MacDonald & Owen CEO
MacDonald & Owen is thrilled to announce the designation of Clint West as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MacDonald & Owen Lumber Company. His duties and responsibilities have reached far beyond his current title of Director of Business Development for some time. By now, all of us have clearly seen his unshakable leadership and unwavering loyalty through the many evolutions of our business over the years. This designation will also serve to bring more structural clarity to our company.
As a company, we are deeply grateful for ALL of our amazing leaders and staff that make up the MacDonald & Owen family.
Big changes ahead at MacDonald & Owen
MacDonald & Owen Lumber Company is excited to announce the expansion of our Luck, Wisconsin, and Brookville, PA, locations. Lumber processing equipment, like a rip line and pack saw, are being reallocated from the Sparta location to our northern Wisconsin and Pennsylvania facilities to better serve more of the industry. We are investing in both facilities by adding new equipment, upgrading existing structures, and expanding storage space.
We remain committed to the Sparta customer base by providing better and more cost-effective service from the Luck facility and many of our highly-skilled Sparta operations team will join the teams in either Luck or Brookville.
Additionally, MacDonald & Owen Lumber Company is relocating our support staff under one roof in the West Salem, WI, corporate office, creating a faster and more efficient workflow and customer service. This strategic move out of Sparta’s leased facility to our own facilities has been a potential course of action for many years. It provides better operational alignment and significant cost savings, placing lumber processing in the same locations as production.
The transition is already underway and will be complete by the end of 2019. We look forward to the opportunities this expansion will provide in achieving increasing levels of speed, accuracy, growth, and profitability for the benefit of our customers, vendors, employees, and owners.
Stay tuned for updates!
MacDonald & Owen Travels the World
Summer is well underway, and MacDonald & Owen has wasted no time to begin their summer travels.
Adam Hyer and Patrick McBride kicked off our summer travel plans by traveling to Cologne, Germany for the Interzum Trade Fair – one of the leading worldwide trade fairs for furniture production and interior design. MacDonald & Owen was one of the roughly 1,800 exhibitors from 60 countries who participated in this year’s trade fair. Over the course of four days, more than 74,000 visitors made an appearance at the trade show, and 55,000 of those attendees were from outside Germany. Although the U.S. hardwood lumber market has seen a decline in lumber exports over the past year, M&O was able to establish and strengthen relationships with companies from the Middle East and the European Union.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the hemisphere, Heidi Hurtis spent a week in Mexico traveling through Mexico City, Puebla, and Guadalajara. In between her busy schedule of visiting customers and solidifying new business relationships, she represented MacDonald & Owen at the annual IMEXFOR convention which is dedicated to expanding the hardwood lumber market in Mexico. Heidi, along with other M&O employees will return to Mexico from August 14th-17th to network at the Tecno Mueble International Fair in Guadalajara, one of the largest woodworking fairs in Central America. Between her 15 years of sales experience in the Mexican market and having a thorough understanding of her customers’ needs, we fully expect that M&O’s presence below the border will continue to grow.
The next travel destination on the agenda for MacDonald & Owen is Las Vegas, Nevada for the AWFS Trade Fair from July 17th-20th where we will be highlighting our new rip program. If you plan to be at the tradeshow, be sure to stop by booth #6412 to say hi. We can’t wait to catch up with all of our customers!
MacDonald & Owen Welcome Jenny Le to the U.S
Creating and maintaining an engaged, family-like atmosphere has been a key objective for MacDonald & Owen since it was founded in 1968. While employees at our U.S. locations regularly have time to connect with one another through company picnics and weekly activities, connecting with our overseas employees requires a little more intentionality.
In May, we were privileged to welcome Jenny Le, our Vietnamese sales representative, to the U.S. During her trip, Jenny visited all four M&O locations, familiarized herself with different M&O products, and met with facility managers and graders at each location to thoroughly communicate customers’ expectations. She also visited with key kiln dried producers to ensure that the quality of lumber received by her customers would be consistent. Another priority during Jenny’s trip was to introduce her to several M&O employees. Although Jenny has been working for M&O for nearly 5 months, this was the first time many employees were able to interact with her without using a computer screen. After getting to know Jenny and her husband over a hearty meal of American BBQ, Jenny led a group presentation highlighting how we can work together to better establish our presence in the highly competitive Vietnamese market.
We’re eager to see how we will be better able to serve and meet the needs of our Vietnamese customers through this trip!
Spring Vietnam Sales Trip
One of the most successful sales trips was recently concluded by the MacDonald & Owen export sales team as they returned from a 10 day, 3 city tour of Vietnam.
The trip commenced in a relatively new market for MacDonald & Owen. Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam is a relatively small market in comparison to Ho Chi Minh City. A usually crowded city was all the more crowded due to the International Summit of the heads of state of the United States of American and North Korea. Nevertheless the M&O team was able to schedule some meetings with some existing customers as well as some new customers we were fortunate to bring on board this trip.
A priority of the spring trip was to visit the beautiful Oceanside city of Da Nang, located in the central coastland part of the country. Whilst Da Nang is an even smaller market than Da Nang, it is the 5th largest city in Vietnam. The team was able to secure additional orders with some existing customers as well as confirming business with several new accounts. Fortunately the team was able to spend the weekend in Da Nang and enjoy some downtime. The team went on an evening trip to the ancient city of Hoi An located 40 min south of Da Nang. There we wandered the markets followed by a return trip to Da Nang to watch the evening dragon bridge fire and water display. Sunday was a lot of fun with a boar tour out to Cham Island where the team jumped in the water for a few hours of snorkeling. On Monday it was back to work visiting customers, touring their facilities, and putting deals together.
After our short stay in Da Nang, it was time for the heavy lifting to begin. Ho Chi Minh City is a well established and highly competitive market for American Hardwoods. Our knowledge of the market, willingness to understand the customer’s needs, and the ability to see opportunities made our 5 day stay in Ho Chi Minh City highly productive. We were able to confirm a lot of new business, and thus our 2nd quarter shipments to Vietnam look to be highly profitable.
Overall there was a genuine optimism in the market that the worst is behind us and that 2019 should turn out to be a good year for US lumber exports in to Vietnam. The vast majority of the factories are operating at maximum capacity with several opening additional production facilities to keep up with demand.
Our final day in Vietnam was spent taking a day trip to the Mekong Delta. This was a wonderful opportunity to learn a little more about what life is like outside of the larger cities in Vietnam.
Overall this trip was a huge success for the company and most importantly we were able to learn more about the country and the unique cultures of all 3 cities we visited.
The current Polar Vortex won’t stop us
It may be-30 degrees in Luck, WI but MacDonald & Owen are still producing great Lumber even during the current Polar Vortex!!
Happy Halloween 2018
Viva Las AWFS!
Bright lights? Summer in Las Vegas? You guessed it! It was HOT! The Las Vegas Convention Center had a strange mix of people drawn to it as it had many events under the same roof. To list a few, AAU Basketball, IDEA World Fitness 2017, and Association of Woodworking & Furnishing Suppliers (AWFS) were among the organizations that inter-mingled throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center. The atmosphere really made for an interesting affair.
For the most part, woodworking trade shows are regional, but once a year, there is a show that garners national attention. This year, my friends, it was AWFS 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. While there were many attractions under the same roof, it was the AWFS 2017 fair that took center stage. With about 15,000 attendees and over 500 exhibitors from throughout the United States and abroad (the veneer booth next to us was from Turkey!) were in attendance. In an effort to represent our company well, MacDonald & Owen Lumber Company Sales Interns Jerry Flores and Keonte Turner joined veteran Sales Representatives Justin Briski, Heidi Hurtis and Erik Skjervem to host a booth at the AWFS 2017.
For our M&O sales team, there was never a dull moment. There were displays of woodworking tools, supplies, finishes, accessories and countless customers and vendors to connect with. There were aisles and aisles of innovation, new products and technology. Additionally, Axalta (A paint coating system manufacturer), had Dale Earnhardt Jr. as a speaker!
Another noteworthy thing about this year’s AWFS was the new way that attendees exchanged information with one another. This year’s innovation took us from old fashion business cards to Compulead. Compulead is a smart phone app that allows individuals to swap information. Two easy steps of opening the app on your smart phone and scanning someone’s QR barcode on their badge could give you access to their company’s name, location, phone number and email. This served as a very useful tool!
Overall the event was both exciting as well as a success! The sales team of MacDonald & Owen Lumber Company had the opportunity to talk with current and potential customers and suppliers. It was an invaluable experience & we can’t wait to do it again at AWFS 2018!
MacDonald & Owen Lumber Company Does Lakes States
This year’s Lake States Lumber Association summer golf outing was another impressive event in the beautiful northwoods of Minocqua, Wisconsin. Returning to the Timber Ridge Golf Course every three years, this event is one to look forward to boasting friendly competition and great prizes. Our attendees worked hard on the golf course enjoying their winnings and making connections with vendors. Golfing was fun and networking resulted in confirmations that the lumber market should remain strong despite the high levels of rain we received this past season. The main thing to celebrate at this year’s Lake States event was not our golf scores. Instead, strength and confidence in the lumber industry is something we at MacDonald & Owen Lumber Company are thrilled to be celebrating alongside our customers and lumber suppliers. If you missed this year’s event, reach out to one of our sales team members here at MacDonald & Owen Lumber Company. We would love to catch you up on what is happening in our industry and sell you some boards while we’re at it. Visit us at www.hardwoodlumber.net today!
Tour De M&O
For the month of June, many M&O employees strapped on their walking shoes to compete in a company-wide step challenge. The competition was fierce! Labeled the “Tour De M&O”, the goal was to walk a scaled down map of our locations, starting at Brookville, PA and ending in Luck, WI. One tenth of the actual distance equated to about 140 miles (10,000 steps per day). By the end of the first week, there were a few clear leaders, but they were no match for Ms. Katie Hawes! Not only is she an Export Logistics extraordinaire but also a mean walking machine. Last Friday, just half way through the month, she completed the challenge with ease leaving the rest of us in her dust. Buzz of cheating circulated through the office but little did we know, she and her husband had just purchased a new treadmill–and boy did she use it! They clearly got their money’s worth! Give her a shout out on her big win!