Bingaman & Son Lumber Inc., which is headquartered in Kreamer, Pa., has experienced rapid growth at its Clarendon, Pa., division.
New Facility Brings Growth For Bingaman
By Paul Miller Jr.
Clarendon, Pennsylvania—The rapid growth of the lumberyard here since Bingaman & Son Lumber Inc. purchased it in 1994 has surprised many at the company.
Some 15 years ago, the facility, then owned by Bruce Dunn of W.B. Dunn Lumber Co., had just four employees, a kiln drying capacity of 75,000 board feet and a lumber inventory of 300,000 board feet. Maurice Bennett, general manager of the Clarendon Division, said workers did most lumber handling by hand.
Bennett said Max Bingaman, owner of Bingaman & Son, had no room to expand operations at the firm’s other lumberyard in Kreamer, Pa., when Dunn decided to sell his plant. “Max had been buying quality kiln-dried Cherry, Hard Maple and Red Oak from Bruce for over 25 years, and wanted to retain this supply of lumber for his customers,” he said. “Plus, it was in a good geographic location. It was just a natural fit.”
Bennett added, “One of the reasons that Max was interested in buying this yard is because it is
Key executives at Bingaman & Son Lumber Inc. include Chris Bingaman, vice president of sales and marketing; Dean Heintzelman, executive vice president; and Max Bingaman, president.
located in the Allegheny National Forest, which has the finest Black Cherry available anywhere in the world. Because of the climate in northwestern Pennsylvania and southwestern New York, the color of the Hard Maple in this region is desired by our customer base.”
Today, the 12-acre facility has 42 employees on two shifts, and boasts a kiln drying capacity of 420,000 board feet per charge, thanks to the addition of six American Wood Dryer kilns. Other additions to the Clarendon yard include automated grading and stacking operations, and a dry line.
Bingaman & Son also utilizes a 240,000-board-foot fan drying shed during the summer months in Clarendon to maintain excellent color in whitewoods such as Hard and Soft Maple. Scott Shaffer, vice president of yard operations, said, “The woods are in the shed for about eight days, and then go directly into the dry kilns. It helps us dry Hard and Soft Maple much whiter than we could without it.”
Shaffer added that the company also recently built a 30,500-square-foot steel building on the premises with plans to install a green line and sticking line in the future. Bingaman & Son uses fluted and breeze-dried sticks on all whitewoods.
Maurice Bennett is general manager of the Clarendon Division.
Shaffer said Bennett has added to the overall success of the Clarendon Division. “Maurice brought a lot of woodworking knowledge,” he said. “He has challenged employees to grow outside of their own expected potential. His leadership abilities have been a key factor to this location.”
Bingaman & Son Lumber Inc. manufactures kiln-dried Appalachian hardwood logs, lumber, strips, and dimension for distribution yards, furniture and cabinet manufacturers and small woodworking shops. The company is comprised of two lumberyards in Kreamer and Clarendon, Pa., and two sawmills, Pine Creek Lumber in Mill Hall, Pa., and St. Mary’s Lumber in St. Mary’s, Pa.
The second generation company was founded in the early 1940s by Carson C. Bingaman, who originally began selling Appalachian hardwoods to anthracite coal mining companies to shore up mine shafts. In 1956, Carson’s son, Max, joined the business, which incorporated in 1968. At that time, the firm employed three full-time workers and some part-time help, and shipped 2.5 million board feet of lumber a year.
Lumber inspector Michael Brant helps maintain the quality of Bingaman & Son’s Appalachian hardwoods.
Today, Bingaman & Son Lumber Inc. has approximately 250 employees, and ships more than 40 million board feet of lumber annually. All of Bingaman’s facilities are located in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania, a region known worldwide for the color and texture of its hardwoods.
In addition to quality, Bingaman & Son is known for catering to its diverse customer base. They have the ability to provide quick shipments in an assortment of species to customers using truckloads or as small as 500 board feet.
“We’re very customer oriented,” Bennett said. “We have our own fleet of 13 trucks, and when a load goes out, we might have five or six different customers’ orders on there as small as 500 feet. Our sales people may call at 2 p.m. and tell me that a customer needs a particular item by the next day. We’ll get it right away, and put it on a truck the next morning so that they can deliver it that day.”
Bennett added that the firm practices J.I.T. (just in time deliveries), and will “jump through hoops” to make sure a customer is satisfied.
Bingaman & Son has a 240,000-board-foot fan drying shed to maintain excellent color in whitewoods during the summer months.
Bingaman & Son Lumber Inc. stocks all domestic hardwoods including Red and White Oak, Poplar, Cherry, Ash, Hard and Soft Maple, Birch, Hickory, Basswood and Beech in 4/4 through 8/4 thicknesses, and handles some 10/4 and 12/4 Ash, Poplar and Cherry. Additionally, all of Bingaman’s locations are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified allowing the company to offer certified products.
The Clarendon and Kreamer lumberyards each have state-of-the-art lumber handling, drying, inspecting and processing equipment. The locations also offer special sorting for grade, widths and color with quality control throughout the entire drying and grading process. All kiln-dried lumber is also re-graded to ensure customers receive what was requested.
The Clarendon, Pa., location ships more than 10 million board feet of lumber annually, and maintains approximately 3 million board feet of kiln- or air-dried lumber inventory. The Kreamer Division, meanwhile, ships more than 30 million board feet of lumber per year. The firm has 12 dry kilns in Kreamer, which carry a capacity of 800,000 board feet per charge and a 600,000 board feet predryer. The Kreamer facility also recently completed an expansion project that will increase its strips and dimension production.
The company recently added a 30,500-square-foot steel building to install a green line and sticking line.
Bingaman & Son exports its products through the ports in Baltimore, Md., and Philadelphia, Pa. “About 40 percent of our volume is exported in a wide range of products including logs, lumber, strips and cut-to-length dimension,” Shaffer said. The firm’s BING label helps assure customers that they are receiving consistent quality in every product they order.
Shaffer added that the company’s two sawmills, Pine Creek and St. Mary's, manufacture around 20 percent of the wood Bingaman & Son needs for production, with the remainder purchased from surrounding sawmills. The two mills utilize locally grown timber, modern manufacturing techniques and proprietary information systems to provide a consistent product.
The corporate officers of Bingaman & Son Lumber include Max Bingaman as president; Chris Bingaman as vice president of sales and marketing; and Dean Heintzelman as executive vice president. Besides Bennett and Shaffer, the leadership group includes Brad Bingaman as director of domestic sales; John Dunkelberger as director of sawmill operations; Tim Faust as vice president of manufacturing; Ritchie Heintzelman as director of maintenance; Scott Hurst as chief financial officer; Mike Meiser as director of lumber procurement; Dave Whitten as director of export sales; and Mike Worrell as director of human resources.
Additionally, the company believes its success is a direct result of the dedicated employees throughout its organization. That is why several years ago Bingaman became an Employee Stock Ownership Company (ESOP), making every full-time employee a part owner. “Philosophically, it fit the owners’ view of sharing success with their employees,” Shaffer said.
Bingaman & Son Lumber is a member of the National Hardwood Lumber Assoc., Penn-York Lumbermen’s Club, Hardwood Manufacturers Assoc., Keystone Kiln Dryers Assoc., Pennsylvania Forest Products Assoc., American Hardwood Export Council, Keystone Wood Products Assoc. and the Wood Components Manufacturers Assoc.
“‘Great finishes start here’ is our company’s motto, and our employees at every location work very hard to see that our
Three of the Bingaman & Son’s dry kilns are pictured. The Clarendon location boasts over 3 million board feet of kiln- and air-dried lumber inventory.
customers know it is more than just a motto, it’s a promise in which they can put their trust,” Shaffer said.
For more information, contact Bingaman & Son Lumber Inc. at 570-374-1108; visit the newly redesigned Web site at www.bingamanlumber.com, or e-mail email@example.com.