From the Editor

From the Editor

  • March 24, 2015
  • by Suzanne VanGilder

suzanneWelcome to the new Behind the Ply, Columbia Forest Products’ bi-monthly e-newsletter dedicated to the A&D/ specifier community. It is guaranteed NOT to be just another piece of marketing material to delete from your inbox (if you want sales info click here). Instead, the intention is truly to get “Behind the Ply,” and deliver different layers of relevant content- from interesting design-oriented stories (case studies, fashion trends, event coverage, design history)- to technical information and discourse from industry experts on topics such as specification, material science, sustainability, project management and client relations.

This installment includes:

  • Q&A with Elizabeth Heider FAIA LEED AP BD+C, a Chief Sustainability Officer who has served on the board of the USGBC. She specializes in analytical work that definitively shows how the real benefits of sustainable practices justify the perceived costs. We talk with Ms. Heider about what professionals need to know- and what clients need to hear- to ease those specifications.
  • A case study that peeks into the renovation of Elizabeth Heider’s residence. As both client and expert architect for the project, Heider shares valuable insights about choosing contractors, managing materials/suppliers and how a dream home does not have to compromise environmental ethics.
  • Check back to Behind the Ply for a company profile on a custom woodworking shop that is a two-time recipient of the PureBond Quality Award. Rivendell Woodworking differentiated itself from the competition by adopting environmental excellence as a core value. In that commitment, this family of fabricators delivers sustainable products to discerning clients, while sending signals through the supply chain that there is demand for materials that can be sourced, manufactured and fabricated responsibly.

I’m your editor, Suzanne VanGilder. Columbia Forest Products engaged me for Behind the Ply because, like you, I am passionate about my work and believe it can make a positive impact on many levels. After a decade of writing about materials, technology and design,* I understand the importance of having in-depth technical knowledge, and of distilling it into bits that are relevant and applicable. And I appreciate that that is also one of the primary responsibilities of the A&D professions. Except in your role, you use that information to transform a concept into something physical- a practice that goes beyond creating a pretty product that meets specific criteria- to shaping the supply chain and guiding clients to make better decisions (ahem, aka protecting clients from themselves).

I love that word, “ply.” As a verb it can mean: to work diligently, to practice, to offer something of value, to address persistently, to perform work steadily, to travel a fixed course. As a noun, it is a layer that adds substance and strength, or a combination that adds integrity. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to work on Behind the Ply. Over the years I have come to respect Columbia Forest Products as a responsible supplier of innovative products. They turned me loose to learn and write about things that are legitimately important and interesting to the specification community. And then I get to share those insights with people who will (hopefully) find them useful, and apply the information to better serve their clients. Talk about layers of people working diligently, in combination, to add integrity!

I hope you enjoy reading these pieces as much as I enjoyed producing them. Please feel free to contact me with suggestions, story ideas or feedback.

* Suzanne VanGilder has a decade of experience writing about materials, technology and design- including serving as the Editorial Director for Surface & Panel magazine, International Wood magazine, many industry-based custom publications and curator of