BSc. FEC, MSc. Wood Composites

Chief Executive Officer

As CEO of SmartLam North America, Derek Ratchford leads a team of wood products specialists who continually work to improve the mass timber industry through technological advances, while simultaneously providing the best service and quality products from conception to completion. Derek excels at building high-tech operational processes so projects can meet budgets, timelines, and LEED certifications without costly errors. He inspires his team to trust their own judgment and make decisions that best fit with the needs of the clients, while remaining strong in the core values of SmartLam North America; integrity, quality, and professionalism.


For over 30 years, Derek has thrived in the rapidly changing world of Engineered Wood Products. His calm demeanor, reliability, and delivering on what he promises, has allowed Derek to successfully lead teams at Tolko, Canfor, Trus Joist and Anthony Forest Products. His academic credentials and technical expertise in structural wood products, paired with his enthusiasm for the tall wood building revolution, drive him to provide high quality mass timber products. He encourages his team to find quality solutions for clients that are environmentally friendly, cost effective, and aesthetically pleasing. 


Derek’s love for engineered wood came from being ensconced in the building industry from a young age, growing up watching his father build structures. Learning from and working alongside his father, he knew his career path was to follow in his father’s footsteps, working with wood-based materials. Derek is deeply rooted in family values, and it is very important for him to build strong bonds with his employees across the board, to ensure he can assist in their development and career progression, creating a work culture most only strive for. His mantra is “What’s happening on the inside of our organization is felt on the outside by our customers” and living this daily is part of the equation of success that follows Derek wherever he leads.