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Gordon Hughes Industry Leader Retires from Serving the Pallet Industry
Strong leader in the Canadian and global pallet market retires from active service to the industry.

By Ed Brindley
Date Posted: 2/1/2018

After entering the pallet industry while still a young man, I had the true privilege of getting to know Gordon Hughes and his wife Barbara. I was wet behind the ears when it came to the pallet industry, and Gordon became a good friend and valuable resource.

From 1970 to 2009, Hughes led the Canadian Wood Pallet & Container Association (CWPCA) and worked tirelessly to advance the cause of the wood products sector in North America and around the globe. Along with this wife Barbara, Gordon Hughes put on some of the most memorable meetings in the pallet industry and worked to lobby for progressive changes and advances in the pallet industry.

Gordon recently announced that he is retiring from the industry on an active basis and will still do some consulting for customers. Over the last several years, Gordon has published an industry newsletter and market report focusing on issues from a Canadian perspective.

The CWPCA started in 1967 under the leadership of Howard Gribble. After he was transferred by the Confederation of Forest Industries of BC, Howard moved to England. Howard had gotten to know Gordon and developed an appreciation for his positive attitude and service focus.

Gordon first took over the helm of the CWPCA in 1970 at the young age of 25 years old. One key thing that stood out was Hughes’ tireless energy and hard work. He made a strong impact on the industry while working as a fire fighter, later rising to the rank of district chief, retiring after 32 years with the fire department in August 2004. He nurtured the CWPCA from its early status of 24 members (19 manufacturers and 5 associate members) to over 300 members by 2006.

Sandy Campbell, who was one of the early leaders in pallet machinery sales with Campbell Atlantic, remembers the impact of Gordon Hughes. He stated, “I have so much good to say about Gordon that I could talk all day. He was a hands-on person, not afraid to dig into anything he was asked to tackle…Gordon always had the industry at heart.”

After working with Gordon throughout my decades in the pallet industry, I agree with everything that Sandy had to say. Gordon worked actively with the pallet industry around the world, putting the CWPCA in the middle of international developments. He worked with the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association and the European association to found the World Pallet Council.

Over the years Gordon organized close to a dozen tours of international pallet companies. This included tours in: Italy, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland, Russia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.

When the phytosanitary issue surfaced at the beginning of this century, Gordon recognized the potential of this issue for our industry and led the charge. Sandy reminded me that Gordon represented the global wood pallet/packaging industry at the United Nations-IPPC meeting in Ottawa in June 2000. He pushed the CWPCA/ACMPC to become involved with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency-Forestry Division.

Sandy and I both remember the INTERPAL World Pallet Congress II in Ottawa in 1988 as one of Gordon’s greatest moments. This show stands out to both of us as one of the best industry meetings ever held. Almost 600 people from 28 countries attended.

Gordon resigned from his position as the general manager of the CWPCA in June of 2009. Since then he has written a newsletter every month for a number of clients around the world. This past December, Gordon wrote his last newsletter and is retiring from his leadership role in the pallet industry. He will continue to split his time between living in Canada and the United States. Gordon will still offer his expertise as a consultant to assist clients in the phytosanitary arena. If you want to wish Gordon well, he can be reached via email at ghughes@woodpackagingsolutions.ca.

Gordon has been a friend to our industry throughout his career. Our staff wants to thank Gordon and Barbara for your friendship and contribution to the global pallet industry.

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