Life at Gutchess Lumber: Celebrating Multigenerational Employee-Owners

Gutchess Lumber Co, Inc. is proud to have seen many years of multigenerational leadership and employee-ownership. The following story was written by one of our sales representatives, and multigenerational employee-owners, Chris Griffin. 

Hardwoods have been a part of my life from a very early age. Playing in the forest as a child, watching my grandfather cut pulpwood, splitting cords of wood by hand for a summer job as a teen and eventually working with my father harvesting timber after graduating high school.

My younger years forged a natural path to 30 years of employment at Gutchess Lumber. As a fourth-generation family member to work for Gutchess Lumber, my career began in the mill, where I first started piling lumber off the green line. From there I would soon graduate to running an edger, and this is where I quickly found a passion in learning how to saw logs. So, I did whatever I needed to do to learn everything about the whole process of making lumber: bucking logs, edging boards, trimming, and grading lumber. Within a year I held the Head Sawyer position, diligently working on crafting my skill. I had watched and learned from the sawyers that came before me and was determined to be the best sawyer I could possibly be.

I enjoyed my 25 years in the mill, but it was time to move on. So, I accepted an opportunity to work in lumber purchasing. This job entailed identifying good quality sawmills in the Northeast and purchasing their lumber. The position was another opportunity for me learn more about the industry from others involved with it. I soon learned that majority of the people in this industry have sawdust in their veins and are very passionate about their work. And while all do things a little differently, we are all striving to the same end goal of premium quality hardwood lumber.

I held this position for three years before graduating to Domestic KD Sales, where I am still to this day, selling lumber into Canada and into the Southeast region. In this position, I am able to provide our customers with the finest hardwood lumber produced in the Northeast.

Many things have changed throughout the years since I sawed my first log. Automation has been introduced into the mill. Harvesting is now primarily outsourced. Consumer needs fluctuate. Throughout it all, the one thing that has not changed is my dedication and passion for hardwoods and Gutchess Lumber.