The best part of MFPC’s annual meeting, said Executive Director Patrick Strauch, comes at the very end, when “we recognize all these folks.” Each year, the Maine Forest Products Council asks its members to select outstanding individuals from the forest products community. Nominees for best logger, forester, truck and manufacturer must not only excel in their professions, but they also must exert a positive impact on our industry. The nomination criteria is rigorous and each nominee is closely scrutinized by MFPC staff. The winners of MFPC awards are the best in the business.
So it is always a pleasure to welcome the winners and their families and listen as those who nominated them explained just how outstanding they are..”The Council is our community of professionals,” Strauch said, “and it’s important to reflect on our successes and honor our colleagues.”
2014 Outstanding Logger: Richard Wing and Sons
Strauch began by praising the 2014 Outstanding Logger, Richard Wing and Sons Logging of Standish, nominated by Winn Smith of Limington Lumber. “Their outfit was highly recommended by folks like Mike St. Peter (of Certified Logging Professionals) along with Winn Smith,” Strauch said, “and the criteria was really based on safety, protecting the environment, great employee relations and really working well with the landowner community and doing just generally great work.
John Emerson, a former teacher and long-time friend, then stepped up to expand on the Wings’ business principles, which he said have been handed down from father to son for several generations. “To be honest, to treat your landowners fairly, to establish a good loyal relationship with your mills and your providers, and to never forget your last name and who you are. You’re going to live in a community a long time and don’t forget it,” Emerson said. “Your name and your reputation are far more important than the money you can earn. I don’t think Richard ever forgot that. His wife worked hand in glove with him to make his business so successful. Behind every great logger is a great logger’s wife.”
“Richard doesn’t advertise,” Emerson said. “Because of his reputation, he doesn’t have to. He has an unbelievable organization – clean, neat, safe respectful, great to employees and great to the people he works for. When you have Richard Wing working for you, you know you’re getting every dollar for every stick of wood that were harvested. Sustainability has been a key. The future forests of Maine will be much better and greater and much more sustainable if there are more Richard Wings working in the woods.”
Wing headed to the podium on a wave of applause, with someone shouting, “Knock ’em dead!” But Wing was modest and brief in accepting the award. “I’d just like to thank a few people,” Wing said. “It’s been a great honor to have this award and for Winn Smith to nominate me. My wife has been great and my son, Tim, my daughter Jennifer and my son-in-law Dwayne. My daughter-in-law couldn’t make it; she had to watch two kids at home.”
2014 Outstanding Forester: Tricia Quinn, Plum Creek
Ben Dow, resource manager at Plum Creek, stepped to the podium next and explained that choosing someone to nominate as the year’s Outstanding Forester was very easy for him and Mark Doty, communications affairs manager. “We didn’t really have to think about it all that long,” Down said. “We looked at each other and came up with the same name at about the same time: Tricia Quinn.”
“Tricia has been able to gain the respect of her peers – loggers, regulators, whoever she comes in contact with,” Dow said. “She began her career with Boise in 1990, managing the Rumford land base and she managed that same land base for multiple owners for a long time. She was able to adapt to different management styles and work with different people, and become part of a team no matter who she was working with. She came to work for Plum Creek in 2004, something that we’re very grateful for. She’s been able to add a lot of value and become a big part of our operation since that time. She began her career working out of her home in Rangeley for the company, managing our land base in western Maine and over in New Hampshire. In 2013, she was promoted to her current position of resource supervisor and today she’s responsible for the management and oversight of 200,000 acres of Plum Creek property in western Maine. It’s a big job and she’s been up to the challenge. She’s doing a fantastic job.”
She also has served her country for the last 31 years, first in four years active service with the Marine Corps and since then in the National Guard where she currently holds the rank of master sergeant. She also is a great mentor for young foresters. “She’s using her experience, she’s bringing young folks into our organization fresh out of the university and she’s getting them up to speed and showing them the ropes. She has a unique style and she gains their respect almost instantly after they begin working for her,” Dow said. “This award recognizes her strong commitment to forestry and forestry principles and her contribution to the community — the forestry community in Maine as well as the communities where we all live.”
Quinn told the crowd that her dedication to mentoring began thanking her own mentors for all the help she’d received. “As a young forester starting out of Orono I was fortunate to work with a great group in the Rangeley office for Boise Cascade, and particularly Stan Bartash and Sammie Spaulding, as my early mentors,” she said. “They taught me everything from silviculture to how to work with contractors to how with co-workers. They were there for me all the time, whenever I needed them, and that was such a gift. Now as a supervisor I have another mentor very close to me, John Ackley. And why I bring these gentlemen up is to show the importance of mentors and mentoring, both young or new or inexperienced individuals within your organization or the industry. I wouldn’t be here today without them.”
She challenged others in the forest industry to pass on their experience, urging, “Don’t hesitate. Your knowledge and your ability to pass it on to them will benefit not only you, but it will benefit them and the industry. It’s an unbelievable opportunity for both you and them.”
2014 Outstanding Trucker:
Richard Carrier Trucking
Eric Dumond of ReEnergy presented the Outstanding Trucker Award to Richard Carrier Trucking of Skowhegan, saying that “getting to know the Richard Carrier Trucking family was very enlightening. It was an education. I learned from Richard Carrier himself and from the family. They showed me the hard work that it takes to run a business – or many business that they have – the trucking, the sawmill, the chipping, the bark mulch, the lands. They treat every business that they have very personally, very sustainably and always in the back of their minds – always in the forefront really – it’s all about customer service and honesty. You don’t ever have to worry about what the Carriers have to say. They tell you. And it’s a good thing; you never have to guess. It’s been and continues to be a privilege to know them and to work with them.”
Jim and Andrea Carrier came to the podium to accept the award and although Jim started off by saying, “I’m not a very good speaker,” he said exactly the right thing.
“Thank you very much,” he said. “It takes a lot of work and a lot of good people to get this accomplished.”
2014 Outstanding Manufacturer: Hardwood Products
“It all began as the Minto Toothpick Company back in 1919 in Saginaw, Michigan, where Lloyd Cartwright began a small family business selling mint flavored toothpicks,” Gary Keene of Plum Creek began as he presented the award to this year’s Outstanding Manufacturer, Harwood Products of Guildford. Keene’s brief , but fascinating, history of the company told of its relocation to Maine in the 1920s, recovery from a devastating fire in 1958, diversification into medical and health products and successful strategy against stiff competition from China.
“Hardwood Products is the only stick manufacturer left in the United States and is the only corn dog stick manufacturer in North America,” Keene said. “They continue to be run by the same family who started the business and with 410 employees they are the largest private employer in Piscataquis County and rank in the top 100 employers in the State of Maine. In 1950 their wood usage averaged 60 cords per week and today it averages 325 cords per week. That is only 41 cords of wood usage per person per year. Compare that to one of our large paper mills where they use over 1200 cords per person per year. This is an indicator of how specialized they are and the labor intensiveness of the work that goes into their high quality product. It is with great pleasure that I am able to award Hardwood Products with the distinction of being the Outstanding Manufacturer of the Year.”
Terry Young, Hardwood Products’ chief operating officer, continued the story of the “Chinese invasion.” “We didn’t just roll over and wait for them to go away,” Young said. “We reinvested. We — the company and the family — spent a lot of money and we fought them and we beat them. So we’re proud. And we thank everyone here for their support. The people at Plum Creek have been a wonderful supplier of most of our wood and that’s not to slight anybody else here. With the family tradition, we’re close to 100 years here worth of business. We’ve got 400 plus people in Piscataquis County and we’re an important company and we aim to be there for a very long time. It’s our proud pleasure to accept this award and we thank everyone.”