We’re on a countdown here to the 10th TTJ Awards at The Savoy in London. The stage set is being built, the seating plan finalised and the presentations script edited before we send it to Awards host Sir Digby Jones. Next we’ll be polishing the cutlery, ironing the tablecloths and folding the napkins.

Recent weeks have also seen the judging panels convene for the Excellence in Marketing, Environmental Achievement, Career Development and Best Technical Information Support Awards. There was some serious arm-wrestling between judges as they argued the cause of their favoured candidates. But finally, we came up with the shortlisted entrants and winners.

Once more the exercise reminded us of the achievements being made in the timber sector across all these areas. The wide range of environmental initiatives highlighted just how far the sector has advanced in this field in the past 10 years, and the marketing entries showed how professional companies have become in a discipline that was not traditionally seen among the trade’s greatest strengths. Plaudits too to the technical information support submissions which made complex subjects explicable to the most technically-challenged of us!

Training is also a topic that timber companies are addressing increasingly seriously, with entrants to the Career Development Award coming from across the industry spectrum: sawmilling, builders and timber merchant-ing, timber frame manufacture and research. The candidates were also evenly divided between under-25 “trainees” and more “mature” students undertaking ongoing training. What came through was not only the accomplishment of the entrants in in-house and external training programmes and exams but also their commitment and enthusiasm for this industry.

So, we feel, it won’t just be the winners who will have cause for celebration at the TTJ Awards on September 14, but the timber trade as a whole. And if you’re unable to join us, all the results will appear in the next edition of TTJ and on www.ttjonline.com.

Meanwhile, back to the ironing board.