Fernandina Beach, FL – The Forest Resources Association and STIHL Incorporated honored Josh Key, the owner and president of Beech Island Timber & Construction, Inc. of Jackson, South Carolina, as FRA’s Southeastern Region 2019 Outstanding Logger at its Southeastern Region (SER) Awards Dinner in Fernandina Beach, Florida on May 21.
Josh Key started his own logging company in 1985. Josh states that he and his twin brother, John, “have seen a lot of early mornings and late nights in our life, but that is what it takes to make it work . . . I still love what I do.”
Josh and his brother John start things off very early in the morning, checking everything on the harvest site, working on a pre-harvest plan with their operators, talking about deck locations, and discussing safety. They run a high-production combination roundwood and fuel chipping operation, with most of their fuel chip production going to the Department of Energy’s Savannah River site near Augusta, Georgia.
Beech Island Timber provides weekly and monthly safety bonus incentives to its employees, with the incentives related to cleanliness of the equipment, machine maintenance, notifying supervisors of issues and concerns, and, for truck drivers, various safety markers identified by the GPS systems and dash cameras in their trucks. Josh has set up TEAM Safe Trucking safety education training classes for his drivers. Several Beech Island Timber employees have completed the Forestry Association of South Carolina’s Timber Operations Professional (TOP) Program.
Beech Island Timber offers its employees medical, dental, vision, and life insurance as well as a simple IRA retirement plan with some employer matching of contributions.
Beech Island has an outstanding office staff. Shelley Bowman, Josh’s daughter and the company’s business manager, created and implemented the first registered apprenticeship program with the U.S. Department of Labor in South Carolina for adult and youth careers in logging. Josh states, “I want to maintain what we have accomplished with the company and leave a strong, well-oiled organization behind for the future.”
Josh has served as the Vice Chairman of the South Carolina Timber Producers Association and participates in many other associations, in his own state and nationally. His company projects a positive image through its website, www.bitimber.com.
At the May 21 Awards Dinner, FRA’s SER Chairman Barry Parrish presented Josh Key with a wooden crosscut-saw plaque, a STIHL chain saw gift certificate, and $250 check from STIHL. (Note: Josh donated his check to the Log A Load For Kids program to support Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.)
FRA’s Outstanding Logger Award program is designed to raise the visibility of professional logging contractors and to encourage other loggers to adopt the performance of the award winners. The Regional Award winner becomes a nominee for FRA’s National Outstanding Logger recognition.
The Forest Resources Association Inc. is a nonprofit trade association concerned with the safe, efficient, and sustainable harvest of forest products and their transport from woods to mill. FRA represents wood consumers, independent logging contractors, and wood dealers, as well as businesses providing products and services to the forest resource-based industries.
STIHL Incorporated serves as the sponsor of FRA’s Regional and National Outstanding Logger Awards.
Photo: Josh Key, winner of FRA’s 2019 Southeastern Region (SER) Outstanding Logger Award.
(Left to right: FRA SER Chairman Barry Parrish, Cindy Key, Josh Key)