Chris Wickersham’s 34 Year Journey in the Hardwood Lumber Industry

Gutchess Lumber Co, Inc. is proud to have seen many years of multigenerational leadership and employee-ownership. The following story was written by one of our sales representatives, and multigenerational employee-owners, Chris Wickersham.

It is hard to imagine over 30 years in the same industry! My journey in the hardwood lumber industry began back in 1987. For my first two years I worked in the Southern Indiana area for a hardwood veneer manufacturer that also produced and sold green hardwood lumber. I was a sales representative that covered IN, KY, TN, MS, AR and TX. It was a great first job out of college, lots of freedom to learn how to sell and take care of customer’s needs! My customers were all on the manufacturing side making products such as office furniture, pianos and even caskets.

In 1989, I moved over to the largest hardwood veneer manufacturer in the U.S., which happened to be building a state of the art hardwood lumber sawmill in PA. After moving to their sales office in Southern California I was able to sell both hardwood veneer and hardwood lumber throughout CA and parts of Mexico. It was great experience with a wide variety of customers: manufacturers, distributors, architects and designers.

In 1996, staying with the same company I transferred to the Dallas TX area where I began to home office (not a normal thing back then!). My territory was expanded to handle Texas to the west and became exclusive to selling hardwood lumber. My customer base also shifted more from manufacturing to distribution. Finally in 2010, I was fortunate to join the employee-family owned company of Gutchess Lumber. It was a great fit from the beginning, as I continued to handle the same territory and customers that I had been covering for many years.

At Gutchess Lumber, we are committed to producing the best possible product and I am happy to be part of that. We put quality first and our customers readily recognize that. It is always a fun part of my job when I get to travel with our customer’s sales reps to see on going jobs first hand. It is amazing to see the beautiful products that come from our lumber. It certainly makes my job much easier to have such a high quality product to represent!

There has been many changes within our industry over the past 30 years but one thing has remained the same and that is the people. I think that is what makes our industry so unique. People who are down to earth, honest and use good common sense. That seems to be a lost art these days. Many of my customers have become great friends over the years. Several have passed the company reigns down to the 2nd generation which is always exciting to see.

Hopefully with a few more years to go, I may actually see that 3rd generation customer! Now that is being old!

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