Aubra Anthony's Vision Serves Company

by John Henry  on Monday, Dec. 21, 2009 12:00 am  

Aubra Anthony, president and CEO of Anthony Forest Products Co., says, "We began making adjustments earlier than most did."

Only two other companies, Evergreen Packaging Group and Domtar Corp., now have more than 1,000 employees in Arkansas. Evergreen has the old International Paper Co. paper mill and chip mill at Pine Bluff, and Domtar has a fine-paper plant at Ashdown.

Weyerhaeuser, the second-largest timberland owner in the state behind Plum Creek Timber Co., comes in fourth with 780 employees at its five locations. The industry giant last week said it would convert to a real estate investment trust (same as Plum Creek) next year to boost profitability and reduce taxes in its timberlands business.

Aubra Anthony's Influence on Wood Industry Is Great

It's safe to say that few - whether in Arkansas or in the United States, representing a small company or a large corporation - have had a greater impact on the forest products industry than has Aubra Anthony, president and CEO of Anthony Forest Products Co. at El Dorado.

With a law degree from the University of Virginia, vast political connections built up over the years, as well as connections within the industry through his participation in various industry organizations and associations, he has gained a wealth of knowledge that has served him, his company and the industry well.

Anthony served as chairman of the American Forest & Paper Association, a national trade group, from 2004-06, an unusual position for someone from a relatively small company. He remains a director of the group.

Anthony Forest Products reported revenue of $131.4 million for 2008 and had 315 employees, including its operations in Texas, Georgia and Canada. Anthony Forest Products and Domtar Inc. of Montreal jointly own and operate an I-joist manufacturing plant in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Anthony has worked with Arkansas' legislative and congressional leaders to help develop policies to bolster the industry. Earlier this year, he was appointed to a nine-year term on the board of the Arkansas Forestry Commission.

Not only has Anthony been a leader in fighting to make wood building products eligible under new green building standards through the Green Building Initiative's Green Globes program, but he also is a representative of forestry on the Arkansas Governor's Commission on Global Warming.

Anthony has long been active in environmental issues and seeks to find opportunities for the industry in the climate change debate, but he is critical of what he calls the "environmental Taliban." Before it was sold, all of the company's timberland was certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

He's proud of the North American Wholesale Lumber Association's Mulrooney Award, given earlier this year for his "significant contribution to the forest products industry."

The company's safety record is one of the best in the nation. Its engineered wood business won the APA-the Engineered Wood Association award for safety this year, and the company's safety records at its six plants have all qualified for OSHA's Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program, which recognizes employers who operate an exemplary safety and health management system and exempts those work sites from programmed inspections by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

"Aubra has been a forward-thinking voice for the industry in Arkansas," said Max Braswell, executive vice president of the Arkansas Forestry Association. "He was instrumental in bringing the wood in school construction issue to the forefront." That initiative has now been adopted by other states. Anthony said the new 318,000-SF El Dorado High School under construction will save more than $6 million by using wood framing rather than steel.



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