Thank you, Jim and Gerry!
Jim is responsible for the FWPA Statistics and Economics Program, which aims to support the industry with informed decision-making, strategy and planning. Under Jim’s guidance, the program has helped to improve coordination and systems for the collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of crucial industry data relating to production and trade activity.
Jim has a background in economics and statistical analysis, as well as a long history in the forestry and wood products industry. Upon joining FWPA, he made it his mission to work collaboratively with industry in addressing limitations around available data, by encouraging more sharing of company statistics.
Thanks to Jim’s vision and hard work, industry members and key stakeholders are able to input their data into a confidential online portal. Once aggregated, this data provides a host of insights that are shared with the broader industry via the FWPA Statistics Data Dashboard, website and monthly Statistics Count newsletter. The information gathered covers market trends, changes in market segments, and tracking of activity levels in other sectors that may affect sales.
Jim has developed a program that offers immeasurable value to the industry, with 80 organisations now regularly contributing critical data towards the production of 15 data series. Meanwhile, Statistics Count is currently circulated to 721 industry members.
“It’s been incredibly satisfying to watch the program grow and evolve over the years, as an ever-increasing number of stakeholders develop an understanding of the value it provides,” said Houghton.
“It has been a pleasure to support an industry I’m passionate about in such a tangible way. I would like to thank my FWPA colleagues for all their support, and the industry for its enthusiasm in helping to make our approach to data aggregation so effective.”
The Mid-rise Advisory Program was established in 2017. In partnership with key industry sponsors, it engages and educates architects, engineers and builders to assist them in the design and construction of commercial timber buildings. The goal is to accelerate the adoption of timber in mid-rise construction.
Gerry has led the program since inception, assembling a team comprised of Australia’s leading technical specialists, with experience in architecture, structural engineering and costing.
With a long and respected career in construction, planning and architecture, Gerry’s solid reputation no doubt helped position the program as a credible source of meaningful information in its earliest days.
As a result of its work, the team has help steer the growth in the use of timber in mid-rise construction over the past three years. During the last financial year alone, they made approaches and/or provided advice on 249 mid-rise projects.
In 2019, the program received a show of support in the form of additional funding from industry partners. Thanks to this commitment, the team was able to extend its operations from just Victoria and Queensland, to also cover all east coast states, along with additional limited coverage for South Australia and West Australia — a great endorsement of the value the industry sees in the work of Gerry and the team.
“During my time with the Mid-rise Advisory Program I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the shift in understanding around what can be achieved by using timber in construction,” Neylan said.
“I have relished the opportunity to engage with the marketplace on issues such as social responsibility and sustainability, and constructing new projects more economically, quickly, quietly and safely.
“I would like to thank my fellow Mid-rise Advisory Program team members, and our industry partners for all their support. I will watch with keen interest as the program continues to inspire an ever-increasing uptake of timber systems in construction.”
Ric Sinclair, FWPA Managing Director, said Jim and Gerry have both played vital roles in driving countless FWPA achievements.
“The hugely positive impact of their work on the forestry and wood products sector cannot be overstated, and will be felt for years to come,” said Sinclai
“We thank them wholeheartedly for their many years of dedication to FWPA and their passion for the forestry industry.”
Two highly-regarded members of the FWPA family are moving a step closer towards a new stage in their working lives.
Jim Houghton, Statistics and Economics Manager at FWPA, and Gerard Neylan, Lead Program Development Manager at the Mid-rise Advisory Program, have become instrumental figures in their respective fields, responsible for countless successes and innovations. Now, they are reducing their commitments as they prepare to transition out of their roles.