Walshes win national award

Dick Walsh and family members accepted the 2006 Timber Harvesting Logging Business of the Year Award last Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Loggers Council in Kalispell, MT.

Dick Walsh and family members accepted the 2006 Timber Harvesting Logging Business of the Year Award last Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Loggers Council in Kalispell, MT.

Timber Harvesting magazine, a national trade publication, received 17 nominations for the award this year, a record number.

Walsh's daughter-in-law, Jodi, submitted the nomination. "It was my retirement gift to him," she said.

"I'm retired but I gotta have something to do," Dick said this week. With the Ainsworth plant closings and state attention being given to the industry, he said Minnesota also has a lot of work to do. "Stumpage prices have got to come way down."

During the American Loggers Council meeting, Walsh said he met a logger from Georgia. "He knew about our stumpage thing and said he had just bought a sale for $3.50 a cord. That's what we're competing against," Walsh said.


(At a recent Hubbard County timber sale, aspen was sold for between $40 and $43 a cord.)

The September-October edition of Timber Harvesting magazine devotes seven pages to the story of Dick Walsh Forest Products (DWFP) of Park Rapids.

The article cites his visionary leadership in the industry.

"Walsh is often first in his area to try new technology and first to recognize and develop new business opportunities," the article states. "He's also often first to offer a helping hand, whether it is to improve his community, his industry or his state.

"His winning personality, wit and dedication to educating others about the forest industry have helped open the eyes of many a skeptic."

Dick is a gubernatorial appointee on the Minnesota Forest Resources Council, a board member and former president of the Minnesota Timber Producers Association (TPA) and a charter member of the Bemidji Area Resource Council.

He also chaired the task force that developed the Minnesota Logger Education Program, which has since become a model for logger education programs in other states.

Dick has testified many times at the state capitol on issues ranging from workers' compensation insurance to transportation to Department of Natural Resources funding.


"I don't think people realize the time and effort it takes to keep an industry going. It's a lot more than buying a skidder and chainsaw," Jodi said. "He has driven tens of thousands of miles to meetings on behalf of loggers in the state."

The 45-year-old business currently employs 28 people, including Dick's wife, Sandra, sons Robin and Steve, and Jodi.

One strength of the business is its diversity. In addition to traditional logging operations, DWFP sells chips and material for biomass fuel.

Jodi, a former critical care nurse, said she started working in the office when Dick was TPA president. "I was basically his secretary and that's how I got my education," she said, adding she is glad to have learned what she knows about the industry from "the best in the business."

After she submitted the nomination, Jodi said it was months before she was notified the business had won the award. When Dick found out, she remembers him saying: "Now what did you get me into?"

The long weekend in Montana, included tours of logging operations from Kalispell north toward the Canadian border.

Jodi and Robin also brought along their 8-year-old son. "I wanted him to see what's possible when you work for everybody and not just yourself," she said.

Previous winners of the Timber Harvesting Logging Business of the Year Award have come from Arkansas, Michigan, Texas, Washington, South Carolina, Maine, George and California.

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