Story by Dan Shell,
This month’s cover story on Columbia Vista Corp. shows that a sawmill doesn’t have to be a large organization to be successful, and doesn’t need massive resources to produce quality lumber through professional and safe mill operations.
What a sawmill does require to be successful, however, are owners and managers like Columbia Vista President Bob Lewis and Vice President Scott Stormoen, who have a clear vision of their company and its strengths and limitations—managers who recognize what is needed for success and (just as important) know how to fill those needs.
In talking with Lewis and Stormoen for the article, I was impressed by their commitment to quality and professionalism throughout the mill, from personnel management to technology utilization.
Though not the largest sawmill by far, Columbia Vista is making smart and extensive investments in its employees, giving them the tools and resources to succeed and continually improve the mill now and in the future, strengthening the organization in the long run.
On the technology side, the company has worked closely with local equipment suppliers like Lewis Controls, Salem Equipment, USNR and others to develop machines and processes that help them serve specialized yet diverse export and domestic markets with high quality products manufactured efficiently and profitably.
While Columbia Vista has developed this approach to personnel and technology over years, mill owners and managers have a great opportunity this month to see the latest in lumber, panel and energy technology—and productive management ideas—in one place at one time during the Timber Processing & Energy Expo held October 17-19 in Hall D at the Portland Expo Center just north of downtown Portland, Ore.
At TP&EE, sponsored by Timber Processing, Panel World and Wood Bioenergy magazines and hosted by Hatton-Brown Expositions, showgoers can take an up close look at the equipment and services offered by more than 160 exhibitors. There’s also a workshop lineup of 16 presentations and seminars covering lumber and panel technologies, wood energy trends and mill safety.
Ten bucks gets you in to the show floor—and a tasty “beer and bratwurst” at the TP&EE Beer Garden. Plunk down $75 and you get into all the workshop sessions—and you get the show pass and beer and brat.
In an era of multi-million dollar expansions and upgrades, and with Random Lengths’ composite framing lumber price up almost 30% since fall 2011, isn’t an opportunity to improve your mill worth a $75 investment?
For mill owners, managers, supervisors and equipment operators, there’s no better place to get good ideas for improving your operation. You may head to the show on a mission with a specific goal in mind, or you may be simply looking for an opportunity. You may even bump into someone like Bob Lewis or Scott Stormoen—their mill is less than 10 miles from the show site—who know the value of finding opportunity, investing in it and acting on it.
Timber Processing & Energy Expo 2012: We look forward to seeing you there.