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Freres Wood at 2023 Oregon Manufacturing Roadshow

Freres Wood at 2023 Oregon Manufacturing Roadshow

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On October 4, 2023, Freres Engineered Wood hosted policymakers and community leaders as part of a three-day tour called the Manufacturing & Innovation Roadshow. This event, presented by Oregon Business & Industry and the Manufacturing Council of Oregon, was for the purpose of educating leaders on the importance of Oregon’s manufacturing sector and celebrating its contributions to Oregon’s economy.

Oregon is among the national leaders in per-capita manufacturing output, with thousands of manufacturers and more than 200,000 employees. From October 2-4, the 2023 Manufacturing & Innovation Roadshow participants traveled across the state to visit nine of these unique businesses, including Freres Engineered Wood. OBI also recognized Oregon manufacturers this year by launching the Coolest Thing Made in Oregon competition and the Manufacturer of the Year Awards. “There’s good reason to celebrate,” says Freres’ President Rob Freres. “They really shed a light on the fantastic achievements of the manufacturing sector in Oregon.”

Rob Freres and Tyler Freres, Vice President of Sales, and other company employees accompanied roughly 30 people on a tour of their small log veneer plant; veneer drying, grading and sorting facility; and one-of-a-kind Mass Ply plant. Visitors included Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp, Senator Elizabeth Steiner, Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade, as well as a field representative for Senator Ron Wyden, Carina Perez Europa.

“Few if any of the visitors had been through a veneer manufacturing plant,” says Rob Freres. “They saw raw logs being debarked, cut and heat conditioned; our state-of-the-art rotary clipping and multi-point diverter system; along with the first in the world use of a pair of 8’ composers made by Meinan from Japan to tape veneer together into continuous 4’ wide sheets.”

Visitors also explored Freres Wood’s Mass Ply plant. “A guest in the past said, ‘If you’ve seen one MPP plant, you’ve seen them all,’ because we’re the only one in the world making this product,” Rob Freres comments. Guests witnessed Freres’ innovative use of robotic technology to scarf 1 ⅛” lamellas as well as their cutting-edge CNC (Computer Numeric Control).

“We have prided ourselves in being innovative and using technology to enhance our competitiveness, and there was an opportunity to showcase what we believe is the finest veneer manufacturing plant in the western United States,” says Rob Freres. “We have a unique story to tell, and I think it was warmly received.”

For more information about Freres Engineered Wood, call 503-891-2121 or visit www.frereswood.com.

About Freres Engineered Wood ProductsFreres Engineered Wood, formerly Freres Lumber Co., Inc., has a 100-year history of innovation in the wood products industry, beginning in 1922 when T.G. Freres started a small sawmill in Oregon’s Santiam Canyon. Today, Freres’ operations include finished plywood, lumber, veneer and structural composite lumber, Mass Ply products, biochar, and a cogeneration facility that supplies renewable power for the local area. Known for being traditionally innovative, Freres is deeply committed to its community and to sustainable forest management practices. The company uses 100% of the wood it processes throughout its three operations—Freres Engineered Wood Products, Freres Timber and Evergreen BioPower LCC—and six wood products facilities. Freres provides family wage jobs to nearly 500 employees. For more information, visit www.frereswood.com or call 503-859-2121.

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