Young Logger Getting His Business Plan Together

Everett Thurston owns and operates Thurston Forestry, a timber harvesting business based in North Clarendon, Vermont. Having worked for other operations for a number of years, he broke out on his own in 2016 and hopes to develop his business on his current, old equipment, then upgrade to newer machines. Since enrolling in the Viability Program in 2017, he has worked extensively with University of Vermont Extension business adviser Chris Lindgren on improving his record-keeping systems, understanding employment issues, and strategizing around new machine investments.

Through his enrollment in the program, he has also worked with Steve Bick, a forester and business consultant who specializes in applying lean manufacturing concepts to forestry operations. Thurston worked with Bick to drill down and really understand his business costs on a per job basis.

"Bick came and asked me a whole bunch of questions, like 'how many days did you work last year?', and I really didn't know," says Thurston. For him, learning the skills to analyze his operation have been immensely helpful: "I thought I was doing pretty good keeping track of my numbers before, but now, I definitely feel more empowered."

Working as a team, Lindgren and Bick are helping Everett write a comprehensive business plan that he can use as a guide to help him make decisions and set his business off on a good footing in a sector that has had its share of difficult headwinds lately. His business plan will also help him communicate with banks once the time comes to seek out additional capital.