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June 2023 Message from our CEO

June 2023 Message from our CEO

  • May 23, 2023
  • by Greg Pray, President and CEO

Our belief that 2023 was going to be a “return to normal” scenario is playing out pretty well.  

So far, we’re within several points of 2019 volume levels, with some differences across our distributor, OEM and retail channels. But, unlike the truly “upset conditions” we were facing in 2020, 2021 and a good part of 2022, our supply chains are in a much steadier state, enabling us to perform with a more confident service position.

We’ve been able to manage market changes successfully this year, but we’re constantly watching, analyzing, and taking actions to prevent negative surprises in the future. Our new Hearst dryer is a great example — it came online in April and is being tuned up for the additional Aspen it will process for our customer base.

Longer-term, we’ve been looking at our most valuable resource, our employee-owners, and making sure that Columbia is staffed with the best and best-equipped people to take care of our customers’ needs well into the future.  We’ve got great talent at Columbia, and we are actively working to transfer the wisdom, science and art from our long-timers to our emerging leaders.

This is the third year of our Leadership Series, where we identify and develop our next generation of the senior Columbia management team. Drawing from all locations and disciplines, we’re already seeing the results of this intentional “seasoning” of our managers, through case studies, problem-solving exercises and deep dives into a range of business topics.

Recently, Aaron Abts, a Leadership Series participant, was named Plant Manager for our Craigsville, West Virginia facility, replacing Chris Groves, who has become our Director of Innovation, Technology and Adhesives (replacing John Tappan, who retired this spring).

Another great thread of continuity at Columbia is our spirit of Significant Service. Last month, I was asked to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge, raising funds and awareness around ALS, in honor of an extended Columbia family member. 

Below are two of our employee-owners eagerly “helping” me.

To our customers and friends — we hope you all have a rewarding and relaxing summer.  

Thank you, as always, for your business and your support!