In the News

Vertical Integration, Relationships Shape The 'lndusTREE Advantage'

- Posted 09/12/2017 - Crossties Magazine July/August 2017

A lot has changed since Larry Jones and Lee Davis established IndusTREE in 1994. But one thing has remained the same: the company's com­mitment to building relationships with its customers.

This is why companies from Georgia Pacific and International Paper to John Hancock Timberlands and West Frasier turn to IndusTREE time and again. And it's one of the reasons the company has experienced such incredible growth, becoming one of the largest timber suppliers in the region, one of the largest logging contractors and one of the largest suppliers of crossties in Alabama. "Maintaining positive relationships is key­it always has been," said Jones, the com­pany's president. "We are very open and upfront with our customers and employees, which is beneficial to everyone. It helps us all in dynamic markets."

IndusTREE originally started out small­with just two employees-as a timber pro­curement and forestry consulting operation. "Back then, Lee and I were the company," Jones said. "We strictly bought and cut tim­ber and delivered it to sawmills and paper mills in our local area."

In the early 2000s, the company added its first hardwood sawmill through a partner- ship with Bass Lumber Company. From there, IndusTREE continued to grow, evolving into a major supplier of every forest industry service, from seedling to finished product, working closely with all industry entities, from landowners to loggers and from mill owners to mill customers.

"We are vertically integrated today, so we offer everything from helping a landowner with a timber management plan-which could include planting trees all the way through harvesting-to the end product of actual manufacturing," Jones said. "So, we are involved from the stump of the tree all the way to the finished product and eve­rything in between. All of this is possible because of our vertical integration."

That vertical integration includes four divisions that combine to create the "IndusTREE Advantage." IndusTREE Timber delivers a complete range of timer management services. IndusTREE Properties provides a variety of services to meet timberland owner recreation and land development goals. IndusTREE Logging has the machinery and muscle to put timber and property management plans into action and now boasts IO company-owned log­ging crews. And IndusTREE Manufacturing operates four efficient log-processing facili­ties that produce key infrastructure products.

"All of that control of the vertical integra- tion gives us a definite advantage," Jones said. "It benefits landowners of all sizes, from small-tract individuals to some of the largest corporate timberland owners in the world."

To keep that advantage and momentum going, IndusTREE's leaders are continuing to focus on what they have been the last 20-plus years: treating employees the way they would like to be treated themselves. "We enjoy hiring qualified, competent peo­ple who fit our core values and letting them do their jobs," Jones said. "When you do that, it allows for growth and success."

Company leaders also look for ways to improve their products and services wher­ever possible. Right now, that means look­ing for ways to better incorporate modem technology.

"We've been talking with engineers at several of our manufacturing plants to put in optimization equipment that will help us better take advantage of technology," Jones said. "We're doing our best to take advan­tage of new technology to improve efficien­cies and processes by always looking for a better way. That can certainly add to the lndusTREE Advantage."

IndusTREE Receives AU Business School Award

- Posted 05/19/2016 -"

Auburn University College of Business

Highlighting businesses owned and operated by Auburn graduates, Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business has named IndusTREE Timber to its "Top Tiger" list of fastest-growing companies founded, owned or led by Auburn University alumni.

IndusTREE Timber finished 10th in the Large Company ($20 million or more) rankings as part of the Auburn University Entrepreneurship Summit in late April that honored alumni business leaders and student innovators.

IndusTREE, based in Wetumpka, Ala., is owned by 1992 Auburn Forestry & Wildlife Sciences graduates Larry Jones and Lee Davis, who are now president and vice president, respectively, of the company. The two founded IndusTREE Timber in 1994 as a timber procurement and forestry consulting operation and have grown it into a major log and fiber supplier for the Southern forest products industry.

To qualify for Top Tigers consideration, companies must meet several standards, including: Must be founded, owned or led (CEO, CFO, presidents, vice president, etc.) by an Auburn University alumnus; must be in business for at least four full years; revenues must be at least $250,000 by the end of the evaluation period; and the company must operate in a manner consistent with The Auburn Creed.

Financial services firm Warren Averett, LLC collects financial data and conducts a growth analysis of each business nominated for a Top Tiger award. Warren Averett produces the final rankings based on percentage growth during the Top Tiger program’s specific time period.

IndusTREE Timber, which includes 15 foresters working with a network of 40 independent logging contractors, is part of the IndusTREE Companies, a vertically integrated full-service forestry company that has land management, logging and manufacturing divisions and can handle every operation from seedling planting to finished product shipping. IndusTREE Companies transports more than 1 million tons of logs and wood fiber annually.

IndusTREE Logging features 10 in-house logging crews, and the IndusTREE Manufacturing division includes four facilities that produce everything from rail ties and utility poles to pallet stock and premium hardwood lumber. The IndusTREE Properties division offers land management services including bridge and pond building, road construction, wildlife plantings and more.

Southern Loggin' Times features HITREE Logging and IndusTREE Logging

Southern Loggin' TimesDecember 2015 - Southern Loggin' Times
[Read Full Article]

Providing a specialized service for landowners to deliver more timberland value, HITREE Logging offers a light footprint to access hard-to-get timber stands, with the equipment and operational knowhow to go where conventional logging companies can’t.

The company, formed in early 2015, is a partnership between swamp logging veteran Jay Huber and IndusTREE Logging, created after Huber’s swamp logging operation needed a capital infusion, and IndusTREE managers saw an opportunity to access low-ground timber in a region with plenty of it.

“It was an opportunity to develop a niche market while being able to generate logs for our Castleberry mill,” says Lee Davis, Vice President of IndusTREE, which operates a large procurement organization, a logging company, three sawmills and a pole mill.

The opportunity lies in south Alabama’s low-ground timberland tracts that are inaccessible much of the year or completely inaccessible with conventional logging systems. This may include timber that’s fully eligible for harvest under sustainable streamside management zone (SMZ) guidelines but is hard to get to, or pockets of undamaged timber left behind after a hurricane or other weather event hits the region.

HITREE Logging Now Accessing "Stranded" Timberland Assets

- Posted 10/28/2015

HITREE Logging

Formed in spring 2015, HITREE Logging is a partnership between IndusTREE Logging and veteran swamp logging contractor Jay Huber, who's worked extensively in Florida and south Alabama swamp logging and earned a reputation for innovation, efficiency and customer satisfaction. The company is targeting timber resources that are under-utilized due to their location on low-ground timber tracts that are inaccessible to standard logging machinery.

According to IndusTREE Vice President Lee Davis, who oversees the company's logging operations, HITREE Logging is an opportunity to develop a niche market serving landowners with low-ground timber or tracts that require special care—while also producing logs for IndusTREE's Castleberry, Ala. sawmill.

"Landowners are interested in what we can do for them because the equipment we have is more efficient," Davis says. "The way the company is set up, bad weather or ground conditions don't stop them as much as hauling conditions might."

While operating low ground pressure felling and skidding machines like a traditional swamp logging operation, HITREE Logging also utilizes specialized equipment to build skidding mats, allowing timberland owners to reach and utilize timber that's inaccessible by conventional logging systems.

What HITREE Logging does on most tracts is have the feller-buncher (cut-down machine) operator, upon entering a stand of timber, lay down a "mat" of felled trees that log skidders travel upon when moving logs to a higher-ground truck loading area. This minimizes ground disturbance and soil compaction by confining skidder travel to a single trail. Meanwhile, the tracked feller-buncher works in tandem with a low-ground pressure excavator and drops trees where the excavator can efficiently move them onto the mat. With its boom-mounted sawhead, the feller-buncher can access multiple tree stems from one location without driving to each tree as a conventional machine must do. This type felling further reduces ground disturbance—and also increases timber utilization by being able to reach trees in places where wheeled machines can't go. Skidders run with dual-tire configurations that also provide a light footprint when traveling along the mat.

The result is an innovative logging company led by experienced personnel that is able to deliver additional value for low-ground timberland owners by accessing hard-to-get timber stands in an environmentally sensitive way. Since its inception in early 2015, HITREE Logging has worked with several key landowners in the south central Alabama region. "Developing this niche is a little bit different than traditional logging," Davis says. "But landowners who own these resources can benefit from having HITREE Logging perform low-impact timber harvesting operations in otherwise inaccessible stands of timber."

IndusTREE Pole & Piling Restarts Kiln Operations

- Posted 02/25/2015

Kiln Operations

Seeking to serve new markets with higher-value products, IndusTREE Pole & Piling in Goodwater, Ala. recently completed a dry kiln recondition and restart project that allows the company to offer premium KD pole products along with its longtime white pole offerings.

The newly operational kiln started up in early February and holds up to a 10,000 cubic foot pole charge. According to IndusTREE President Larry Jones, the dry kiln capability enables the company to offer a higher-value product. “We’re continuing to offer white pole products at the pole and piling plant, but in the future it’s expected that more than half the production there will be kiln-dried,” Jones said.

Acquired by IndusTREE in spring 2014, the facility includes two McConnell Industries dry kilns and has handling, bucking and peeling facilities with capacity to manufacture up to 300 poles daily. Working with local contractors and dry kiln system vendors, IndusTREE reconditioned the larger, 85 ft. kiln that best fits its product line, upgrading the system for better operational efficiency. The project included structural repair, seal and coating work and a controls upgrade. To take advantage of current low natural gas prices, the kiln burner was converted to natural gas fuel while retaining the option to switch back to biomass if needed.

IndusTREE Pole & Piling is part of IndusTREE’s manufacturing division, which includes facilities in Nixburg, Castleberry and Montevallo, Ala. that produce rail ties, utility poles, grade hardwood lumber and pallet stock. Overall, IndusTREE’s manufacturing division produces more than 30MMBF of lumber, over 300,000 rail ties and more than 50,000 poles and pilings annually.

Timber Harvesting magazine features IndusTREE Logging

Timber Harvesting MagazineNovember/December 2014 - Timber Harvesting Magazine
[Read Full Article]

Timber Harvesting magazine Western Editor Dan Shell travels to Wetumpka, Alabama to spend some time with IndusTREE Logging. Hauling 75 loads a day—and as part of an organization that routinely produces 200 loads daily—IndusTREE Logging has grown exponentially in the past decade-plus, from a single crew in 2003 to eight crews today. IndusTREE Logging is operated as a separate company, one of several under the IndusTREE umbrella that includes timber procurement, logging, property management and manufacturing divisions and employs 150 overall. The IndusTREE companies are headed by President Larry Jones and Vice President Lee Davis, two west Alabama foresters and Auburn University graduates who have built an impressive and vertically integrated forest products operation that can handle all aspects of the forest industry, from seedling and stump to end product shipping from several timber processing facilities.

Love Of Outdoors Led Silver Saw Award Winner To Industry

Crossties MagazineOctober 2014 - Crossties Magazine

Starting out, Larry Jones, president of IndusTREE and this year's Silver SawAward winner, never saw himself in the manufacturing business.

A passion for the outdoors led Jones to Auburn Universityto pursue a degree in forestry management and eventually start his own company. But in 1999 when that company merged with IndusTREE, a vertically integrated forestry company, Jones quickly found himself at the helm of a company, operating log-processing facilities that produce key products like rail ties and power poles. "That was the biggest difficulty I faced because I had never run manufacturing operations so I didn't really know what to expect." Jones said. "I had been buying and selling timber, but allof a sudden I was producing a product to sell."

Assisting Jones as he learned to navigate the new market was longtime business partner Lee Davis, whom Jones has been working with since college. "Lee and I went to college together and started out together when we were very young."Jones said.

President Larry Jones
Larry Jones - President

Also helping Jones learn how to best run a manufacturing division was his mentor, Larry McGinn, who Jones had done some work with in the past. "I helped Larry with his timberline operation and really got to know him when I was much younger."Jones said. "I learned a lot from him. He always told me to make a quality product and remember to invest back into the business and my manufacturing sites. He would always tell me to keep up with the times and not just sit back and be happy where I am. That advice helped guide me, and I feel help make the company successful."

As IndusTREE's president for the last 15 years, Jones has helped guide the company to much success. In fact, under Jones' leadership, IndusTREE has grown into the Southeast's premier provider of sustainable forestry and timberland services and supplies every forest industry service through its four divisions, IndusTREE Timber, IndusTREE Properties, Indus TREE Logging and IndusTREE Manufacturing.

Through his work at IndusTREE, Jones strives to do aJl he can to help not just the company but also the railway industry in general. "I'm trying to give back to the industry and do my part to hopefully be a good partner and provide quality products." Jones said. "And, at the same time, hopefully educate others about what all is involved in creating a crosstie. A lot of work goes into it to get it from the tree to the track."