Family-Owned Business, Sawmill Success
Beasley Forest Products
Family-owned Beasley Forest Products, Inc. blends traditional values like hard work and loyalty with a progressive vision centered on sustainability, diversification and automation. The Beasley Forest location is a part of the sawmill business segment for the Beasley Group, a vertically integrated forest products business headquartered in Hazlehurst, Georgia.
The company traces its roots back to 1968 and a decision by insurance agent Rabun Beasley to try his hand at something new. That year, he and his wife Jo Claxton Beasley launched an enterprise that eventually grew into what is today known as the Beasley Group. Darrell Beasley, son of Rabun and Jo, currently serves as President and Chief Executive officer and many other members of the family actively participate in the management of the company.
“The Beasley Group employs about 1,500 employees here in the Hazlehurst area in either wholly or partially owned operations within the organization,” stated Business Development Manager Linwood Truitt. “This makes the company one of the largest employers for this part of the state.”
Beasley Forest Products offers premium hardwood grade lumber as well as temporary access mats, pallet lumber, switch/crossties and residuals. Truitt added, “the species we focus on are maple, hickory, red and white oak, ash, mixed hardwood, poplar and cypress. This is sold either green, kiln-dried or heat treated.” The company also offers southern yellow pine products.
As Beasley Forest Products approaches its twenty-fifth anniversary, the company is poised for the future, thanks in part to the recent investment in its new upgraded and optimized equipment. “This equipment has allowed us to work safer, with higher quality and productivity,” states Truitt. “We just built a multi-million-dollar sawmill that is optimized throughout each step of the process, including an automated hardwood grader – requiring very little hands-on manual labor. Automation and optimization are a big deal,” he emphasized.
These upgrades have allowed Beasley Forest to significantly increase its board footage, improving efficiencies, yields and overall cost. At the same time, due to the increase volume, the company has been able to add more jobs to handle the workload – “not only more jobs, but more desirable jobs requiring a different skill set than in traditional sawmills due to the automated and optimized new equipment,” said Truitt.
“Beasley Forest maintains a marketing strategy based on diversification and this new sawmill allows us to be flexible in what we produce,” said Truitt. He explained that as the market changes, the mill can adapt to meet the change and to levelize the natural ebbs and flow of the business.
The company is service-oriented and strives to meet every customer’s need both in domestically and export markets. It not only supplies the North American market (including Canada and Mexico), but also exports overseas. China, Vietnam and Europe are major global regions that utilize Beasley products. Truitt estimates that approximately 80 percent of hardwood grade lumber is exported.
Emphasis is placed on sustainability and stewardship for procurement and manufacturing. Land stewardship is about promoting reforestation, soil conservation, biological diversity, natural wildlife and aquatic habitat. While Beasley obtains much of its hardwood from Georgia, the company has an extended wood basket. “We reach out to other states such as South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Alabama with our logging crews – either trucking back to the mill or utilizing the railroad,” Truitt explained.
“Our loggers and foresters are trained in the Master Timber Harvesting Program and also utilize practically every part of the log, from bark to lumber,” he emphasized. “We follow these standards to ensure the sustainability of forest products for our future generations.”
For all this impressive growth, the company officials have strived to maintain a common touch and friendly working environment that is focused on the customer, to build longstanding relationships, stated Truitt. “As we grow, we are continuously on the lookout for employees that are dedicated team players. Though experience is helpful, it is not absolutely necessary – what is most important is attracting and retaining highly motivated individuals with good work ethics,” he said.
In closing, Truitt stated that the goal was to “continue to service our customers while growing our business and maintaining focus on our employees and the communities in which we operate. By remaining focused on our business plans, we are confident that Beasley Forest Products will be serving the industry for generations to come,” he stated.