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Hawkeye employees include, from left, Chad Rumpel, procurement manager; Craig Jaderston, log yard manager; Adam Huff, log truck driver for the log yard; and Ray Marick, CAT loader operator.
HAWKEYE Celebrates 25th Anniversary

By Terry Miller

Trempealeau, Wisconsin - Hawkeye Forest Products Inc., based here, recently celebrated its 25th anniversary with the installation of a new McDonough infeed and Cleereman Model 42 carriage with linear positioner along with Inovec controls.

The new 16-foot Cleereman carriage will allow the company to break down logs faster into cants. The cants are then sent through a McDonough 62-inch linebar resaw with McDonough infeed system where they will be cut to grade. The new carriage will also allow Hawkeye to add a band headrig in the future.

“Every year we are reinvesting back into this company, making capital investments in technology to stay on the leading edge of this industry,” said Marcus Hawkinson, who works in kiln-dried lumber sales and handles green and kiln-dried lumber procurement and trucking. “We will continue to provide an exceptional product to our customers and a good safe working environment for our employees.”
Pictured are Black Walnut veneer logs ready for export by Hawkeye Forest Products Inc., headquartered in Boise, Idaho. The firm also has a facility in Trempealeau, Wis.

John Hawkinson, owner of Hawkeye Forest Products Inc., actually began his career in the hardwood lumber industry in 1975, by selling lumber out of the garage of his home. The small company, Boise Hardwood Inc., was a distributor of hardwood lumber and plywood in the Boise, Idaho market. Hawkeye Forest Products Inc. was established in 1983 to be the sole supplier to Boise Hardwood Inc. Boise Hardwood Inc. was sold in August of 1990.

The Hawkinson family also has ownership in a concentration yard and dry kiln facility in Kansas City, Kan., called Kansas City Hardwood Corp., that specializes in Red and White Oak, Black Walnut and Soft Maple. KCHC is managed by part-owner Dan Schneider.

Hawkeye Forest Products manufactures about 6 million board feet of Northern hardwoods in such species as Black Walnut (4/4 through 10/4); Cherry (4/4 through 8/4); White Oak (4/4 through 5/4); Red Oak (4/4 through 6/4); Hickory (4/4 through 6/4); and Hard Maple (4/4 through 8/4).

The company also purchases an additional 100,000 board feet of green lumber a month of Ash in 4/4 FAS, SAP and Better; Canadian White Paper B
Dry production employees include, from left, Paul Jostad, Brian Benrud, Alex Heinz, Tom Daley and Lonnie Stellpflug.
irch in 4/4 No. 1 Common and Better, SAP and Better; Basswood in 4/4 through 12/4 FAS; Tennessee “Aromatic” Red Cedar in 4/4 premium grade; as well as Hard Maple, Cherry, White Oak and Hickory to supplement production.

Hawkeye produces lumber, width sorted and gang-ripped flooring blanks and markets veneer logs domestically and internationally. The firm uses end wax on its veneer logs, as well as plastic, heat-resistant log savers to help prevent end splits, which are both supplied by U•C Coatings. At this time, the only species that is rift and quartered are Red and White Oak in 4/4 only.

Hawkeye Forest Products has 45 fulltime employees on site in Trempealeau, Wis., including 25 workers in the sawmill and another 20 workers in the dry division. Key executives at the firm’s Boise, Idaho, headquarters include: John Hawkinson, president; Kathy Hawkinson, secretary/ treasurer, who heads up the accounting department; Jennifer Geiger, John and Kathy’s daughter, who handles documentation for international sales for both lumber and logs; Marcus Hawkinson, John and Kathy’s son; Tony Geiger, Jennifer’s husband, who works in kiln-dried lumber sales; and Bob Cook, controller/financial analyst.

Key employees in Trempealeau include: Jim Erickson, dry division manager; Greg Heinz, the company’s first employee, who handles shipping and receiving; Mark Rogers, kiln and boiler operator; Chad Rumpel, procurement resource manag
Sawmill employees include, from left, Duane Briese, head saw operator; Ron Kulas, lift truck driver; Pat Stiehl, head saw and resaw operator; Kenn Dahl, sawmill supervisor; Nate Dahl, resaw and edger operator; and Lynn Schultz, sawmill supervisor.
er; and Ken Dahl and Lynn Shultz, who manage the sawmill operations.

Looking back on the 25 years, Marcus said Hawkeye Forest Products was “established to be the sole supplier to our distribution yard in Boise, and our specialty from day one has been mixed truckloads. We have always believed in the philosophy that bigger isn’t always better. Because of our size, we are very detailed and have always paid close attention to quality, aesthetics and to our packaging. We try to manufacture a product that catches people’s attention. With our size, we can’t be everything to everybody, but we can be a consistent, loyal supplier.”

Hawkeye procures its logs within a 150-mile radius of Trempealeau, which includes Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. The firm has four log buyers on staff, that buy standing timber and the balance of the logs purchased are gatewood.

Hawkeye markets its products throughout the European and Asian markets, as well as the United States and Canada. Kiln-dried lumber is exported to Western Europe and Japan. Veneer logs are sold domestically and internationally.

Dry side employees include, from left, Gary Roach, lift truck driver; LeRoy Sweet, lift truck driver; Mark Rogers, kiln and boiler operator; Greg Heinz, shipping and receiving; Jim Erickson, dry side manager; and Mari Mades, administrative assistant.
Marcus said the company’s high-grade lumber caters to distribution yards, furniture, flooring, cabinet, millwork and moulding producers and various other end-users. The company sells low-grade cants to the pallet industry and the low-grade green lumber goes to an array of other low-grade end users. Hawkeye specializes in full and half packs, and maintains an inventory for just-in-time deliveries.

Geiger said the firm tries to communicate future production schedules “as much as possible so our customers can plan around it. But, we also keep an ample kiln-dried inventory in the warehouse ready for prompt shipments. Our customers are surprised by how well we can do with multiple species.”

Drying facilities at Hawkeye include: five American Wood Dryers Inc. dry kilns, which together carry a capacity of 225,000 board feet per charge and is fed by a Weiss wood waste boiler. The company also uses a Better Built Dry Kilns steamer for steaming Walnut, which has 40,000 board feet of lumber capacity per charge.

Marcus said that the firm’s Black Walnut is cut and then steamed for 72 hours once the steamer reaches 180to 190 degrees
Pictured is a load of 4/4 Black Walnut rustic gang-ripped flooring blanks.
Fahrenheit. “We length-sort everything prior to it going into our steamer, because length-sorted lumber will accept steam better than non length-sorted lumber,” he said. “After coming out of our steamer, the lumber is end waxed with U•C Coatings clear wax to prevent splitting and end checking. The lumber is then put up on sticks. All lumber comes out of our sawmill with three inches of overlength.”

Marcus added that all whitewoods are put on Breeze Dried™ sticks and all lumber is waxed to ensure customers that they will receive the highest quality product available.

“We grade lumber both before and after kiln drying,” he said. “After kiln drying, the lumber goes to a Mellott breakdown hoist and then through our Newman 282 planer, double-end trimmed to 1-inch overlength with our Newman KNO — 24 double-end trimmer and then regraded on our green chain. We surface about 98 percent of our products because we like to be consistent with grade, color and texture.”

This shows a Black Walnut cant feeding into a McDonough linebar resaw
After it is dried, the lumber remains indoors until it is shipped to the customer. “Because we load all of our trucks and containers indoors, lumber virtually doesn’t see daylight until it reaches the customer after coming out of the kilns. We use an indoor loading dock for loading containers, and we load flatbed trucks inside right on a scale,” Marcus said. “We put cardboard cover sheets over the top of all of our FAS lumber so products arrive in a very clean, presentable fashion.”

Hawkeye Forest Products Inc. is a member of the National Hardwood Lumber Assoc., Lake States Lumber Assoc., Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Assoc. and the U.S. Lumber Shippers Assoc.

For more information, contact Hawkeye Forest Products Inc. at 888-242-9539, visit www.hawkeyeforest.com or e-mail sales@hawkeyeforest.com.

Pictured is a Model 42 Cleereman headrig.

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