Wood Purchasing News


Feature Story


Jack Matson, Doug Zimmerman, Rob Matson, Jack Huber and Rich Conti are some of the key personnel at Matson Wood Products, located in Brookville, Pa.
Matson Tradition Continues
By Paul Miller Jr.

Brookville, Pa.— When Robert D. Matson began working in the lumber industry nearly 70 years ago, the company quickly established a solid reputation as a provider of quality customer service and superior products. The Matson legacy continues today as the eighth generation of Matsons energizes the company that bears their name. 

Matson Wood Products has been guided by the core values established by the late Robert D. Matson, who once remarked that sawdust flowed through his family’s veins. Indeed, that has proven to be true, as his grandchildren have joined the family’s operations in Brookville, Corsica, and Harrisville, Pa.

Now Matson Wood Products is reaping the benefits of the tacit knowledge shared by its elder employees, alongside the savvy technological input of its younger employees.

“Our personnel make the difference,” said Rich Conti, company president. “We have a wonderful mix of employees wh
Rob Matson and Jack Huber take a break from inspecting logs.
o have years and years of experience along with younger employees who bring great interest, youth, desire and education to the table. Our long-term employees provide the art of the business through their experience. Our younger employees provide the latest science of the business as they bring us the most current knowledge and technological advancements.”

Matson Wood Products operates two sawmills in Brookville, and one in Harrisville. Matson also has two drying facilities, one of which is located in Brookville, and the other in Corsica, Pa.

The company saws, dries, grows, stores, packages and ships logs as well as lumber domestically and internationally. Matson’s complete inventory of species include Red Oak, White Oak, Cherry, Hard and Soft Maple, White Ash, Tulipwood, Poplar, Beech, Birch and Basswood. The company markets Red Oak, White Oak, Cherry and Ash in 4/4 through 8/4. Most of the other species are carried in 4/4 and 5/4. Some specialty items, such as rift and quartersawn Oak, are also available at Matson Wood Products.
Matson Wood Products operates two sawmills in Brookville, and one in Harrisville, Pa. Matson also has two drying facilities, one of which is located in Brookville, and the other in Corsica, Pa.

Jim Matson, Jack Matson, and Jack Huber, of international and domestic sales, travel overseas often to meet personally with customers and encourage them to visit the facilities.

“We really like to have our customers come here, see our production, and see what we do,” Huber said. “We have a close relationship with the customers based on what they need and what we can offer them. Our customers know what to expect from Matson Wood Products before we even ship it.

 “At Matson, we’ve always tried to gear our product to quality users and to sell the fact that we can do top-quality work consistently, as well as make timely deliveries. We achieve our goals as a business by understanding exactly what our customers need and determining the best ways in which to meet those needs. By re-investing in our company, and by upgrading as needed, we enable ourselves to meet our goals.”

Through the years, Matson Wood Products has remained committed to expanding and advancin
Paul Sorek is Matson’s land manager and member of the company’s forestry procurement department.
g its operations in order to provide complete quality service to its customers. Presently, Matson is improving its high lift fleet, building a wood fired boiler, installing a new computer system in its administrative offices, and reorganizing its maintenance department. Recently they have made improvements to their sawmills.

Matson is a preferred lumber provider due to the fact that it owns more than 30,000 acres of timberland consisting of Red and White Oak, Cherry and Hard and Soft Maple. All of Matson’s holdings are exclusively in the north Appalachian Mountains, the Allegheny Forest and other northern forest areas.

“The very region we live in provides us with the resources to produce a high-end product,” Huber said. “We’re very fortunate from the standpoint that Cherry and Oak products procured from this area have always been considered excellent quality with consistent good color. In recent years, the Maples have come on very strong for us as well. Basically, the longer winters here create a shorter growth cycle for the trees, which creates a stellar growth texture and grain.”

At Matson’s sawmill locations, the latest equipment provides the finest, most controlled cuts for the c
Rob Matson is involved in log procurement for the company.
ompany’s customers. Matson Wood utilizes a band saw at its Brookville location, which complements the facility’s circular saw. Through implementation of these saws, Matson is capable of producing a wide variety of sizes and qualities, including grades and sizes that are in lesser demand and smaller quantities.

Typically, Matson has 1 million board feet of dry kiln capacity, with 500,000 in Brookville and 500,000 in Corsica. The operation’s pre-dryer has a capacity of 1.2 million board feet. All lumber is inspected before and after drying to ensure consistent quality.

Approximately 4 million board feet of kiln-dried inventory is maintained at Matson Wood Products, as well as 4 million board feet of air dried and pre-dried lumber, and 2 million feet of logs.  All three of Matson’s yards have warehouse facilities.

Matson Wood Products is equipped to offer shipping from all of its facilities, either by truck or container. The Port of Baltimore is the primary port for overseas exports.
All three of Matson’s yards have warehouse facilities.

Matson Wood Products is a participating partner of the Sustained Forestry Initiative, and the company’s seven foresters are SFI trained. Continual good stewardship of the land is another legacy handed down from the company’s founding father.

John Matson moved the Matson family to the Brookville area in 1805, more than 200 years ago. He began working in the lumber industry when 70 percent of the land was covered in timber, particularly White Pine. That timber population was thinned considerably, however, when fires resulting from usage of coal engines severely burned thousands of acres. In time, though, the area’s regeneration produced some of the highest-grade hardwoods in the world.

When Matson Wood Products was formally founded years later, it was a sawmill that dealt primarily in softwoods. As the timber stands in the area changed, so did the focus of the Matson family business. The operation transformed from exclusively sawing softwood to include logging, and then to hardwood and sawmilling together.
Leadership at Matson continues with strength in family values as well as dedicated experienced managers. Company officers and directors include Richard Conti, president; Jack Huber, sales manager; Becky Matson, chairman and chief executive officer; Jack Matson, executive vice president; Jim Matson, managerial direction plus international and domestic sales; Paul Sorek, land manager and forestry procurement; Doug Zimmerman, manag
Lumber is carefully graded at Matson Wood Products.
er of Matson distribution; Barb Conti, human resources manager; Howard Hubler and Rob Matson, log procurement. The knowledge, commitment and energy of the team at Matson’s continues to be a strong asset.

Matson Wood Products employs more than 160 people, and fosters a work atmosphere that engenders company loyalty. In fact, 30 percent of the workforce has been with Matson more than 15 years, and at least 26 employees have been with the firm 20 years.

Regardless how large or technologically advanced Matson Wood Products may become in the future, one fact will not change, noted Conti. “The most important thing about our company is, and always has been, consistency of product,” he said. “Our customers know they can expect quality from Matson Wood Products, and they get what they expect.”




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