Richardson Timbers: 75 Years of Lumber Industry Excellence

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“With 75 years comes a reputation; we get phone calls from Illinois, we get phone calls from Washington, the East Coast, the West Coast — we’ve gotten phone calls from California. We’ve also shipped into Florida. You know, all you need to do is find the wheels and we’ll go anywhere.”– Steven Rogers, sales manager, Richardson Timbers

Richardson Timbers: 75 Years of Lumber Industry Excellence 1
Based in Dallas, TX, Richardson Timbers emphasizes its dedication to exceptional customer service. Pictured: Front L-R: Steven Rogers, Genaro Beronnes, Dustin Hopper; Back L-R: Bill Wilk, David Chavera, Nate Davidson.

Richardson Timbers, headquartered in Dallas, TX, is celebrating 75 years in business. Founded in 1949, Richardson Timbers has served Texas — and surrounding areas — with a quality-and-customer-first approach since its beginning; a philosophy that has afforded it a loyal customer base and a reputation as one of the most skilled highly specialized remanufacturers in the country supplying big timbers, ornamental corbels, rafter tails and brackets.

Operating two facilities — the original Dallas site and the new Bertram, TX, mill — helps Richardson handle and market more than four million board feet of lumber and high-quality forest products every year. Its offerings include exclusive surfacing timbers (all four sides up to 20”x20”), custom Tru-Ruf texture, custom siding patterns, precision end trimming, trailer flooring, barge decking and custom reman services. Richardson stocks No. 1 and Better in both green and kiln-dried Douglas Fir timbers, Appearance grade Western Red Cedar timbers, Common and Better mixed grain, vertical grain Fir, Common and Better vertical grain Hemlock, A and Better vertical grain Western Red Cedar and mixed hardwoods.

“All of our products are, pretty much, four-square edge, bright and clean products coming in,” Richardson Timbers’ sales manager Steven Rogers said.

He continued, “The 10×10 and up, 12×12, 12×16, 20×20 — we don’t put a heart spec on that. People typically aren’t getting that picky, but, having said that, we can get it. We are happy to source any non-stocking product that the customer wants. We can get a lot.”

Richardson Timbers: 75 Years of Lumber Industry Excellence 2
Marketing more than four million board feet of lumber annually, inventory control is an art with Richardson Timbers. Owner and CEO Lynn Surls said that a degree of the company’s success through tough times can be credited to its ability to responsibly stock the materials its customers need. Pictured is a portion of Richardson Timbers’ inventory at its new Bertram, TX, facility.

Richardson, however, seldom needs to search long to meet its customers’ needs. Rogers said that not only does it have one of the largest stocks of kiln-dried Douglas Fir timbers in Texas, but its ability to maintain certain custom tools on site significantly cuts down on lead time.

“We don’t have to wait the three or four weeks to get it off the West Coast because we have it here,” Rogers said. “We sharpen our own knives here. We have the knife stock here. If there has been a pattern put on the wall in the past 75 years, more than likely we still have the knives that were made to produce that pattern.”

Success in any industry requires that those charged with making important decisions have a clear picture of the direction of their business. Looking forward, co-owner Bubba Finnell knows that there is plenty to be optimistic about, but worries that as tenured employees begin to retire, a competitive job market will make it more difficult to attract the next generation of lumber industry professionals.

“In my opinion, the biggest challenge today is the ability to get young people involved in our business,” Finnell began. “When I look around at the other organizations, I see more older individuals than I do younger ones. We need to do a better job of attracting young talent.”

Richardson’s machining capabilities are vast thanks to its collection of top-tier equipment: a Cantek GT 635ARD double-planer, a Weinig moulder, a Cantek twin band horizontal resaw and a 54-inch McDonough Manufacturing band saw.

Richardson Timbers: 75 Years of Lumber Industry Excellence 3
Operations manager Gerano Berrones with Richardson Timbers’ new Tru-Ruf machine.

Honoring the success of its Dallas facility, Richardson has purchased and installed much of the same equipment in its Bertram mill. It, however, does not stop with the equipment; Richardson has implemented many of the same systems and procedures as well.

“That’s the idea long term,” operations manager Genaro Berrones said. “We want to be able to duplicate the same production capabilities that Dallas has at our Bertram location.”

While developing the site and operation to a point where it is running as efficiently as Dallas, Richardson is working to build out its Bertram staff. In the spirit of Berrones’ plan to “copy-and-paste” the elements that have made Dallas successful, he said that he hopes to eventually have a substantial staff of workers in Bertram similar to those in Dallas. Beronnes acknowledges that finding the right kind of skilled labor takes time and that putting together an experienced team is paramount to Richardson’s continued growth. While it’s taking the time to find the right team to grow Bertram, both mills are operating with the same commitment that powered Richardson through its first 75 years: meet and exceed the needs of its customer.

Proudly based in Texas, Richardson’s market reach has expanded in to neighboring states (and farther). Rogers understands that growth is a biproduct of conducting business the right way: “with 75 years comes a reputation.”

“We get phone calls from Illinois,” Rogers said. “We get phone calls from Washington, the East Coast, the West Coast — we’ve gotten phone calls from California. We’ve also shipped into Florida.”

He added, “You know, all you need to do is find the wheels and we’ll go anywhere.”

Richardson Timbers: 75 Years of Lumber Industry Excellence 6
Proudly based in Texas, Richardson Timbers’ market reach continues to expand thanks to its ability to service and ship to customers locally and in surrounding areas.

A highly specialized remanufacturer that deals exclusively to retail lumber yards and truss manufacturers, Richardson prides itself on going above-and-beyond to help its customer. Rogers said that while it does not sell direct to consumers, Richardson enjoys the opportunity to educate its customer’s customer through learning sessions, by attending conferences and co-hosting customer appreciation events.

When asked to what he attributed Richardson’s ascent over 75 years — and its resiliency through hard economic times like the Great Recession of 2008 — owner and CEO Lynn Surls said that its “ability to adapt quickly to the situation and maintain in constant contact with [its] suppliers” allows the company to better forecast its customers’ production needs and helps its customers complete jobs more efficiently and with less downtime. Surls added that it’s also “very important” to have “strong and talented employees that share our commitment to outstanding customer service.”

Developing relationships and a “commitment to outstanding customer service” has always been one of Richardson’s focuses and its dedication to that is made apparent through its long-tenured sales team.

Jamie Hursh, the longest-serving member of the sales team, works with customers in the Dallas/Fort Worth market, markets west of I-45 and the markets “all the way down to Waco.”

Nick Zilliken came to Richardson with many years of experience in the timber industry and has helped the company reach new territories. Zilliken serves customers along the I-20 corridor, I-45 North, parts of East Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

David Lawrence covers much of the southern part of Texas. His territory includes the markets south of Waco, down to The Valley, parts of West Texas and New Mexico. Lawrence has been with Richardson for nearly a decade and spent many years in the industry before joining the team.

Chris Brennan, Richardson’s most recently hired salesperson, also has “a ton of experience in the timber industry.” Brennan covers the region along the I-45 South corridor leading into Galveston, the Houston market, East Texas markets south of the I-20 corridor and parts of Louisiana.

Richardson Timbers: 75 Years of Lumber Industry Excellence 7
Its new Bertram, TX, facility brings the quality, experience and extensive milling capability of Richardson Timbers’ to the Texas Hill Country.

Rogers hinted that Richardson employees are a close group and that they look out for each other; this is one of the reasons that the company has had the success it has over its 75 years. “Anyone in the office can pick up the phone and quote, call a trucker,” he continued, “you know, we can wear different hats.”

Regardless of the “hat”, each member of Richardson’s team leads with a customer-first attitude, and it reflects in the quality of its products, the longevity and success of the company and the loyalty of its customer base.

Into the next 75 years, Richardson plans to remain focused on the keys to its success, keep customers at the center of everything it does and, as Rogers said, “continue being that friend that is always going to be there for you.”

Richardson Timbers maintains memberships with the Lumbermen’s Association of Texas and the North American Wholesale Lumber Association.

For more information, visit www.richardsontimbers.com.

By Terry Miller

Editor, Marketing Consultant, and Third generation publisher. With Miller Wood Trade Publications since 1983.

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By Terry Miller

Editor, Marketing Consultant, and Third generation publisher. With Miller Wood Trade Publications since 1983.

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