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Creating Sustainable Forests
The Janicki family has lived in Skagit Valley, Wash., since Stanley Janicki Sr. immigrated to the area in 1912. In 1932, Stan opened his first business, Cedar Crest Shake Mill, after he had spent several years repairing roofs and making his own cedar shakes.
After Stan’s son, Stanley Jr., graduated with a civil engineering degree in 1951, he worked at Cedar Crest with his father for several years until Stan Jr. decided to start his own firm, Janicki Logging, in 1957.
Stan Jr. operated his firm continuously with his four sons Mike, Rob, John, and Peter helping during the summers while they were in school. In 1984, Stan asked eldest son Mike to join Janicki Logging and help run things. After Stan Jr. passed in 1992, Rob joined the firm the following year to help keep this successful family business running smoothly.
Sustainable and Profitable
According to Rob, Janicki Logging’s focus is on creating sustainable forests while enhancing yields and income. His view is that long-term business relationships are a key component of executing a forest management plan. This approach can be especially important when working with small to medium sized independent tree farmers or land trust clients whose goal is not primarily to harvest, but rather to ensure long term forest health.
Janicki Logging & Construction Company is a thriving business running five sides with thirty-three full-time employees. Rob Janicki says that this is due, in part, to the diversity of services they offer. “Because many of our clients are small-to-medium acreage independent tree farmers with timber management plans, Janicki Logging has invested in specialty equipment and expertise so that we can be profitable with smaller harvests, thinning, and cut-to-length projects.”
He also says Janicki has plenty of equipment for large scale harvests, as well as operating towers and heli-logging capabilities for the challenging terrain often found in the Pacific Northwest. Sides are scheduled based on the harvest requirements for a site. “Each side has unique skill sets, tower, cut-to-length, shovel, grapple cat, and road and bridge construction,” Rob puts forward.
One specialty of Janicki Logging & Construction is the turnkey bridging solutions they permit, engineer, build, and install.
Rob says, “We build logging bridges and have done so for fifty years.”
Using their experience from building logging bridges, Janicki also builds residential bridges and works on stream renovation, abutments, culverts, or any related task a client may need accomplished.
Rob says that permitting is often the most challenging aspect to bridge building but, he says, because of their long history in the area, Janicki has built a sound relationship with various agencies and stakeholders — a very important component when working on multi-jurisdictional permitting.
Another reason for the company’s success is their dedication to modernization. The Janickis believe that taking advantage of the newest technology is important, especially in an industry that seems to change constantly. Rob’s father, Stan Janicki Jr. would tell his sons, “If I’m going to go broke, I’m going to go broke with new equipment.” Although the industry continues to change, the Janicki brothers think their experience combined with adaptability has kept them busy. Rob says, “A lot of people will tell you that logging is a dying industry — we don’t believe that. You have to adapt to the current environment. There are opportunities, and Janicki Logging stays focused on the future.”
Keeping Folks Safe
Currently, 33 full-time employees work at Janicki Logging. Rob believes a significant amount of the firm’s success is due to the firm’s dedication to its employees and the employees’ dedication to the firm. Janicki says, “We always strive to treat employees like family.” Janicki Logging is a family run company, and the Janicki brothers understand how important the jobs they provide are to the families of their employees. The Janickis always strive to make opportunities available for advancement within the company and when making business decisions, Rob says, the company always works on succession planning for both the company and their employees.
Another aspect to this is a company-wide emphasis on safety. There are multiple reasons safety is so important. First, as Forbes recently reported, logging is the second most dangerous job in America — more so than mining or public safety. Because of this, it isespecially important that safety procedures always be a top concern at Janicki Logging. Second, because this is a family operation, it would be especially difficult were someone injured. Losing part of the team also reduces efficiency; when running five sides, ensuring everybody is healthy is a priority. Last, the logging industry pays extremely high rates to Washington State Labor and Industries for industrial insurance. Depending on the job title, fees have risen astronomically over the years with the hourly rate skyrocketing from nearly $11 per hour in 2009 to nearly $20 per hour proposed for 2013. Keeping everybody in the company as safe and injury-free as possible is not only in the best interest of those who work for Janicki Logging, but also for the financial health of the company as Rob says L&I rates are the biggest operational challenge the company has in staying profitable.
When asked what the Janickis think the biggest upcoming opportunity is, Rob says it is exports to the east. Asia and other expanding economies such as India will need great quantities of fiber in the future as they modernize. For the company, Rob says they will “continue to automate and mechanize.” In fact, Janicki recently put into service a new 532 Cat track harvester with a Waratah 632C head that will improve the speed and output of that side.
Even with a changing landscape and a slow economy, things look bright for Janicki Logging & Construction. With their dedication to their employees, focus on modernization, and willingness to adapt to changing conditions and logging techniques, Janicki continues to be a high output firm.
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