Madison’s Lumber Reporter and Keta Kosman

Earlier this year, Madison’s was asked to speak at the North American Wholesaler Lumberman’s Association regional meeting in Montreal, QC, held in conjunction with the fabulous Montreal Wood Convention. Unfortunately, due to huge piles of work needing to be done — a happy problem to have — Madison’s is not able to attend that event this year.
However, it is still worth sharing the delightful talk Madison’s was going to give. The request was to do “a 2-3 minute speech under the theme of “A letter to my younger lumber self” keeping in mind the song main lyric “I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger””.
Please see the results below:

A letter to my younger lumber self, keeping in mind the song main lyric “I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger”

I came into Madison’s not as a forester or a logger but as tech, working on the computer producing various publications.
The only thing I knew at the time about trees and the forest was: I like to go camping. I started at Madison’s in 2003 after five yrs in the graphics dept of the printshop at WCB / WorkSafeBC, producing all the safety material.
I had graduated from UBC 1989 in Political Science — wanting to go to law school but after working for a lawyer for a year I realized that work is not for me. I am more suited to creative endeavours, and have always been quite technical.
In 1990 desktop publishing and computer graphic design started and I got my trade certificate in that. WCB/WorkSafe was a fully in-house production centre; from conception to art & writing to production (me) to burning plates for the printing presses. That was my professional skill.
I worked in the Madison’s office with Laurence Cater …. who remembers Laurie? wonderful man. He wrote the panel and cargo prices and commentary. Since 1973, that’s when Laurie took over from Peter Madison. Those two worked together for five yrs, they had John Freisen as market analyst and editor.
When I was hired Zara Heartwood was long-time market analyst … who remembers Zara?? yes indeed she was great, she learned from John Freisen actually!
And editor was Ward Johnson. Who remembers L. Ward Johnson? Contentious. He used to give Laurie conniptions, but he got the deeper details of his stories, so.
Anyway, Laurie, who was already well past retirement age when I was hired, got sick at the end of 2007 there, so basically I took over … you know just to keep the newsletter going every week.

I have all the binders with the old issues by the way, from September 1952, which I digitized to .pdf for Madison’s diamond anniversary, 60th anniversary. Its amazing to see the development of Canadian wood products manufacturing over the decades! — Keta Kosman, Publisher, Madison’s Lumber Reporter

In April 2008 Laurie fully retired and I took over as owner.
Ward also retired, Zara kept doing the prices and market comment. I became editor, and continued with the production work; entering the price data, laying in the newsletter, updating the website. SO: I wouldn’t change anything!

Very honestly, if I knew then what I know now:
I would not have let people dissuade me from various topics, subjects … from writing about difficult realities.

Because it’s happening now; what I was saying ten years ago. and not just about China and wood pellets. In my first issue as publisher, April 17, 2008, my stories were:

  • Canadian Lumber Exports to China, and
  • Biomass Fuel from Forest Residuals (esp. wood pellets).

By 2011 BC lumber exports to China really got going, and right now the forest industry globally is making great improvements in utilizing post-timber harvest forest fibre to make energy.

the only thing I would change then from what I know now is: I would have done it more! I would have said more of what I knew then, because I was right at the time.

I will use this exercise and the lesson I learned from it as a foundation to always speak what I know about the North American forest industry. As long as everything is backed by rock-solid data and information, as Madison’s has always done.

Thanks so much everyone, this was really fun.