Wood Products Industry in East Kentucky

wood products

In 2015, the forest industry was estimated to have provided $9.1 billion in direct economic contributions, an increase of 9 percent over 2014 and a five-year high for the sector. The total economic impact of the Forestry Sector including direct, indirect, and induced economic activity surpassed $14.5 billion. Direct employment in the forestry sector was relatively stable with a minor increase in 2015 to 28,408 compared to 28,202 in 2014. The sector generated a total employment of 62,455 with an earned income of approximately $1.5 billion.

Wood Products Cluster

wood products cluster

The One East Kentucky region is home to the following Wood Products companies:

  • BPM Lumber – Rough Lumber and Railroad Ties
  • Paintsville Wood Products – Grade Hardwood and Wood Chips
  • Coalfield Lumber Company – Hardwood Lumber  **Completed a $1 Million expansion in 2014**
  • May Brothers Lumber Company – Sawmill: Hardwood & Softwood Lumber
  • Home Lumber Company – Wood Shop, Millwork, Custom Cabinets, Laminated Countertops

Forest Inventory is High in Eastern Kentucky

In 2010, the oak-hickory forest-type group represented three-fourths of all forests across the Commonwealth of Kentucky with 9.3 Million Acres.  The maple-beech-birch forest-type group was the second largest group with an estimated 1.1 Million Acres distributed across Kentucky. An overwhelming 93 percent of the standing volume in Kentucky is represented by Hardwood Species. Click here to learn about the Forest Inventory, both in our region and the entire state of Kentucky.

forest inventory graph

Source: Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service 2010

Skilled Labor

The One East Kentucky region is home to an impressive number of skilled workers in the wood industry sector.  Below are a few examples of how our workforce outnumbers the United States average.

  • 4 times US average in Sawmills, Production
  • 3 times US average in Engineered Wood Member Manufacturing (except Truss)
  • 2 times US average in Logging, Forestry

Additionally, our region is home to the following amounts of skilled workers, GREATER THAN THE U.S. AVERAGE and pertinent to the wood products sector:

  • 220% More Civil Engineering Technicians
  • 214% More Surveyors
  • 174% More Fallers
  • 170% More Logging Equipment Operators
  • 145% More Chemical Technicians
  • 138% More Log Graders and Scalers
  • 77% More Forest Fire Inspectors and Prevention Specialists
  • 26% More Industrial Machinery Mechanics
  • 24% More Agricultural Engineers
  • 20% More Sawing Machine Operators
  • 7% More Foresters

Transferable Labor

The following are statistics of coal sector workers transitioning into new employment. These workers could easily transfer their skill sets to the Wood Products Industry.

  • 354 employed in Roof Bolters, Mining
  • 353 employed in Wellhead Pumpers
  • 289 employed in Continuous Mining Machine Operators
  • 250 employed in Loading Machine Operators, Underground Mining
  • 241 employed in Excavating & Loading Machine & Dragline Operators
  • 143 employed in Mine Cutting and Channeling Machine Operators
  • 143 employed in Mine Shuttle Car Operators
  • 100 employed in Pump Operators

kentucky popwerElectric Power Provider

We are served by AEP Kentucky Power, a publicly traded investor-owned electric utility. AEP owns more of the nation’s electricity transmission system than all the other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP consistently ranks as a top-10 utility company for economic development by Site Selection Magazine.

spectra powerNatural Gas

Natural Gas pipeline infrastructure is abundant in our region giving metalworking companies cheap access to natural gas.  Spectra Energy’s Big Sandy Pipeline has a capacity of 0.2 Trillion British thermal units per day.

Columbia Gas Transmission is a natural gas pipeline that gathers gas in the Gulf of Mexico and transports it north through our region owned by NiSource. Columbia handles more than 3 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.

University of Kentucky’s Department of Forestry

University of Kentucky’s Department of Forestry

The University of Kentucky features a Department of Forestry in its Agriculture, Food and Environment School.  Faculty of the Department of Forestry conduct basic and applied research on these disciplines: ecology, economics, genetics, hydrology, mensuration, physiology, silviculture, soils, surface mine reclamation, timber management, wildlife biology and wood utilization.

Click here to view the courses in the program.

Wood Manufacturing Support Programs at Community/Technical Colleges

More than 14,000 students are currently enrolled in technical and community college programs at three colleges in our region.  The following programs are offered to support the Wood Products Sector:

Machine Tool Technology

machine tool

Certifications Available:

  • Exploratory Machining
  • Machine Tool Operator
  • CNC Operator
  • Tool and Die Apprentice
  • CNC Machining and Waterjet Technology

Engineering & Electronics

egineering electronics

Certifications Available:

  • Automation Technology
  • Computer Maintenance Technician
  • Electronic Technician
  • Electronics Tester
  • Industrial Electronic Technician
  • Instrumentation Technician
  • Maintenance Technician
  • Mechanical Technician
  • Robotics and Automation Tech

Heavy Equipment Operation

heavy equipment

Diploma Available:

  • Operating Engineer

Certifications Available:

  • Backhoe Operator
  • Bulldozer
  • Front-End Loader Operator
  • Motor-Grader Operator
  • Hydraulic Excavator Operator

Manufacturing Industrial Technology/Industrial Maintenance Technology

manufacturing industrial

Certifications Available:

  • Fluid Power Mechanic
  • Industrial Maintenance Mechanic
  • Industrial Maintenance Machinists Mechanic
  • Industrial Maintenance Electrical Mechanic

Manufacturing Engineering Technology – Electrical Technology

manufacturing engineering

Certifications Available:

  • Electrical Motor Control I
  • Electrical Motor Control II
  • Electrician Trainee