The Michigan Association of Timbermen
Posted on 04.21.2016 Under Legislative

The Timbermen would like to thank our sponsors, find members, vendors, guests, speakers and staff for participating in another successful annual meeting!

We hope you and your families enjoyed the venue, food and company. The Bavarian Inn staff work exceptionally hard to please their guests and this all would not have been possible without them. Pulling together a large event like our convention is a grueling task, but it is remarkable what obstacles we can overcome with unity and teamwork.

Since 1972, the Michigan Association of Timbermen has survived on teamwork. Our mission has always been to help protect and grow member and non-member businesses that rely on the forest and all the companies trickling down from that source. Some of which include, heavy machinery companies, parts suppliers, fuel and lubricant suppliers, financial institutions, MAT’s owned insurance agency (Forest/Loggers/Mauck agencies), affiliated insurance carriers (MATSIF, Secura, Bitco), and the list goes on. The Timbermen also take great pride in working with organizations such as, Michigan Forest Products Council, Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and American Loggers Council to strengthen our objectives through advocacy and education.

Our Association is constantly working to assert a voice that represents fairness, safety, justification, and equality with representatives of federal, state, and local agencies. MAT Legislative Consultant, Judy Augenstein, has been an outstanding influence on favorable legislative policies throughout Michigan. Whether you are well versed in politics or just tender-footed, it can be accepted that legislative change is gradual. Judy has committed herself to the betterment of our industry and her work is as genuine as her character.

Throughout the wax and wane of our ever changing industry, it is important to reflect back on teamwork and values. We would like to sincerely thank all of our members and supporters for helping our association thrive. It is also imperative to emphasize that, in order to grow, we need to encourage all industry-related and associate companies to join our team. As stated by our past president, Lonny Lutke, “Every single company or individual you write a check to, should be a MAT member”.

Thanks again, and we look forward to seeing all of you at next year’s convention!

?~ MAT Board and Staff


Congratulations to the 2015 Timbermen Award Winners!

Logger of the Year

Bisballe Forest Products, Inc.

The Michigan Association of Timbermen and the Michigan SFI Implementation Committee are very proud to announce, Bisballe Forest Products, Inc., as the 2015 Logger of the Year.

Wayne and Norma Bisballe started out operating a large pig farm with their sons, Kurt, Chad, Eric, and Troy, until around 1987. After many extensive remodels of the property and buildings, Wayne successfully  broke ground into the logging industry. After Wayne’s passing, Norma and the four sons built upon their father’s foundation and have been improving ever since. They currently have 34 employees, two subcontractors, seven truck drivers, and one forester.

When asked what this business is dedicated to, Kurt and Chad explained that they would ultimately like to represent the forest industry in a positive manner. Kurt stated that they, and their operators, work very hard to treat the land as if it were their own. Chad added, “We just try to do the right thing.” Moreover, the Bisballe’s recognize the importance of their employees and show an utmost appreciation for each individual. They work as a team and are ready to start at 5:00am, with everyone else.

Although setting goals for a logging business has proven to be precarious, it is undoubtable that the Bisballe family shows true ambition and resourcefulness to continue progressing in this dynamic industry.



Excellence in Trucking

Shawn Muma Logging

Shawn Muma Logging is based out of central Michigan, but is known state-wide for their impressive artwork pictured on every one of their trucks. Each truck has a custom mural that has been hand painted or airbrushed, reflecting the logging and wood products industry. These paintings are truly remarkable and respectfully capture the historic beginnings of a man, a horse, and a hatchet.
The images painted on Shawn’s equipment  are  great examples to show how far our industry has come.

Shawn’s connection with logging dates back many generations and he has grown up working with his father and uncle. Around the 1990’s, Shawn established his own business which focuses on logging, trucking and chipping. He and his wife, Katherine, operate their business with a total of 48 employees, and 11 truck drivers. Although Shawn has created a very successful business and continues to improve,  he just may be the most modest man you will ever meet;  an absolutely honest and authentic individual.



Excellence in Manufacturing

Blough Hardwoods, Inc.

Blough Hardwoods, Inc. is a family owned business, whose spent over 40 years dedicating their long, hard hours to producing quality hardwood lumber. The business started off as a portable sawmill harvesting landowners’ timber, and was permanently constructed by their father and grandfather, Lloyd Blough in 1975. Sadly, Lloyd Blough, passed away at the young age of 100 years old this January.
In 2003, the corporation was formed by owner and president, Marvin Blough. With his wife running the office, the mill has a total of 10 employees, of which four are their sons. Chris is the mill manager and runs the resaw system. Ernie graduated at NHLA Lumber Inspection School in Memphis in 2013, where he returned to the company as the Yard Manager/Lumber Grader/Inspector. Issac runs the edger, and their youngest son Silas, is their loader operator.
In 2007 they took a leap of faith by implementing a West Plains Resaw and Morbark Runaround system. Which was featured in the Timber Processing Magazine, September 2011 issue. Their leap of faith paid off; doubling their production in just three years!
Most of their timber is purchased in southwest Michigan by highly accredited loggers. From this timber they produce approximately 3.8 million board feet of green, rough sawn lumber annually.
The Blough’s give their biggest credit to their dedicated employees. “They are the ones that make the difference,” said Liz Blough. For this reason, they tend to spoil their employees with occasional Krispie Kreme, and pizza parties.Although the logging industry may be demanding at times, the end result is always rewarding. Blough Hardwoods, Inc. is in for the long haul. When asked what their long-term goals were, their sons jokingly replied, “Staying in business.”


Legislator of the Year

State Representative Bruce Rendon

It is with great pleasure to congratulate State Representative Bruce Rendon on earning the Michigan Association of Timbermen’s Legislator of the Year award. Mr. Rendon has proven to be a significant supporter of the timber industry. Though he represents the lower peninsula of Michigan, it is noted that he is also active in the upper peninsula in regards to numerous forestry related events. “He represents citizens in the central part of the state, where forestry and outdoor recreation are very important drivers of the economy,” said Warren Suchovsky, a Timbermen Director from Region One.After attending Ferris State University for architectural design and drafting, Rendon served on the Michigan Purebred Dairy Cattle Association committee, and became president of the Michigan Jersey Cattle Club. He is an accredited dairy cattle judge at county, state, and international dairy shows. Aside from the dairy industry, he has also served two years as Vice President of the Northwest Michigan Home Builders Association, and three terms as President. In 2004, he was elected president of the Michigan Association of Home Builders. Following his employment under his father at Blink Lumber Company for 11 years, Rendon now operates his own construction business. Based out of Lake City, Rendon Quality Construction has been in business for 28 years.

Elected to the Michigan House of Representative in November 2010, Bruce Rendon represents citizens of Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Crawford and Kalkaska counties. He currently serves as the chair of the House Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee.

The Timbermen are thankful to have Mr. Rendon working with us to promote favorable industry policies, effective representation, and awareness of the economic impact the timber and wood products industry creates.



Legislator of the Year

State Representative Peter Pettalia

The Michigan Association of Timbermen are proud to recognize State Representative Peter Pettalia for his continued support of the logging industry and his unyielding integrity and leadership. Mr. Pettalia was elected in November 2010 to his first term in the Michigan House. He represents the counties of Alpena, Presque Isle, Alcona, and Iosco as well as part of Cheboygan county townships, Aloha, Benton, Burt, Ellis, Forest, Grant, Inverness, Mentor, Mullet, Nunda, Walker Waverly and Wilmot. He was reelected to a third term for 2015-2016 and has upheld his forest-friendly advocacy.Pettalia is currently the Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure House Committee and Vice Chair of the Financial Services Committee.  He is also a member of the committees dealing with Energy Policy, and Tourism and Outdoor Recreation.

Along with serving Michigan as a State Representative, Pettalia and his business partner have successfully operated an auto repair shop for 33 years. Additionally, he manages  a seasonal cabin rental business on Grand Lake, in Northeast Michigan. He has previously served as a supervisor for Presque Isle Township for 16 years and as a volunteer  firefighter for East Grand Lake Fire Department for 15 years. Currently, Mr. Pettalia is Vice Chairman for the State Park Advisory Board for Negwegon, Rockport, and Thompson Harbor State Parks.

Representative Pettalia can be commended  on many occasions for his timber industry championing. Examples of his most recent and notable efforts include, securing the log truck plate,  and the sponsorship of the multiple use permit bill. While we came very close to losing the log plate, Mr. Pettalia held firm and convinced opponents  that they needed to support this bill. Currently, the multiple use permit bill is still being drafted and tailored after Wisconsin’s legislation. This bill would allow truckers to use a single hauling permit for all equipment versus having one permit for each piece of equipment.

The Timbermen are very thankful for all the work that Representative Pettalia has done for us and we look forward to continuing to work with him to promote Michigan’s forest industry.


Friend of the Timbermen

Larry Fay

The Michigan Association of Timbermen are very proud to recognize Larry Fay as a 2015 Friend of the Timbermen. Larry grew up in the small farming town of Levering, Michigan. After attending Central Michigan University, he began his career in the construction and forestry industry. While working more than 33 years in the industry, Larry has had a great deal of support along the way. He and his wife, Lou have been happily married for 40 years, and have two sons and six granddaughters.  Larry continues to be an advocate for the Timbermen as a Forestry Segment Leader for AIS Construction Equipment Corporation.Larry explains that the forest industry supports families in Michigan and the Great Lakes region, and that the industry impacts more than just loggers. It promotes the economic welfare of the trucking industry, the private contractors who cut and process the wood, the land owners who sell the wood, the equipment dealers who supply machinery, the mills that provide quality wood products for consumers; the list goes on.

When asked about what he would like to see for the future of the logging industry, Larry emphasized on education. He states, “Logging’s biggest challenge today is find qualified, dedicated employees that want a career in the logging industry. As the logging machinery becomes more technical, we must find a way to provide education and training for young employees. We must be able to show potential employees that the logging industry offers a career, not just an interim job”.


Friend of the Timbermen

Perry Strimback

The Michigan Association of Timbermen are pleased to announce, Perry Strimback, as a 2015 Friend of the Timbermen. Mr. Strimback is a 1982 graduate from Northwestern College, in Lima, Ohio. Upon graduation, he started his career in the forest industry with Star Truck Rentals in Grand Rapids, Michigan from October 1982 to November 2003. Within this time frame, Perry succeeded at various positions including, mechanic, fleet maintenance salesman, then management, and branch manager for six different branch locations.In December 2003, Perry joined JDE Equipment as JD Construction and Forestry Equipment Salesman for 13 counties. However, in the beginning of 2016, he returned to Star Truck Rentals as a Used Truck Director. Now working in the corporate office in Grand Rapids, he sells all used equipment. Perry states, “It is great to still be working with customers that I worked with  in my previous job capacity and I enjoy the relationship building process that evolves”.
Not only did 1982 serve as the beginning of Perry’s long time career in the forest industry, it also started as the year he married his high school sweetheart. It was the perfect high school love story, he was the football captain, and she was the homecoming queen. This year marks their 34 years of marriage.Perry explains that it is important to support the forest industry for its management of our natural resources and the products it provides for so many industries. He hopes to see continual growth with equipment technology used in the industry and he also stresses safety awareness within the industry.

Jess Birtcher Fund Scholarship Recipient:?
Emmett Brand, Newberry MI



Harvesting or Tree Service Needs?
Call us for a list of local providers!

The Michigan Association of Timbermen are looking forward to another eventful and educational Annual Meeting. Please join us at Boyne Mountain Lodge on April 26th and 27th, 2018!

Click on "About" then "Annual Timbermen Convention" for more details!

Copyright © 2017 The Michigan Association of Timbermen / 7350 South M-123 Newberry, MI 49868 / P: 906-293-3236 / F: 906-293-5444