You Said It
Mac Troyer, industrial sales manager of Townsend Lumber, answers questions from the Pallet Enterprise about working in the industry.
Date Posted: 10/1/2013
Pallet Enterprise: How/why did you first get involved in the industry?
Troyer: It started out as a summer job when I was 12 or 13 years old. I worked my way up through the different departments in the yard and in the sawmill through high school. By university, in the summers I was a yard supervisor. When I finished my university degree the company was growing and had several management positions open so I talked with the owner, David Townsend. I finished university on a Thursday, had a long weekend, then started here as a mid-level manager on Monday. So I’ve been very blessed; I’ve never had to fight with unemployment. This is year 19 that I’ve been full-time with the company.
Pallet Enterprise: Have economic changes over the past few years changed the way your company is managed? How?
Troyer: After the recession, we went through a long period of work-share, where the men would work two or three days a week and the other days they would receive unemployment insurance. Mr. Townsend’s strategy was to not flood an already weak market. We wanted to maintain production and supply all of our existing long-term core customers. But he didn’t want to run the mill at full production and he didn’t want to stop period. We adapted production to reflect demand in the marketplace. As the economy has improved we have put on more production again. Other changes were to cut extra staff and focus on confirmed orders. So rather than focusing on cutting the logs we want to cut, we focus more on what orders are coming in to get the orders produced, out and delivered to our customers.
Pallet Enterprise: What is the best piece of business advice that you have ever received?
Troyer: There are quite a few good tidbits, but I can narrow it down to two. One was from my grandfather, and he always told me, “Mackenzie, it doesn’t cost any more to say please and thank you, and please and thank you and good manners go a long way.” The second piece of advice I would pass on is to always tell the truth. If it’s good news it’s great to tell the truth. When it’s not good news they may not like what you’re saying, but if you tell them the truth it gives them the ability to make other plans and important decisions.
Pallet Enterprise: How do you think the pallet industry will have changed 5-10 years from now?
Troyer: I see a lot of mill owners that are in their 60s and 70s, and eventually they are going to either retire or for other reasons not be there five to 10 years from now. I’ve seen so many people leave the industry, and the few young people that are in the industry don’t have a background. I’m worried that the demographic situation is going to change and a lot of the industry veterans aren’t going to be there. And I’m wondering if the transfer of knowledge from the veterans to the younger generation is actually happening.
Do you want reprints or a copyright license for this article? Click here
Research and connect with suppliers mentioned in this article using our FREE ZIP Online service.