Both recipients of the 2013 Redwood Region Logging Conference Achievement Award have spent their lives working in the woods and the forest products industry.
"I've got the best job in the world, working with the best people in the world," said Hydesville resident Larry Holmgren, one of the two award winners. Holmgren works for Schmidbauer Lumber, procuring logs which are then processed into lumber at Schmidbauer's Eureka mill.
Holmgren comes from a timber family; father Kent and mother Shirley were involved in the logging industry for many years, and Larry and his brothers began going to the woods at early ages.
After receiving a degree in forestry in 1976, Holmgren worked as an independent timber faller, and then starting in 1980 as an independent logger for Eel River Sawmills. He began working directly for Eel River Sawmills in 1991 and worked there until the company shut down in 2004.
At that point, Larry approached George Schmidbauer about going to work there. "There was no formal interview, no review of my resume ...George said he'd find a job for me and that's exactly what happened."
Holmgren is a board member of the Pacific Logging Congress and vice president of the Northern California Log Scaling and Grading Bureau. He also served nine years as an RRLC Board member.
Robert Miller's career in the logging industry spanned 46 years. He started as a choker setter in 1965, working for Arcata Redwood Company. He became an equipment operator in 1967, doing Cat logging in the summer and yarder logging in the winter.
"It came easily," Miller said of being an equipment operator, "because anytime the Cat operator stopped to take a break or eat lunch, us young guys jumped on the Cat and took off." Our crew "always took the back side," he added, "since it offered the bigger challenge."
Miller moved up through the ranks; logging supervisor in 1978, logging superintendent in 1979 and operations manager for Simpson's Klamath Division in 1997.
Robert speaks highly of his coworkers over the years, especially Robin Hooven (who served as RRLC president in 1997). "Robin and I had the greatest time," Miller said, "he knew as much or more that I did and we just had the greatest days together."
Miller retired from Green Diamond Resource Company in 2010. "I walked out the same door in 2010 that I'd walked into in 1965, and it doesn't get any better than that," he said.
The 2013 Achievement Award winners will be recognized at the RRLC Timberman's Diamond Jubilee Banquet and Auction on Friday, March 15 at the Arcata Community Center.
Photos by Mary Bullwinkel/Beacon
1. Larry Holmgren
2. Robert Miller