February 10th marked the birthday of the man who modestly built our company to what it is today. Not a day passes that I am not reminded of how grateful I am for the culture that John Hampton instilled in the way we conduct business. He brought his own personal morals, convictions, and work ethic into every aspect of his daily activities. He led by example. A person’s word and a handshake were all John needed to seal even the largest of business deals. When someone did not live up to their part of an agreement, they rarely got a second chance.

John’s most treasured award among the many bestowed upon him was the 2004 Oregon Ethics in Business Award for an Individual. John was the first-ever recipient of this award and it prompted him to list his 25 most important ethical practices, most of which apply in personal and professional life.

I’m talking about John now because some of the highlights from his 55+career in the forest products industry are associated with remembering the energy he diligently and passionately put forth to educate the public about the sustainability of our forests.

John fought tirelessly for sustainable timber harvests off of state and federal forests to support Pacific Northwest sawmills and their rural family-wage jobs.

He testified at hearings, he met with local, regional, and national politicians, and he collaborated with other companies in financial support for credible scientific studies on sustainable management of our public forests. John met with U.S. Presidents to discuss public timber supply and he participated in President Clinton’s 1993 Forest Summit in Portland, a “collaboration” of differing opinions which unfortunately ended up stifling harvest levels and forever altering the lives of many in rural Oregon and Washington.

Well, guess what? The fight goes on. The energy and passion John had for this cause are now manifested in the efforts of many of us at the company. We’re not only asking for increased sustainable timber harvest levels, we’re pushing back against further reductions in current harvest levels. It’s not just for our company and our sawmills: it’s for our state’s infrastructure and the education and well being of all Pacific Northwest citizens. We deserve to have public lands used for public good.

What can you do to help? Read up on the facts, talk within your circle of influence, and tune into what your political representatives are doing.

Steve Zika
CEO, Hampton Lumber