Letters from the Industry

This Too Shall Pass

In light of current events, BPD and The Merchant e-Weekly will feature guest contributors offering the industry their perspectives and advice. This is NOT paid advertising but rather part of our service to the industry in contrast to the ongoing 24/7 news cycle we're faced with. We are a strong country, a strong industry and we will get through this, sooner than later and better than before. Please send your thoughts to padams@526mediagroup.com. Take care of yourselves, and each other.

“This too shall pass.”  These words are echoing in my mind as I ponder the global situation and what it means for me and for Timber Products.  I have been working in this industry for almost 44 years.  In my career, there have been spotted owls, a couple of recessions, a couple of wars, 9/11, SARS, a hostile takeover of one company over another and the list goes on.  Here’s the nugget; resilient people take stock in the situation, look for opportunities to change, make adjustments, and come out the other side ready to face a new reality.  We can all add “managing through a pandemic” to our personal bios.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world.  Much of what we see going on in the world is surreal and hard to process.  On the one hand, lives are being lost every day to this virus and on the other hand, in my part of the world, spring is upon us.  The sun is shining and the flowers are blooming. Meanwhile, for me, there is a company to run.  To say this is all crazy is an understatement.  With all of this going on, I feel fortunate.  My family is safe and we continue to successfully manage the company through this crisis.  As I take stock in the situation, lessons are being learned both personally and professionally.

I am enjoying cooking the evening meal with my wife Sally and having uninterrupted conversation.  I like having time to just sit and think.  I am catching up on reading. I’ve got around to fixing all those “little things” that I never seemed to get around to doing.  That said, I miss my children and grandchildren.  We are all communicating in a variety of ways, including virtual birthday parties.  I will never take for granted the ability to give or get a hug.  I suspect we will all gain a richer perspective about being in touch with friends and family.

At work, we are finding that technology is carrying the day.  I’ve always been suspect of “work at home” arrangements but I stand corrected.  Our sales force is booking business.  The accounting and finance continues.  We are realizing the brick and mortar model could stand for some modification.  The situation has put us into a forced experiment that is yielding new possibilities for the way we do business.

The economy is the dark cloud looming in our future.   These are challenging times and we have made and will continue to make some difficult decisions.  I understand that these decisions have impacts on people’s lives.  None of this is taken lightly or made in haste.  For me, it becomes quite personal and emotional.  Most of you would not know that I grew up the son of a millworker in a plywood operation.  I have experienced the ups and downs of this industry, and know how it can impact a family. Nonetheless, we have to address the situation and act accordingly.

I am an optimist by nature and I believe that there will be a recovery.  While there will be sadness for those lost and the hardships endured, there will also be hope of a new beginning. As we all look to the future, I am consoled by the words, “This too shall pass.”

Steve Killgore

Steve Killgore is CEO for Timber Products.

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