Manager of Weyerhaeuser's TimberStrand LSL plant in Kenora, Ontario, identifies shortage of steam engineers at operations update meeting for business community, politicians, on Oct. 8
October 9, 2013
– Weyerhaeuser Co. may have to search abroad for steam engineers, the manager of the Federal Way, Washington-based company's TimberStrand laminated strand lumber mill in Kenora, Ontario, told a gathering of politicians and business people on Oct. 8, according to a report by the Kenora Daily Miner and News.
The meeting with manager Bill Candline was held to provide an update on operations at the plant, which last year marked its 10th anniversary since pressing the first product.
Candline said the company was very happy that the Kenora plant had made it to 10 years after the worst housing market crash in U.S. history, and identified its current challenges as the high Canadian dollar and a chronic shortage of specialized labor, particularly steam engineers.
Candline said that the need for steam engineers was so great in Kenora that Weyerhaeuser may have to start looking internationally. He said they were in tight demand not just in Kenora but right across the industry, adding that anyone with children who wanted to go into a trade might consider steam engineering as a good suggestion.
The U.S. is the Kenora plant's biggest customer by far, accounting for 75% of production. This, said Candline, meant the business was closely tied to the strength of the U.S. housing market. He noted that demand for homes has started to improve in the U.S. and prices have risen 12% in the past year.
The Kenora operation moved to a five-day week operation on Jan. 1, 2013 after some time on a four-day week, and Candline said Weyerhaeuser believes the business climate now looks favorable enough to expand production, although it is not yet decided whether the workforce of 170 will be increased.
The primary source of this article is the Kenora Daily Miner and News, Kenora, Ontario, on Oct. 8, 2013.