Timo's 2013 B.C. Overview: Encouraged by the Grassroots, Take-Charge Leadership of Brinkman Field Staff

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Timo's 2013 B.C. Overview: Encouraged by the Grassroots, Take-Charge Leadership of Brinkman Field Staff


By Timo Scheiber, BC Operations Manager

For me each ‘season’ is split into three overlapping phases: securing projects, plan & prepare, and operational. With that in mind each yearly cycle starts with our fall viewing / negotiating / bidding, rolls into the winter of planning and preparing for the upcoming work, and kicks off with the first trees in the ground at the end of February. However, the real emotional start is the mid-February western gathering-of-the-clans / project manager meeting, usually held somewhere around Vancouver.

Last spring we all gathered at the North Vancouver School District’s live-in facility 15 minutes out of Squamish. It was a fun and information-filled four days (and nights!) of sharing our collective knowledge and experience. As usual when treeplanters gather, there wasn’t much sleep to be had. In addition to the usual presentations and training sessions, some highlights included a visit from Joyce Murray (then working on her campaign to become leader of the federal Liberal Party) and a special field-personnel-only working session on imbedding a healthy culture at Brinkman & Associates. Field personnel only? Yes, ‘we’ the regional managers and operational staff got kicked out so the field managers could have a frank and open discussion about this important topic. One of the most impressive displays of grass roots, take-charge leadership I’ve ever seen and (I think) a real turning point in our history in terms of people taking control of issues that affect them in our camps.

So what are some of the highlights from the 2013 field season?

Starting and ending with central Vancouver Island, 2013 was yet another stellar season for Barry Needham and crew. Barry continues to soldier on at 65, the brink of retirement. For some years now he has been the senior guy: among all the logging and operational staff working in the region – Barry has been there the longest! We always joke that, as in hockey, Barry’s return each year will be a game day decision, but jokes aside I know his crew and clients are very happy at his continued presence. His fall project was particularly large last year – some tired folks for sure as October came and trees were still filling the reefer.

Barry shared his Kootney camp with Jeremy Weddell in May & June. Jeremy stepped up to the plate this year to head a small expansion team in the Kootenay’s taking on our increasing volume. It was the old dog and the new dog sharing the same kennel, but everyone got along well and overall a success to be proud of. As usual Mim and her new assistant poured their creativity into an excellent spread of food for both crews, and some great volleyball games were had.

Jonas Plaumann, with Leaf McClary and their intrepid crew of east shore shovel specialists took the show on the road to pick up smaller satelite shows around the Kootneys.

Which brings us to Rainer & Cathy Korn, who battled wind, lightning, and rising water around Fernie over the spring season. I hope they can look back with a well-deserved sense of pride in once again pulling it off, but I’m also sure there are a few new grey hairs as well!

I did have the good fortune of being in camp for a wine tasting & costume party. The ‘come as something starting with R’ theme seemed a bit vague, until Jake Zaiss walked in dressed as Rainer, a performance I will not soon forget. Claud Contant showed up half way through the project to help with our Safe Companies audit (thanks again everyone!), happily taking over a vacant tent and full custody of the ETV. Marc Robillard and his small crew of shrubbies also worked with Rainer & company for a few weeks prior to firing up the brushsaws to lay waste to some undesirable species. Brushing carried on into July, another successful season although unfortunately blemished (for the second year!) by the theft of our new fire pump. What do we have to do, hire a full time guard? What are people doing with these things anyway? Actually, I don’t want to know…

Here’s the view out of my office window in Duncan.

Timo Scheiber Image #3.JPG