Bright Wood Blog

down arrow
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.

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.

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.

Rufino Galan Wins WWPA Grading Competition ... Again

[June 6, 2022] Rufino Galan, Value Stream Manager for Madras Plant 15 and 16, won the grading competition at Western Wood Product Association’s (WWPA) meeting on May 7 at John Day, Oregon. This is the second year in a row Rufino has come out on top despite going up against certified graders and experienced wood people from Oregon and Washington.

“I have never seen anybody in my 35 years of service that has only missed a minimum of eight wrong when competing in the non-grading/open division,” Kevin Huffman, WWPA Lumber Inspector, said. “When I congratulated Rufino, he replied that it must have paid off to read and study the WWPA Grade Book.”

“Rufino had the lowest score of all participants in recent memory,” Charlie Phillips, WWPA’s Managing Inspector, said. “He missed less than half of what the certified winner missed. Rufino truly has an eye for lumber, and I look forward to him in future competitions. He is a very valuable asset in any organization. Congratulations to him.”

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.

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.

Funeral Service for Charlotte Stovall

[Updated May 6, 2022] Charlotte Stovall passed quietly in the early hours of April 25, 2022. She was an important person in Bright Wood’s history.

Charlotte was the wife of founder Ken Stovall; the mother of Derl (Chief Financial Officer when he died in 2013), Dallas (CEO/President), Kevin (Vice President), and Lincoln Stovall; and the Chairperson of the Bright Wood Board of Directors.

Many important decisions were made at her kitchen table.

Read the full obituary here.

Watch a recording of the memorial service here. 

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.

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!

Bright Wood Supported 2.8 Million Kilowatt-Hours of Renewable Energy in 2021

[March 31, 2022] Bright Wood belongs to Blue Sky, a community of individuals and businesses dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint and supporting renewable energy. 

In 2021, more than 148,000 Blue Sky participants collectively supported 1,339,938 megawatt-hours of renewable energy, reducing their combined carbon footprints by 934,800 tons of CO2e.

Of that collective total, Bright Wood supported 2,865,600 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy.

photo of money

Bright Wood Announces 15 Percent Pay Increase for All Associates

[March 17, 2022] Bright Wood CEO/President Dallas Stovall announced a 15 percent pay increase for all Bright Wood associates on March 17.

People will see the change in their March 25 paycheck.

“Thanks for all you do,” Dallas said. “The last couple of years have been a reminder of how resilient, smart, and hardworking Bright Wood people are and all we can do together.”

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.

Still from Capturing Carbon Documentary

New Documentary Explores Forestry and Wood Products Carbon Capturing Potential

[March 4, 2022] Watch a new 28-minute documentary called Capturing Carbon by the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) to learn about the vital role forestry management and wood products can play in sequestering and storing carbon.

As forests grow, trees absorb carbon. All the carbon captured over a tree’s lifetime remains locked inside the wood.

Wood products store carbon long term while also providing people with the jobs, homes, and goods they need to live well.  

Multiple Supply Chain Issues Upend Business as Usual

[February 18, 2022] The past 18 months have been a balancing act for Bright Wood. On one side, strong demand; on the other, supply chain issues. In the middle, Bright Wood people figuring out how to get the job done in new ways.

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.

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
Make a Difference group

MADRAS PLANT 7 CLUB DELIVERS THANKSGIVING DINNER TO 40 FAMILIES

[November 23, 2021] Make a Difference (MAD), a club made up of Madras Plant 7 people and their family members, delivered Thanksgiving dinners to all 40 apartments in the Willow Creek Apartments on November 20. They raised the $1,300 needed to purchase turkeys and side dishes through donations and fundraising events.

Thank you Bright Wood People, Past and Present

[November 2, 2021] Bright Wood was celebrating its 30th anniversary in 1989 when this article appeared in the Bright Words newsletter. Flash forward 31 years and Camillia Fernandez (52 years) and Larry Nasset (50 years) just retired; Joanne (Runkle) Wallace is still working full time in Madras Plant 2.

Bright Wood remains “an industry leader and a company that is highly regarded for its quality and customer service” in 2021 because so many people care enough to bring their A-game to work every day.

Thank you, Bright Wood people, past and present.

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