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Page 12 of 45 PalletCentral • November-December 2018 11 visit was being able to talk with their employees and hear from them directly." Wilson added that Byrne "is definitely a friend to small business. He is big on supporting small businesses, on reducing regulations and getting good state and federal tax reductions which are all benefits to small business." After practicing law in Mobile for more than 30 years, Byrne entered public service when in 1994 he was elected to the Alabama State Board of Education. He was then reelected in 1998. In 2002, and again in 2006, he was elected to the Alabama State Senate representing District 32. And in 2007 Byrne was elected Chancellor of the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education overseeing the state's two-year college system. The congressman is considered a fiscal conservative. His work in Washington, D.C. includes holding bureaucrats accountable to reduce federal spending. In Alabama, Byrne said he hears a lot from his constituents about the need for regulatory and tax reforms. "I strongly support rolling back burdensome regulations that neither serve a purpose nor make the workplace safer," Byrne said. "I was proud to support the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which lowered taxes for businesses in our area and made it easier for them to grow and invest in their workforce. I make it a priority to listen to the business owners and employees in my district about ways federal policies and laws can better work for them." While Alabama's 1st District includes the fast-growing Port of Mobile and businesses building world-class U.S. Navy ships at Austal USA and Airbus jets at Brookley Aeroplex, both in Mobile, the district is diverse and includes many small operations along the lines of Bay Wood Products. "We don't have a lot of massive, large-scale companies in Southeast Alabama," Byrne said. "Our local economy is largely powered by small and family-owned businesses, which are not only key economic powers but also great community partners." Looking back to his visit to Bay Wood Products, Byrne believes that wood pallet companies are a good indication of the health of the economy in general because "when these companies are busy, that tends to indicate that other businesses in our area and across the country are booming. There is a strong relationship between wood pallet companies and other businesses, so it serves a very clear indication of overall economic health." As for the issues which affect the pallet industry – and really all small business – Byrne noted the importance of improving workforce training to ensure an adequate workforce for the future. He added that more investment is needed in career/technical education at the community college level. He also said that improvements to the health care affordability and accessibility in rural areas is critical. "Additionally, as manufacturing continues to grow, we cannot lose sight of the critical role agriculture and forestry play in our state and nation," Byrne added. "We must support our farmers and foresters and ensure that our federal policies are supporting an industry that isn't like any other industry." These are all issues which Wilson said are critical to pallet company success, especially those involving forestry which includes the wood pallet industry. Bay Wood Products, founded in 1994, employs more than 120 employees, has $20 million in annual sales, and recycles up to 60 tons of wood scraps daily. Wilson said he sources his wood from Alabama, Mississippi and Northwest Florida. About 95 percent of the wood is southern yellow pine and the rest is hardwood. Approximately 80 percent of the business is new pallets, 10 percent is repair work and the rest is cut-to-size lumber. NWPCA is glad to have friends like U.S. Representative Bradley Byrnes in Congress, and congratulate him on his recent re-election win in this last election. PC "There is a strong relationship between wood pallet companies and other businesses, so it ser ves a ver y clear indication of overall economic health."

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