From the Ground Up
Friday 1st March 2013
— Paul Iarocci
With a total of seven crews, owner Glenn Henderson and son Manuel describe the company’s operations with an obvious sense of pride.
“Manuel runs all the logging jobs,” explains Glenn. “We have three Plum Creek crews that can do thinning and clear fell. Plum Creek works on 28-30 year rotations with a thinning at thirteen years.” An additional three crews – two set up for thinning and one for clear felling – work exclusively on private timber purchased by the company.
“The seventh crew is a swamp crew,” says Glenn. Maybe this crew serves a nostalgic purpose for Glenn since he cut his teeth swamp logging long before the profession had the benefit of state-of-the-art, high flotation track feller bunchers, shovel loggers and dualed up six-wheel drive Tigercat skidders.
Glenn has also recently started a chipping job, deploying a Morbark 22 inch disc chipper that he already owned and had utilized previously in his sawmill. He has a contract with Bosie Cascade in Jackson, Alabama to supply 40 loads of fuel chips per week. The sawmill business which primarily produces mats has picked up lately on account of strong demand from the oil and gas industry.
Henderson started out at the bottom and paid his dues, first working in the woods as a saw hand on a job run by two of his uncles. After a stint working in the oilfields and a year of college, he went back to the woods, trading a football scholarship for a position on a Scott Paper company crew. “Scott Paper had a lot of company crews and I ended up working for them for five and a half years,” Glenn recalls.
Glenn learned a lot about the many different facets of the logging industry while working for the Mobile, Alabama based company. He transferred from the logging side to land management and then finally to a road crew before leaving after more than five years.
Brimming with confidence and youthful enthusiasm, Glenn left Scott around 1986 to join his father, Van, in a family timber venture. “He was going to buy timber and I was going to cut it. We started out buying some used machines from the Scott Timber Company with the help of a loan from the Scott Credit Union.” They worked together for a year but ultimately decided against continuing and parted ways.
Next Glenn applied for a swamp job run by Leaf River (the company was later purchased by Georgia- Pacifi c) and was affiliated with GP until 2000 when Plum Creek purchased the forestland portfolio throughout the United States. To this day, Glenn’s company cuts for Plum Creek.
In 1995 Glenn started buying timber and as he did so his operations expanded. These days the company employs two full time timber buyers.
Glenn was also involved in the early days of the Mississippi Loggers Association (MLS) and the association’s Self Insurance Corporation established in 1991. “We were one of the earliest associations involved with self-insurance,” says Glenn.
The relationship between Glenn Henderson Logging and Timber and Tigercat began back in 2002 when Glenn purchased a 630B skidder from David Long (then a salesman for B&G Equipment out of Hattiesburg). “I have bought almost all Tigercat skidders since then,” says Glenn.
These days Glenn has specific preferences regarding equipment. For clear felling, he favours 724E feller bunchers equipped with 5500 felling saws. “The 5500 has a lot more versatility if we switch from clear fell to thinning,” explains Glenn. The dedicated thinning crews use 718E bunchers with 5000 series bunching saws. Plum Creek generally employs fifth row thinning on twelve foot rows.
All skidders are 630D models with 35.5 tires for added stability and longer tire life. The operators like the machines in the thinning applications because they use Turnaround to back down the thinning rows. And of course, they work well in the big clear cuts. “With the 630D, you can pick up a load and go. You can’t do that with other brands of skidders.”
Choice of equipment is important for Glenn not only in terms of productivity. “We are hands on. I run [the machines] myself a lot. I feel like if the operator is comfortable and satisfied, he will stay on it a little longer and we find the Tigercats smooth to operate.”
Weekly volume is 300-350 loads per week. Glenn does his own hauling with a fleet of 25 trucks. His wife, Jackie, runs the office and older son Jonathon has two crews of his own.