Grinding It Out Is a Team Effort

As seen in Logging & Sawmilling Journal, Dec. 2018/Jan. 2019:

The Canadian Woodlands Forum’s Outstanding Logging Contractor of the Year—New Brunswick’s Jack McMillan—started out in trucking, but now runs a major chipping and grinding operation, with a strong focus on employees working as a team.

Guthrie Enterprises operates two flail chippers and one tub grinder, contracted to J.D. Irving Woodlands, and works primarily in the Sussex District, although their machines can get assigned, from time to time, to other districts in New Brunswick or on special projects in Nova Scotia.

McMillan was a successful owner-operator hauling petroleum and chemical products for RST Transport when his son, Steven, fresh out of high school, expressed interest in driving truck. In 1996, McMillan put a driver on his RST truck and bought a logging tractor trailer with a centre mount loader, and began double shifting with his son.

The log trucking soon expanded to three tractor trailers, each with centre mount loaders, hauling for J.D. Irving. When J.D. Irving suggested that he might be interested in becoming a forwarder contractor, McMillan took on the challenge in 1998, purchasing a Valmet forwarder.

With his success in trucking and forwarding, Irving soon came forward with another proposal for McMillan to consider: becoming a chip contractor. In 2001, he gained financing for a new Morbark 2755 flail chipper and five tractor trailer chip vans.

“Operating a chipper was an entirely new experience for me,” says McMillan. “I hired a couple of crews and we started chipping. We met—and overcame—a lot of challenges.

“We spent a lot of long hours on the chipper and we learned what breaks, and how to fix it. We learned how to operate the chipper to make both quality and production.”

Encouraged with their success with the chipper, McMillan added a second Morbark 2755 flail chipper in 2004.