By Andrea Watts
As Joey Dhooghe drives out to meet Brian, his older brother, on a jobsite on the Olympic Peninsula’s Quinault Indian Reservation, he calls out the places where he has worked. It seems there are few areas along Hwy 101 that he doesn’t point to.
Having entered the logging industry at the age of eight (Joey confesses to running a piece of machinery no child would be allowed to run in today’s regulated environment), he has spent nearly four decades in the woods, most of which has been in the area surrounding Hoquiam, Washington. For many of those years, he worked alongside Brian at logging companies that include A-1 Timber and Northwest Tree. Today he is still working with his older brother; this time it’s for a logging company that bears their family name.
This year marks the two-year anniversary of RCD Timber, and the company wouldn’t have formed had it not been for Andy Rogers, owner of Grind Transport, cajoling Brian that it was worthwhile to start a logging company. The men met years earlier through Andy’s dad who owned Doug Rogers Trucking.
“I ended up talking Brian into it,” Andy recalls, citing the reasons they should start a company: money, experience, and credibility.
Having already managed a logging business, Brian admits he was reluctant to start another business, and if he did consider starting the business with Andy, they had to have the promise of steady work. “I had to have the work before having the equipment,” he explains. With the guarantee of steady work on the 208,000-acre Quinault Indian Reservation, Brian agreed to take the calculated risk of starting RCD Timber. Since then, Quinault has delivered on its promise of steady work. “Quinault Logging keeps us in the work because we’re busy every day,” Joey says.
Keeping the Trucks Running
Samantha, Andy’s wife, handles the bookkeeping for the two businesses, and of their partnership, Andy describes it as “two companies run as one.” Grind Transport handles all the hauling and moving for RCD Timber.
“Between us, we keep Andy’s trucks busy,” Joey explains. Those five trucks (with another one on order) are mainly Kenworths, with one Peterbilt, and Andy says his preference for Kenworths is because of their resale value and durability. Having a lowboy as part of the fleet means Grind Transport can handle the moving of RCD’s equipment to the next jobsite without having to contract that work out.
When Andy jokes that he likes “shiny, new equipment,” Brian and Joey jump in to rib him about wanting to keep his equipment clean. Joey points out that this joking and comradery amongst their close-knit crew is one reason everyone including the truck drivers and employees has fun out on the jobsites.
Small and Lean
This comradery is known even off the jobsite. Jim Wark, sales manager at Cascade Trader, has worked with Brian for a number of years and met him when he was an operator, “an extremely good operator,” Jim emphasizes. “They’re a really fun and good crew who are busy all the time.”
That fun must make them work more efficiently, because RCD Timber is a small, lean crew of only five men split between two jobsites. Joey says they are never in the same spot for very long, usually no more than a month, and an average of 20 loads a day are hauled to Shelton’s Alta Lumber Products, the pulp to Hoquiam or Aberdeen, and the Douglas-fir goes to Weyerhaeuser in Olympia.
At the jobsite, Brian loads one of Andy’s trucks with a Doosan DX225LL while a Doosan DX225LL with a Southstar QS500 harvesting head sits nearby. Each jobsite has a shovel and processor, and Brian frequently switches between the machines as needed.
Working alongside Brian are Jared Rowe and John Homchick, who has worked not only for the Dhooghe brothers, but also with their father, Walt, when he owned Northwest Tree. Josh Mueller is another recent addition to their crew and is working at the second jobsite, which is where Joey would be if we were not touring this site.
The other pieces in the equipment portfolio include a Doosan DX300LL-3 and a Hitachi 370 log loader. When it came time for Brian to build his equipment portfolio for RCD Timber, Wark says that he went with the Doosan brand, after having worked on the machine while with A-1 Timber. Brian says the company selected Doosans because they are good reliable machines that are great to work with, and the financing options make them affordable. Their low fuel consumption also helps out the bottom line.
A recent addition to the jobsite is a John Deere feller buncher purchased from Papé Machinery. Brian purchased the machine because one of his fallers recommended it, and he doesn’t regret the decision. “They have a good service program,” he says.
In keeping with maintaining a close-knit crew, Brian is committed to remaining close to home so everyone can be with their families every night. This is one reason the steady work on the Quinault Indian Reservation is a welcome change for the brothers. They, along with their dad, worked for several years with A-1 Timber in Alaska during the recession, and they racked up mileage flying between Kodiak and home on the weekends.
RCD Has Deeper Meaning
The bittersweet part of RCD Timber is its namesake; the initials RCD are those of Brian’s youngest daughter, Ronni Carolynn Dhooghe, who once told Brian, “You need to have your own shovel, Dad.” Sadly, Ronni never lived to see that happen; she died in 2008 following a three-year battle with leukemia.
Reflecting upon his years in the industry, Joey says, “It’s so weird from what I grew up with, cutting really big trees, and now we’re cutting trees 25-30 years old.” Five years ago, he traded in falling trees for being a machine operator. At most jobs sites, he operates the processor, but he says that he will do “whatever is needed of me.”
Looking to the future of the business, Brian expects to probably have six guys paired with six machines, but it won’t get much larger than that. “We make it work for our small crew,” Joey adds. “Logging’s easy for us because we’ve been doing it for so long.”
On the Cover
Cover photo taken by Andrea Watt of RCD
lumber’s operation and Doosan DX225LL
RCD Timber is a young company succeeding in a competitive market
Boldly Stepping Into the Future
A-1 Logging transforms itself
Collision of Champions
2016 Lumberjack World Championships
Gwin & Sons Logging runs new Cat through its paces
A review of winch-assist machines
New at DEMO International 2016
A look at some of the innovative equipment that debuted at DEMO International 2016.
Forestry issues hinge on November election