recently rebranded as AHC Hardwood Group, has been continually pioneering new hardwood markets since its founding 65 years ago.  Recently, AHC installed a state-of-the-art, high-pressure thermo-modification kiln at their moulding plant in Cleveland, GA. The company’s new product offering, VikingWood™, is ideal for exterior applications, including siding, cladding, porch flooring, shutters, doors, rain screens, decking and window framing. Thermo-modification improves stability, repels moisture and is chemical free ( providing green options for architects and builders looking for alternatives to chemically-treated wood products.

Atlanta Hardwood was founded in 1952 by James W. Howard Sr. in Knoxville, TN. Howard started as a lumber broker selling to furniture manufacturers in eastern Tennessee. In the mid-1950s, he moved to Atlanta and leased kilns on Glenwood Avenue near downtown. His brothers, Sid and Lee, joined the company, which became known as Howard Lumber and Kilns. By 1960, they had built a plant nine miles outside of town in Mableton, GA, and Atlanta Hardwood became the sales arm for Howard Lumber. In 1966, they opened a second plant in Huntersville, NC, to service the furniture industry. In 1992, James’ son, Jim Howard, became chief executive officer and principal owner.

Today, AHC includes nine operating facilities, including four drying yards, a moulding plant, several affiliated southeastern distribution warehouses, and a logistics company.  AHC’s lumberyards are located in Crystal Spring, PA; Huntersville, NC; Clarksville, TN; and Cleveland.  AHC kiln yards are strategically located near the Appalachian timber region and east coast ports.

In 2010, AHC acquired Craig Lumber, which is now the import division of AHC Hardwood Group–AHC Import Lumber ( Both the import and export divisions operate in Huntersville.

In addition to mouldings produced in a state-of-the-art facility in Cleveland, known as White County Mouldings, the yards offer S2S, planing, gang ripping, specialty sorting, export packaging and overseas freight services.  According to Vice President of Remanufacturing Operations Zack Rickman, “Offering a diverse range of products allows us a competitive advantage. On a single truck, we can deliver domestic and exotic products from lumber and blanks, to millwork in both solid and finger-jointed form.”

AHC has a diverse inventory of 75 species of domestic and imported premium Hardwood. Through its import division, AHC’s inventory includes some of the most desired species from around the world. The company also sells worldwide to customers, direct from the source. Their offerings include African Hardwoods, such as Bubinga, Black Limba, Sapele and Zebrawood, and South American Hardwoods, such as Peruvian Walnut, Red Grandis, Ipe and Jatoba. By offering customers both domestic and imported species, AHC Hardwood Group is able to streamline ordering and offer mixed loads for efficient, cost-effective purchasing.

In January 2016, Hal Mitchell was promoted to president of AHC Hardwood Group and is responsible for overall operations at all company facilities. He frequently tours each facility and helps troubleshoot any issues. His motto, inherited from company founder James Howard, is “expect and inspect” and Mitchell believes his managers must have autonomy to make decisions as long as they are consistent with the company principals, culture and goals. “This year,” Mitchell noted, “AHC implemented two new corporate initiatives to improve business processes and company performance. We’ve learned to focus on a couple of key initiatives per year.” He continued, “By incentivizing all managers and supervisors to focus on better inventory controls and recruitment/retention plans, we’re enhancing our performance and profitability.”

According to CEO Jim Howard, “We don’t bet the ranch, but we are continually striving for improvements. We’ll invest in technology if we see a payback. All of our trucks now have tracking software and we have recently invested in a thermo-modification kiln and a planer mill upgrade.”

The state-of-the-art thermo-modification kiln was installed at the moulding plant in Cleveland in mid-2016 to produce their newest product offering, VikingWood. Through the use of a high-pressure chamber, the thermo-modification kiln burns all of the sugar out of the lumber, causing chemical reactions at the cell wall bonding sites, so they can no longer absorb water. After thermo-modification, what’s left is a board resistant to decay that could be used in exterior applications because of its stability and resistance to moisture. When lumber is processed through a thermo-modification kiln, it has a dark chocolate color, so lighter looking species like Ash or Poplar can sometimes be substituted for Walnut. “This is a whole new market for American Hardwoods,” said Mitchell, “and AHC is excited to be on the forefront.”

Besides thermo-modification, a second corporate initiative in the past 12 months has been the founding of a logistics business called AHC Logistics. Six-year veteran, Chris Rider, heads up the company’s logistics team headquartered in Huntersville. AHC Logistics not only serves AHC’s freight needs, but also is a licensed third-party logistics freight provider. Rider noted, “We have 11 trucks in our fleet, not counting local distribution trucks, and we handle all of AHC Hardwood Group’s import and export-based logistics. In addition, we are currently supporting two of our lumberyards, as well as the shipping needs of White County Mouldings.” As a third-party provider, AHC Logistics also specializes in handling building material freight hauled on flatbeds such as stone, steel or softwood lumber.

Company-wide, AHC employs approximately 300 individuals. Today, the people strategy is as important as long-term capital investments. AHC invests in ongoing training programs and has a long-standing relationship with North Carolina State University and Virginia Tech. Numerous managers and officers, including Mitchell, started their careers as interns. This past year, AHC also completed several large capital projects to expand its niche product offerings and services and to drive product quality.

Howard noted, “AHC is proud of our company heritage and family-friendly culture. We’re a family-owned business offering quality Hardwood products with values based in integrity, loyalty, determination and a strong work ethic. As a successful multi-generational company, we have a long-term vested interest in sustainable forestry. We believe in the future of the forestry industry and hope that our values and commitment to it encourage others to think of us for their Hardwood needs.”

Facility and contact information for AHC Hardwood Group is listed below:
  • AHC Hardwood Group: 800-248-4393, 704-875-6587  /  Email:
  • AHC Import Lumber 800-248-4393, 704-875-6587  /  Email:
  • AHC Export Lumber, 704-992-6772  /  Email:
  • White County Mouldings 888-610-9663, 706-865-3166  /  Email:
  • Hardwoods Incorporated 800-864-7804, 404-792-0910  /  Email:
AHC Hardwood Group is a member of several lumber associations, including: the National Hardwood Lumber Association; International Wood Products Association; Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc.; Hardwood Distributors Association; Hardwood Manufacturers Association; Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association; American Hardwood Export Council; Penn-York Lumbermen’s Club; Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association; and the Tennessee Forestry Association. More information is available by visiting

July Edition Of National Hardwood Magazine 

February 22, 2017
Industry Veteran Mike Henneman Named Vice President for Atlanta-based Hardwoods Incorporated

Mike Henneman has been named vice president for Hardwoods Incorporated, the distribution subsidiary of Atlanta Hardwood Corporation based in Atlanta, Georgia.  With an extensive career in the wood products industry, Henneman previously served as general manager for National Wood Products, sales manager for Aura Hardwoods, Inc., and was most recently the owner of Complete Wood Source, which purchased and sold building products globally.
According to Jim Howard, chief executive officer, Atlanta Hardwood Corporation, “Mike is an excellent fit for our needs at this time. He is naturally adaptable with a pragmatic approach to problem solving and a proven track record in distribution management and sales. We’re looking to Mike to build on our strengths in the marketplace as we expand into more high-end products, such as our new thermally modified VikingWood.”
Henneman will oversee the Hardwoods Incorporated retail division, as well as distribution operations in Atlanta, Birmingham (Alabaster), Alabama, Clarksville, Tennessee, and Cleveland, Georgia. “We are also looking to Mike,” adds Howard, “to spearhead our efforts to expand our presence in the architectural and commercial markets with premium products, such as architectural plywood, specialty panels, and exotic lumber.”

Says Henneman, “I’m looking forward to building the Hardwoods Incorporated brand as we strengthen our sales team and develop new opportunities within the markets served by each of our distribution centers.” Henneman is only the third vice president in the 40-year history of the distribution division.

The distribution division was started in the mid-70s with products targeted to meet the needs of cabinet, furniture and fixture manufacturers. Today, Hardwoods Incorporated stocks an extensive, readily available inventory of more than 50 species of lumber, plywood and veneer, as well as 200 colors of Arborite laminate. Additionally, a wide variety of moulding and custom flooring products processed in the Cleveland, Georgia plant are offered through the retail centers and throughout the distribution system.

Contact information for Mike Henneman, vice president, Hardwoods Incorporated:  Office 404.214.4743; Cell 404.456.8837; email

July 21, 2016
Stewart Sexton Joins AHC Import Lumber, a Division of Atlanta Hardwood Corporation

Atlanta Hardwood Corporation has announced the addition of Stewart Sexton to the AHC Import Lumber team. Sexton brings more than 35 years of experience in the import lumber business to the leadership position of specialist for import lumber. AHC Import Lumber is based in Huntersville, North Carolina and specializes in South American and African hardwoods.
With a background that includes procuring and selling imported hardwood timber from around the world, Sexton’s experience includes positions with nationally recognized Tradelink and DLH Nordisk, Inc., a worldwide supplier of timber and timber products. Sexton spent 25 years with DLH Nordisk, Inc. in leadership roles that included negotiations with domestic and international suppliers, staff development and new product launches. Sexton is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in wood science and technology.
“Stewart Sexton adds a new level of depth to our leadership team,” says Hal Mitchell, president, Atlanta Hardwood Corporation. “His background in international trade and procurement will help us ensure that our customers around the world have access to responsibly grown, high-quality hardwoods.”
Atlanta Hardwood Corporation is the flagship of a family of forest product companies, which includes AHC Hardwood Group, AHC Import Lumber, AHC Export Lumber, White County Mouldings and Hardwoods Incorporated. Atlanta Hardwood Corporation provides premium hardwoods to customers throughout the U.S. and internationally. Since 1952, Atlanta Hardwood Corporation has grown to be one of the largest groups of kiln drying concentration yards in the eastern U.S., processing and distributing more than 65 million board-feet of premium hardwood lumber each year. The company offers more than 60 species of domestic and imported hardwoods, making available some of the most desired species from around the world to address the needs of architects, designers and manufacturers. 
Stewart Sexton may be reached at, 800-248-4393, 704-584-1024 or by Skype at stewart.sexton1

May 2015
Hardwoods Incorporated “Friends” Shuler Hensley Awards

Hardwoods Incorporated recently joined many Georgia supporters of excellence in high school musical theater as a contributing friend of the Shuler Awards.  The Georgia High School Musical Theater Awards are fashioned after Broadway’s Tony Awards and are named in honor of actor/singer and Georgia native, Shuler Hensley, winner of the prestigious Tony Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk Award. The program embodies a spirit of camaraderie and celebration for the arts in high schools across Georgia.

Productions were evaluated from 50 participating high schools for the seventh annual awards presentation.  Hardwoods Incorporated provided a donation of MDF for the event, which was held at Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on April 23, 2015.  The event is designed to raise the public’s awareness of the value of the arts in educating students.  Sponsors included The Georgia Lottery, WSB TV and Delta Community Credit union, among many others.

March 2015
SCMA and Atlanta Hardwood Corporation Partner with NextGenHomeTV

Pittsburgh, PA – The Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association (SCMA) and Atlanta Hardwood Corporation are partnering with NextGenHomeTV on the “First to the Future Home” series with renowned host Ty Pennington. The truly next-generation home, being built in Palm Coast, Florida, will reflect its southern roots by featuring native cypress.

Through the design, construction, and final reveal of the “First to the Future Home,” and host Ty Pennington are showing viewers how to build an energy-efficient, healthy, and smart home. The series highlights the latest products and technologies, as well as traditional building materials such as cypress.

According to Paul Barnett, president and executive producer of, the team selected cypress because of its good looks and long-lasting performance.

“There’s something special about the look and feel of wood that makes it appeal to homeowners probably more so than any other material," he said.  “What sets cypress apart is its rich grain, natural durability, and flexibility with choosing a finish."

“When we began installing the cypress siding and soffit on the exterior of the home, we were blown away by the natural beauty and color of the wood. We liked it so much that we decided to carry it into the interior of the home for some of the ceilings.”

To watch episodes or learn more about the “First to the Future Home,” visit

The SCMA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of cypress building products to trade professionals and consumers. For more information, visit

Atlanta Hardwood Corporation was originally founded as Howard Lumber in 1952. According to the company press release, after more than 60 years in the lumber business, it is recognized as one of the largest lumber companies in the Southeast. Specializing in Appalachian hardwoods, today the company processes, distributes and exports more than 50 million board feet of hardwood lumber annually. For more information, visit
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November 20, 2013

Contact:  Jim Howard, 404.792.2290

Atlanta, GA – I would like to share my perspective on why I believe a checkoff is imperative for the long-term health of our industry. For ten years prior, I served on the Hardwood Council, two years as the co-chairman. This predecessor organization was charged with our industry-wide domestic hardwood promotion effort. See Our target audience was specifiers, architects and pro-sumers. We solicited donations from the various industry associations and private companies. The majority of the funding came from HMA and NHLA. Sue Regan, who served as executive director, had an advertising and marketing background and initiated numerous programs. Sadly, our number one challenge was lack of consistent funding.

During this ten year period, our annual budget averaged under $250,000/year and we never received donations from more than fifty individual companies in a given year. Although we had talented, creative advertising consultants, with minimal revenues it proved impossible to move the needle. I personally don't believe you will ever achieve a sufficient promotion revenue stream relying on voluntary contributions. Raising revenue for needed research (i.e. life cycle analysis or public education on forestry issues) is even more difficult. My experience as an industry CEO has been it is virtually impossible for our fragmented industry to coalesce and collectively invest in research, promotion or education. During the late 1990's, the hardwood industry exceeded 12 billion board foot production, yet despite billions in revenue and a profitable business climate, we have never invested sufficient resources in research, public education or promotion. Without a checkoff initiative, we will always be selling a commodity without money for marketing or product research.

Today, the various trade associations lack the budget resources for promotion and consequently the Hardwood Council was sunset. Traditionally as an industry, we've only marketed to ourselves. Even a million dollar advertising budget is insufficient. It would take a long-term multi-million dollar campaign to change consumer behavior. Despite hardwoods' overwhelming green credentials such as low embedded energy, low carbon impact and sustainability, many believe using wood is detrimental to the environment. How can we tell our story without funding? During my tenure as NHLA president, Mark Barford and I approached Carlton Owen, president and CEO of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, for assistance with hardwood promotion. From Carlton's perspective, a checkoff is the only proven sustainable program that works. During the last fifteen years, thankfully AHEC has invested approximately $8-10 million per year in overseas American hardwood promotion. Without the AHEC investment helping to create new overseas markets for our industry, I'm doubtful our company would have survived the Great Recession.

The compelling question is should we stay the course and forgo industry-wide promotion, research and public education? Or alternatively do we collectively allocate approximately 1/10 penny per board foot sold toward industry vetted programs for promotion, research and education? To me, the definition of insanity is to do nothing and continue to allow our market share to erode. The steel industry has spent millions to promote steel studs. The checkoff draft order will be published next month for public comment. As drafted, the legal document creating the hardwood checkoff requires third party audits to track performance and a follow-up checkoff referendum in four years. If the future checkoff board members are not good stewards of our finances, we can rescind the checkoff order. The USDA and other checkoff boards have a long-term track record of success. I can personally accept the risk. It's a long-term investment in my family's future.

I hope you will keep an open mind and participate in the checkoff vote. I look forward to a prosperous and healthy future in the hardwood industry for my kids and our employees. From my perspective, the checkoff is a wise insurance policy.

Jim Howard, Atlanta Hardwood Corporation
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November 13, 2013

USDA Releases Hardwood Lumber Checkoff for Comment
On Wednesday, November 13, 2013 the USDA released for comment the proposed Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Promotion, Research and Information Order (Order). Comments must be received by January 13, 2014. 

To review the Order, follow the link:
The program would be financed by an assessment on hardwood lumber manufacturers and hardwood plywood manufacturers and would be administered by a board of industry members selected by the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary). The assessment rate varies according to the product manufactured. The purpose of the program would be to strengthen the position of hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood in the marketplace and maintain and expand markets for hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood. A referendum would be held among eligible hardwood lumber manufacturers and hardwood plywood manufacturers to determine whether they favor implementation of the program prior to it going into effect. 

Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning this proposal until January 13, 2014!  Comments may be submitted on the Internet at, by fax 202.205.2800, or in writing to:

Promotion and Economics Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA,
1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 1406-S, Stop 0244
Washington, DC 20250-0244
All comments should reference the docket number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be made available for public inspection, including name and address, if provided, in the above office during regular business hours or it can be viewed at 
For more information visit
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July 4, 2013

Exotic Woods for High-End Homes – Varieties from around the world are adding both form and function to home décor.  Read more...

The Wall Street Journal, Print Edition

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May 1, 2013
Contact:  Ian Faight, 412.323.9320

Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association Elects New Leadership
Pittsburgh, PA – Members of the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association (SCMA) elected 2013 officers at the association’s Annual Meeting on March 11, 2013, at the Charleston Place Hotel, Charleston, S.C.

Shepard Haggerty, Williams Lumber Company of N.C., Rocky Mount, N.C., was elected president of the SCMA.

Hal Mitchell, Atlanta Hardwood Corporation, Mableton, Ga., was elected vice president.

The Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of cypress building products to trade professionals and consumers. For more information on the SCMA, visit
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March 16, 2013

The emerald ash borer has spread to 17 states and destroyed tens of millions of ash trees in America.  Read more...

The Economist, Print Edition

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October 1, 2012
Contact:  Cary Moon, 202-463-5186

Hardwood Federation Fly-in Logs 50+ Congressional Meetings
Members of Congress Tell Participants Meetings Vital for Industry’s Future

Washington, DC – The Hardwood Federation (HF) held another successful Fly-in September 19-20 in the nation’s capital.  More than 40 industry representatives attended 50 scheduled, and several additional impromptu, meetings with congressional leaders and their key staff.  Additional social
and fundraising events were held during the fly-in, including a reception and dinner for Republican members of congress, and a breakfast event for Democrats drawing 41 Members of Congress.
The meetings covered a variety of topics including regulatory relief, tax policy, trade initiatives, and achieving more wood recognition in green building programs.  Of course, the Lacey Act was also a
hot topic; fly-in participants thanked supporters who helped beat back the misguided attacks on the Act this past year, and urged them to fund fully the implementation of the Act going forward.
The fly-in is a key part of the year-round advocacy strategy of the Hardwood Federation, and Executive Director Dana Lee Cole believes the importance of grassroots engagement cannot be overstated.
“We use these meetings to educate congress on our key issues, and put a face and story to how the decisions they are making here impact us every day,” Cole said.
“Our congressmen, senators, and the agencies we deal with need to hear our voice – we need to protect our interests here in Washington,” added HF chairman, and president and CEO of Columbia Forest Products, Brad Thompson. “When they hear the story of wood, they get behind us.  But they need to hear it.”
“It’s important we hear the hardwood industry when they come to Washington – hear their unique perspective,” said Representative Nick Rahall (D-WV).  “We may not recognize the repercussions to the hardwood industry of the things we’re doing here, so we need to hear from them.”
“Remember, we all have consumers of hardwoods in our district, but not everyone has the industry,” offered Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.  “Having folks who participate in the industry come and explain to my colleagues the consequences of tax, labor, OSHA, and EPA policies – to bring that real world understanding to the hallways of Congress – is critically important if we’re going to make good decisions.”
The Hardwood Federation will continue to advocate for the hardwood industry in Washington and push for those good, educated, pro-wood decisions.  The 2013 Fly-in has tentatively been scheduled for September 17-18, and Federation leaders hope to increase greatly individual and company participation.

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Our House
A Childcare and Support Center for Homeless Families

Atlanta, GA - Our House is complete and was a resounding success. It’s always good when you can lend a helping-hand or contribute your expertise, but when you do both and really make difference it is the greatest feeling. Dimensional Design, together with Hardwoods Incorporated, was able to build and install much needed storage and supply cabinetry for an incredible charity right here in Atlanta.
We learned about Our House through our production manager’s mother, who is one of the many volunteers for at this outreach program.  Developed in 1988, Our House helps mothers and children trapped in the cycle of unemployment, poverty, and homelessness progress through every-day life in order to get back on their feet.

How Is Dimensional Design Involved?
The center needed a way to store and organize donated school supplies for the children kept there during the day. Our team fabricated and installed storage cabinetry throughout the facility, which allowed more space to be utilized safely for the children in the Daycare Center. Our House was created to be a safe haven for all those who are battered and potentially homeless. Their goal is to better people’s lives by offering free, quality early-childhood education as well as support services for families in need. They are nationally accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and were recognized by the Georgia Head Start Association in 2004 for Excellence in the field. Each year they provide services to more than 90 children from more than 65 families. We would like to thank Atlanta Hardwoods Inc., who generously donated wood and materials to make this project possible.

THANK YOU to Jim Howard and John Biederman of Hardwoods Incorporated for helping to make this all possible.
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