May-June 2023

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12 PalletCentral • May-June 2023 POLICY PLAY AT I n the arid expanses of Houston, Cottondale Wood Products emerges as an industrial oasis. e harsh, dry heat in the air is alleviated within the sheltered giant Cottondale warehouse, courtesy of high-capacity fans swishing overhead. As a recent addition to the landscape in 2020, the facility is a testament to modernization with its advanced operations. Row upon row of lumber stack around the core of the warehouse, several machines designed to process 100,000 pallets weekly. is remarkable setup impressed the public affairs team and left a distinct impression on the distinguished guest, Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne (R-TX), who seemed surprised by the scale of wood pallet manufacturing. A subsidiary of Hinton Lumber Products (HLP), Cottondale Wood Products is a woman-owned enterprise with roots in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Its manufacturing footprint extends to La Porte, Texas, where combined with the Tuscaloosa facility, it builds 200,000 pallets weekly. is adds up to an impressive annual production of over 10 million pallets. Exploring Manufacturing and Small Business Success U.S. Representative Van Duyne Visits Cottondale Wood Products. By Hallie Fuchs Congresswoman Van Duyne, nicknamed the "Guardian of Small Business" in Congress and a seasoned member of the 118th Congress, expressed her delight at touring the Hinton Lumber facility. "I am thrilled to be visiting the Hinton Lumber facility in La Porte because there is no substitute for hearing directly from American manufacturers and seeing their operations first-hand," she said. Her tour was led by Larry and Hinton Howell, the respective president and COO of Hinton Lumber Products, and included NWPCA staff Jason Ortega, vice president of public affairs, and Hallie Fuchs, manager of public affairs. e Howells took the Congresswoman on a comprehensive walkthrough of the facility and a discussion on the issues confronting small businesses in Texas. HLP employs 250 skilled associates adept at producing these pallets in a cost-effective, sustainable, and reliable production process. As longtime NWPCA members, the Howell's view participating in the association and engaging in its public affairs efforts as critical. "e greatest change for the industry over the next ten years will be automation, sustainability, increased need for a circular economy and regulation," said Hinton Howell. Tackling those challenges requires robust public affairs in the halls of Congress and outreach to key external stakeholders. Building relationships with Members of Congress and showcasing the industry through congressional plant tours is essential to those efforts. e NWPCA team deeply appreciates generous members like the Howells for using their facilities as educational resources. Get to know U.S. Representative Beth Van Duyne (R-TX) What led you to run for Congress? Following the retirement of our longtime member of Congress, I wanted to ensure our region of North Texas was represented by a limited government conservative who could deliver solutions to empower economic growth for our hard- working families and small businesses. What are the top concerns you hear from constituents in your district, particularly small business owners? Since the start of the Biden Administration, the top concerns I repeatedly hear about are increasing federal regulations that drive up costs and harm productivity, lack of available workforce due to the government paying people to stay home, and the threat of higher taxes, making business planning more difficult. What kind of policies do you think are most helpful in promoting the growth of small businesses in your district and across the country? e federal government should adopt the Texas model of lower taxes, light regulation, From left: NWPCA Vice President of Public Affairs Jason Ortega, Larry Howell, president, Hinton Lumber Products, Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne (R-TX), Hinton Howell, COO, Hinton Lumber Products and Lorenzo SanMiguel, general manager, Hinton Lumber Products, on a congressional facility tour at Cottondale Wood Products in La Porte, TX.

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