Timber Processing’s January/February issue spotlights the 2013 Man of the Year, Finley McRae, who has never met a sawmill project he didn’t like at Florida-based Rex Lumber. Equipment improvements have been made at Bibler Bros. Lumber, and Machinery Row spotlights several mills that are upgrading. Opening Faces flashed back to twenty-five men who have won Man of the Year in the past.
American Industrial Partners (AIP), a middle-market private equity firm, has acquired the operating assets of Potomac Supply Corp., a softwood mill operator and provider of wood treatment services located in Kinsale, Va. The new company, Potomac Supply, LLC, is capitalized entirely with equity and has no debt.
In 2001 the McRae family re-purchased the original Rex Lumber sawmill in Graceville, Fla. out of bankruptcy, tore it down and built a modern new mill there. Previously the mill had been the family's flagship operation built in 1926 by founder W.D. McRae and sold in 1980. In that timespan, it had served as a cypress mill, hardwood flooring mill, laminated flooring plant and finally a pine lumber mill from the early 1970s until it was sold and the family built a new sawmill in Bristol, Fla.
You'll notice on the opposite page the Timber Processing covers from 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1992 that featured our annual Man of the Year. In fact, if you keep turning the pages you'll see all the covers and all of our men of the year, all 24 of them… and the cover of this current issue makes 25.
Terry Freeman has been in the lumber industry his whole adult life. He started working at Bibler Bros. Lumber Co. before he graduated from high school. "After basketball season my senior year, I would come over here and work part time," he says. Freeman graduated high school in 1978, came to the mill full time. In 1984 he completed an Associate's Degree in Electronics from Southern Technical College in Little Rock, Ark., and in 1986 moved to electrical maintenance at Bibler Bros. He's stayed in this business because of people like his dad, Vernon Freeman, and his former boss and mentor, James Bibler.
Automated stick placing machines at the sawmill stacker require a system to detect defective sticks that jam in the machine or are otherwise unfit to be used in the stacking process. Sticks that are broken or are not the correct size to fit in the machine must be reliably rejected to maintain continuous production that the sawmill stacker.
Canfor Southern Pine, a manufacturer of dimension lumber, will expand its existing lumber production facility in Conway, Horry County, SC with a $3.6 million investment that's expected to generate 56 jobs. Canfor plans to install a continuous kiln system to increase its lumber drying capacity at the facility by 50%. The expansion is expected to be completed by mid July.
Lavoyd Hudson, specialty products manager at Scotch Gulf Lumber, Mobile, Ala., died December 1. He spent his entire 55-year career in the lumber business, much of it with Gulf Lumber. He was 73. A native of Grave Hill, Hudson's career in the lumber industry began the day after his 18th birthday, when he accepted a job at Scotch Lumber working in the maintenance department as an oiler on the night shift. He joined M.W. Smith Lumber Co. in Jackson in 1959, where he learned to operate dry kilns and worked in the shipping department.