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TimberWest November/December 2013

Nov/December 2014

A Lone Wolf in the Woods
Photo by Lindsay R. Mohlere captures Lone Rock Logging, working their Pierce DeLimbinator

Leader in Stewardship and Maximum Production
It’s Lone Rock Logging’s proactive commitment that has won them so many awards, including the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest 2013 Operator of the year.

A Lone Wolf in the Woods
Fred Warth Contracting prides itself on taking on the small jobs that others walk away from.

Making Wood Waste Valuable
Rawlings Manufacturing sets up a new test facility at its Spokane manufacturing center to focus all aspects of wood waste processing.

Productivity and Safety
Go Hand in Hand

Sevier Logging based out of Olympia, Wash., focuses on high production and safe practices.

A Cat Tradition
Lind Logging out of B.C. isn’t afraid to try something new, especially if it’s technology being developed by Cat.

The Show
America Logger Council annual meeting review.


In the News

Association News

Machinery Row

New Products

Guest Column



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Sevier Logging, Olympia, Wash.Productivity and Safety Go Hand in Hand

Sevier Logging, Olympia, Wash.

By Andrea Watts

If you haven’t heard of Olympia-based Sevier Logging, that would suit the Sevier brothers Dean and Jeff just fine. They like to “stay under the radar” and just focus on what they do best—doing the tough jobs and doing them safely in the tough timber country in Washington’s Mason County. “When you log the volume we have over the years, you either get it or don’t,” says Jeff.

The Sevier brothers, Dean and Jeff, take on primarily clear cut operations with a mixture of shovel and tower.

Though it’s Dean and Jeff who own Sevier Logging, their three logging trucks bear the name of the company’s founder — their father, Paul. “We still keep his name on the log trucks out of respect for Dad,” Jeff says. “He was an old character who could do anything.” Though Paul grew up in Iowa, his family lived in the Pacific Northwest at the turn of the century before returning to Iowa. After World War II, Paul went west, and with the purchase of a logging truck, started logging in 1949.

Behind the Wheel

Though Jeff cannot remember when he didn’t spend whole summers out in the woods, he and Dean formally joined the company after graduating from college. “Dad needed a truck driver,” Dean explains. “I was home for two days [after graduating from Western Washington University] and away I went.”

While working with family can cause challenges in running a business, the brothers maximize their talents by overseeing different portions of the company. Dean handles the trucks and the maintenance, and Jeff manages the logging side of preparing bids and hiring cutters. “But every day at the job site, we both are always on the job because it contributes so much to production and safety,” says Jeff. “And is there really anything better than working with family?”

Sevier Logging, Olympia, Wash.The recession meant big changes for the company, but Jeff says the company is far better today than before. Even their clientele changed, and they now they work primarily for Green Diamond Resource Company.

Shovel and Tower

Sevier’s jobs are primarily clear cut operations with a mixture of shovel and tower operations. Jeff says, “Back in the day, it was shovel logging with a CAT 235, but we couldn’t just be a ground-based outfit, because if you are going to stay busy, you need a tower.”

For the past 25 years, the company has been in tower logging, and though Jeff doesn’t like to boast, he admits that they’re “pretty good at it.” At their current job site, on Green Diamond Resource Company timberland in the hills north of Mason County, a Thunderbird TTY 70 yards the logs (this time uphill instead of downhill, which they faced on a previous job). Of their yarder that was purchased used 15 years ago, Jeff says, “it works every single day of the year” and they “can log anything with it.”

Working in Mason County, where they have to schedule around the snow and heat, is a new experience for Dean, Jeff, and their crew. For nearly 30 years, from 1979 until 2009, they worked for Weyerhaeuser in the Raymond-Aberdeen area, and they worked alongside other companies in the area including Bridgewater Logging and NDC Timber.

Sevier Logging, Olympia, Wash.

The Sevier brothers don’t normally buy new equipment, but recently purchased a Doosan DX300LL. Other pieces include two Kobelcos and a CAT 325 with a Waratah head.

Weathering the Recession

With the downturn in the economy, the brothers faced challenges keeping the company viable. They took jobs farther from their Olympia base, working in Fossil Creek in Washington State’s Wahkiakum County for a year, which required putting up the crew during the week. Looking back on those years, Jeff says proudly, “We’re by far a better company today than ever before.”

Whether it is equipment maintenance or having their wives balance the books, everything is about efficiency. And for Jeff it is about avoiding becoming so “stretched out” that he cannot sleep at night.

Sevier Logging now has steady work with Shelton-based Green Diamond Resource Company, which became a contractor in 2013. Jeff says Green Diamond is a good company. “I just can’t say enough about these guys.” Casey Black, a contract logging superintendent who is overseeing their current contract, says they keep Sevier Logging busy year-round, and that the company follows through on what they say they are going to do, even in the tough country with its steep hillsides, which makes space a premium on the landing.

Sevier Logging, Olympia, Wash.The Sevier brothers say that safety is their biggest concern. They would rather spend the time training a logger than hire one with bad habits.

Efficiency & Safety

At their current job site, the Thunderbird yarder is working alongside a Thunderbird 1236 DL stroke delimber, which is being used instead of the Waratah processing head. Dean prefers the stroker because the machine makes a “clean log,” which Green Diamond prefers. The company does its own hauling with three Kenworths, and they contract out the falling.

While Dean and Jeff mainly buy good used equipment, a recent addition to their lineup is the new Doosan DX300LL, which Dean says is a “good piece,” adding that their next purchase will probably be a Doosan. Two Kobelcos and a CAT 325 (with a Waratah head) can also be interchanged depending upon the job site’s requirements.

While the shovel side can take as many hours as necessary to finish the job, Jeff says that eight hours a day on the yarder and sending out 8-12 loads a day is plenty, because after that, it’s difficult to do the work safely.

It is this steadfastness to maintain a safety-conscious environment—even before becoming an active participant in Washington State Labor & Industries’ Logger Safety Initiative—that has kept Sevier Logging accident-free. (With Jeff adding the caveat “knock on wood.”)

“Safety is our biggest concern,” Dean says. Jeff adds that they would rather train a logger to ensure that safety practices are followed than hire a logger with bad habits.

Outstanding Crew

Of their 13-man crew (many of whom have been with the company over 10 years) Dean and Jeff have nothing but praise, saying they have “a super crew” and that everyone is considered family.

“You’re only as good as the people you have working for you. I’m a firm believer in that,” Jeff says.

Yarder operator Johnny LaBresh has worked for seven years and only missed one day. Francisco Pena “Poncho” is their hook-tender, and the brothers express unanimously that he is the best in the industry. “He can do anything,” Dean says. Two new additions to the crew include Jeff’s son Justin and his friend Jake.

Jeff and Dean pride themselves on the crew’s versatility. They credit that to the fact that it’s a relatively young team with an average age of 30-35.

Jeff’s motto is, “Treat every contract like your last, and you’ll get another.” He believes it’s one reason their company is called back. And with future jobs lined up with Green Diamond, the brothers look forward to plenty of work.

If the recession made them a more efficient company, then times of plenty will only make them stronger.