In kicking off the year long celebration we start with a special interview with Yakama Forest Products very first employee: Kelly Olney.
1. Why did you choose to work for and dedicate part of your life to Yakama Forest Products?
"I've spent my entire life working in and around the forest. It was always a goal of us that were tribal members to see the Nation get involved in the manufacture and marketing of our timber resource, so it was a great honor to be selected to hire and supervise the original crew at YFP."
2. What is your favorite memory while working at YFP?
" My best memories are the faces and personalities of all the people I've worked with, I've met some real characters. I've also greatly enjoyed watching people grow as employees and be able to improve their lives and provide for their families. You wouldn't believe the way the parking lots used to look compared to now as far as the rigs people drive. YFP has always been about the jobs and providing the opportunity for people to succeed. "
3. What do you hope for the future of YFP?
"My hope is that YFP will be able to modernize our mills to remain competitive in the industry. The (Yakama) Nation has a timber resource second to none, but our mills are aging. the Hewsaw is now going on 17 years old, and the large mill is turning 14. Don't get me wrong, they're not junk destined for the scrap pile, but the technology changes. For example, do you have the same car you had 15 years ago, your computer, your cell phone? We need to invest in ourselves just as the competing mills have done to improve efficiency and productivity."