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Valspar donates $1 million to university lab

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Valspar Corp. has pledged $1 million to the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering over the next five years, provided through the Valspar Foundation.

“The alliance of Valspar with the University of Minnesota is clearly a strong match with our strategy for science and innovation leadership in the coatings industry,” said Dr. Cynthia Arnold, Valspar’s SVP and CTO. “Valspar will benefit from the University’s outstanding interdisciplinary program for materials science, a specific coatings program and proximity to one of our major research laboratories.”

The donation will go toward purchasing high-tech equipment for the new undergraduate science and engineering laboratory, to be named Valspar Materials Science and Engineering Lab, located in the Gore Annex of Amundson Hall. This will include mechanical performance testing equipment, electron microscopes that image at the nanoscale, and equipment capable of measuring magnetic, electrical and optical properties.

The company cited a substantial increase in the number of materials science and engineering students at the University of Minnesota over the last few decades, driven in part by the value placed on this field by various industries. Valspar is currently in the process of expanding its Minneapolis R&D facility.

“The University grew the materials science and engineering program very purposefully with world-class faculty, quality graduate programs and now a robust undergraduate program,” Bates said. “This new lab will allow us to deliver on our promise of excellence and put Minnesota at the forefront in materials science and engineering.”

Construction is slated to conclude this summer in preparation for the upcoming fall semester. Full completion is expected in early 2015.

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84 Lumber promotes Baker

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Eighty Four, Pa.-based 84 Lumber Co. promoted Don Baker to the position of VP of talent acquisition.  Baker has been with 84 Lumber for over 25 years starting his career in the store operations department and rising through the ranks to area and regional manager. Since 2001, Don has been in charge of 84 Lumber’s executive recruiting. 

“With the continued recovery of the housing industry, it will be of utmost importance that we are positioned to attract and recruit talented, professional, and energetic managers and sales professionals to our company,” said 84 Lumber chief operating officer Frank Cicero.  “Don brings a wealth of experience to the position that will help us to continue to grow.”

The company operates more than 255 stores and component manufacturing facilities and employs more than 4,000 associates. 

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Eastman Chemical discontinues Perennial Wood

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Perennial Wood was once touted as a “modified” lumber product and next-generation decking material. 

After a two-year run, it is being discontinued.

Kingsport, Tenn.-based Eastman Chemical Co. has decided to discontinue the Perennial Wood product line and business operations, the company announced today.

“A lot of talented Eastman employees and external partners worked very hard on this project, and this outcome is not a reflection of their dedication or hard work,” said Tim Dell, VP innovation, marketing, sales and pricing at Eastman. “Additionally, this decision was not made based on product performance, but rather on the challenging economics of the product market.” 

Perennial Wood was introduced to the building and construction trade back at the 2012 International Builders’ Show. It was described as real wood with a modified cell structure that made it more stable and durable than “unmodified” wood. 

With no signs of an imminent discontinuation, the Eastman Chemical published the winners of the Perrenial Wood Pro Challenge Deck of the Year in November. 

Eastman said it will honor the 25-year limited residential warranty for product sold at retail under the Perennial Wood brand name. It also said the company remains “committed to ongoing professional relationships with its customers and will provide continued support during this transitional time.”

The company added that the building and construction market remains a priority and this decision does not impact other Eastman products.

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