Stimson Lumber invests US$5.5M in upgrading Tillamook, Oregon, stud mill; commitment to community extends to supporting workforce education, training

LOS ANGELES , December 28, 2011 () – Stimson Lumber Co. has demonstrated its commitment to Tillamook County, Oregon, with a US$5.5 million investment in mechanical upgrades at its stud mill, the Tillamook Headlight Herald reported on Dec. 28.

About $275,000 of the expenditure was spent locally, and the plant’s manager Chris Stirk told the newspaper: “We're not done investing in Tillamook County."

Stirk said the upgrade, including computerized sawing equipment, was “just the first step in becoming a state-of-the-art facility." Future upgrades planned for the Tillamook mill reportedly include a computerized resaw and optimized edgers.

The mill’s new optimized canter line uses a computer to scan each log before cutting and direct the mechanical rotator to adjust the log’s direction for optimal wood recovery.

According to the Headlight Herald, the equipment will increase recovery by as much as 10%, and should pay for itself within two years.

Meanwhile, Stimson has also been investing in the Industrial and Manufacturing Technology (IMT) Program at Tillamook Bay Community College (TBCC). Stirk said there was a lack of "qualified people with the technical skills we need."

TBCC is partnering with Stimson and other local employers to train and apprentice local students whom they hope will become the technologically skilled workforce of the future.

“It's a grow-our-own workforce approach," said Stirk. "An apprentice, right out of high school can make in the $16 an hour range, and they could be making mid-twenty dollars an hour by the time they are in their mid-twenties."

Stimson supports the IMT program with equipment for the classrooms, money and instructors. Stimson employees, paid by their own company, teach IMT courses, and the newspaper noted the IMT program has the added benefit of educating existing employees and helping them update their skills.

According to the Headlight Herald, Stimson employs 90 people in Tillamook County. Its Tillamook mill produces the highest volume of the company’s five stud mills.

A private, integrated company, Stimson also owns forestland, of which about 60,000 acres is in Tillamook County. Eighty percent of logs processed at the Stimson mill come from the company’s own land; the other 20% is from state and private holdings.

The primary source of this article is the Headlight Herald, Tillamook, Oregon, Dec. 28, 2011.

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