FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2010
SC Forestry Commission & Forestry Association Congratulate Forest Industry During
Industry Appreciation Week
January 25 to January 29, 2010
(Columbia,SC)–-The South Carolina Forestry Commission congratulates two forest products companies and one individual for their recognition in the Department of Commerce’s Industry Appreciation Week. They are:
- Overholt Truss Company
Kenny Overholt – President
Manufacturer of custom-built roof and floor trusses.
- Queen Wood Products
Michael Mathis – Co-Owner & Managing Partner
Uses pine shavings to manufacture premium horse bedding.
- Phillip Edwards, former president of Williams Furniture Company
Williams Furniture Company had a significant place in South Carolina history.
Its operations continued to expand and eventually included the entire process of furniture manufacturing: from cutting the trees in the forest, carrying the logs by rail to the sawmills, processing the wood for furniture production, manufacturing the paints and varnishes, and manufacturing the finished furniture. Williams Furniture Corporation became one of the largest employers in the area and had a significant impact on the local economy. In 1967, Williams Furniture merged with Georgia-Pacific. The family name is responsible for the Williams in Williams-Brice Stadium.
A message on forest industry in SC from Gene Kodama, State Forester:
“Industry Appreciation Week” takes on an entirely new level of importance this year with “the great recession’s” impact still solidly in place. We should recognize the importance of all businesses and the impact they have collectively in maintaining our state and nation’s economic health. Manufacturing has had its share of difficulties in the economic downturn, but it also continues to be the backbone of our society’s financial health. Industry supports hundreds of thousands of well paying jobs by taking basic raw materials and adding many layers of value to ultimately produce higher priced products that allow employers to pay employees higher and higher wages along the increasing value chain.
The forest industry is a great example of a manufacturing segment that starts with a fundamental natural resource, land, and then grows trees as a base product that then supports a lengthy value chain. Trees are harvested and more are established for the next crop, then harvested trees are processed and manufactured into thousands of value added products from lumber, to paper, to chemicals, to clothing, to food items, to paint solvents, and the list goes on and on. Here in South Carolina, forestry is the #1 manufacturing segment with regard to number of jobs and wages paid. Average wages are 35% higher than the state average due to the value added by manufacturing. Forestry products are the #1 harvested crop, and $1 billion of products are exported annually. And, also of great importance, forestry is an ideal industry in that it provides all these important economic functions while providing clean water and air, recreation, and scenic beauty that provides a high quality life that attracts other businesses and tourists that add even more jobs and economic impact.
Another timely aspect of Industry Appreciation Week, is that it follows closely the initiation of a first of its kind job creation and economic development program the forestry community calls the “20/15 Project.” Started by the SC Forestry Commission and the SC Forestry Association, the project is designed to help the industry recover from the recession and increase forestry’s #1 annual economic impact from $17.4 billion to $20 billion by year 2015, and increase its job numbers by 12,000 from 84,000 to 96,000. The project will help agribusiness, the combination of both agriculture and forestry, reach a cumulative $50 billion impact by 2020. A remarkable attribute of working with a traditional industry like forestry is the fact that small percentages of business expansion can create huge job number improvements. For example, a mere 5% increase in forestry job numbers would equate to 4,200 new well paid jobs.
So, forestry is an industry that we must appreciate given its already stellar contribution to the state’s economy and its fantastic potential for an even higher contribution to recovery from the recession with more good jobs and all around long term economic development all wrapped in beautiful forest settings which continue to attract other new business investments and jobs.
For more information, contact Scott Hawkins at (803) 896-8820.
The SC Forestry Commission’s mission is to protect and develop South Carolina’s forest resource. For every $1.00 invested by SC in the Commission, the industry produces more than $1,300.00 of economic impact.