December/January, 2002





Treading the Boards

Wozich's community involvement and flexibility have a positive effect on Commercial Thinning Systems, Inc. bottom line

by Kurt Glaeseman

He's a logger through and
through, but Tim Wozich is
also the dancing preacher in a
local theatre production of "Stepping
Out" - a four-night sell-out for the
Pleasant Hill, Ore., Community
Theatre. The theatre, an old converted
logging shop, was operating on a
shoestring until someone came up
with the idea that adults would come
(and pay!) to see other adults on the
stage. So Tim was recruited to be one
of a group of social misfits who decided
to take tap dance lessons. The
crowd loved it.

The lighter-weight Acme 10 carriage is ideal for the mixture of smaller stems at the South Fork Track.

"I wasn't so sure about doing that,"
laughs Tim. "But this largely rural
community has picked up the slack in
so many ways to give our kids what
we consider good opportunities."
Tim, an Oregon State University
graduate with a degree in Forest
Engineering, has also been instrumental
in keeping the high school forestry
program thriving in a day of budget
cutbacks and downsizing. Working on
the Forestry Advisory Committee, he
has helped find donations from
sawmills and companies that realize
the importance of encouraging and
educating young people who live in a
logging area.

The program has a hands-on vocational
focus, but Tim wants more college
prep kids involved. "Anyone can
benefit from planting trees, learning
about logging, and keeping in touch
with the timber industry in general.
These kids emerge with favorable
memories and gratitude for the industry's
Tim remembers how important his
own transition to the industry was.
He grew up in Oakland, Calif., but
always liked the woods. When he had
a chance to work a summer job in the
California coastal range, he was
hooked. After OSU, he logged and
eventually developed his present
operation: Commercial Thinning
Systems, Inc. 

The terrain is rugged and steep.  This clear-cut will be replanted to doug fir.

At the time TimberWest
visited the job, he had been under continuous
contract for 16 years with
Swanson Superior. Even so, he has
never let himself stagnate with what
could have been a grind-down routine.
Tim has always felt that a successful
logger has to be keenly aware of
industry changes. One change he has
weathered has been the shift toward
smaller stem tops. Anything smaller
than a five-inch top was once considered
waste, but not any more. Tighter
restrictions call for smaller sticks and
more exact specs for the mills. When
you take the time to square up the
ends of logs - more and smaller logs
- time expense mounts rapidly.
Working in spindly or thin-stand timber,
one yarder couldn't produce
enough wood to keep a high-priced
processor busy, so Tim developed a
rather unique system that runs two
yarders side-by-side: a trailer-mounted
SkyLead and a track-mounted 210Diamond.
It may seem like amonumental task
organizing and dovetailing
two crews atone side, but the thirteen-
member teamhas a chance to work
things through while exercising each morning before work.

Tim Wozich - logger, "tap-dancing preacher," and avid community worker.

That's right: Exercise! Every morning hooktender
Jerry Fox leads the group in the
ankle-twist, the shake-a-leg, and the stretch-back. "It's good muscle stretching, but it's also a time to talk
about what we are going to do. We
impact each other," says Tim, "and we
need to share our common goals. Even
the jokes are good. We loosen up and
get our brains going. The crew likes it
and we keep doing it." The idea originated
with Roberta, co-owner of the business, who had read about similar programs cutting down on worker
compensation claims.
A typical job might be Swanson
Superior's South Fork Tract, a 115-acre
clearcut near Alsea Falls about 30
miles southwest of Corvallis. The area
was logged about 40 years ago and
redeveloped into brushy second
growth. Under their rehabilitation
plan, it will be replanted to more valuable
Douglas fir, nurtured with a program
of fertilization, pruning, brush
control and herbicide management.
The landowners are hoping for a 26- to
27-year rotation instead of the previous
40-year block that did not maximize
the land's potential.

Everything in the current cut is
used: Douglas and white fir, hemlock,
alder, maple and chinquapin. The
alder and maple, which are valuable
for furniture, are cut into 10-foot
lengths with a small end diameter
down to six inches. These sawlogs are
hauled to Northwest Hardwoods in
Eugene. The pulp alder goes to the
Swanson Superior chipping mill in
Junction City. The fir is reduced to 12-
foot long sticks that go all the way
down to a three-inch small diameter.
This too is sent to Swanson Superior
mills. Log trucking is contracted out,
with an average round-trip time of
slightly under three hours.

Virginia Moss, who has worked
twelve years for Tim, runs the
Diamond D210 yarder with a 7/8-inch
skyline and a MiniMak carriage. She
works in conjunction with Noe
Rodriguez, the rigging slinger, and
groundsmen Joe Roeser, Luis Sanchez
and Robert Huselton. The processor,
operated by Dave Pimentel, is a
Hitachi with a FabTech 240
Danglehead. It could be used for cutting
trees, but now is used only as a
processor at the landing. 

Both yarders, whether working side by side
or independently, are flanked by John
Deere log loaders. Larry Ganieany,
who has worked for CTS for 17 years,
runs loader and manages the landing.
The SkyLead yarder, with Rick
Huselton at the controls, has a 3/4-
inch skyline and an Acme Model 10
carriage. On the ground are Cliff
Wilcox and Alberto Rivas, with Todd
Howell running the Deere loader.
According to Tim, the Jewell package
on the John Deere shovel has made an
amazing difference, what he calls "a
real shot in the arm." The new grapple
accommodates different sized logs -
exactly what sawmill specs and harvest
plans call for today.

Tim is especially interested in the
efficiency of the carriages and is
pleased with his combination of the
Maki and the 800-pound lighter Acme.
But it isn't just the mechanical advantage
of this combo that keeps him
happy. He relates a story of how a
sense of community developed
between himself and Acme manufacturer Richard VanDamme, who spends hours at a logging site to monitor his carriage's operation and to watch for needed improvements. 

When a glitch developed one afternoon,
Richard, himself a former logger, radioed ahead to his
sons in Springfield, kept the shop open, and had the repair
done by 9 p.m. The next day the carriage was back at work
with no downtime. And when Tim appeared on stage in
"Stepping Out," VanDamme, was laughing heartily in the
audience. This triumph of extended community, a sociological
blend of business and family and geography, is very
important to the Wozich family.

Dave Pimentel operates the Hitachi with Fab-Tech Danglehead 240, which could be used to cut trees but serves as a processor at the landing.

The two Wozich sons, one active in sports, the other in
Boy Scouts, have seen their parents work with school curriculum,
the local children's theatre, and with a Boys Scout
fund-raiser made possible by Tim's access to logging and
his good reputation. Superior Swanson, the local landowner
and mill, donates a good-sized load of chinquapin logs
and Tim donates the trucking. The logs, which make excellent
firewood, are cut up, stacked, sold, and delivered by
the Boy Scouts and their parents.
"I like to see us parents helping out," says Tim, "but I
really like to see the kids working to produce something
that folks around here need and want. It's all inter-related.
It's just another aspect of what I call real community
involvement." And for Tim Wozich, that's a very important
bottom line.

The John Deere 200LC positions
two stems on the truck.

Richard Van Damme helps
set an Acme 10 carriage gently into delivery truck.

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