Pellet Fuels Institute 2020 Annual Conference Schedule

Attend Insightful Discussions and Network with Your Peers

Wednesday, June 24 – Friday, June 26, 2020
Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Conference Home | Schedule | Hotel & Travel | Golf Tournament | Sponsor/Exhibit

*The schedule is still being built out and is subject to change — please stay tuned for more details.

Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

Tuesday | June 23

Time Event Location
12:00 PM – 5:00 PM Pellet Fuels Institute Board Meeting  
6:30 PM

Board VIP Night at the Brewers

Sponsored by: Uzelac

Miller Park

Wednesday | June 24

Time Event Location
7:30 AM – 8:00 AM Grab-and-Go Breakfast for PFI Golf Tournament  
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM PFI Golf Tournament The Bog – Saukville, Wisconsin 
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM Opening Reception The Atrium

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Thursday | June 25

Time Event Location
7:30 AM – 8:30 AM Breakfast  
8:30 AM – 9:15 AM

The Year We've Had: A Conversation About What the Numbers Say

Last year’s annual conference opened with a close look at the accumulated data from the Monthly Densified Biomass Report and Connor Murphy’s point-by-point analysis was one of the most well received presentations throughout the conference. This year Tim Portz will join Murphy onstage to moderate a guided conversation through the data set to perform a thorough analysis of what the report suggests about the relative health of the residential pellet market. 

Tim Portz, Executive Director, Pellet Fuels Institute
Connor Murphy, Energy Information Administration


9:15 AM – 10:15 AM

Surveying the Regulatory and Policy Landscape to Discern the Threats and Opportunities in Front of Us

As appealing as it may be to dismiss any effort to shape federal rule-making or policy because of the challenge’s enormity, turning a blind eye to what is happening within the federal government is not a viable long-term strategy for the PFI. This discussion will focus on a policy and regulatory front that continues to require the organization’s attention and effort if we are to minimize the drag of unnecessary regulation while also doing our part to propel forward policies favorable to our sector at the federal level.

Speakers TBA

10:15 AM – 10:45 AM Networking Break  
10:45 AM – 12:00 PM

Brothers and Sisters in Arms: How's Business for Our Upstream and Downstream Marketplace Partners

Wood pellet manufacturing is a business of interdependence. Marketplace conditions upstream impact feedstock availability while downstream pellet appliance sales impact the rate of growth or decline in overall demand. This panel will feature representatives from the hardwood sawmilling, logging, flooring and hearth manufacturing segments in a conversation about the strength of their business, the risks they are facing and working through and their near and long-term outlooks.

Speakers TBA

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM Lunch
1:30 PM – 3:00 PM

Exploring Retailer Experiences with Heating Appliance, BBQ, and Wood Pellet Fuel Sales

The intentional inclusion of retail members and board members to the PFI is a direct reflection of the organizations understanding of the vital role they play in maintaining and growing our demand. This panel has become an important conversation at the annual conference as it provides manufacturers with an opportunity to hear how pellet appliances and pellet heating are resonating with consumers in search of a home heating solution, what benefits are appealing to them and equally as important why some consumers choose away from pellet heating.

Speakers TBA

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM Break  
 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

The Pellet Fuels Institute's Annual Conversation with Producer Members

While the data suggests that wood pellet manufacturers had a great year, did it feel that way on the ground? How are producers navigating ongoing feedstock challenges? Where should the industry find itself relative to an inventory position when we exit the traditional heating season? How are producers pivoting to respond to the consistently strong market signals for the BBQ market? These questions and more will be answered by a regionally and operationally diverse panel of wood pellet manufacturers.

Speakers TBA

4:30 PM – 5:00 PM PFI Members Meeting  
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM Cocktail Reception
The Vue, Hyatt Regency

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Friday | June 26

Time Event Location
7:30 AM – 8:30 AM Breakfast  
8:30 AM – 9:15 AM
Wood Pellet Barbecue Summit

Outlining the Sector: Who is Making, Selling and Using BBQ Wood Pellets

On the surface, the answers to these questions seem obvious enough, but understanding the sector is a bit like peeling an onion. The exploding opportunity in wood pellet barbecuing has players across the hearth, patio and barbecue sector reimaging their businesses to capture a piece of this tremendous market opportunity. Traditional heating fuel producers are pivoting to include BBQ production in their operational plans, specialty hearth stores and larger retailers alike are dedicating significant floor space to the category and institutional restaurant operators are entering the space. This panel will serve as a foundation for the conversations that follow as it works to define a market growing at a rate that makes it difficult to measure. 


9:15 AM – 10:00 AM

Infancy or Middle Aged? Pinpointing Where the Wood Pellet BBQ Market is in its Lifecycle

While there is broad consensus that wood pellet barbecuing is the hottest category in the broader hearth, patio and barbecue sector opinions vary on how long its rapid growth is likely to last. Are the current eye-popping sales simply the whole iceberg, or just the visible tip. Using the data available about consumer behaviors around backyard grilling this panel will attempt to extrapolate where wood pellet barbecuing will be in 10 years and what appliance and fuel makers alike must do to make the technology and fuel approachable to all backyard grillers and not just the most passionate practitioners.

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM Networking Break  
10:30 AM – 11:15 AM

Exploring Why Wood Pellet Barbecuing Has Resonated with Consumers and the Efforts to Maintain Current Momentum

The fervor with which consumers are embracing wood pellet barbecuing has surprised even the most bullish of industry participants. Certainly, the massive marketing outreach by the sector’s largest appliance manufacturers played a huge role but something else is at play. Featuring panelists from the marketing arms of the industry’s biggest names, this panel will dig into how and why wood pellet cooking is resonating with consumers and how social media is the new “word of mouth” marketing that is truly rocket fuel for the category. 

11:15 AM – 12:00 PM

A Discussion about the Pellet Fuels Institute’s Role in Guaranteeing a High-Quality Wood Pellet Barbecuing Experience for Consumers

To the naked eye, a wood pellet manufactured for space heating is nearly identical to a wood pellet used for barbecuing. That said, the different ways in which they will ultimately be used introduces some important differences in the way they are produced. The Pellet Fuels Institute has a long history of developing and managing heating pellet production and is uniquely positioned to offer the same manufacturing guidance for the producers of BBQ pellets. The bigger question is does the industry want or need a common set of best manufacturing guidelines or even a full-blown standard for BBQ pellets? Where are BBQ appliance manufacturers opinions on the issue?  Are the existing quality parameters for heating pellets the right ones for BBQ pellets? Attendees should expect a lively discussion around the topic with passionate opinions on both sides of the debate. 

12:00 PM 

Conference Adjourns


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