Generation next

Generation next

BY DAN MCMILLAN
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Third-generation president Jim Patrick is working with his team to ensure the success of Diebold Lumber in Troutdale.
// Photo by Adam Bacher

Diebold Lumber’s president, Jim Patrick, leans forward when Jerry Lawson, his vice president of sales, leaves the room and confides he'd like to see Lawson run the company someday.

The 67-year-old Patrick credits Lawson, 48, with bringing new energy and perspectives to his third-generation lumber company and is willing to trust Lawson and operations manager Dave Smith with his company's future and its hard-earned reputation.

“We've never gone for the cheaper route,” Patrick says. “We've always gone with better.” And he expects the future leaders to continue that tradition.

Lawson returns the compliment by praising Patrick for creating a well-respected business that is positioned to survive into a fourth generation.

Diebold Lumber
President: Jim Patrick
Incorporated: 1940
Employees: 40
Fun fact: Diebold Lumber can process 40 million board feet of lumber per year, enough to build 4,000 1,800-square-foot-houses.

But both know innovation is key in a world where it can be cheaper to ship lumber to China for re-manufacturing than doing the work in the U.S., even when the finished product is destined for the U.S. market.

The foundation of Diebold's reinvention is a lean initiative that provides a way to frame every issue that faces the company: “How do we get more efficiency from the wood we’ve got,” Lawson says.