Sometimes, the stars align. Such was the case with Waste Wood Recyclers, the Burnsville – VER team, and a charity event known as Log A Load For Kids.
Log A Load is a charity concept organized across the United States that benefits Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Loggers and wood-supplying businesses donate the value of a load of logs (or any amount) to a nearby Children’s Miracle Network hospital to be used in treating sick and injured children. Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, MN, coordinates a Log A Loads event.
Each year, an event committee works with loggers and mills to coordinate donations. This year, the Sappi mill, located in Cloquet, was responsible for coordinating a donation from a landowner. It hired a logging company to come in and log the trees. The landowner chose to donate all the wood logged to Log A Load, which totaled more than $30,000, the largest single donation Gillette Children’s Hospital had ever received from the event.
The landowner’s property was unique – there were several trails and paths which, after the logging, were left with debris and were a bit unusable.
That’s where Waste Wood Recyclers comes in. Sappi reached out to them to inquire about helping clean up the biomass and leftovers.
“We were happy to get involved with this project, given the landowner’s generosity, and how we have focused on getting more involved with Log A Load” said Garrett Campbell, owner of Waste Wood Recyclers.
So, Waste Wood Recyclers comes in, helps clean up, and it’s a done deal. Not quite.
“Right off the bat, the timing was perfectly wrong,” says Garrett with a chuckle. “The biomass market was at a lull, and there were significant road restrictions in place. Ultimately, the only thing I could think of, was that we’d have to mulch it, and that we might not have enough horsepower or manpower to do it. So, I put in a call to RDO-Vermeer.”
Waste Wood Recyclers has a strong partnership with the RDO-Vermeer team in Burnsville. When asking Garrett about RDO, the first thing he says: “Well – in short – I would not be where I am today without Tom and RDO.”
He’s referring to Tom Ruegemer, Account Manager. “I don’t like to call him a salesman, he is a specialist,” adds Garrett.
When Garrett and his wife, Ashley, decided to start their company, they knew little about the biomass business, but they jumped in head first. They started by picking up the phone, calling around, and doing internet research on different grinders. “During my research, I had multiple people tell me to call Tom at RDO,” says Garrett. But, being located nearly 2 ½ hours from the RDO store, and having a strong passion to support local business, he initially rejected the idea.
After not getting the service, help, or information he wanted from his local options, he finally reached out to Tom. “I think our first conversation was three hours long on the phone, and he never attempted to sell me anything. By the time we ended our call, he had arranged to come up to Duluth with a unit for me to demo.”
That first demo experience lasted three days. “There was no sales pitch. He knew what I was trying to do, and he helped me crunch numbers – and not just financing, he was helping me crunch production rates and values.” Tom brought a service technician to the demo and offered to bring another machine if Garrett had wanted to see it. “These guys invested more time with me – and I hadn’t even spent a dime yet.”
Even after a successful first demo, Garrett was still on the fence about Vermeer. “To be honest, in the beginning, I wasn’t sure Vermeer was my right solution – but it was RDO that sold us. I knew if I could have these guys on my team, I could succeed.”
Back to Log A Load. “We spent almost an entire week on cleanup efforts, 120 equipment/man hours, three pieces of equipment running nearly nonstop,” Garrett says. “We utilized an FT100 mulcher and an excavator with grapple for the timber clean up, and that helped a lot with cleaning up the trails.”
The RDO team brought in an FT300, which handled the bulk of the inner areas and bigger materials. Tom, Account Manager Richard Lilla and Sales Manager Mark Rieckhoff, utilized their Community Time and additional donated time to help do the physical aspects of the cleanup.
“The cleanup was a bit of challenge due to a storm and strong winds blowing down trees prior to the logger cutting the sale and all the debris that was left behind. Garrett and I bounced ideas back and forth to come up with the best plan to take care of cleaning up trails and making some open areas on property for future food plots,” shared Tom.
He added, “It has been a pleasure working beside a customer that not only cares about their business but cares about Log A Load for Kids, the timber industry, public opinion of the logging industry, and all that make a living in the industry.”
Waste Wood Recyclers has plans to grow and to continue to focus on intentionally getting involved in volunteering, donations, and more efforts like Log A Load. And as for their partnership with RDO?
“We are hooked on RDO,” Garrett laughs. “RDO isn’t just about the dollars. It’s about a reputation and long-term relationships.”
So, when a relationship becomes a true partnership, and when giving back is a priority for all parties involved, the stars really do align.