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October 2005  - The Logging and Sawmilling Journal

 

EAST COAST lOGGING

Having the latest Equipment

The Canadian Woodlands Forum’s Contractor of the Year for the Atlantic Region, D and T Mechanical, is headed up by Dennis Young, a logger from the tiny outport community of Springdale, Newfoundland, who is strong on making sure his employees have the latest equipment.

By Bert Pomeroy

Dennis Young always knew he would end up working in the forest industry.

“Whenever I’d finish school for the summer, I’d go and work in the woods with my father,” recalls the principal owner of D and T Mechanical Limited, a contracting operation that harvests timber for Corner Brook Pulp and Paper on Newfoundland’s west coast. “I’ve been working in the woods industry for about 25 years, and there’s nothing else I want to do. It’s in my blood.”

Young comes from a family of loggers. His grandfather helped run the logging camps for the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company (now Abitibi- Consolidated) in Grand Falls-Windsor. His father also worked for Abitibi for a number of years before forming his own logging company, Green Bay Logging, in 1972 (Young later purchased the company from his father).

“I’ve been working in the woods industry for about 25 years, and there’s nothing else I want to do,” says Dennis Young (above). “It’s in my blood.”

“I was about 15 years old when I first started working in the woods with my father,” says Young, who lives in Springdale, a tiny outport community on Newfoundland’s northeast coast. “I was operating a porter (forwarder) at the time. There weren’t too many porter operators my age.”

Young would continue working with his father during the summer months and pursuing his calling, leaving high school in Grade 9, “because I knew I wanted to work in the woods.”

In the late 1980s, Young landed a contract with Corner Brook Pulp and Paper to supply some 10,000 cubic metres of pulpwood. “In the winter months I would hire as many as 15 to 20 cutters, and in the spring I’d go back with the two porters I had at the time and haul the wood out to the woods roads where it was picked up and trucked to the mill in Corner Brook.” He would eventually land a contract to build forest
access roads for the paper company, in addition to supplying pulpwood for the Corner Brook mill.

Tim Young, the “T” in D and T Mechanical, is a forwarder operator. Tim is also a heavy equipment service technician working on his apprenticeship.

“At the time I had three 200 LC John Deere harvesters with Fabtech F-240 heads, and I had two forwarders—a Fabtech 544 and a Fabtech 546,” Young recalls. “We were cutting somewhere around 50,000 cubic metres a year.”

In 1999, Young established D and T Mechanical, and he hasn’t looked back since. The company currently operates five 608L Timberjack self-leveling harvesters, as well as three 1270 Timberjacks. Its inventory also includes: four excavators (three 320 CL Cats and one 322 CL Cat); five porters (two 1710 Timberjacks, two 574 Cats and an 860 Valmet); two Galion graders; a John Deere 690 LC loader; five trucks (three Kenworths, one Western Star and a Ford Sterling); as well as other equipment and vehicles to support the operation.

At peak times, the company employs as many as 80 people. In 2004 it harvested more than 120,000 cubic metres of pulpwood and built more than 70 kilometres of forest access roads.

“It’s a first-class operation,” says Pat Tompkins, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper’s woodlands manager. “Dennis has really done a lot with his company over the years—it’s well run, orderly and tidy. It’s the kind of operation people are proud to work for and be associated with. It’s a real success story.”

The company has been so successful that it was named the 2004 Atlantic Canada Contractor of the Year by the Canadian Woodlands Forum (CWF)—a recognized forward-looking national association committed to sustainable forest management through effective, quality woodlands operations. The CWF’s mission is to promote communication and information exchange among woodlands personnel in order to enhance operational competence. It also promotes the efficiency of woodlands operations, in an effort to ensure the sustainable management of Canada’s forest resource.

Corner Brook Pulp and Paper nominated D and T Mechanical for the CWF award after it was named the paper company’s top contractor of the year for 2004 this past January.

“We were proud to nominate Dennis and his company for this award,” says Tompkins. “All of our contractors are expected to follow some very strict guidelines in terms of environmental management and safety, the quality of pulpwood supplied and productivity, and special initiatives. Dennis was our top operator in 2004 and, therefore, was nominated for the Atlantic award.”

D and T Mechanical’s employees did not have a single lost-time injury in 2004, accumulating more than 170,000 hours worked since their last accident. This was accomplished by conforming to the guidelines of both the ISO 14001 and CSA Z-809 that all of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper’s contractors are required to follow, says Tompkins.

“Our company standards are very high,” he says. “We conduct complete safety and environmental inspections every three months on all of our contractors. More than 100 items are checked each time.”

The goal of the CWF award is to raise the profile and recognition of the contributions
made by logging professionals to managing the forest resource in a sustainable manner. The project was developed to promote and support independent contractors and operators who work on woodlands operations. The award is open to all logging contractors involved in the cutting and handling of wood and/or the transport from stump to the mill gate.

D and T Mechanical’s award is a strong endorsement of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper’s operating standards, says Tompkins. “We’re very proud of what Dennis and his company have accomplished— he is very deserving of this award.”

The company, among Corner Brook Pulp and Paper’s best contractors in terms of maintaining equipment, is also regularly at the top of the list in whatever category it’s being evaluated, and is constantly focused on improving its operation.

Being nominated for the award, says Young, was a big honour in itself. He says he never expected to win it. “I was proud to be nominated, but I never thought we’d win the award because there is so much competition for it,” he says. “It was a really big achievement—not only for me, but for my workers as well.”

Young accepted the prestigious award during the CWF’s annual meeting, held in Moncton, New Brunswick, earlier this year.Tompkins notes it’s not often a contractor from Newfoundland and Labrador wins the award. In fact, it’s the first time one of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper’s contractors has won it, he says. “I think a contractor for Abitibi won it a few years ago, so it’s a big deal. Dennis should be very proud.”

Young says the award really belongs to his employees. “I’ve got a really good crew of dedicated workers,” he says.“We run a really tight operation, always changing with the times and making sure we stay on top of the industry. I’m pretty strong on making sure we have the latest equipment.”

D and T Mechanical is currently harvesting timber in the Deer Lake area near Corner Brook. In addition to its operators, the company also employs two foremen- technicians and a head mechanic on-site, as well as an office administrator at its headquarters in Springdale, some 120 kilometres away.

“These are my key people, and I also have some very good operators,” Young says, noting that he takes time to get to know his employees on a one-on-one basis.

“It’s important to try and keep your employees happy, to ensure morale is up,” he says. “It’s not easy trying to keep everybody happy in this industry, but we do what we can.

“I look at the reports and if my operators are down in production I go out in the field and have a chat with them to see if they are having any problems,” he adds. “It’s good to be able to have that kind of a relationship with your employees.”

Young says he’s not one to spend much time in the office. He’d rather be out in the field where, he says, he belongs. “I’m always on they go; I can’t stand being in the office—I have to be in the woods.”

D and T Mechanical supplies pulpwood for the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper operation. In 2004, D & T harvested more than 120,000 cubic metres of pulpwood and built more than 70 kilometres of road.

The company services all of its equipment on a regular basis. It operates two service trailers in the field for minor repairs, with all major repairs being carried out at its main garage in Springdale. In addition to servicing his own equipment, Young also services automotive and heavy equipment for outside customers. Although he’s only 40, Young is already thinking about retirement and hopes to eventually turn his operation over
to his son, Tim (the “T” in D and T Mechanical).

“He’s a heavy equipment service technician working on his apprenticeship,” notes Young. “Tim has been a good help with the company and has really taken on a very active role.” Aside from working on his apprenticeship, Tim is also a porter operator and has managed Green Bay Logging.

“The plan is for him to eventually take over the operation,” Young says.“I’m confident the company will be left in very good hands.”

 


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