IFG Asset Management is Pleased to Announce Managing Partner, Eric Edwards will be a Panelist at the International Mass Timber Conference

Policy, Incentives, Finance, and Market Development: How to Stimulate Mass Timber’s Growth

Tuesday, March 28th

Track 2 – D Meeting Rooms

10:30am – 12:00pm

Sponsored by Seagate Mass Timber


Moderator: Sandra Lupien – Director, MassTimber@MSU, Michigan State University
After working in the non-profit and public sectors for nearly two decades, Sandra Lupien caught the mass timber bug while pursuing a mid-career climate-solutions-focused Master of Public Policy at University of California, Berkeley. Her thesis, which explored ways California could remove the barriers to the manufacture and adoption of mass timber in order to create climate-smart markets and end-uses for “low-value” dead and green trees from over-dense California forests, ultimately led Sandra to her position as Director, MassTimber@MSU. Immediately before joining Michigan State University in July of 2021, Sandra served as Deputy Director, External Affairs and Communications, in the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research/California Strategic Growth Council (appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom). Through MassTimber@MSU, Sandra collaborates with MSU faculty; stakeholders in government, the AEC, real estate development, and forest products industries; and anyone else who is game to harness research, education, outreach and engagement, and policy to advance sustainable mass timber construction and manufacture in Michigan and the surrounding Great Lakes Region. She is always happy to talk about the mass timber momentum building in Michigan. Sandra is proud to serve on the 2023 International Mass Timber Conference Committee.


Presentation #1: An Overview of the Financing Environment for Mass Timber

Eric will discuss IFG’s view on the financing environment for mass timber with a focus on strategies to finance early-stage growth through plant construction, plant expansion, and multi-plant rollouts, as well as the importance of the larger mass timber supply chain. Eric will address the importance of the mass timber ESG-story as it relates to sustainable forest management, fire mitigation, carbon sequestration, and the emerging state of carbon credits. Eric will cover the current state of mass timber projects across North America leveraging data from Woodworks and other industry groups to highlight the accelerating demand for mass timber construction that is increasing the need for mass timber manufacturing capacity and driving demand from a more diverse landscape of capital providers with an increased appetite to participate in financing the expansion of the North American mass timber industry.

Eric Edwards – Managing Partner, IFG Asset Management
IFG Asset Management is a boutique Investment Banking Advisory, Merchant Banking, and Asset Management platform with a focus on the private Real Assets sector and has been actively engaged in advising the Mass Timber industry since 2016. IFG pursues a unique strategy where it serves as a trusted advisor in a variety of transactions, including debt & equity capital raises and mergers & acquisitions, while also looking for opportunities to co-invest in our clients for long-term value-add and alignment of interests. IFG is proud to serve as exclusive financial advisor to Colville, Washington-based Vaagen Timbers. Eric Edwards is a Managing Partner of IFG and leads the Firm’s Investment Banking Advisory and Merchant Banking activities where his primary responsibilities include due diligence, underwriting, structuring, and originating transactions. Eric also has responsibility for the Firm’s existing portfolio investments which require routine interactions with portfolio company management, board of directors, co-investors, and other stakeholders.


Presentation #2: Linking Climate-Smart Forestry and Mass Timber Construction: A Win for Forests & Cities

A focus on sustainability is driving interest in mass timber and putting questions about sustainable sourcing front and center. We can accelerate adoption of mass timber construction and the ensuing climate benefits by linking it with climate-friendly forestry practices and building a community around the common goal of climate action through forestry and tall wood construction. This presentation will describe New England Forestry Foundation’s approach, as a model for how we can advance these goals by engaging a broad array of stakeholders from different segments of the value chain—from those that grow and harvest the trees (landowners, loggers, foresters, conservation groups) and build the materials and buildings (manufacturers, architects, engineers) to those who are shaping the future of how we will live in the built environment. In addition to developing sourcing tools and guidelines, this work includes strategic communications and outreach to increase awareness about the benefits of mass timber and the value of moving to a more sustainable bioeconomy that uses forest products and other renewable materials. Cross-sector collaboration is the key to success and inspiring a positive message of common ground between rural and urban communities.

Jennifer Shakun – Forest Bioeconomy Initiative Director, New England Forestry Foundation
Jennifer leads New England Forestry Foundation’s work to develop the forest-based bioeconomy in New England—promoting wood-based materials as a lower carbon, ecologically sound alternative, sourced from climate-beneficial forestry practices. She advances this work through science, program implementation, outreach and strategic partnerships along the forest products supply chain. Before joining NEFF in fall 2019, she was an Applied Forest Scientist at Manomet working with large landowners to reduce climate-related risk in North American forests. Prior to that, she was a Project Manager at INRS, LLC, working on wood energy, resource sustainability, and landowner outreach. Jennifer has a B.S. in Biology from Saint Michael’s College and dual master’s degrees in Forestry and Environmental Management from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. She is also a Certified Forester.


Presentation #3: From Niche to Mainstream: BC’s Mass Timber Action Plan

Launched in April 2022, British Columbia’s Mass Timber Action Plan will leverage this new construction technology to maximize benefits for people, the economy, and the climate. This Plan builds on BC’s reputation as an early mover and innovator in wood-based building construction. What role can a government play to accelerate the transition of mass timber building construction from the niche activity it is today to a mainstream one? How can actions be mobilized across departments to ensure the whole of all actions is greater than the sum of individual parts? How does good governance impact this emerging sector’s growth through a combination of leading, following and sometimes just getting out of the way? Jarrett Hutchinson is the Executive Director of BC’s newly created Office of Mass Timber Implementation. This Office has been established as a leadership hub to coordinate and leverage authorities and responsibilities across BC’s provincial government to advance the Plan. He will describe the impacts the Plan is having and what work is still needed as BC continues to position itself as a leading mass timber friendly jurisdiction.

Jarrett Hutchinson – Executive Director, Office of Mass Timber Implementation, Province of British Columbia
Jarrett Hutchinson is the Executive Director of the Office of Mass Timber Implementation with the Province of British Columbia on the west coast of Canada. He has been instrumental in advancing the use of mass timber. Highlights include creating the Building Code that allowed the 18-storey Brock Commons student residence at the University of British Columbia in 2015, and more recently, developing B.C.’s Mass Timber Action Plan which was released in 2022. Throughout his career, Jarrett has held leadership roles in the development, application and enforcement of codes, standards and built environment policies locally, provincially, nationally and internationally.


Presentation #4: Financing Mass Timber Projects Through Insured Carbon Offsets

This presentation will illustrate how AEC firms and builders can help finance mass timber projects by utilizing insured carbon offsets. Aureus Earth is dedicated to monetizing the built environment’s ability to combat climate change. In September 2022 Aureus Earth and the University of Washington complete the first carbon offset transaction based on mass timber construction. Utilizing a technical steering committee of embodied carbon experts in the built environment, Aureus Earth developed the world’s first Mass Timber Building Carbon Offset Methodology, which was then piloted in partnership with the University of Washington’s new Founder’s Hall. The presentation will highlight this ground-breaking transaction, explain the benefits of mass timber-based offsets, and outline program eligibility requirements for new building projects.

Sal Barnes – CEO and Co-Founder, Aureus Earth
Salmeron (Sal) Barnes is Cofounder and CEO of Aureus Earth (AE). Aureus Earth is accelerating decarbonization in the construction industry by reducing the existing green premium between the cost of traditional building materials and low-carbon and carbon-storing alternatives. The company offers a groundbreaking portfolio of financial instruments that incentivizes the use of climate-positive building materials in large-scale commercial, institutional, and residential construction. Together with our industry partners, Aureus Earth creates and monetizes building-based carbon offsets for use in carbon offsetting or carbon offsetting programs. Based in Boulder, Colorado, Aureus Earth is led by a multidisciplinary team of experts in engineering, materials science, resource development, and corporate strategy consulting.

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