Dunham retiring from WCLBMA
Ken Dunham, executive director of the West Coast Lumber & Building Material Association (WCLBMA), has announced that he is retiring.
The move is effective June 30 of this year. Dunham has served in the position since June 2006.
“It has been a long and productive relationship and I leave with profound good feelings for this organization and especially the lumber and building materials industry,” Dunham said. “I’ve been here in the good times and in the tough times, and now the challenges of the COVID virus makes business even more difficult. But being part of efforts to ensure that the LBM industry was designated ‘essential’ in most parts of the country helped this industry survive.”
The WCLBMA has become one of the best known of the regional lumber and building material associations, including serving as a source of industry information while providing services for both members and the public.
Dunham managed the WCLBMA when it went through a name change from the former Lumber Association of California & Nevada banner and was involved in the move into a new association-owned building in 2009.
Today the association owns the building in Folsom, Calif. outright and has significant reserves for the organization’s future, Dunham said.
“I think one of the successes of the association I’ve been involved in is assisting this industry through a wide variety of regulatory challenges over the years,” Dunham explained. “Early it was lumber mold and how to respond to lawsuits and questions. Later it was paint disposal and lumber lengths and dimensions that both had California state regulatory agencies to contend with.”
Dunham notes that one of the projects he was most pleased with was the industry manual and materials that helped LBM dealers, suppliers and manufacturers content with California’s Proposition 65 rules.
“We worked long and hard with a respected law firm and other lobbyists in trying to get some good response and reaction to this confusing initiative process,” he added. “It will never be perfect, but now this industry has a defensible solution to unfair lawsuits and claims.”
In 2017, Dunham wrote “The Legacy of Lumber,” a history book of the lumber industry in the West, and specifically California, published in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the WCLBMA and its prior associations.
The book tells the story of the lumber industry in America, from colonial times to the present, with a particular focus on the rich lumber history in California.
“This was an inspiring and entertaining history of this important American industry and was a joy to research and write,” said Dunham. “The lumberyard was generally among the first businesses when a town was formed. Today the independent lumberyard remains a critical part of any town or city’s economy.”
HBSDealer discussed the book with Dunham, along with the topography of the industry, in a 2018 article.
Dunham was also the initiator of the “Lumber Helping Lumber” program during the California wildfires in 2017 and 2018 The program generated more than $60,000 that was used to directly assist those related to the LBM industry who lost homes and other property.
“I especially want to thank and acknowledge Jean Henning and Charlene Valine who were here when I came and are still doing their valuable services for this organization,” Dunham said. “This organization would not be where it has been without them.”
Prior to joining the WCLBMA, Dunham’s experience included ownership of a regional advertising agency and public relations firm, political consulting and management, and as a television news director and on-air personality.
He is also the author of several political management guides, a guide to crisis management for businesses, and co-authored a book on Montana history.
Dunham says his plans for the future include writing and consulting, as well as involvement in a variety of community, church, and professional interests.