CTI Blog - “A Day in the Woods”, an inspiring event
This blog post is by Benedetto Antuono, CTI Communications Coordinator
Some stories are really worth telling. And James Latham Ltd is one of these. Established in 1757, member of the TTF, it is one of the leading importers and distributors of softwood and hardwood in the UK, and last week was named TTJ Timber Trader of the Year for the 6th year in a row.
I met Chris Sutton, James Latham Managing Director, during the TTJ awards on 24 September in London Visibly excited, he received the Award from Dirk Vennix, CTI Chief Executive, and few hours later he drove back to Leicester to tie up some loose ends for the company suppliers’ event, significantly named “A day in the woods”.
The day after, I met Chris again in Nanpantan, Leicestershire. The elegant businessman seen at the Landmark Hotel now wore a Rugby sweatshirt, blue jeans and boots. Standing in the information point in the National Forest, he was explaining to his guests the meaning of “A day in the woods”.
“We are happy to be here again”, said Chris. “Our partnership with the National Forest goes back to 2007 when we planted 250 trees to mark our 250th anniversary. In 2012, we planted other 60 trees for the Jubilee and we will renew the agreement again”.
“As you know, this event celebrates the relationship between James Latham and the National Forest, one of the greatest regeneration projects in the UK with over 8 million trees planted, but today we are also here to practise some good “team building” in the open air. You won’t regret it”!
As on Thursday, the audience was made of influential representatives of the UK Timber Industry but, this time, all of them, a group of 16 ladies and gentlemen, wore frayed pants, lumberjack shirts and old shoes.
20 minutes later I discovered why.
We went to a sustainably managed wood nearby, and quickly we started to clean the area from infesting bushes and small trees. Equipped with pruners and hacksaws, we worked for nearly 2 hours under the sunshine in teams of three labourers. It was great to see Directors, Managers and CEOs from all across the Timber Supply Chain, sometimes competitors sometimes allies, collaborating and sweating side by side, to achieve the same objective.
Around lunch time, the area already looked much more orderly with the new-planted birches and spruces in row. We could even catch a glimpse of the end of the wood in the distance.
Suddenly I stopped and wondered. “That’s a great metaphor”, I realised. “Apparently in a well-managed forest, you can see both the trees and the wood at the same time! If we just exported this model to our Industry, working in the same direction and combining different interests, expertise and opinions, we could really achieve big targets”!
Exactly what the CTI is doing.
“Thanks Chris, that’s an inspiring day”, I said. And I smiled.
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