About Peter Hart
On Sunday, August 12th, we took a ride out to Barkhamsted to meet with Peter Hart. We were met by Peter and his wife Lynda, and they very graciously shared Peter's story of his life in the Forest products industry. The following is our interview...
Tell us about yourself...strong>
My name is Peter Hart and I live in Barkhamsted with my wife Lynda. I am 50 yrs old. The retail lumber business was started in 1950 by my Dad. In January 2001 we lost the largest storage barn in a fire. A new barn was built in July 2001 to consolidate everything under one roof.. I've been in business trucking logs for 25 years. I have been in the retail lumber business for 10 years, continuing the business after my father died
I primarily haul for landclearers and tree companies. I custom saw and stock multiple species and dimensions. (Peter's warehouse/storage facility has an extensive supply of sawn lumber species including Cherry, Red, White, & Black Oak, Ash, Pine, Cedar, Black Walnut, Hard & Soft Maple, Tulip, Aspen, Beech, Locus, Basswood, and other native species in various sizes and dimensions. Pine is also available in Tongue & Groove, V-Joint, shiplap and square edge.)
What captured your interest in this business?
I grew up in this business. My Dad was very well known in the industry and I learned along side him. There is a family photo of me when I was 3 or 4 using a tally stick on a piece of wood.
How have things changed in this business since you first started?
In the beginning I hauled for loggers almost exclusively. I was so busy I could hardly keep up with the demand. As the markets started changing, there were fewer loggers, and now 90% of my work is for tree companies and land clearers. I also haul firewood. In the last five years, the number of loggers needing trucking has gone down a lot.
What hobbies do you have? How do you like to spend family time or "off work" time?
My wife says that in my family work is recreation. I make Maple Syrup in the spring. I like spending time in the sawmill whenever I can. Occasional card games with a few friends. Another thing I am doing is attempting to become a Red Sox fan-for marital harmony!
If you had the opportunity to do another profession, what would it be, and why?
It would be something that is related to the wood industry. I also might try metal fabrication.
What could our government do to make it easier to make a living in the forest products profession?
Making it easier and affordable to get Health Insurance as well as Truck and Equipment Insurance. They need to adjust their outlook about small businesses. Everything is geared toward the bigger businesses.
Would this industry be one you would recommend to a younger person just starting out? Why or why not?
Definitely not! The industry has changed. The costs have increased dramatically.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
A local small business owner once told me, "Every employee and every piece of equipment you own is a headache. Keep it simple!"
What would be the biggest change you see happening in the next 5 years? What would you LIKE to see happen over the next 5 years.
The markets are going to get worse rather than better. In the next five years, I would like to see the market open up for the small guy. I also would like to see some Insurance relief for the small businesses.
Why are you involved with TIMPRO? Do you see TIMPRO being able to make an impact?
I am involved with TIMPRO because I grew up with WOODPAC from day one. I went to all of the tours and the shows. Yes, I do see TIMPRO being able to make an impact.
Do you do any volunteer work in your community or for any charities? If TIMPRO were able to give "something" to the community, what would it be?
I have been the volunteer sexton for the local cemetery for about 10 years. It's a job I inherited from my Dad when he passed away. I also donate lumber to local charities.
We were given a tour of the storage barn and some of the wood piles on the property, which you can see in some of the pictures here. We very much appreciate Peter and Lynda speaking with us, and letting everyone get to know more about Peter Hart. TIMPRO will benefit a great deal from having him as part of this organization.