Member Spotlight: Biewer Lumber

Not many know this, but the Biewer family was not always in the lumber business. The family, originally from Germany, made a living as a brewmeister. Prohibition eventually shut down the Biewer beer business, leaving the family looking for other opportunities. Located in close proximity to the St. Clair River, the family opened a fishing boat livery as well as a bait and tackle shop. It wasn’t until one of their customers made his seasonal payment to Biewer in the form of logs that they entered the sawmill business. With the use of mobile equipment, the Biewers had found their niche. The rest is history.

The business thrived and has continued to grow over the years. Today, the family of companies includes five fully automated high-tech sawmills with a total capacity of 500+ million board feet of timber (MMBF), three treating plants and a full-service logistics company.

Biewer’s four sawmills located in the Lake States Region are considered the largest-volume, random-length pine mills in the Midwest with a combined capacity of 300+ MMBF. A new state-of-the-art sawmill was recently constructed in Newton, MS, to allow Biewer to expand mill production in the South. This area has abundant timber supply and enjoys strong support from both the local and state government.

Biewer’s treatment facilities include three state-of-the-art plants that process and treat both residential and commercial products, with the annual capacity of 350 MMBF.

Biewer Logistics, LLC, is a Department of Transportation registered contract motor carrier with a modern fleet of more than 25 company-owned trucks and more than 40 trailers that has developed a reputation for quality customer service and unparalleled reliability. Featuring centralized dispatch and five strategically placed Midwest terminals, Biewer Logistics coordinates the movement of both its company fleet and its many contract haulers.

A large part of Biewer’s success has been based on a simple concept: “Deliver the best products and services to our customers.” This is the same commitment to excellence that transfers to the employees of Biewer and neighboring communities.

Beginning in 2012, Biewer established a “Culture Committee” with representatives from each of their facilities. The goal is to help integrate new employees into the organization and to keep current employees energized and excited about the company values.

Activities managed by Biewer’s Culture Committees include:

• Mutt March – Humane Society, St. Clair County Community Foundation (100+ Woman Event, Tennis Courts at SCHS)
• Little Free Library – donated to the community in honor of the Biewer family to promote literacy, encourage generosity and foster a stronger sense of community.
• After work Cornhole Tournaments – employee engagement.
• Monthly Breakfast – replenish energy.
• Flex & Stretch Program – twice a day meet as group and stretch, physical exercise prevents workplace strain and increases productivity.
• Conduct Employee Surveys – identify wants and needs of employees. In the last round of the employee survey, it was found that employees feel that internal communication could be improved. Biewer installed television systems in each location to notify employees of any recent news. Biewer also began sending out newsletters to staff from each location so that employees could learn about what is happening at all Biewer sites.

As a family-owned business, it is no surprise that Biewer has put significant effort into creating a company environment for their employees that emphasizes trust and values. Taking this family approach has allowed Biewer employees and their families to come together as a team and work together towards a greater purpose. “Delivering the Best” is the guiding principle of everything Biewer does.
Steve Kariainen | FRA Lakes State Coordinator

Steve serves as the region coordinator for the Lake States Region