CAWP Associates

In addition to our own staff and members of other UBC units, CAWP draws from the expertise of a wide group of associates to deliver training and technical services to the wood products manufacturing industry. A few of these associates are listed below.

Barbara Bell, Formativ Design

Barbara Bell is an educator and industrial designer specialising in furniture and wood products who operates her own freelance design company as well as consulting to manufacturers on design and product development. Barbara teaches the New Product Development Module in the WMC Management Skills Training Program. She has also worked with CAWP on several product development projects and spoken on design and product development at a number of CAWP events.

Robert Bird, RGB Consulting

Robert Bird is a business advisor with many years of experience in BC’s value-added industry. Bob has managed the production in wood processing factories manufacturing residential, industrial, architectural and stile and rail doors, prefinished mouldings, and hardwood plywood as well as managing the production, and partner, in a large furniture manufacturing factory using state of the art equipment. He has managed the processes from kiln drying, optimizing cut lines, laminating, sizing, drilling, assembly through to lacquering and packaging. He is very  knowledgeable about wood manufacturing equipment, both European and North American, which is used and available to the BC VA industry.

He has been very active in creating training programs, both at his facilities and other manufacturing facilities throughout BC. As well as co-chairing and presenting at Forest Products Society Kiln Conferences, he has spoken at many International Wood Conferences. He has been a major player in the education of students, high school through to university and the creation of CAWP. He specializes in improvements in Safety, Quality, Kiln Drying and throughput in the manufacturing process.

Brian Ehrecke, 360 CI Services

Brian is an experienced supervisor/manager in the manufacturing sector, with over 30 years in the industry. He has been a former business owner and was an Industry Advisor in the wood product sector for 10 years– training and coaching continuous improvement principles to companies throughout British Columbia.
He is a Training Within Industry certified trainer, as well as a Lean practitioner and student.

He is skilled in assessing business processes to identify efficiency, quality, and productivity improvement opportunities. He has 15 years of experience in utilizing Lean management principles, methods and tools. He has coached and mentored small businesses from the factory floor to the office in implementing continuous improvement and use of Lean tools.

His knowledge base includes:

  • Continuous Improvement Principles, Lean Manufacturing Principles, and Quality Management.
  • Leadership, Supervision, Production management, Problem solving,
  • Purchasing, Budgeting, Basic accounting, Customer service.
  • Wide Belt Sanding Principles.
  • WorkSafe – understanding requirements and a participant in safety committees

Dave Scholte, DMS Consulting

Dave Scholte is an industry recognized lumber drying specialist, with over three decades of experience in lumber drying across North America. Dave began as an kiln operator, moving through quality control and production planning in both value added and sawmill environments. Dave has been the key instructor for the Kiln Certificate program offered through the Centre of Advanced Wood Processing (CAWP) at UBC. Dave has been responsible for the development and delivery of the programs and course materials. In addition to training kiln staff Dave provides support to companies with kiln operation assessment, kiln repairs, and new kiln installation. Dave provides in-house training in conjunction with kiln operation support.

Dave has been associated with CAWP since its inception; this involvement has included participating in education programs targeting high school leading to post-secondary. During this time Dave developed on-line course materials for BCIT Wood program. Dave has spoken at numerous Industry specific programs on the topic of lumber drying including the Portland Wood show and Forest Products Society Lumber Drying conference. In addition to his years of kiln operating experience Dave holds a Master’s Degree in Learning and Technology from Royal Roads University.

Norm Starling, BEST Solutions

Norm Starling is a business advisor with extensive experience in the B.C. value-added wood industry.  His qualifications include a Higher Diploma in Mechanical engineering from the University of West of England.  Norm has expertise in marketing, product development, efficient management systems, quality and process control, safety and standard operating procedures.

During his career, Norm has assisted secondary wood manufacturers, structural engineers, food processors, and machine contractors.  Norm’s experience includes the following:

  • Turn around of a kitchen cabinet plant from significant losses to significant profits in 8 months through improved management systems and purchasing procedures.
  • Furniture plant improvements leading to labour savings of over 35% through process and quality control system implementation.
  • Re-engineered furniture plant taking it from an inventory based process with little ability to alter products to an efficient on demand plant capable of producing custom products within 3 weeks.
  • Turned a wood door plant from losses to profit in 4 months whilst also developing new products that enabled the company to be more competitive. Implemented Standard Operating Procedures leading to FSC certification.
  • Evaluated businesses through all activities in order to allow them to plan for growth in an export market.
  • Designed and patented an engineered wood beam together with the process. The beam appeared to be solid sawn but was dry and made from mill recovery material.
  • Worked with over 80 companies in BC with average productivity improvements of approximately 25-30%.
  • Owned and operated a high end furniture and cabinet plant in Europe.