Meeting the Demand

Hanson Trucking and Resin Haulers Inc.
Columbia Falls MT

By Darin Burt

     As with any successful business, a company's ability to provide
service is a good measure for their standing in the specific industry.
When it comes to transporting wood residuals, service and
communication are a necessity.
     "The customers that we serve are very demanding. They expect us to be there when we are supposed to be there and we never shut down," says Steve Hanson, company manager of Hanson Trucking and Resin Haulers, Inc. In the decade since Skip Hanson started the business, near the entrance to Glacier National Park in northern Montana, Hanson Trucking has grown to include 25 trucks and 40 trailers, hauling chips, shavings and sawdust. They have branched out to haul resin from Borden Chemical, in Missoula to plywood plants in Kalispell and Columbia Falls. Five sets of 26-foot pups are equipped to haul  liquid resins for use at the Columbia Falls plywood plant. They are designed to carry a two-inch thick rubber resin bladder which is held in place with
straps and safety cables, to protect in when the trailer is loaded with wood residuals.
     Skip got his first experience hauling for Royal Logging and Plum Creek Trucking. In the early 1980's Plum Creek got out of the logging, but kept their fleet of nine chip trucks that were used to haul the raw materials into their medium density fiber board plant. When the company decided to disband their trucking interest in 1991, they approached Hanson with the opportunity to buy trucks and take over that portion of the business. He accepted the offer lock stock and barrel; nine trucks, 14 trailers, drivers and shop equipment.
   He set up shop at a facility located within a stones-throw of the Columbia Falls mill and started Hanson Trucking and Resin Haulers Inc. In 1995, Plum Creek experimented with in-woods chipping and they contracted Hanson to haul the material, Hanson added nine tractors and trailers to accommodate what was supposed to be a five-year deal. They purchased possum-belly trailers knowing that if the job ended they could still use them in their normal chip hauling business. That was good thinking. Plum Creek stayed with the project for about four months before deciding that the costs were too high to make it feasible. It was about that same time that Hanson Trucking teamed up with Glen Transport Ltd, a Canadian trucking company, that was working with Plum Creek and Tembec to haul chips from the United States into Canada and sawdust and shavings back from British Columbia. The partnership between Hanson Trucking and Glen Transport is known as GHI. Hanson's tractors and trailers that had been designated for the woods, transferred over into the new business.
    Three of Skip's sons now head up the operation. Steve is the general  manager, Neil acts as assistant manager and Chris oversees the shop as maintenance supervisor. Steve's wife  Kim works as a data entry clerk and Skip's daughter-in-law Sheryl is the company account. Skip still has his voice in the decision making and even drives his own personal truck on occasion.
    "Dad is willing to go along with the changes that we want to make," Steve says. "We try and blend our new ideas with his advice and it works really well." Steve took over the management responsibilities in April of 2000. Before coming into the family business, he was employed at Plum Creek for 20 years;


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