Speakers' Biography

Update as at Aug 10, 2022

 David WhittenDavid Whitten
American Hardwood Export Council (USA)

David began his US wood career at the WCVTI Wood Harvesting vocational school in Calais Maine in 1978. He worked as a journeyman logger in northern Maine, in New York’s Adirondacks and in the rocky mountains of Wyoming. David and partners established a small logging and sawmill company named New Age Wood Harvesting in western New York in 1981 to promote sustainable harvesting, timber stand improvement and creative wood products utilization.

Upon graduating from the NHLA Inspection class #100 in December 1989, David went to work for Bingaman and Son Lumber in Pennsylvania as Export Sales Manager in 1990, where he remains happily as Director of Exports to this day.

Bingaman and Son Lumber owns five production locations in Pennsylvania and operates with associate producers in other States as well.

Bingaman supports many US and international wood products associations, including AHEC where David has been on the board of directors for many years.

David appreciates the opportunity to listen to the many intelligent and good people of the Asian wood products industry and hopes to learn at this conference how each of us can help one another navigate the changing business landscape.

 Michael SnowMichael Snow
Executive Director,
American Hardwood Export Council (USA)

Michael Snow has been the Executive Director of the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) since 1999, and was previously AHEC’s Program Manager with primary responsibilities of Europe, Southeast Asia and Greater China programs.

Prior to joining AHEC, Michael spent six years in Spain teaching International Economics in English and Spanish for a joint University of Wisconsin / University of Seville program, and worked as a consultant on international education outreach programs for the National Geographic Society and the Smithsonian Associates.

Michael holds a Master Degree in International Economics from the George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Developmental Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Tripp PryorTripp Pryor
International Program Manager,
American Hardwood Export Council (USA)

Tripp Pryor joined the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) as International Program Manager in 2015 and is responsible for identifying emerging markets and developing marketing strategies with AHEC’s 5 international offices. With AHEC, Tripp has traveled extensively to organize pavilions and marketing events in more than 20 countries.

Tripp grew up in the hardwood industry, and his first job was at a lumberyard in his home town near Asheville, NC. Before joining AHEC, he completed his master’s degree in International Business from the University of South Carolina. As an undergrad, Pryor was part of a program through the University of South Carolina where he spent two years studying at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he majored in International Business and Marketing and learned Mandarin Chinese. He currently lives in Fairfax, Virginia with his wife Nathalie, their son Ezra, and their retired racing greyhound, Zero.

Jiro Jirawat TangkijngamwongJiro Jirawat Tangkijngamwong
Chairman of the Thai Furniture Association (Thailand)
Chairman of the Thai Timber Association (Thailand)
Chairman of the Trade Associations in Lifestyle and Design, Chamber of Commerce (Thailand)
Director at Deesawat Industries Co.,Ltd and Deesawat Design Co.,ltd and Newsawat Sawmill Ltd partnership (Thailand)

Jirawat has been at the forefront of furniture and spatial design for more than 20 years and has worked tirelessly to promote the Thai furniture and timber industries throughout his career. His company, Deesawat, designs and manufactures its own line of timber doors, flooring and furniture. It has won a number of prestigious international design awards including the D Mark award from DITP Department of international trade promotion in Thailand, and G Mark award of the Good Design Award from the Japan Institute of Design Promotion. Deesawat is committed to sustainability, its factory is an accredited green manufacturing facility and only uses wood which is certified to be legal and sustainable.

Jirawat regularly advises Royal Thai Forest Department on legal and regulatory changes and has been instrumental in developing the Thai legality assurance system regulating imports.

Jirawat holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Assumption University (Thailand), a Master’s Degree in Business Management from University of Hawaii (USA) and a diploma in Forestry Management. He has also pursued further studies in product and interior design and got the Diploma of joint program of Chanapatana Institute and Italiana Accademia.

Nong ChotipatoomwanNong Chotipatoomwan
Designer (Thailand)

Nong Chotipatoomwan is a Bangkok-based designer with a desire to create better products and experiences with everyday objects. Her approach to design is a reflection that considers form with practicality, experiences, and an understanding of contemporary life. Trained as an industrial designer from RISD and RCA, her interest in creating holistic experiences has inspired her to work in fashion, furniture, lighting, and spatial design. Her graduation project 'Landing Space' has been long-listed for Dezeen Awards in 2018, shortlisted for the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation Award 2017 and she was featured on Sight Unseen as one of the ‘Talents to watch for 2017’.

Dana SpessertDana Spessert
Chief Inspector and Dean of Education of Grading School
National Hardwood Lumber Association (USA)

Dana Spessert has served as the Chief Inspector of the National Hardwood Lumber Association since September 2010 where his responsibilities range from managing a staff of 7 inspectors to rules interpretations. Dana has travelled to over 30 countries teaching and representing the NHLA hardwood lumber inspection rules. He began his career of choice on a family owned sawmill and has been an inspector of hardwood lumber for over 30 years. His experience in the hardwood industry far exceeds his years!