West Fraser Manager Speaks to Kiwanis

Wayne Duperron, West Fraser Manager, spoke to the Kiwanis Club Tuesday, August 15th. He has been at the Winnfield plant for 4 years. He was the number 2 man for 3 years and became the manager on July 1, 2023. He was born and raised in Michigan about 10 miles south of Detroit. Because of that he began his career in the automotive industry. After changes with the automotive industry and his job he began working in the lumber industry. He has been in the south for over 20 years. He and his wife live in Sikes. She is from Plain Dealing and wanted to be closer to her mother.

West Fraser wants to be involved in the community and he was told to be involved in the community hence his speaking to the Kiwanis club. 

 West Fraser is a Canadian company. They employ 185 good hardworking people and always looking for more. Starting salary is $18.50 per hour with benefits beginning on day 1. Benefits include medical, dental, vacation, etc. Background checks and drug testing is required. There are random drug tests for all employees including the manager. He would like to have people coming right out of high school or the technical college and put them to work. Their longest working employee worked 50 years before his retirement a few months ago.

They sell 53% premium wood which is high grade. The Winnfield plant is one of the most efficient plants in the company. They buy 85% of their timber from Weyerhauser. They buy some from private landowners.

Duperron was answering questions being asked by the group. The kilns and boiler never stop. The sawmill is open from 6 AM – 3:30 PM. They cut 4 million board feet per week. They cut based on what they sell. The lumber is shipped by rail as well as by truck(30 trucks per day). They sell chips to Graphic Packaging and the waste is use to run the kilns. The largest log they can handle is 24 inch and the smallest about 9 inches. They are very serious about safety. There have only been 2 injuries since the first of the year. During the summer a snowcone truck comes once a week to help beat the heat. There are also air conditioners close to where people work.

There is talk about improvements to the sawmill but he was not at liberty to reveal those yet.
This was a very interesting look at a vital employer in our community.