Rick Re Says Goodbye After 43 YearsMarch 22, 2016
EUGENE, OR — Longtime lumberman Rick Re is resigning the last of his official duties at Seneca Sawmill Company (Seneca). Re joined Seneca in 1973 and served the company in a wide range of capacities during his long and storied career.
Among other jobs early on, he pulled green chain and worked as a tallyman, loading flatcars by hand. He also worked in quality control and learned every aspect of mill operations from the inside out.
After several years, he moved to the office and worked as a clerk, which covered everything from addressing bills of lading to answering phones to working with the accountant and producing financial reports.
From there, he worked in sales for 10 years.
His long and varied experience gave him great insights into all company operations. In 1998, he was promoted to vice-president and general manager. He served in that capacity for the next 16 years, leading the company through a number of expansions and substantial capital projects.
During his tenure, the company acquired 160,000 acres of timberlands and developed an extensive professional forester staff.
Seneca replaced two sawmills, and incorporated significant investments in technology upgrades to utilize every bit of the logs coming into the mill. The company also added two other mills during this same period.
Re also oversaw the development and construction of the co-generation plant, allowing the company to again increase its full utilization of raw product and produce electricity that it sells to the local power company.
When Re started at Seneca, the company had about 125 employees and produced approximately 80 million board feet of lumber. Today, the company is 400 strong and produces 380 million feet of lumber annually.
“I am grateful to have spent four decades with this great company, and deeply honored to have had the opportunity to work with so many very fine people,” said Re. “I’m proud of what we accomplished together…especially when you consider all the challenges our industry has faced the past 20 years.”
Todd Payne, who assumed Re’s duties as general manager at the end of 2014, said
“Rick has played such a key role in the growth of Seneca…and he has been a wonderful mentor to many in the company, including me. Anywhere you look around here, you’ll see something he made better.”
When asked about future plans, Re said he plans to focus on spending more time with his family in Portland, including his first grandchild. “And oh yeah,” he added, “I’m hoping to drive every back road in the state of Oregon.”
The Seneca Family of Companies started as a small sawmill operation founded by Aaron Jones in 1954. Today, owners Becky, Kathy and Jody Jones continue the legacy of leadership and innovation in the wood products industry, overseeing a multi-company family consisting of Seneca Sawmill Company, Seneca Jones Timber Company, Seneca Noti and Seneca Sustainable Energy.
The company recently announced a $60 million upgrade of their Dimension Mill and related facilities, including significant investments in technology that allows even greater efficiency in sustainable lumber production. It is a major commitment to the next generation of Seneca, allowing the company to enter new product markets and contributing to family wage jobs in the Eugene-Springfield community.
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