Submitted by Rayonier
Originally published on Rayonier.com
At Rayonier, we have the honor and privilege of working alongside small, local logging businesses. Many of these companies have been passed down for generations, and are considered an integral part of the Rayonier family. We take great pride in these partnerships and appreciate their shared commitment to the sustainability and preservation of the land we work together.
Here we share seven of these generational businesses’ inspiring stories, showcasing their deep-rooted values and passion for the logging industry. Join us as we pay tribute to the significant contributions and remarkable legacies logging business from Washington state to Florida bring.
Levanen Inc., Battle Ground, Washington
From a young age, Scott Levanen aspired to follow in his father’s footsteps as a professional in the logging industry. While working alongside his father, Scott gained valuable skills and logging experience. He later recognized a need for a local full-service logging company that could assist private landowners in maximizing the potential of their tree farms. In 1989, he partnered with his cousin Mark to establish Levanen Inc., which is dedicated to fulfilling this purpose.
Word spread quickly among landowners about the quality of Levanen Inc.’s services. The growing demand the company was experiencing resulted in a need for expansion of its workforce and equipment. This enabled them to take on larger logging projects. To sustain such growth, Levanen Inc. diversified their services, offering logging operations to both public and private timberlands.
Over time, Levanen Inc. has evolved into a well-rounded organization through partnerships with large landowners such as Rayonier. These partners share a commitment to safer, more efficient, and technologically-advanced harvesting timber methods via cable assist and hydraulic grapple logging systems.
Scott’s father once advised him, saying, “Surround yourself with great people, and things will go well.” Thanks to this advice, Scott attributes his success to the partnerships, employees, vendors, and clients he has worked with over the years.
Currently, Levanen Inc. is owned and operated by Scott with the help of his two sons, Dale and Loren. In the future, Dale and Loren hope to purchase the company, carrying on the family legacy.
Sevier Logging, LLC, Olympia, Washington
Sevier Logging, LLC, is owned and operated by Jeff Sevier and his son, Justin. This well-established, third-generation company holds a rich logging history dating back over 70 years in the Pacific Northwest. Known for its sustainable forestry practices and excellent logging services, the company has built a strong reputation as a contractor for various timber companies. Partnerships have included Weyerhaeuser Company, Rayonier Forest Resources, Green Diamond Resource Company, Harbor Timber/Quinault Partners for the Quinault Indian Tribe, Olympic Resource Management, and government sales at Fort Lewis.
Jeff inherited the business from his father Paul in 2000, continuing the family legacy. Justin, Jeff’s son, has been actively involved in the company for the past decade, working alongside his father and preparing to take ownership in the near future. “Working alongside my dad has been invaluable as I learn the ropes,” says Justin, prompting a smile from Jeff. “I’m so proud of Justin,” says Jeff, “He has embraced a leadership role and makes good, solid decisions. I couldn’t be any prouder of him!”
Sevier Logging, LLC, is rooted in responsible land stewardship and is dedicated to protecting the environment through sustainable forestry practices. Employee safety is also a priority for the company. Remarkably, Sevier Logging, LLC, has managed to avoid any serious accidents in its 70-year logging history.
Triple J Logging, Palatka, Florida
For JJ Sweat, it was important to create a logging business that would not only provide for his family today, but could become a legacy that would one day also provide for his son’s family.
He founded Triple J Logging Inc. in Palatka, Florida, in 2005.
Now a co-owner who works alongside his dad, JJ’s son Jess is learning firsthand how to operate the company.
Over the years, Triple J Logging has grown significantly, employing a dedicated team of 8 employees. The company has partnered with Rayonier’s Florida Resource Unit as a logging contractor since about 2019.
Allen Brothers Forest Management, Arlington, Washington
Les and Rob Allen represent the second and third generations of their family’s logging legacy at the Hood Canal Tree Farm in East Jefferson County, Washington. In 1976, Les, with his two brothers Craig and Larry, founded Allen Brothers Logging on the Olympic Peninsula. Initially, the company focused on serving the Quilcene and Chimacum areas.
While Rob was growing up, he and his brother worked for their father periodically throughout their high school and young adult years. Although Rob pursued other career paths, he later returned to Allen Brothers Forest Management as a full-time logger in 2004. In response to their father’s dedication to the logging company, Rob’s sons later worked for him during their high school summer breaks. This allowed them the opportunity to gain valuable experience in operations and logging equipment maintenance. As potential fourth-generation loggers, they have a promising future ahead should they choose to continue with Allen Brothers Forest Management.
Both Les and Rob share many positive outlooks when it comes to working alongside family members. They both emphasize the deep familiarity and trust between family, noting that each member treats the company as their own. As they look to the future, Les and Rob are hopeful that the younger generation will decide to return and continue the family logging legacy.
DM Stratton and 3D Trucking, LLC, Jacksonville, Florida
For the Stratton family in Jacksonville, Florida, the common name between Dillon Stratton I, Dillon Stratton II and Dillon Stratton III is only one of the similarities the three generations share. They’re also all three passionate about logging and have worked together in their family businesses.
The youngest of the three, Dillon Stratton III, is the owner and operator of DM Stratton and 3D Trucking, LLC. Founded by his grandfather, Dillon Stratton I, both businesses have a strong family lineage. Together, the two companies employ a total of 18 employees. In addition to running the business, Dillon III holds the position of Vice President at the Southeastern Wood Producers Association. His father, Dillion II, received the distinguished Florida Logger of the Year award in 1995. Following in his father’s footsteps, Dillion III was also recognized, receiving the same honor in 2022.
Over the years, DM Stratton has developed an extensive partnership with Rayonier, effectively managing multiple logging crews at the same time in our forests.
Dilley & Soloman, Forks, Washington
Dave Dilley began his logging journey while pursuing his high school education. At the time, he realized this particular career path was his true calling. Growing up in Forks, Washington, an area known for its beautiful outdoor landscape and the Olympic Peninsula, it seemed like a natural fit. Following his graduation, Dave spent 10 years logging alongside his uncle, a contractor working for Rayonier. In 1987, he partnered with Lyn Soloman to establish Dilley & Soloman Logging. Together, they experienced substantial business growth.
Dave’s son, Mike, joined the company while still in high school, dedicating his summer breaks to working in the family business. After graduating in 2000 and pursuing a college degree for 2 years at Washington State University, he decided to forego his education and work at the business instead. Over the years, Mike has gradually worked his way through every aspect of logging operations, watching the industry shift and change. Notable changes included tower and shovel logging with grapple cars, tilting shovels, and tethering bunchers. The company has encouraged and embraced innovation, attributing to its great success.
Dave is confident that when he retires, Mike will carry on the family legacy and achieve great success.
R.L. Smith Logging, Inc., Elma, Washington
R.L. Smith Logging, Inc. has been in business now for 32 years, but its logging legacy dates back further than that. In 1932, Roger Smith’s paternal grandfather tragically died in a logging accident, leaving his wife and five young sons behind. Due to the accident, the family decided to set the logging industry aside for a while. But in 1980, Roger joined his uncle’s company, Grandorff Bros Logging, a small business of four brothers offering logging services to the high country of Grisdale.
In 1991, an economic downturn left Roger unemployed. Thankfully, an uncle offered to sell his portion of the business, leading to the establishment of Tagman-Smith Logging, Inc. With the help and support of Dick Tagman, R.L. Smith Logging, Inc. is still thriving to this day.
Because of Roger’s success and dedication to the family legacy, he was able to offer his nephew, Nate Murray, an opportunity to start his own venture: Roosevelt Logging Inc. In addition, Roger has worked alongside his brothers and brother-in-law for over 20 years. Roger values the teamwork, comradery, and accomplishments he and his family have achieved over the years. Now, R.L. Smith Logging Inc. is harvesting ground they logged in their early years.
“It is hard to imagine that our family history in the logging industry goes back almost 100 years,” says Roger.
Rayonier’s Dedication to Supporting Local Family-Owned Logging Businesses
Rayonier is proud to partner with these family-owned logging businesses. Founded on shared values and a deep appreciation for the forests, their knowledge of the industry and logging operations are critical to Rayonier’s mission of sustainable forest management. With logging running through their blood, each company contributes its rooted and local expertise, specialized equipment, and talented workforce.
We value and express gratitude to each family-owned logging business represented at Rayonier. Our work is only made possible with partnerships such as these. Rayonier’s goal is to continue to support the ongoing success and resilience of these generational logging companies for years to come.
Rayonier (NYSE:RYN) is a leading timberland real estate investment trust with assets located in some of the most productive softwood timber growing regions in the United States and New Zealand. We own or lease under long-term agreements approximately 2.8 million acres of timberlands located in the U.S. South, U.S. Pacific Northwest and New Zealand. We are More than trees because we recognize that our 90+ years of success in the timberland industry comes from our people, an empowering culture and the courage to constantly challenge “the way it’s always been done.” Get to know us at www.rayonier.com.
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