Rewind and Reflect: AIFP Highlights from 2023

company culture

What a year! 2023 had a lot to offer: from eight new team members and a new CEO to tons of hard work, fun, and team bonding. Here are some of the highlights from our year!

Celebrating the End of an Era and New Beginnings at AIFP & FCTG

After 40+ years, Craig Johnston retires from his position as CEO of our AIFP’s parent company, Forest City Trading Group (FCTG), North America’s largest wholesale lumber products distributor. During Johnston’s tenure, FCTG became an employee-owned powerhouse in the building materials industry. In fact, one in every ten houses in the U.S. is built using FCTG’s products. While he’ll be stepping down from his role as CEO, Johnston will continue to share his wisdom and business acumen.

Craig Johnston (left) retires from his position as CEO of our AIFP’s parent company, Forest City Trading Group (FCTG).

While we’re sad to see Johnston go, we couldn’t be more excited to be lead into the future by Derrick Coder. Coder started at FCTG as the Chief Financial Officer in 2007. Since then, he’s served as Chief Operating Officer and President of FCTG, proving again and again his strong leadership skills and financial expertise.

Craig Johnston retires from his position as CEO of our AIFP’s parent company, Forest City Trading Group (FCTG).

AIFP Continues to Grow our Team with 3 New Traders and 5 New Admin Team Members

Six of our eight new hires for 2023 stand in front of the AIFP offices.

In 2023, AIFP welcomed three new traders to our team: Ben Ailstock, Jake Rudolph, and Jael Stein. Because our paid apprenticeship program provides all of the training you need to succeed, we’re able to welcome trainees from many different backgrounds, including graduates right out of college and more seasoned workers looking to make a career change. Jael Stein, for example, comes from a 20-year stint in the financial industry.

We also couldn’t be more appreciative of our admin staff, who offer valuable support that keeps our business running smoothly. This year we hired six new admin team members, including John Herbert: Inventory Financial Operations Manager, Tom Djergain: Import Assistant, Mina Nguyen: Steel Admin Assistant, Nate Post: Inventory Coordinator, and Nicole Nikolas: Executive Assistant. Their roles cover everything from offering admin support to traders to ensuring timely delivery of building materials, and we’re lucky to have each and every one of them on our team.

AIFP Team Milestones

AIFP team members are thriving in more areas than just work! In fact, two of our traders welcomed children this year. Panel Trader, Alex Schilling and his wife welcomed their first child, baby boy Cash, while Nick Baumann, an Import Admin, welcomed their second child, baby girl Hailey. Parker Riser, one of our Southern Yellow Pine Traders, also purchased his first home with his fiancé.

AIFP Continues to Recognize Hard Work

At AIFP, we believe in the importance of recognizing hard work. Whether it’s celebrating our team members with milestone anniversaries, sending our Gold Traders on a trip to Cabo, or planning a fun weekend retreat for our admin team, we do everything we can to honor the hard work, effort, and determination we see in our employees every single day.

Our gold traders and their guests enjoy a fun trip to Cabo celebrating their amazing sales records for 2022.
The AIFP Admin team enjoys their annual retreat.
AIFP celebrates 2023’s Georgia Hale Award Winner, Tami Bolton
Kiyo celebrates 35 years at AIFP.
Bruce Hallvik celebrates 35 years at AIFP
Debbie Cox Taylor celebrates 25 years at AIFP.
Georgia Hale Award Winner Tami Bolton celebrates 20 years at AIFP.
Sheryl Christmas celebrates 10 years at AIFP.
Jamie Omura celebrates 10 years at AIFP.
Kyle McWhirter celebrates 10 years at AIFP.

AIFP Visits Suppliers, Customers, and Conferences

At AIFP, we believe that our job is building relationships, which is why we love the opportunity to visit our customers and suppliers wherever they are, including at industry conferences across the country.

Several of our traders attended the Building Component Manufacturer’s Conference in Indianapolis.
Billy Culver, Head of the European Department, visits overseas suppliers in Austria and Germany

Matthew Sahebi, a trader in the Panels Department, visits Lumin, one of our suppliers in Uruguay.
Ben Ailstock, Anouson Keobounnam, Dylan Conway, Connor Bryson, and Trevor McNeish attend the North American
Wholesale Lumber Association (NAWLA) Wood Basics Event.
John Owens, Head of Trucking and Transportation, and our Import/Export Assistant Nick Baumann
visit some of our east coast partners.

AIFP Gives Back to the Community

Our community goes beyond AIFP. That’s why we’re always looking for ways to give back to our local nonprofits. Whether it’s hosting a BBQ for our friends at St. Mary’s Home for Boys or hosting a workshop for the Oregon State University Sales Academy, we’re happy to provide value for our community all year long.

Donation Drive for Outside In and Gift Drive for St. Mary’s Home for Boys
AIFP team members help support one of our own traders, Scott Valenkamph in his mom's cancer foundation memorial
golf event.
Ken Timmins, Ben Rist, Scott Valenkamph, and Daniel Rodriguez at the Riverhawk Baseball
Academy Fundraiser Golf Tournament.
Industrial Low Grade Trader Daniel Rodriguez speaks at the OSU Student Leadership Conference.
AIFP hosts an outdoor BBQ for the kids at St. Mary’s Home for Boys.
AIFP hosts Oregon State University Sales Academy Workshop.
Matthew Sahebi, Scott Valenkamph, Trevor McNeish, Jeff Hoggard, Ken Timmins,
Connor Bryson, and Daniel Rodriguez represent AIFP and FCTG at the annual Hoo-Hoo
International Golf Tournament.

AIFP Celebrates Holiday Traditions

Our Work Hard Play Hard company culture means we’re all about celebrating with the team throughout the year. From our Pi Day desserts to decorating the office for Christmas with the team, you’ll catch us celebrating whatever we can.

The AIFP team celebrates Pi Day with some delicious pies.
The AIFP team celebrates Halloween with fun costumes, including Waldo, Thing 1 & 2, and the Average Joe’s dodgeball team.
The AIFP team receive complimentary turkeys to feed their families on Thanksgiving.
AIFP president John Vranizan hands out holiday wreaths to the team.
The AIFP team decorates the office for Christmas.
Santa Claus stops by to visit AIFP team members and their children.

AIFP Takes Team Bonding to the Next Level

It’s not just holidays! At AIFP, we understand the importance of team bonding. Whether it’s hitting the links with the team or having a tailgate lunch for the Super Bowl, we love spending time together outside of the office.

The AIFP heads outside for a lunchtime tailgate to get ready for the Super Bowl.
The AIFP team tees off for a well-deserved day of rest, fun, and team bonding.
The AIFP team enjoys a game of cornhole during a company BBQ.
AIFP traders enjoy a weekend of camping at Detroit Lake.
AIFP team enjoys some Kona Ice on a hot summer day at the office.
The AIFP team stops by Top Golf for some friendly competition.

Looking for a sales job at one of the best places to work in Portland, Oregon? Look no further than a commodity trading career at AIFP!

Hoping to partner with a wholesale lumber supplier? Whether you’re a building materials supplier in need of offloading stock or a consumer looking for lumber and steel products, contact our knowledgeable traders today so they can help your business thrive.

In the meantime, check out our blog where we cover everything from what AIFP traders think you should know about paid trader training program to the answers to your frequently asked questions about pressure-treated wood. As amazing as 2023 was, we’re already so excited to see what 2024 has to offer!

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