Love for a healthy forest guides Tom Turley and his business
Of Cabbages and Kings
Tom Turley, owner of Turley Logging and Timber Management, is well known in this area. He has lived in Tyler since 1973. He met his wife, Kelly, at the Tyler store. Her folks owned the store at that time.
In May of 1980, Tom and Kelly planned an outdoor wedding. Mt. St. Helens had a different idea. The Turleys were married instead in the Tyler Grange Hall. For nine years Turley worked for logger Bill Kuhn of Medical Lake. Due to an injury Turley decided to start his own company in 1990. He said, “Bill sold me some access equipment. I’ve come a long way from when I first started. Then, the main expense was a chain saw.”
Every businessman must strive through a fluctuating economy. Turley said, “Before the recession I had 14 employees. Now I have four. The part of logging I like the most is management. I like to make the area more healthy, to clean it up, remove fire hazards. I broker logs to get the best price for my customer.”
Turley is a certified master logger. Every year he attends a session to stay accredited.
He said, “Sometimes I attend courses administrated by Washington State Department of National Resources at WSU as well as courses in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.” His foreman also attends the courses. Each session has its own class topics.
Turley will work the entire Northwest but prefers to work locally in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene area. He said, “I’ve done a few jobs for the forest service and have worked at the Canadian border.”
Kelly Turley said, “When Tom and his crew of six and two truck drivers logged at Cle Elum I cooked for them. It was a beautiful place. I had a blast. The man who owned the place had died and his sister was in charge of the property. The man had been a hoarder. He had all kinds of antiques, everything from a 1932 Dodge pickup to jewelry. The sister had no interest in the antiques. They were stored in sheds, in the house and other places.” Kelly Turley expressed her disappointment that the sister could not appreciate the value of her brother’s treasures.
From its modest beginnings in 1990, Turley’s business is now “fully mechanical and automated,” he said. He has a machine called a single grip harvester. It can fell a tree, de-limb it and cut the tree to lengths. Turley said it takes a person from six months to a year to learn to run it because it is so technical. It has three computers and one laptop. “People like to have a ride in it,” he said. “When I was working in the Kings Lake area the Singing Nuns at Mt. Saint Michael asked for a ride.” It was Turley’s pleasure to let the nuns ride in this amazing machine.
In 2000, Turley’s foreman nominated him as Employer of the year by the National Guard. Turley also sponsored a hockey team in 2004-2005 called the Timber Wolves. They needed uniforms. Frank Ham, Turley’s truck driver was the team’s coach.
A true respect for the trees of the forest and an importance to see a job well done has brought this logger from having a chainsaw at hand to owning a single grip harvester. We shall see what the future brings. Thanks, Tom and Kelly Turley.
Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.