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Midwest Team Thanked for Getting the Job Done SAfely

[June 10, 2024] Shout out to the Menomonie, WI operations for no recordable injuries since December 2022. According to George Loudermilk, Midwest Operations Manager, the 85-person crew’s 19-month run is down to: “Making sure people are aware of the hazards in their surroundings and the equipment they work with. We encourage everyone to watch out for each other and make  safety equal to throughput and quality.”

“We want people to understand that Bright Wood’s safety policies and procedures are there to protect them and provide them with a safe work environment,” George said.

The busy Menomonie operations include a custom-sized extension jamb line, a paint line, and two warehouses. Every day, the team delivers components in the exact order they will be used to a nearby customer’s window assembly line. The Freitag location ships a truckload every 1-1/2 hours, averaging 50-plus outbound loads weekly. The Walton facility ships 45 truckloads weekly.

“We rolled out the STAR program (Safety Training Awareness and Responsibility) earlier this year,” Kim Miller, Menomonie Plant Manager, said. “Participation has been good, and people have become more aware of their surroundings.”

“I have heard a lot of positive comments about the high-vis vests from people on the floor along with truck drivers and vendors,” Kim said. “Everyone is very pleased with the focus on safety.”

All Menomonie team members received a $100 safety award bonus and a water bottle as a thank you and encouragement to keep up the good work.

Bright Wood Closed for Memorial Day on Monday, May 27

[May 24, 2024] Most Bright Wood plants and departments will not be working on Monday, May 27, in recognition of the Memorial Day holiday. We will set aside our busy lives and daily priorities to honor the men and women who gave all in their service to our country and freedom.

We remember and honor their sacrifice.

*Photo courtesy of veteran Jeremy Williams (Redmond Cut Plant Manager).

**This U.S. flag on the west side of the Redmond site was built and installed by Daryl Booren (Personnel Director) and Jeremy Williams. A second flag will soon be placed on the north end of the complex.

Flag at the Redmond site

Product Spotlight: MDF Mouldings

[May 7, 2024] MDF mouldings transformed the market when they were introduced in the 1980s. Designers and homeowners quickly realized they could use larger profiles and more combinations to create new looks while remaining within their budget. Installers were won over by the ease of working with a uniform product without the grain and knots of solid wood.

Madras Plant 14 has been manufacturing primed MDF mouldings since 1997. In 2023, they shipped 216 mixed truckloads of solid hem-fir and domestic or radiata pine, raw or primed fingerjoint, and MDF mouldings.

Note: Bright Wood only sells mouldings to millwork distributors. If you are a homeowner or contractor, visit your local lumber yard or home improvement store to experiment with moulding combinations.

Joe Krauss Honored as a Master Lumberman

(April 16, 2024) Bright Wood lumber grader Joe Krauss was recognized as a Master Lumberman at the Western Wood Product Association’s annual meeting on April 15 in Vancouver, WA. This is a prestigious honor given to veteran lumber industry professionals, and only 441 individuals have received the award since the program started in 1968.

To qualify, candidates must have been Certified Graders for at least 20 years, have extensive experience in lumber manufacturing, and hold supervisory responsibilities.

Well done, Joe. You deserve this recognition from your peers. Thanks to your expertise and hard work, Bright Wood’s plants have the material they need to fill customer orders.

Bright Wood lumber grader Joe Krauss was recognized as a Master Lumberman at the Western Wood Product Association’s annual meeting on April 15 in Portland, Oregon.
Madras Plant 1 Swing has worked 942 days (and counting) without a recordable injury
Madras Plant 1's injury tracking poster

Madras Plant 1 Swing Is a Safety STAR

[March 29, 2024] Well done to Madras Plant 1 swing shift for working 942 days (and counting) without a recordable injury as of March 29.

“We pay attention to what we do,” Sam Cabral, Swing Supervisor, said. “We use the STOP* and STAR** cards and all the available tools.”

“We do get a lot of STAR cards, and we are always pushing for more,” Miguel Sevilla, Swing Lead, said. “People are well aware of the dangers and watch out for one another.”

“It also helps that most have been here for a while, so they know what to do,” Miguel said. “When we first started, everybody and this plant were brand new, so it was harder.”

*STOP: Safety Training Observation Program

**STAR: Safety Training – Awareness and Responsibilities

Madras Plant 8 Ripsaw Ready for the Next Chapter

[March 22, 2023] Madras Plant 8’s ripsaw has been a critical part of the 5/4-pine cutting program since 1988. Thanks to a major upgrade by Support Services (SSV), the ripsaw is even better than before and capable of meeting new expectations.

The SSV team replaced the ripsaw’s 1) pneumatic actuators with electric servo motors and 2) shadow lines with servo-controlled lasers. “The servo motors are better than the pneumatics,” Cole Starkel, Plant 8 Manager, said. “We’ve had minimal downtime with the servos. The laser lines versus the shadow lines are night and day difference. It is a huge improvement.”

“The new computer program makes adjusting the rips simple,” Cole said. “If you need to adjust Saw 2, you push a button. You can move the saw 5/1000” one way or the other. It takes seconds compared to minutes the old way.”

A new screen provides instant feedback so operators can adjust the saws and lasers mid-run.

All these changes give Plant 8 rip sawyers more control over their outbound quality, which is important to pros like Jaime Gutierrez (pictured). Jaime will celebrate his 35th anniversary with Bright Wood in June. As the rip sawyer, he sets the pace for the entire cut plant, and last year, Jaime demonstrated how true leaders adapt, learn, and grow even after they’ve done the job for a long time.

Madras Plant 8 ripsaw after an upgrade
Thanks to all the Bright Wood people who quickly got on board with the new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) policy requiring all associates and visitors to wear high-visibility attire while on company property.

Safety Is the Fashion Statement

[March 14, 2023] Thanks to all the Bright Wood people who quickly got on board with the new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) policy requiring all associates and visitors to wear high-visibility attire while on company property. The only exceptions are offices and breakrooms.

High-vis clothing is one more tool for preventing workplace accidents and injuries. That pop of fluorescent orange and yellow makes people stand out in busy work zones and low-light conditions.

So, when you put on your high-vis gear before you get out of your car, know that you are making a difference.

P.S. Thanks to our models Jeremy Ross and Terrie Heflin of the Redmond Saw/Sand Plant. High fashion at its best.

Dedicated Madras Plant 16 Team Keeps Everything Running Smoothly and Safely

[March 8, 2024] Well done to Madras Plant 16 for working 12 months without staff turnover. Plant Manager Miguel Gamboa said, “This plant pretty much runs itself. We’ve got some great people in Plant 16 who keep everything running smoothly.”

Plus, the Madras Plant 16 team does the job safely. They have worked 355 days and counting without a recordable injury as of March 8.

Bravo, Madras Plant 16, and please keep it going.

Madras Plant 16's dedicated team keeps everything running smoothly and safely
The new infeed to the Culver stud line includes three Ultimizer automatic chop saws

New Infeed Is a Block Party for Downstream Operations

[March 6, 2024] A new infeed at the Culver stud line is ensuring a steady supply of on-grade blocks to the fingerjoint line. The Bright Wood designed and built system consists of one scanner, three automatic cut-off saws, and sorting belts and bins.

All inbound material goes through the USNR AddVantage scanner. “The scanner’s function is to grade out defects and send us good wood,” Jesus Cohetzaltitla, Culver Site Manager, said. Narrow and off-grade lumber is diverted before it goes any further. “We catch it before we cut it,” Jesus said.

The scanner feeds wood to three Ultimizer automatic chop saws. “We programmed the saws, and they do their thing,” Jesus said. Each saw can cut 100 lineal feet per minute.

“The belts accumulate enough blocks so that we always have a steady stream of material to process,” Jesus said. The stud line’s key performance measures for throughput, waste, and rework have all improved since the upgrade.

Remembering Madras Plant 8's Refugio Jose Gamboa Lupercio

[February 22, 2024] Our hearts are grieving for the Gamboa Lupercio family and the Madras Plant 8 crew. While driving to work on February 19, Refugio Jose Gamboa Lupercio was killed, while Felipe Gamboa and Genaro Gamboa were injured.

Jose would have celebrated his 35th Bright Wood anniversary on March 16.

“Jose showed up with a great attitude every day no matter the situation,” Cole Starkel, Madras Plant 8 Manager, said. “He had nothing but good things to say and never-ending jokes that could make the whole crew light up. Jose boosted crew morale daily with his cheerful attitude. He will be missed heavily by the crew and those who knew him. RIP Cuco.”

Remembering Jose Refugio Gamboa-Lupercio
Bright Wood gave all Prineville associates $100 as a thank you for working 16 months without a recordable injury

Prineville Recognized for Safety Leadership

[February 15, 2024] The Prineville site celebrated 16 months and counting without a recordable injury on February 13. “You are the example used across the company to show what can be accomplished,” Casey Jackson, Operations Manager, told the Prineville crew. “We’re here to acknowledge all the great things you did to get to this level. It took a lot of everyday effort on everyone’s part to accomplish this, and it is something to be proud of.”

The 53-person site dined on prime rib and grilled chicken, potatoes, green beans, salad, and cake prepared by Barney Prine’s Steakhouse. Bright Wood surprised each team member with a check for $100 as a thank you for a job well done. 

Site Manager Kim Dixon credits more guarding and participation in STAR (Safety Training Awareness and Responsibility) for the turnaround.

“A major focus on safety made the difference,” Prineville Safety Manager Monica Bryant said. “It started at the top, and the entire crew joined in. More people participated in the STAR program than ever before, and we held each other accountable for safety violations. Our safety gains came down to teamwork.”

Smokey The Bear Prefers Engineered Wood Components

[November 16, 2023] Most of the buzz has been about engineered wood products (EWP) performance and potential as a building material. Now, environmental activists, government officials, and business leaders tie EWP to healthier forests.

Selectively logging small-diameter trees from overgrown forests removes fuel for wildfires while creating badly needed jobs and low-carbon building materials.

Learn more about this win-win-win.

Fingerjoint block
Thank you veterans

Thank You Veterans

[November 9, 2023] This Veterans Day, Bright Wood would like to thank the men and women who stepped up to protect and serve our country. We are safer because of you.

We are also grateful for the many veterans who brought their skills, integrity, and can-do attitude to Bright Wood. It is an honor to work beside you.

Please let us know via the Contact Us page if we are missing any veterans from this list. Include the individual’s name, site, and plant/department.

Tip of the Hat to the Culver Planer Crew

[October 26, 2023] Today, we tip our hats to the Culver planer crew. “The planer opened up the supply base immensely,” Dallas Stovall, CEO/President, said by giving Bright Wood access to rough lumber.

The new resource boosted capacity companywide and opened the door for new product lines like pattern stock.

Pictured: Santiago Gurrola, Planer forklift driver; Dallas Stovall, CEO/President; Nestor Covarrubias, Planer lead; and Victor Rios, Planer hoist operator.

Culver planner crew
Marvin Harris

Millwork Pioneer Leaves $3.25 Million Legacy for Orphans

[October 25, 2023] Check out this article about local millwork legend Marvin Harris by Suzanne Roig of The Bulletin. Harris worked hard and made a difference in our industry and local community. Then, he kept it going by leaving a legacy for orphans in Israel.

Job Creator
Harris co-owned COIN Millwork in Prineville, OR, with Leonard Wilkinson. It was the US’s largest secondary wood products manufacturer during its heyday in the 1960s and ‘70s. About 1,000 people made door and window frames in the 13-acre facility, all under one roof.

Former COIN employee and now the Prineville City Manager Steve Forrester (who also worked for Bright Wood in the 1990s) recalled the mill as a family-friendly workplace that welcomed women. “He broke some of those barriers there,” Forrester said. “He had a lot of moms working alongside their husbands. He made that industry so strong. It employed so many people in our community for a long time. He was instrumental in building that business. It was a major employer of Crook County for 50 years.”

Home Builder
Harris started Marv Harris Enterprises Inc. after he and Wilkinson sold the mill in 1977. Harris bought and sold real estate and built homes with his new business venture. Harris has been called a visionary for his support of new housing developments in Prineville as well as youth and adult sports.

Benefactor for Orphans
When Harris died in September 2022 at 95, he left the bulk of this estate, approximately $3.25 million, to the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. In his will, he specified that the federation distribute the interest income from his endowment -- which should amount to around $150,000 per year -- to support orphans in Israel in perpetuity.

Win a Custom Putter at the WMA Convention in Louisville

[October 16, 2023] Drop by booth 324 at the World Millwork Alliance Annual Convention on October 24 and 25 in Louisville, KY, and say hello to Bright Wood’s sales team.

Tara Williams, Carl Lindgren, and Mark Schongalla can help you find the product solution you’ve been searching for, and if you sink a putt in our booth, you can throw your name in the hat to win a custom-carved wooden putter.

Custom-carved wooden putter
Bright Wood picnic
Bright Wood picnic

Lots of Food & Fun at the Bright Wood Picnic

[August 9, 2023] Thank you to all the Bright Wood families who spent Saturday with us at the company picnic. As CEO/President Dallas Stovall said, it was a day to celebrate the people who have contributed to Bright Wood’s success over the last 63 years.

Dallas told the story of a potential customer who was on the fence about Bright Wood as a supplier until they recently visited. After walking through the plants, watching the crew work, and talking to folks – the customer was impressed by how much Bright Wood people cared. The customer placed their first order shortly afterward.

The picnic was a day to relax, play together, and meet one another’s families. There was lots to eat with five food vendors and do with three bouncy houses, a mechanical bull, a photo booth, face painting, a balloon artist, the kids’ races, and a watermelon eating contest. Twenty-seven teams competed in the picnic’s first cornhole tournament, and the long-standing salsa contest was as spicy as ever.

Watch the News For Bright Wood People page for more picnic tidbits and photos.

Remembering Pete Hester

[August 8, 2023] Sadly we lost Pete Hester on June 28. Kevin Stovall, Bright Wood Vice President, summed up how many of us felt upon hearing the news: “Pete was one of the best people I have ever known. It was an honor and a privilege to work with him. I have always had tremendous respect for Pete.”

Pete was Bright Wood’s Research and Development Director from 1983 to 2002. His legacy lives on in Bright Wood electrical apprenticeship and the ten Madras plants, Redmond site, and Menomonie warehouse added during his 19-year tenure.

Bright Wood folks are invited to attend a celebration of Pete’s life on October 14 at 11:30 a.m. in the VFW Hall in Redmond (491 SW Veterans Way). The Hester family requests donations to your favorite charity instead of flowers.

Pete Trivia: Did you know Pete played football for Clemson? Read Pete's obituary to learn more about a life well lived.

Pete Hester
The old Jasa Mint Still is now one of the Bright Wood's shipping sheds
Bright Wood used Douglas Fir 2x6 engineered studs to reframe the building

Why We Crave Mint This Time of Year

[July 25, 2023] The shipping shed next to the Madras main office is more than just a shed. It is a little piece of local history.

Before Bright Wood purchased the building and land in the late 1980s, it was known as the “Jasa Mint Still.” Local farmers brought their harvest here to have their “mint mash” distilled into peppermint oil. The Madras variety was known for its strong taste and smell, which people working next door in the Bright Wood office and plants could attest to.

Oregon still leads the U.S. in peppermint production, growing nearly 35 percent of the national total, but demand has tapered off since the introduction of artificial mint flavoring. Carrot seed has taken its place, with Jefferson County farmers supplying approximately 55 percent of the domestic and 45 percent of the global carrot seed markets.

Nowadays, the former Jasa Mint Still is a busy hub for outbound millwork shipments. Bright Wood’s construction department is preparing it for the next 100 years with new framing and siding, using Douglas Fir 2x6 engineered studs manufactured by Madras Plant 15.

The Benefits of Living and Working with Wood

[July 20, 2023] Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “If man is going to live, he should live with wood.”

Bright Wood believes living and working with wood is even better. We’ve dedicated 63 years to exploring and expanding what we can do with Wright’s “supreme material.”

When we add value to lumber, we add value to people.

See Bright Wood’s new ad on page 101 of Southern Oregon Magazine’s Summer 2023 issue, which celebrates wood’s power to change lives.

Bright Wood's ad in Southern Oregon Magazine, summer 2023 issue
Madras Plant 13 weekend shift celebrated their first anniversary on June 7.

Madras VA Weekend Shift Celebrates First Anniversary

[July 7, 2023] Value-Added’s weekend shift celebrated its first anniversary today. We thank them for building this new shift from the ground up and making it successful. Their hard work allowed Bright Wood to capitalize on the rising demand for window components without compromising quality.

“These folks have demonstrated perseverance, dedication, and quality work in this initial year,” said Mike Curtis, Madras VA Weekend Shift Supervisor. “I look forward to seeing how they best their record in year two.”

Today the VA weekend shift consists of 20 people; 14 have been there since day one. Mike is looking for two more people to join the team so they can run one more line.

Later this year, the VA group will also be staffing weekend shifts in Madras Plant 7 and Plant 5. Let Personnel know if you’d like to work three days a week and have four days off with full benefits.

Labor of Love

[June 30, 2023] Bright Wood Personnel Manager Daryl Booren and his family recently completed their sixth metal U.S.A. flag (pictured), with two more in the works. Their creations grace barns and businesses across Jefferson County. Their largest yet is 37 feet by 19 feet on a hay shed north of Madras on Highway 97.

“Raising a flag shows patriotism,” Daryl said. “Our county is a melting pot, and the flag represents the one thing we all have in common: We are Americans. Our forefathers and veterans fought to protect our constitutional rights, and building flags is our way of respecting them and the people still doing that today.”

 

A US flag Daryl Booren made
Bright Wood CEO/President Dallas Stovall personally thanks each member of the Prineville team for their safety performance.

Prineville Crew Recognized for Safety Performance

[June 30, 2023] Bright Wood CEO/President Dallas Stovall personally thanked each member of the Prineville team for their safety performance on June 27. The 59-person site has not had a recordable injury since September 22, 2022.

The site celebrated the milestone with a pizza lunch, and managers gave everyone a water bottle to help them stay hydrated during the summer heat.

Way to go, Prineville, and please keep this good thing going.

Little Log Truck’s Big Impact

[June 13, 2023] Madras Plant 11 recently filled another order of 3-7/8” x 12” ponderosa pine cut stock used to make the flatbeds on this Big Rig Log Truck. The customer – Oregon Wooden Toy Company – has been a Bright Wood partner for almost 30 years.

The “Log A Load For Kids” program sells the trucks to raise funds for treatment, education, and research at Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals and other local children’s hospitals.

Learn more about the Log a Load for Kids program.

Wooden log truck toy with "Log a Load for Kids" logo
Madras Plant 1's weekend shift

New Weekend Shift Nails Throughput Goals

[June 9, 2023] Madras Plant 1’s new weekend shift is already holding its own just three months after startup. They’ve increased the optimizing plant’s capacity and, in doing so, relieved pressure on the day and swing shifts (and other cut plants, too) by achieving their throughput goals so quickly.

“With the help of key individuals willing to transition to the weekend shift, we were able to ‘hit the floor running,’” said Homero Lopez, Madras Plant 1 Manager. “The weekend shift is already up to par with what we run on the other two shifts.”

Oh, The Places You’ll Go

[May 31, 2023] Scott Hill of Bright Wood Sales captured this beautiful photo of carloads of our engineered dimension lumber products passing through Bend, Oregon, on their way to California. Mt Bachelor is in the background.

Bright Wood's engineered dimension lumber on a train in Bend, Oregon
Hand holding diploma

60-Year-Old Tuition-Assistance Program Still Helping Bright Wood Families Today

[May 19, 2023] Bright Wood’s Children’s Educational Tuition Assistance Program (CETAP) provides financial assistance for post-high school education ranging from college to trade school for employees’ dependent children.

The company has distributed over $1 million in CETAP funds since the early 1960s when founder Carl Peterson established the program.

Contact Bright Wood’s Personnel Department at 541-475-7799 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to learn more and apply.

Kevin Hug Retires After 35 Years

[May 15, 2023] Best wishes to Kevin Hug, who quietly retired after 35 years in the Madras moulding plants. Kevin made his mark as a leader and a problem solver.

He won Bright Wood’s Innovator of the Year award in 1997 for a board flipper he developed for the new 508 flat jamb line. His design increased the 508’s runtime by 20 percent and was so good two other machine centers in Plant 13 adopted it.

Thank you, Kevin, for making a difference at Bright Wood. It was an honor to work beside you.

Kevin Hug Retires After 35 Years
WWPA lumber grading contest winner

Gerardo Penaloza Carlon Takes First In WWPA Lumber Grading Contest

[May 12, 2023] Madras Plant 15’s Gerardo Penaloza Carlon won first place in the grading competition at the Western Wood Product Association’s (WWPA) meeting on May 6 in Yakima, Washington.

Gerardo was up against certified graders and experienced wood people from Oregon and Washington to see who could correctly grade 50 boards of varying species.

This was only Gerardo’s second competition, but he has been preparing for 25 years. He learned to grade as a cutter and then a rip saw operator in Madras Plant 8. His skills only got better when he transferred to the brand-new Madras Plant 15 in 2016. Today Gerardo is the lead in the engineered dimension lumber plant.

Taking Inventory to the Next Level

[May 4, 2023] The FACTS project (Financial Accounting Cost Tracking System) took another big step on January 30 when the Redmond site switched to a Perpetual Inventory (PI) system. “So far, we have implemented the Perpetual Inventory solution in Prineville, Culver, and Madras Plant 15, and Plant 16,” Brian Winters, FACTS Project Manager, said. “The rest of the Madras site is scheduled to go live later this year.”

The Goal: 97 Percent Accuracy

The upgrade to a PI system has been years in the making. It required sweeping changes to how Bright Wood tracks, delivers, moves, consumes, and ships inventory.

“With PI, inventory data is real-time and more accurate,” Brian said. “Time will tell how high the accuracy number will get, but we are shooting for 97 percent or higher.”

Driver scans a unit of cutstock before moving it
Bright Wood salesperson Lonnie Ramey in 2001

Sales’ Lonnie Ramey Retiring After 37+ Years

[April 26, 2023] Longtime Bright Wood salesperson Lonnie Ramey is retiring on Friday, April 28. After a 37-plus year run, he will hand millwork and distribution sales to Tara Williams.

Lonnie’s first job at Bright Wood was feeding a moulder in Plant 5 in 1985. Two years later, he joined the Sales Department. “I’ve always enjoyed working with people to make their lives/jobs easier by solving any product problems they may have,” Lonnie said.

“Anytime you are dealing with a lot of customers directly, there will be challenges,” Lonnie said. “But because Bright Wood produces very high-quality products and backs them with service, that removes many of the sales challenges that come and go.”

“There are few people in this world who can honestly say that they enjoy their job,” Lonnie said. “Most people work as a means to live and have a roof over their heads. Because of Bright Wood, I’ve had a job that I can truly say I have enjoyed.”

“After working with Lonnie for over thirty years, what stands out to me is his ability to listen to his customers, assess the situation, and put together a plan that meets the needs of both the customer and Bright Wood,” Carl Lindgren, Sales Manager, said. “Lonnie has worked hard to cultivate honest relationships that stand up to the challenges we face every day.”

Thanks to Lonnie for growing and maintaining Bright Wood’s rock-star stable of millwork and distribution customers. We wish you the best for retirement.

Class Helps People Determine if Moulding Is a Good Fit for Them

[March 23, 2023] Twenty-seven Bright Wood associates showed up in Madras Plant 5 on Saturday morning, March 18, to take a two-and-a-half-hour introduction to moulders class. Most of the attendees currently work in Cutting.

“We hope to get as many people interested in the value-added side of the business as possible,” Robert Holcomb, Value-Added Value Stream Manager, said. “Our ready-to-assemble product lines are growing, so we are targeting more people to increase our capacity.”

Bright Wood people interested in becoming moulder operators listen to an introduction by a longtime operator
Third group of Bright Wood managers graduated from COCC's Leadership Lab

Third Group of Managers Graduates from COCC's Leadership Lab

[March 21, 2023] Congratulations to the third group of Bright Wood managers to graduate from Central Oregon Community College’s Leadership Lab for Manufacturing & Construction. They finished the seventh and final session on March 17.

(Pictured left to right) Jose Vargas Villagomez (Prineville Fingerjoint), Scott Schierling (Quality), Keith Housden (Madras Plant 13), Brandon Chandler (Madras Plant 13), Jose Garcia Solis (Madras Plant 11), Jose DePaz (Madras Shipping), William Rickard (Madras Plant 5), Davie Crockett (Materials Planning), Matias Reyes (Madras Plant 8), Tommy Alvarez (Madras Plant 8), Cesar Lopez Moreno (Madras Plant 3), Gerardo Patino (Madras Plant 3), Miguel Gamboa (Madras Plant 16), and Jason Cordes (Madras Plant 5). Not pictured: Brady Greene (Prineville Cutting). 

Big Changes Coming to Prineville’s Wine Box Operations

[February 24, 2023] Prineville’s successful wine box business is growing, and a new inline manufacturing system will help the crew take it to the next level this summer.

A New High-Speed Glue Applicator Specifically Designed for Small Parts
Greg Rivers, Madras Fabricator, completed step one by building a new glue applicator for the line. “Greg is a highly skilled fabricator, enjoys the challenges of precision fabrication, and takes a lot of pride in the machines he produces,” said John Carson, Fabrication Manager. “Thank you, Greg!”

“The new glue conveyor is designed after one that we already have at our Redmond facility,” Brad Bolton, Designer, said. “However, this machine needed to handle an 11-½” part length. The design challenge was containing the short part and transferring it through glue heads while keeping it stable at high speed.”

“The machine will edge glue one or both edges,” Brad said. “It will also face glue one or both faces and top glue. The plan is to feed one part per second.”

New Bright Wood-built glue applicator for Prineville's wine box operation
New guarding for moving belt

New Tracker Helps People Spot and Eliminate Hazards

[December 13, 2022] More Bright Wood people can see their workplaces with OSHA’s eyes thanks to a new application called the Hazard Tracker. “The tracker is a great teaching and training tool,” Jim Sanders, Madras Safety Manager, said. “You can see what issues OSHA will have. You can also learn how to abate hazards by seeing what other people did.”

More Managers Graduate from COCC’s Leadership Lab

[November 16, 2022] The second cohort of Bright Wood managers graduated from Central Oregon Community College’s (COCC) Leadership Lab on November 4. Thirty-one people have completed the seven-week leadership course this year, and another 16 will enter the program on February 3, 2023. The aim is to give new supervisors the foundational skills to build and manage teams that thrive.

COCC Leadership Lab at Bright Wood

From Crayons to Artificial Intelligence
The Story of Bright Wood's First Optimizing Cut Plant

[November 4, 2022] Bright Wood took a new approach to cross-cutting lumber in 1991 with our first optimizing cut plant, known as Plant 11. We used sophisticated technologies like cameras, computers, and software to maximize lumber yields while improving worker safety.

Plant 11 was such a success Bright Wood was nominated for a Computerworld Smithsonian Award (CWSA) in the “Environment, Energy, and Agriculture” category in 1996 and 1997 by Ben Rosen, the Chairman of the Board of Compaq Computers.

The CWSAs were established in 1989 as a partnership between Computerworld Magazine and the Smithsonian Institution to honor the individuals and organizations “whose visionary use of information technology produced positive social, economic, and educational change.”

The case study Bright Wood created for the awards process is stored in the Smithsonian Institute’s permanent research collection. That document records Bright Wood’s technological achievements in the 1990s, but there is much more to this story.

Bright Wood's Computerworld Smithsonian award
Madras Plant 1 crew

Introducing The New Madras Plant 1

[September 28, 2022] Madras Plant 1 was a shuttered manual rip and cut operation two years ago. Today Plant 1 is a first-of-its-kind optimizing cut plant, with two lines consisting of one USNR scanner feeding two high-speed Ultimizer cut-off saws.

Performance Jumps with New Saws and Scanners; More to Come as Upgrades Continue

[9/2/2022] Many thanks to the team who installed the second of three new Ultimizer diverter systems in Madras Plant 11 in late August. Like last time, the team had to cut a hole in the roof to lower the 4,500-pound behemoth into place.

This is the second outfeed diverter the team has installed this year, and they are not done yet; they will add a third diverter in September. “The new diverters are 20 percent faster than the old ones,” Madras Plant 11 Manager Rogelio Pacheco said. “They turn fewer boards on edge, and maintenance is happy because there are no belts to replace.”

The outfeed diverters are being installed in tandem with three new USNR deep learning artificial intelligence scanners. “USNR is not new to the scanner business, but they made a big jump in using artificial intelligence to recognize defects,” Rogelio said. “The long-term potential of these scanners could be unlimited.”

Plant 11 has already noticed a 20 to 30 percent reduction in cutbacks. One reason is the USNR scanners are better at recognizing cross grain when no knots are present; their predecessors would have missed the cross grain and read the board as four sides good.

Bright Wood also upgraded five Ultimizer high-speed cut-off saws downstream from the scanners, with one more saw coming in October. “These saws are about 30 percent faster than our old saws,” Rogelio said. “They cut more accurately at +/- 1/32” instead of the +/- 1/16” our old ones could do.”

Once again, Bright Wood’s first optimizing cut plant is raising the bar on what is possible.

Installation of second diverter
Gary Burtis in 1993

In Memory of Gary Burtis

June 22, 1950 – July 24, 2022

[August 5, 2022] Gary Burtis joined Bright Wood in 1991, starting in the Madras moulding plants. We were sad to see him go when he retired as the lead buyer for the Purchasing Department in 2016.

“Gary was a really good fit as a buyer,” Troy Towers, Purchasing Manager, said at the time. “You must be steady and methodical but also able to react quickly and creatively to changing situations. Gary kept his cool, sense of humor, and focus on what was ethical and best for Bright Wood.”

Our hearts and prayers are with Gary’s wife, Carla, his three daughters, and the rest of his family as we all mourn the loss of an exceptional human being.

Stay Hydrated; Stay Healthy in the Heat

[July 27, 2022] This week’s high temperatures make it especially important that Bright Wood people stay properly hydrated. OSHA recommends people drink at least one cup (8 ounces) of water every 20 minutes while working in the heat (not just if they are thirsty) to avoid heat-related illnesses.

Fortunately, two (of four) new water fountains are up and running at the Redmond site. Wet Slice and the Cut Plant already have their new fountains; the Lamination/Wrap and the Fingerjoint plants should have theirs soon.

“Redmond’s fountains were old, and it was time for replacement to ensure fresh, cool water is available at all times to all employees,” Laci Brown, Redmond Safety Manager, said. Some Redmond plants do not have lunchrooms in the building, so people depend on the fountains for water between breaks.

The top section of the new fountains is a VersaFiller Sports Bottle Filler with hands-free activation. The lower unit resembles a traditional water fountain but with modern upgrades like antimicrobial push pads and basin. According to the manufacturer, the new system wastes 50 percent less water than the old fountains.

“The Redmond site is very excited to get the new fountains and have a hands-free experience with each bottle filled,” Laci said.

New water fountain in Redmond
Proudly made in America. Creating jobs in the USA.

Bright Wood Contributes $1.36 Million to the 401(k) Savings and Profit Sharing Plan

[June 29, 2022] Bright Wood people have something extra to celebrate going into the 4th of July holiday. Dallas Stovall, CEO/President, announced on June 28 that Bright Wood is contributing $1.36 million to the Bright Wood 401(k) Savings and Profit Sharing Plan.

The funds will be distributed as a 401(k) match and a profit-sharing contribution.

401(k) Match: Plan participants who deferred a portion of their pay into the Plan received a matching contribution on June 15. “Fortunately, we have a 94 percent participation rate in the Plan,” Dallas said. Bright Wood kicked in 50 percent on the first 4 percent of each eligible participant’s payroll deferrals. Overall, Bright Wood handed out $760,000 in matching contributions.

Profit-Sharing: “In recognition of this year’s hard work and sacrifices, I am pleased to announce that the company will be making a $600,000 contribution to the Bright Wood 401(k) Savings and Profit-Sharing Plan,” Dallas said. “This is in addition to the 401(k) match.”

Profit-sharing contributions will be deposited into Plan members’ Empower accounts during the second quarter of 2022. To qualify, you must have opted into the Plan and have been employed by Bright Wood on December 30, 2021. The funds will be allocated according to each individual’s percentage of the overall payroll.

Bright Wood will have given over $2 million to associates in 2021 through bonuses, 401(k) matching, and profit-sharing contributions. “I want to thank everyone for a successful 2021,” Dallas said. “It was a rollercoaster ride, but thanks to everyone’s continued hard work, we finished with a solidly profitable year.”

Bright Wood Has Saved 9.6 Million kWhs of Electricity Since 2011

[June 17, 2022] Bright Wood’s Madras and Redmond sites have saved over 9.6 million kWh of electricity since 2011. Doing more with less is good for the planet, and it is good for Bright Wood.

Energy is Bright Wood’s third-largest cost behind materials and labor. The Energy Trust of Oregon estimates that Bright Wood saved $695,000 over ten years by using less electricity.

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installation of a new scanner outfeed diverter systems

Team Cuts a Hole in the Roof to Install Scanner Diverter

[June 10, 2022] Bright Wood installed the first of three scanner outfeed diverter systems in Madras Plant 11. Crews had to cut a hole in the plant’s roof to lower the 4,500-pound Ultimizer diverter into position.

The diverters are for three new USNR deep learning artificial intelligence scanners. One scanner is in, and the remaining two scanner/outfeed combinations will be installed within the next couple of months.

53'6" Douglas fir 2" x 10" engineered dimension lumber
Wisconsin barn under construction with engineered dimension rafters
Wisconsin dairy barn with engineered dimension rafters

Our Longest Engineered Dimension Lumber Yet

[June 2, 2022] Big day at the Culver site. Today the engineered dimension lumber operation ran the longest product yet for Bright Wood. The 53’6” long Douglas fir 2" x 10" material is headed to Wisconsin, where it will be used for barn rafters.

Culver’s long-length line has the capacity to run material up to 60’.

Thanks to Jesus Cohetzaltitla, Culver Site Manager, for the product photo and Marty Weimer for the two barn photos.  

New Planer Widens Supply Options

[May 31, 2022] Bright Wood’s lumber supply is broader thanks to a new planer at the Culver site. Bright Wood can now take advantage of rough lumber, and with that comes new capacity, species, and products.

Eastern white pine after going through the planer
cnc torch

New CNC Torch: New Possibilities for Metal Fabrication

[May 17, 2022] Christmas came early for the Fabrication Department with the arrival of a brand new ShopSabre CNC plasma torch in May. They wasted no time putting it to good use building conveyor parts for a new line in Madras Plant 1.

Jefferson Plywood Company Plant in the 1960s

Notice Anything Familiar in this Photo from the Early 1960s?

[Updated July 26, 2022] The building we know as Madras Plant 7 started as the Jefferson Plywood Company in 1957.

Built by Sam Johnson, it was the first Oregon plywood plant east of the Cascades. Johnson was the third generation of his family to be involved in the wood products industry, and he would go on to serve seven terms in the Oregon House of Representatives.

Unfortunately, the site closed in March 1966 after a pre-dawn fire destroyed the football-field-sized loading dock and over 400,000 board feet of lumber. According to one newspaper account, the fire was so large that people over 30 miles away in Prineville could see the glow.

Warm Springs Forest Product Industries, owners of Jefferson Plywood at the time of the fire, eventually moved the plant’s equipment to Warm Springs and constructed a new plywood operation near their sawmill.

Bright Wood purchased the old Jefferson Plywood site in 1987. The building became the home of our first dedicated lamination plant in 1988.

Today Plant 7 is one of Bright Wood’s busiest plants, shipping over 112 truckloads of engineered window and door components per month to some of the most prestigious manufacturers in the industry.

TRAINING TEACHES HOW TO INVESTIGATE AN ACCIDENT SO IT NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN

[April 11, 2022] Bright Wood Safety Committee members from Redmond and Madras wrapped up a training session in March with a clearer understanding of their role. Ramiero Leon from Vigilant Safety Consulting led the two-hour class focused on two key Safety Committee responsibilities: accident investigation and root cause analysis.

Training for Bright Wood safety committee members
Bright Words newsletter from 1993

Flashback April 1993

[April 1, 2022] Bright Wood caused a stir when we published this newsletter article about a board stretcher in April 1993. Pete Hester was Bright Wood’s Research and Development Manager in the 1980s and early 1990s. His track record for wood innovations was such that anyone who skipped the last paragraph was VERY interested in the board stretcher.

Pete was also very interested when he read about “his idea” in the newsletter.

Here’s to our innovators … and our pranksters. You make Bright Wood one of a kind. Happy April Fools Day!

Remembering Bright Wood's Old Wigwam Burner

[March 8, 2022] Thanks to Tom Brown for this photo of Bright Wood’s wigwam burner from the 1960s. Old-timers will remember that the burner was located on Hess Street between where Plant 3.5 sits now and the parking lot to the east.

Bright Wood burned small blocks and sawdust in the wigwam. Jackrabbits used to make it their home during the cold winter months.

The burner became obsolete in the 1970s when Bright Wood started selling small blocks to Fisher-Price for toy parts. We could recover even more wood with our first finger joint machine in 1975.

Nowadays, Bright Wood’s extensive product list and manufacturing capabilities allow virtually all our inbound lumber to be incorporated into an outbound product. The remaining sawdust, shavings, and wood chips are collected for use in particleboard, door skins, and house siding.

Bright Wood's old wigwam burner. Photo courtesy of Tom Brown.
Forklift driver scanning new location signs

New Location Standards Make Perpetual Inventory Possible

[February 15, 2022] Today’s world-class companies are masters at collecting, sharing, protecting, and using data. They plan better, react faster, and operate more efficiently than competitors because they see the true, real-time picture of orders, inventory, production, the marketplace, and more.

The new Data Governance Council’s (DGC) job is to make Bright Wood world-class at getting the most value out of its data. It is a big job, so the DGC began with Bright Wood’s location data.

New Redmond Scale Is a Win/Win for Truck Drivers and Shipping

[February 4, 2022] Redmond now has an on-site scale for weighing outbound trucks. “The scale allows us to give a far better service to our customers, the truckers,” Mike Gates, Redmond Shipping Manager, said.

New Redmond Scale
Compressed air leak tag

Compressed Air Audit Reveals Big Savings

[February 1, 2022] One Friday night in October, they shut everything off at the Redmond site, and everyone went home for the weekend. Sunday morning Redmond Maintenance Manager Robert Palmer and Slicing Supervisor Matt Bigness turned on the air compressors.

Then Robert and Matt went for a walkabout with Kelly Brown and Kevin Collins of the Strategic Energy Group to find air leaks.

“When you walk into a quiet building, you can hear the leaks,” Robert said. “You follow the sound.”

Strategic Energy Management Program Extended to a 6th Year

[December 17, 2021] “Bright Wood is honored to be offered a sixth year in Energy Trust of Oregon’s Strategic Energy Management (SEM) Program,” Wendy Smith, Bright Wood’s Energy Champion for the Madras Site, said. “Bright Wood’s term was supposed to end after five years, but they gave us an extension due to the size and diversity of our 16 plants in Madras.”

The Madras Site has saved over 6.1 million kWh since launching the SEM program in 2016. Even better, Madras is expected to use over 3 million fewer kWh annually from here on out due to SEM projects and hardware upgrades like high-speed doors and LED lighting.

“We plan to use the additional year of SEM to revisit where we started in 2016 and apply all the things we’ve learned since then,” Wendy said. “We care about energy consumption as a company, and we want our culture to be one where everyone is looking for ways to use less electricity and natural gas.”

high speed door
Redmond cutline with new safety gates

How Bright Wood Responded to a 2017 OHSA Inspection

[November 2, 2021] Oregon OSHA safety compliance officer Jarrodd Bohn arrived unannounced at Bright Wood’s Redmond, Oregon facility on Nov. 20, 2017, to conduct the first comprehensive plant inspection in 20 years. Read what happened next in OSHA’s 2018 Grassroots Report.

Thank You to Camillia Fernandez for Being Part of the Bright Wood Team for 52-Plus Years

[October 25, 2021] Camillia started feeding a cleat machine in Bright Wood’s original plant in 1969. She’d heard about Bright Wood while working in the local farm fields with a couple kids named Derl and Dallas Stovall (CEO/President), picking rocks and hoeing mint. 

“I thought when I got into Bright Wood this was the best job ever,” Camillia said. “And it is, I have enjoyed my years here.”

Bright Wood CEO/President with Camillia Fernandez in 2021
Madras Plant 1

Madras Plant 1 Reborn as an Optimizing Cross-Cutting Plant

[September 1, 2021] Madras Plant 1 is back as an optimizing cut plant. Crews gutted the old manual cut plant last year and extended the building. The new highly nimble cross-cutting operation removed their training wheels in June.

Increasing Dimension Capacity in 2020 Pays Off in 2021

[September 1, 2021] “When Bright Wood first started manufacturing Engineered Dimension lumber in 2016, industry people asked me, Why did you get into fingerjoint (FJ) dimension? You don’t know anything about it,” Dallas Stovall (CEO/President) said. “My response was, We are not rookies; we have people who have the experience such as Tim Stovall, Adam Brown, Luis Islas, Jesus Cohetzaltitla, Walt Williams, and others.”

engineered dimension studs
wine box

Customer Builds High-End Wine Boxes with Bright Wood Parts

[September 1, 2021] M. Calosso & Son of Stockton, California – a family-owned business since 1924 – builds beautiful pine wine boxes with parts manufactured by Bright Wood’s Prineville site.

The Prineville team has been making the wine box parts since 2002. M. Calosso & Son uses our blanks to create the boxes’ tops, bottoms, ends, sides, and dividers.

Prineville Upgrades Board Scanner

[December 1, 2020] Bright Wood upgraded Prineville’s Newnes wood scanner to a USNR AddVantage chop scanner this summer. The new scanner arrived ready to detect more types of wood characteristics with greater accuracy and it has already taken pressure off the cutline.

New USNR AddVantage chop scanner in the Prineville, Oregon cut plant