At AIFP, we have the largest trading floor in North America, and our team of lumber traders are committed to pairing high-quality building materials with the customers who need them most. In today’s blog, we’re introducing you to some of our all-star traders so you can better understand what goes into lumber trading at AIFP.
Jeff Hoggard started his career at AIFP in 2012, after graduating from University of Oregon and working in construction marketing. His current expertise includes US, Canadian, and European lumbers and studs, as well as machine stress rated lumber.
“I would say my favorite aspect of trading US lumber are the relationships that we create. We use the word “partners” to describe our connections with our mills, customers, and colleagues on the floor, because it’s truly what we are striving for—partnerships.”
“The biggest challenge of trading the US lumber species is really the competition. We live in the northwest, which is still one of the largest fiber baskets in the country. With that being said, there are a multitude of competitors, from the distribution and wholesale levels.”
“Days consist of working with my partners on both the mill and customer sides to determine their needs and (ideally) match them up, to ensure our continued growth with both.”
Mason Virnig started his career after graduating from Oregon State University with a degree in Business Management and a minor in Asian Languages & Cultures. His current expertise includes specialty trim studs, machine stress rated lumber, and structural light framing and studs.
“The unique joys are the cool perks that come with building sales relationships. The key to trading well in the US row is face-to-face interactions and legitimately caring about your customer. With that comes some really fun times. The key is to find your partnerships in the lumber industry and have fun with them.”
“The unique challenges of US lumber trading are probably no different than other trading jobs. I would say the main difficulty is communication between different generations and personality types. It can be difficult to get everyone on the same page.”
“Essentially, the day can be condensed down into getting into the office and getting coffee, opening the inventory, getting applications running, and making sales calls for 7-10 hours.
The whole day consists of problem solving, relationship building, leadership sales, closing, and adapting to different personality types. It is very dynamic and challenging but it also allows for a lot of freedom.”
Ken Timmins came up through our trader training program after graduating from University of Oregon with a B.S. in Economics and Business Management. Not only does he diligently study market trends, but he also loves reading books to further hone his sales skills.
“The diverse customer base makes trading US species very enjoyable. You get to work with a wide array of customers who are looking to buy wood, from fast-paced East Coasters and relaxed Californians to everyone in between.”
“US Lumber Species (Douglas Fir / Hem Fir / White Fir) are unique due to tightness of supply – especially with declining yield out of traditional supply avenues, i.e. British Columbia. The end product is superior to all substitute products and the lumber prices reflect the demand.”
“Every day, we’re analyzing market trends and coupling opportunities with customer buying strategies. We inform our partners of the information vital to the profitability of their livelihood.” Looking for a career in commodity trading? We’re hiring. Check out our blog to learn more about our company culture and what we’re looking for in a lumber trader. Apply today to start your career at one of the best places to work in Oregon!
Up for the challenge? We'll give you the tools to excel. AIFP is continually growing. We recruit new traders year-round.
There is no substitute for hard work. If you really want to make and run a business here, you have all the tools available to you here.Billy Culver Trader, European Products Department Head
I really enjoy the freedom to create your own customer base and build a business trading the products you want to trade. While being the hardest thing I have ever done, being a trader has also been the most rewarding!Alex Schilling Trader