Neil Ward (301/838-9385) firstname.lastname@example.org
Rockville, MD – The Forest Resources Association honored Paul Mitchell, of Tupper Lake, New York’s Paul Mitchell Logging, as the 2011 National Outstanding Logger at its March 18 Annual Awards Luncheon in Bethesda, Maryland. FRA Chairman Dick Carmical presented Paul and his wife, Mary, with a special plaque.
Kent Hall, STIHL Inc. senior product manager, also congratulated Mitchell and presented him with a $1,000 check and a STIHL MS 460 chain saw.
Paul Mitchell thanked Carmical and FRA for the Award, commenting, “I’m used to being in the woods, not standing up in front of people. I just want to thank our crew in Tupper that is still working, trying to get things wrapped up ahead of spring break-up, and my wife, best friend, and partner.”
Since 1975, when Paul Mitchell started logging right out of high school, his enterprise has grown from a small, conventional logging business into a diversified enterprise with interests in clean chipping, a biomass line, and a stone quarry endeavor-—and he is now working with two investors on a feasibility study to develop a new pellet plant in the Tupper Lake area. “Honestly,” he says, “I think if we had ever put pen to paper and developed a business plan when we started, envisioning what we are today as an endpoint, we would never have proceeded. It would have been way too daunting.” The other half of “we” is his wife and business partner, Mary, whom he calls Paul Mitchell Logging’s “CFO, CEO, CIO, and every other officer position there is in the company!”
A third-generation woodsman, Paul Mitchell made a major investment to move into clean chipping in 2006, with a three-year contract with International Paper, which he describes as the “safety net” that enabled the investment. Today, following the conclusion of that contract, he delivers to several markets (still including IP). Paul Mitchell Logging specializes in selective thinning of low-grade hardwood, mostly on institutional lands. The firm’s biomass markets are also diversified.
“I think it is critical to the growth of any contracting business to have a right-hand man who can step in and manage the day-to-day operations and allow you the opportunity to proactively look forward.” That right-hand man is Paul’s son, Paul, Jr., whom he modestly calls “by far a better boss to work for; I think he helps us retain good people.” He recalls his surprise in hearing Paul, Jr., “home from college,” declaring that he wanted to join the business. Now age 30, with growing responsibilities, Paul, Jr. seems likely to take over the business at some point.
Someone at Paul Mitchell Logging is, indeed, a good boss to work for. Over half of the company’s 24 full-time employees have been with the company for over a decade, and several since the start-up 35 years ago. “Treat people the way you want to be treated,” says Paul, “maintain high expectations of performance, expect professionalism, and be mindful of work and life balance.”
Lessons learned? “Diversify, take calculated risks, hire like-minded, ambitious people, and remember that working for yourself can be both challenging and rewarding.”
FRA has honored 21 National Outstanding Loggers since establishing the national award in 1990. Recent National Outstanding Loggers include Adrian Bishop, of South Carolina (2006), Tommy Barnes and David Cox, of Edgemoor, South Carolina (2007), David and Kurt Babineau, of West Enfield, Maine (2008), the partners of Redoutey Logging, McDermott, Ohio (2009), and Cloquet, Minnesota’s Berthiaume Logging last year. Nominees for this year’s award passed through state-level recognition to regional award programs administered through FRA’s Regional Division structure. A jury of 25 national-level leaders in forestry and conservation selected the winner.
The other nominees for this year’s National award were:
- Kevin Snyder, Kevin Snyder Logging, Inc., Pleasantville, Pennsylvania
- Max Ericson, Ericson Logging, Minong, Wisconsin
- Jimmy Pritchett, Pritchett Logging, LLC, Sweet Water, Alabama
- Jerry Gray, Gray Logging, LLC, Madison, Florida
The Outstanding Logger program is designed:
- to recognize outstanding logging contractor performance;
- to raise the visibility of competent, professional independent logging contractors in the forestry community;
- to encourage other independent logging contractors to emulate the outstanding performance of the award winners; and
- to improve forester-logger relations by publicly recognizing outstanding logging performance as an essential element of every planned timber harvest.
The Forest Resources Association Inc. is a nonprofit trade association concerned with the safe, efficient, and sustainable harvest of forest products and their transport from woods to mill. FRA represents wood consumers, independent logging contractors, and wood dealers, as well as businesses providing products and services to the forest resource-based industries.