“To be a part of the country’s largest forest restoration effort is, in my mind, one of my greatest accomplishments.” Herman Hauck
Starting a business out of your garage with only $300 in your pocket seems daunting—but for Herman Hauck, it was simply what he needed to do to create his own business.
“I’m a risk-taker at heart,” claims Hauck, who spent his early years farming in North Dakota, and later moved into the construction business. “I knew I could do a better job than what I saw in other businesses.”
His commitment to making everything count, from that first $300 in capital to now managing Montana-based Pioneer Associates Corporation, is at the heart of Herman’s work ethic and business practice. In May 2012, Pioneer was awarded the U.S. Forest Service’s largest forest restoration contract to date, a ten-year contract to treat 300,000 acres across northern Arizona as part of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative, a Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration project.
“I am excited to be a part of this collaborative effort. So many stakeholders are at the table, willing to find solutions,” observes Hauck.
“When I traveled through Europe, I saw efficiencies in wood-based businesses that we just don’t have here,” said Hauck. “I am committed to innovation in all aspects of my business to make the most out of the raw material I’m provided.”
As an example, Hauck studied typical 16-foot length harvested logs, and determined that when they are cut from their smaller top to their wider bottom, some of the material is wasted. However, if that log is cut in half prior to milling boards, that waste is minimized.
Hauck focuses his manufacturing process on wood products such as window and door parts, laminated panels, shelving stock, and furniture parts, and develops markets within the U.S. and overseas.
Seeing northern Arizona’s expansive ponderosa pine forests and the biodiversity the area holds is humbling to Hauck. “To be a part of the country’s largest forest restoration effort is, in my mind, one of my greatest accomplishments.”
Now that the contract has been awarded, Herman and Pioneer will build the manufacturing infrastructure and hire harvesters, truckers, and plant crews, with the intent to start treatment in 2013.
At full capacity, the contract will call for removing more wood than Pioneer plans on utilizing; they will provide material to local mills, allowing for diverse businesses to be maintained in the area over time.
“We want to partner with the communities in this region,” maintains Hauck, “and we look forward to bringing employment opportunities to this rural area while reducing hazardous fuels. These communities, and the natural resources surrounding them, depend on a healthy forest environment. We have an unprecedented opportunity to help.”