Wood Purchasing News


Feature Story


Overseas Customers Rely On 50-Year-Old ITL

By Terry Miller

Beachwood, Ohio—Industrial Timber and Lumber Co. is celebrating its 50-year anniversary in 2005.

“This is a time to recognize those loyal customers, suppliers and employees who have made this significant mile marker possible,” Larry Evans, president, said. “Not only are we proud that we have received numerous supplier recognition awards from nationally recognized customers, but we are equally as proud to have maintained long lasting relationships with our valued suppliers. We are also pleased that we now have second generation employees who are carrying on the ITL family traditions.”
Industrial Timber and Lumber Co., located in Beachwood, Ohio, sustainably manages its 50,000 acres of timberlands with a staff of professional foresters. The one pictured is measuring a Cherry tree at one of the company’s timber tracts located in Northwestern Pennsylvania.

With production from five band sawmills, and millions of board feet kiln capacity, ITL has become one of America’s most recognized hardwood producers.

ITL began in 1955 as a pallet brokerage business. By 1980, it had become one of the largest pallet sales companies in the United States, with regional offices across the country. With three sawmills, and several pallet assembly plants, ITL was focused on pallet manufacturing and sales.

In 1982, ITL acquired its first kiln drying facility, and quickly thereafter, assembled both a domestic and export sales staff. With management’s foresight and direction, the pallet company was sold as an on-going entity in 1986, allowing ITL to focus entirely on its new core business, manufacturing and selling green and kiln-dried hardwood lumber and logs.

By the early 1990’s, ITL had acquired seven additional facilities, increasing its manufacturing capabilities.
ITL recently installed optimizing carriage technology, like the one shown at the sawmill location in Endeavor, Pennsylvania, which ensures the highest yield and accuracy from every log sawed.
Also during this period, ITL accumulated a land base in excess of 50,000 acres of pristine timberlands, most of which are located in northwest Pennsylvania, according to Evans. In 2000, ITL changed its name from Industrial Timber and Land Co. to Industrial Timber and Lumber Co. to better reflect the nature of its core business.

According to Evans, ITL’s growth has been the result of hard work and dedication by its many loyal employees and by its management team, who are atuned to listening to their customers’ particular needs, and delivering quality products. As the market has changed, ITL has also. The firm believes it has led the way for the development of specialized products its customers ask for.

For example, with the work of its strong manufacturing management team, ITL first began offering “Color Sorted” Red Oak over 20 years ago. ITL was also among the first to successfully dry both Hard and Soft Maple, white and free of sticker stain, Evans said. A strong administrative and systems infrastructure has also been a very important part of ITL’s success, he added. With a 20-person sales and procurement team, managed by Willem van der Wal, Ed Armbruster and Scott Holley, ITL has developed markets domestically and throu
ITL has invested in state-of-the-art equipment, including this bin sorter, also in Endeavor, to maximize efficiency.
ghout the world.

According to Evans, the location of the firm’s facilities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and North Carolina, and its extensive inventory, offer its customers a wide variety of species and services. ITL’s species include Ash, Beech, Birch, Cherry, Hard and Soft Maple, Hickory, Poplar, Red and White Oak and Walnut, in thicknesses from up to 16/4 and grades including National Hardwood Lumber Assoc., Proprietary and Rustic, which can be prepared and sorted to specifications, either in full or mixed truckload quantities.

“The dedication and commitment of our employees, and support by our customers and suppliers has paved the way for our 50 years in business,” Evans said. “We will be in business for another 50, and to do that we will have to remember our humble beginnings, and continue to work hard. We must make changes and adapt to the needs of our valued customers. We must be efficient to remain competitive, we have to produce only the best products and deliver them to the market in a ready fashion.”
The drying process for all whitewoods begins in ITL’s fan sheds, like the one shown located in Ridgeway, Pennsylvania. Drying of Red and White Oak begins in ITL’s over 3-million-board-foot capacity predriers.

He continued, saying that developing new employees through recruitment and training is a priority at ITL, in addition to making investments in new equipment and technology. Evans also stated that although the price of lumber is not always on the rise, investing in the future of the company, as well as the future of the company’s customers, is important to keep the company going for another 50 years.

“We will continue to change and evolve in order to meet the customer’s ever-changing needs,” he said. “The hardwood business was here long before we were, and it’s going to be here for al long time. It’s a good business, and to stay in the business, we have to keep up with the times by making the necessary investments, not only in machinery, but in human resources as well.”

Lumber is precisely stuck and stored prior to kiln drying. Pictured is an air-dry shed located in Marlinton, West Virginia. 


Lumber is meticulously inspected, before and after kiln drying, by inspectors, such as the one shown in McArthur, Ohio, who stand over each piece to ensure consistency and accuracy. 





One of ITL’s seven planing lines, this one located in Marion, North Carolina, where lumber is inspected after surfacing. 





Kiln-dried lumber ranging from 3/4 to 16/4, at Struthers, Ohio, is prepped and packaged to customer specifications, awaiting prompt shipment by truck, container or rail.


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