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A Passion & Provision Company is a Gift to a Devastated Community

September 25, 2014 / by Vicky Zancanella

You may have heard us, here at Half a Bubble Out, talking about what it means to create a Passion & Provision Company. We understand that building a company is more than just “business” and when it all boils down, people generally start companies for one of two reasons:

They need to “earn a living” or “provide for their family”

and/or

They have a passion, an interest, or a talent. They have found something they “enjoy.”

It is an awesome thing when both Passion and Provision are nurtured within a company. It is even more awesome when a company lives out the values it claims to have or the “face” it puts on to the world. These are the stories we don’t seem to hear about as often as some of the stories that hit the news.

Fire and Fire Fighters

One such example happened this month in a small Northern California town. The town of Weed, CA was devastated by a fire that ripped through the heart of the town, burning many homes to the ground and heavily damaged the town’s main industry.

I grew up just outside of this close knit community and attended the small community college in this town of 3,000. The main employer in Weed, CA is Roseburg Forest Products. We grew up calling it Roseburg Lumber or “The Mill.” The town is not much different than many other lumber communities in the Northwest. My family didn’t work at the mill but I knew this company employed and provided for many of the families in the area.

My personal connection with this company came while I was in college- the little community college of College of the Siskiyous. I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree and teaching credential by completing my first few years here in our small community. I applied, interviewed and was awarded an amazing scholarship by the Ford Foundation, a foundation created by Kenneth Ford, the founder of Roseburg Forest Products. Kenneth Ford’s story is an amazing one, one you should read, but what is even better is the legacy he has left through the company he started.

As we have been sharing the importance of having a Passion & Provision Company, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share a current, real life example of what this looks like. Here is a Facebook post from the Siskiyou Daily News a few days after the Boles Fire:

 

Dillard, Ore. –
After assessing the damage of the fire in its Weed Veneer facility, Roseburg has announced its response plan for the employees of the Weed facility. While significant damage occurred to outbuildings, residual piles, and certain areas of the manufacturing facility, the company’s goal is to provide stability, both to the employees and the facility as soon as possible. 
“Our target is to be up and running by Thanksgiving,” said Allyn Ford Thursday during an Employee Town Hall for all Weed employees and their family members. “We are committed to this operation and the people here, both the employees and the community.” 
Roseburg bought the mill from International Paper in 1982 and has produced veneer for over three decades. During the town hall, Roseburg offered 60 Weed employees positions in its veneer operations in Oregon for the time it takes to get the Weed facility back up and running. They will be provided housing and meals assistance. Other Weed employees will remain in Weed to help with clean up and repairs. The goal is to have the displaced Weed employees man the extra shifts in Oregon in order to keep up with production needs and existing order files. 
“The plan is to have Weed employees start working up in Oregon by Monday afternoon,” said Vice President of HR and Labor Relations Kellye Wise. While repairs are being made and production is stalled, Roseburg will move Weed veneer inventory up to its plywood operations in Oregon beginning next week. 
Once that is complete, Roseburg will also begin moving logs up to the facilities until the Weed facility is ready to resume operations. Weed Plant Manager Jeff Scholberg recalled the fire on Monday night and the spirit of the employees: 
“We had such an incredible response from our people at the plant. After being evacuated, they voluntarily chose to fight the fire at the mill, some knowing that their own homes were going up in flames.”
Roseburg will provide temporary housing for Weed employees who are unable to return home or lost their homes entirely. 
Counseling services are also available to help employees and their families. The company has set up a fund through the United Way of Northern California, allowing Roseburg employees throughout the U.S. to donate through payroll deduction. The fund, Weed Employee Relief Fund, will give 100% of the donations to those employees affected by the Boles Fire. The company will match employees’ donations dollar for dollar.
“Weed is a critical part of our enterprise,” said Vice President of Operations Grady Mulbery. 
“Our objective at this point is to provide stability to the community as quickly as possible. While the impact of the fire will be felt by many for some time to come, it is Roseburg’s goal to get the mill back up and running as soon as possible to mitigate the financial impact to the community and our employees.” 
If you would like to donate to the Weed Employee Relief Fund, please send your check to United Way of Northern California and sent to 2280 Benton Drive, Box 14, Redding, CA 96033; in the memo line write “Roseburg Employee Relief Fund.” One-hundred percent of donations will be given directly to aid the employees of Roseburg Forest Products who have been affected by the Boles Fire.
 “Our primary concern at this point is our people,” said Roseburg CEO and President Allyn Ford. “Some of our employees, along with their neighbors, have lost their homes, so we want to help those displaced by this fire.”
Read more at the Siskiyou Daily News.  
 

Roseburg Forest Products is a company that understands what it takes to live out your passion, but they also understand what provision means at a deeper level. They are not just an employer with thousands of employees. This company deeply cares about each and every person who works for them and they care about the communities they are located in; not just for business sake, but to invest in and to provide for the families who live in these communities.

Do you have more examples of what it looks like to be a Passion & Provision Company? We would love to hear your stories! Comment and share below:

 

 

 

Topics: Passion & Provision

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