Header: Header: Header:

Structurlam Looks To Reboot


The temporary closure of Structurlam Mass Timber’s Conway, Ark. cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glulam plant and the apparent severing of the plant’s relationship as a major supplier for Walmart’s new low carbon footprint and energy efficient corporate campus in nearby Bentonville marks yet another growing pain for an industry that’s just getting started realizing its amazing potential.

In 2019 Structurlam announced that the new campus project was to be fed by Structurlam’s new CLT facility that included a $90 million investment to upgrade a former steel mill and convert it to a CLT plant. Structurlam would become the “exclusive supplier of mass timber products” to the new Walmart home office campus, covering 350 acres, two million square feet of floor space and multiple office buildings.

The project moved along, and many were surprised in January this year when Structurlam officials announced the plant would be closing due to a “customer” contract cancellation and that there are no plans to enter into a new commercial agreement with the “customer.”

Structurlam CEO Matthew Karmel refers to it as a “commercial dispute, but we cannot discuss the specifics.” More specifically, according to a source in the CLT industry, the plant may have “overcommitted” to Walmart while dealing with startup issues, and there may have been dispute over product quality or composition. Following the 2021 bankruptcy of Katerra and its CLT plant in Spokane, Wash.—which set out to revolutionize the construction industry using pre-fab building and mass timber construction principles but couldn’t get out of its own way—the mass timber industry had re-gained the momentum, and is definitely expanding as designers, engineers and architects learn more about it.

Karmel says the state-of-the-art Conway plant has met the vigorous startup challenges “with flying colors—its cross-laminated timber and glulam production capabilities already exceed its plan objectives and its processes have been validated repeatedly by the APA to exceed U.S. regulatory standards.” Karmel adds that Structurlam is in a strong position to resume Conway operations and support new customers as the rapid growth of mass timber across North America continues to drive demand for manufacturing capacity.

In May 2022 Structurlam named Karmel as CEO. Prior to joining Structurlam, Karmel served as the CEO of Crenlo Engineered Cabs. Previously, he led other companies in North America and Europe in a broad range of industries, including Klenk Holz AG, the largest sawmills group in Germany, as the company’s CEO & Chairman. He earned a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering from Princeton University and completed a general-management executive program at INSEAD Business School in France.

Structurlam operates mass timber manufacturing operations at its home base in Penticton, BC.

Latest News

Vaagen Thanks Support For Midway Sawmill

The outpouring of support for Vaagen Fibre Canada’s Midway, BC sawmill, upon the early January Vaagen family announcement of the mill’s impending closure, was substantial, but apparently hasn’t changed the disappointing outcome, at least for now. The Vaagen family, whose Vaagen Brothers Lumber headquarters and sawmill is in Colville, Wash., announced on…

Mercer Gains Mass Timber Contract

Mercer International Inc. reported it has signed its first major mass timber project contract with a large consumer products retailer. The project, which is composed of cross-laminated timber panels, glue-laminated beams and connector elements, is expected to utilize four months of capacity at Mercer’s Spokane, Wash. facility on a one-shift basis over the course of 2023…

U.S. Housing Starts Rebound In February

U.S. housing starts brushed off a sluggish January and reached a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.45 million in February, up 9.8% over January. Single-family starts were 830,000, a percent above January, while multi-family (five units or more) were at 608,000, up a whopping 24% over January. The uptick in February broke a four-consecutive monthly decline for the combined starts…

Cooper Machine Partners With EWD

Cooper Machine Co., a long-established manufacturer of quality sawmill equipment located in Wadley, Ga., announced that it is partnering with German-based sawmill machine manufacturer EWD Sagetechnik. Cooper Machine has been offering equipment for sawmill, pallet, and post and pole mills since 1965. The company is in its third generation of successful management…

Find Us On Social


The monthly Timber Processing Industry Newsletter reaches over 4,000 mill owners and supervisors.



Timber Processing is delivered 10 times per year to subscribers who represent sawmill ownership, management and supervisory personnel and corporate executives. Subscriptions are FREE to qualified individuals.


Complete the online form so we can direct you to the appropriate Sales Representative.