Last week’s meeting was conducted by Julie Vaissade-Elcock, who served as Club President (and Rotarian Queen) in 2009-2010. Julie asked Alex Rialet, our Rotary Exchange Student from France, about his week. Alex said that he hadn’t had school on Monday (Veterans Day), and on Tuesday he turned in his football gear. On Wednesday and Thursday, he hung out with friends.
Past President George Cavinta exhorted us to help out at the annual dinner that we prepare for the local foster families and the people who support them. The event will take place on Thursday, December 5 at the Bethel Church on Hubbard Lane in Eureka.
Sunrisers Bryan Plumley and Terri Clark are both looking for assistance/assistants at their offices. Bryan is a Financial Advisor at Edward Jones Investments in Arcata, and Terri is the Director of Operations at Hunter, Hunter, and Hunt.
Tickets for this week’s Taste of the Holidays are in scarce supply. We are looking good for the event, thanks to the guidance of event chair Ron Sharp. See you there!
I hope to see you at the Arcata Invitational Basketball Tournament as well. This year, the AIBT does not conflict with the aforementioned Foster Family Dinner – it will take place Thursday, December 12 through Saturday, December 14. The early call is for Sunrisers (and others) who would like to place ads in the event program. For information, contact Travis Schneider. Also, watch for e-mails asking you to sign up for AIBT tasks. And don’t forget the Coaches’ Dinner, which will take place Friday, December 13th at the Plaza Grill.
Gregg Foster – Craft Talk Redux
“You know I just did this eighteen years ago,” Gregg Foster noted last Friday, “and really, nothing exciting has happened since then.” The occasion was Gregg’s second Craft Talk. He originally joined our Club in May 1995, two weeks before the birth of his first son. Riley is now 6’3″, and a freshman at College of the Redwoods.
In 1995, he said, “my Craft Talk consisted of – I was born in Garberville, raised in Miranda, went off to school at UC Davis, got married, quit my job, came back to Arcata in 1991, and at that time, I was working with Maggie Gainer.” Gregg and Maggie had been friends for many years, and they worked as consultants, with a nationwide clientele.
He joined our Club’s Board of Directors at the urging of Former President Harry Johnson, and Gregg became Club President for the 1999-2000 Rotary Year. “I like to do things in threes,” he said, “and so when I became Club President, I also changed jobs, and had another child. Actually, my wife had him.” He said that it was an exciting time. He had been working for the Humboldt Area Foundation, but he became the Executive Director of the Redwood Region Economic Development Corporation (RREDC). He held that position from 1999 to 2007.
And then … “One day in 2007, my friend, whom I had known for years, Patrick Cleary came into my office and said, ‘Have you ever thought about working in radio?'” Since the station was only 600 yards from Gregg’s front door, he signed on. He had a lot of fun during his two years as the Master of Some Media, “however as a career path, it was probably not one that was going to take me a long ways”.
Following the dismissal and subsequent arrest of one of Gregg’s replacements at RREDC in 2009, he was offered his old job once again. He accepted “knowing I would not do any worse than that”.
Continuing his doing things in threes, in 2012 Gregg changed jobs, got divorced, and moved. (He noted that two of the three were very closely related.) Gregg has been with Redwood Capital Bank for almost two years. He enjoys his job, and he is excited about the organization’s plans to open a branch in Arcata. He offered to head north with the business, even though he lives in Ferndale, mostly so he could re-join our Club. After all, “there are still a few folks left from when I was there the first time. They all look older, while I still look the same.” Gregg is a Commercial Lender, which means that he facilitates business loans. He works with three other lenders, and they are all extremely busy.
Gregg also stays busy as a volunteer. He serves on several boards for local organizations. These include the Small Business Development Center, St. Joseph’s Foundation, University Center, and Eureka Main Street, among others. His boys are now 14 and 18, and both are freshmen – one at Ferndale High, the other at CR.
Terri Clark said that she recently visited Miami. It was a great place to visit, other than the cost of martinis – $25.80? She said that she felt “too old, and underdressed”.
Rebecca Crow said that we failed to recognize her for her birthday (October 23rd). She said that it was okay, because she was following a variant of the RCAS Birthmonth Tradition by celebrating for two weeks before and two weeks after. (Please note that this variation is currently in beta testing. You should seek approval from our Board of Directors before proceeding.)
Somebody didn’t show up for Rob McBeth’s surprise birthday party at the Cutten Inn – Rob!. He had been out of town on business, and his return was delayed. He did phone in an appearance, but he told us in confidence that he was okay with missing the event – “There were too many old people there anyway!”
Do We Need to “Revive” the Redwood Industry?
Our featured speaker last Monday was Gary Rynearson of the Green Diamond Resource Company (GRDC). Gary is a native of Arcata, born in Trinity Hospital, and he is a graduate of the Forestry Program at Humboldt State. Gary worked in Alaska and British Columbia before returning to Humboldt County. He worked for a natural resource and timber management company in Eureka for 24 years before moving to Simpson Timber and Green Diamond for the past 12 years. He served on the State Board of Forestry from 2000 to 2007, he has been on the board of the Humboldt County Farm Bureau, he is a past chairman of the Buckeye Conservancy, along with several other prominent volunteer positions.
Green Diamond was founded in the a logging company in 1890 by Sol Simpson, and over a century later, the company is still privately owned by his descendants (the Reed family). Gary told us that the business is headquartered in Seattle, and it owns land in two distinct areas. One is located near Shelton, Washington on the south end of Puget Sound, encompassing approximately 350,000 acres. Their other major holding is about 400,000 acres mostly in California; about 50,000 acres of the total is in Oregon. Gary noted that it is basically a Washington company and a California company.
This dichotomy led the Simpson Timber Company to spin off Green Diamond in 2006 to manage its forest lands. Differences in the timber markets of Washington and California spurred this change. The Washington market is very competitive, while the California Redwood Company (which is owned by Green Diamond) competes in the California market. The limitations of that market led management to decide to merge the efforts of the land management division and the sawmill division. This allows the land managers to produce the materials that can best help the sawmill operations. Earlier this month, the company named Neal Ewald as Senior Vice-President, heading up all California operations, including sawmill and remanufacturing operations and timberland management.
Green Diamond ‘s California operations include its sawmill in Korbel; remanufacturing facilities in Korbel, Brainard, Ukiah, and Woodland; and a chip transfer facility in Samoa. The remanufacturing units produce several products including specialty items.
Unfortunately, when the Samoa pulp mill closed, chips lost value. Some are shipped to Asian markets, but chips of lesser quality and those from hardwoods are now burned.
Gary said that his company employs about 400 people in California, and roughly 250 more are hired as contractors during the peak timber season. The regular employees include biologists who band and track wildlife, including every owl that inhabits Green Diamond land. The intensive studies of owl habitat have led to the realization that the birds’ habitat can be recreated. This contradicts previous though that spotted owls would only live in old growth stands.
As to fisheries and aquatic wildlife management, Gary said that the company evaluates the health of a river system by comparing the number of fish headed upstream with the number that exit the system, to return to the ocean. They do not rely on carcass counts.
Gary noted that Green Diamond is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The company must meet specific retention criteria when it logs an area. The standards include standards for hardwood retention, legacy tree retention, and in-unit retention. Gary said that every unit averages at least 10% retention.
Green Diamond and the Arcata Redwood Company strongly support the recent marketing efforts put into place by the Forest Products Initiative, also known as the Redwood Marketing Campaign. As we learned on November 8th, the Initiative is partly funded by the Headwaters Fund, and is a collaborative effort to grow the redwood industry.
Gary said that we made a mistake years ago when we declared that the timber industry was dying. It was and it continues to be a keystone industry in our area, employing many locals and bringing funds to the North Coast.