The storied history of how Winton introduced long lengths SPF fingerjoint to lumber markets across the continent sees confirmation of a chapter closed with the advertisement of a two-day auction in Prince George next month. See: Winton Global Major Planer Mill and Fingerjoint Plant Closure Auction.
When I forwarded the above link to my dad, he replied, “No doubt there be a few lumber traders who will recall sales manager Paul Williams’ work at Winton, along with Lou Huettl’s dedicated efforts, that introduced their fingerjoint product to market.”
Ernie attached a poem which he prepared and presented at a retirement celebration for Williams back in 1987. Archived below, it is reflective of a time when there were new systems, innovations, and advances on many fronts in the forest industry:
Paul Williams Retires
Marketing’s a concept – much more than merely selling.
Most fail to understand it – just too busy felling.
But forty years one worked at shaping a tradition
With dedicated energy – a Minnesota mission.
Paul Williams spoke of loyalty, of quality and trust –
Value-adding info – like, “Zinc lumber bands don’t rust”.
Like Lou, so long before him, Paul built a common bond
With family of customers… (and wholesalers belonged).
A lumberman of difference, dependable and true,
Qualities of character – found these days in few.
He spread the Winton gospel, through strong and weak demand.
Their creamy textured tuba twelve, now sought throughout the land.
While railroads and the futures markets talk about contracts
He called for understanding, through personal contact.
We’ll miss your timed appointments – planned care in each convention –
Travelling may be different now… (and Rose gets full attention).
But when there’s deep regret at leaving “Random Lengths” behind
Or, if a tear should surface when Iris comes to mind,
Think of Winton winter, Prince George ice and snow –
See boys counting inventory – at fifty-one below –
Remember planer shavings, measured then knee deep –
Less lasting joy than little shavers playing at your feet.
And when the family ’round you – on nights that it might rain,
Should talk of new grandchildren – and joy of labor pain –
Tell them the storied details – slowly – to a point
How you and The Pas Lumber gave birth to fingerjoint.
– Written by Ernie Harder,
on the occasion of Paul Williams’ retirement from
The Pas Lumber – Winton Sales (July 28, 1987)