100 Best: In the family

100 Best: In the family

Article Index

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Above: Dave Sutton and Julie Shoufler are part of the Lone Rock team, which CEO Toby Luther says is all about family.
Below: John Grant enjoys a doughnut, one of the tasty extras provided by Lone Rock Timber.
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The blending of young and old makes for a dynamic workforce at Lone Rock Timber, according to CEO Toby Luther. From left at the Copper Creek Reservoir: Tony Geiger, Eric Parazoo, Josh Fowler, Brady Kennedy (front), Pat Kelly, Brook Pfaff, Dave Sutton, Rob Searles (kneeling), John Grant, Rich Furgerson and Curt Mendenhall.
// Photos by Eric Naslund

Lone Rock Timber

Location: Roseburg

Rank: 27th best large company

Years on the list: 2

Rather than lay off some of its loggers when the economy went south a few years ago, Lone Rock Timber instead got creative and found enough filler projects — road building and Forest Service firebreaks, to name a couple  —  to keep everyone busy. 

“Keeping the jobs was extremely important to the family,” says CEO Toby Luther of the Sohn family, which founded the Roseburg company in 1950. “We’re different on that front. It’s more of a family value to us.” 

Now more focused on timberland management and investment, Lone Rock today employs around 100 people, many of whom have tenures of more than three decades with the company. 

What keeps people with Lone Rock is, according to Luther, its sense of family, its solid wages and benefits, and its willingness to be open with all employees. During the downturn of 2008-09, Luther held monthly meetings to keep employees apprised of what was really going on with the company.

“Everyone was invited to come and grill me,” he says. “I couldn’t promise anything, but I also didn’t want them to be listening to rumors, waiting around for their pink slips.” 

In addition, Lone Rock offers a popular charitable matching program and tries to give employees multiple avenues for advancement.

“We make sure we create opportunities in the organization so someone can work three or four jobs here,” Luther says. “Hopefully that provides them with the challenge and diversity they’re looking for.”