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We Stand Ready.

Kingsbury Companies LLC
Lynn and Bruce Strough (seated in front with left to right: Wayne Sech, Barbara March, and Rick Rosbrook), say all their employees have been key to their success and they can’t single any one out.

Starting from the ground and looking up.

If you ask Bruce Strough for the secret of his company’s success, he is quick to point to the people behind Watertown, New York-based Pala Wood Services.

From an early partnership with his late father-in-law to his present day staff of more than two dozen, Strough says Pala Wood is a group effort in every respect. “My employees are truly like family to me and I have been very fortunate throughout the years to have had such great people involved.”

Strough said his family also has been an integral piece of the puzzle, “People like my brother, Jay, who started out with me and still keeps his fingers in the business… Like Barb March and my sons-in-law, Wayne Sech and Rick Rosbrook, they are invaluable to what we do,” he said. “The real keys to success have always been our employees and we can’t single any one out. Many have been with the company for a very long time and their ability to work in the many different areas of the business has also been key. From our truck drivers, to equipment operators, to our office staff…I’ve really been blessed.”

In the beginning

Incorporated in 1989, Pala Wood’s main purpose was to deliver fuel chips to a Co-Gen plant on local military base, Fort Drum. The plant then mixed the fuel chips with coal for a cleaner burn.

Around the same time, the company entered the bark mulch industry and saw a business boom in the 1990s into the new millennium. It also purchased a flail chipper and contracted with paper mills throughout New York and Canada to deliver chips and back haul wood bark for their mulch market.

The nature of the business changed when many key paper mills shutdown in the early 2000s. With no mills to take their chips, the clean chip business ended, but the company’s momentum did not. They continued on with the mulch business. Capitalizing on its proximity to major highways, Pala Wood expanded by trucking road salt for Mount Morris-based American Rock Salt.

Business changed when 2012 saw the purchase of Fort Drum’s Co-Genplant by bioenergy-producing, ReEnergy. Due to Pala Wood’s proximity and equipment fleet, they entered into an agreement to produce large volumes of fuel quality chips to ReEnergy.

Focusing on the future with John Deere

Currently, Pala Wood’s focus remains on the wood mulch business, which Strough notes is not as strong as in the 1990s but is still a large part of who they are as a company. They also focus on fuel-quality chip production and delivery to the ReEnergy facility on Fort Drum.

Close to 100% of the company’s fleet is John Deere – from mowers to its four 744 loaders – to its forestry fleet which includes two 648H skidders, anew 853M feller buncher, and a 437D log loader.

Pala Wood’s feller buncher operator, Kenny Lovejoy, who has run many feller bunchers, says the speed, performance, visibility, power, and fuel efficiency of the new 853M are the best in the industry. He also said that across the board, the durability, reliability, and fuel economy of John Deere equipment is top-notch. And now, JDLink is a great asset to have on their equipment.

Strough said he enjoys working with Nortrax because it stands by its products. Nortrax takes care of any problems that arise in a timely manner and offer the best in his equipment needs between offering Morbark chippers and grinders and the full line of John Deere equipment.

John Deere, in Strough’s opinion is best in the industry, “Nortrax parts guys, Allen and Derrick, take care of my parts needs. Joe and Rick in service take care of our equipment, and our territory manager, Adam, is outstanding. We are very happy with the relationship we’ve built with Nortrax.”

Business focuses and needs may shift but one thing at Pala Wood remains the same, how much Bruce and his wife, Lynn, genuinely care for their employees. Most of the company’s employees have stayed for a long stretch of time, which the Stroughs feel proves that they are doing the right thing by them. And when looking for a strong foundation, the employees need look no farther than Bruce and Lynn who have been married 37 years and are a strong team providing the best quality employment they can.

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