Ray, Mike and Lee White have been actively involved in local, state, and national issues concerning the environment and the education of school children and teachers about the hardwood industry. Company management believes firmly in making forest related decisions based on sound scientific principles and in following sustainable forestry practices.
Indicative of their commitment to overseas markets, in 1992 Harold White Lumber, Inc. was awarded the U.S. Small Busines Exporter of the year award. Today, Harold White Lumber, Inc. and Harold White Millworks, Inc. are ran by three of the sons of Harold White; Ray White, President, Mike White, Vice President and Lee White, President of Harold White Millworks, Inc.
Harold White Lumber, Inc. in Morehead, Kentucky represents an American small business success story. Harold White began Harold White Lumber, Inc. in 1968 with four employees, one truck, and one forklift. He primarily bought lumber from smaller sawmills in the region and prepared it for shipment to the domestic furniture market. At that time, a majority of the lumber was shipped to the Carolina furniture belt. As the demand for his lumber began to exceed what he was able to purchase, Harold found it necessary to install a sawmill to supplement his supply. Several years after installation of the original circular sawmill, a state-of-the-art, high-tech bandmill was installed. This was the first phase of a two-phase, $2 million expansion and it is currently one of the most modern bandmill facilities in the Eastern United States.
It wasn’t long after the installation of the original sawmill that the lumber industry experienced a severe recession. Domestic furniture production came ta virtual stand-still. Consequently, many lumber companies went out of business. As a result of this recession and Harold’s dependence on the Carolina furniture markets, he saw the need for diversification. It was at this time that Harold had the foresight to see the important role that the export markets would play in the lumber industry. In 1979, Harold constructed his first set of dry kilns. This also enabled the company to enter into the export markets with kiln dried lumber. To the best of his knowledge, he was the first person in Eastern Kentucky to being such an endeavor. Since 1978, the company’s Export sales have grown to 50 to 60% of company’s sales. The companies’ employment has also grown from the original four to 85 full time employees and approximately 100 directly related jobs.
To keep up with Harold’s on going efforts to continually improve and diversify his operation, In 1989, Harold White Millworks, Inc. was established to meet the needs of customers looking for value-added products such as dimension, mouldings, paneling, trim, and floorings.