By Barbara LaBoe, July 17, 2013, Longview Daily News
A northwest kiln-making company has relocated to the Port of Kalama as part of a push to expand its reach outside the region.
Christiansen Enterprises LLC is moving from Amboy and expects to be operating at the port location later this summer, said owner Joe Christiansen. Seven employees are transferring to the new location, and the company may add five positions later if business expands, he said.
The company is one of the region’s largest suppliers of dry kilns, parts and services for the forest products industry, including several area mills.
“If it’s part of a kiln, we build it,” Christiansen said, noting the company also provides installation and repair services.
The company is run by Christiansen, who started the business, and his father, Frank Christiansen. Joe Christiansen grew up in the kiln business working alongside his dad, who has been in the dry kiln field for more than 40 years.
Customers include Weyerhaeuser Co., Hampton Forest Products, Georgia Pacific Corp. and most Pacific Northwest lumber mills. Kilns are a key part of lumber mills, speeding up the natural evaporation of the wood’s moisture.
Christiansen had to scale back during the recession, but he’s added back employees with an uptick in timber demand and now has seven total, including office staff.
“The industry is still pretty volatile, but it’s starting to recover,” he said.
The 10,500-square-foot Kalama location will allow the company to expand.
He hopes to make forays into Idaho and southern Oregon, Christiansen said. The company did $1 million in business last year and is equally busy now, he said.
Port officials said they were thrilled to add another business to their growing port.
“Their reputation as a high-quality service provider in an industry founded here in the Pacific Northwest is a boon for Kalama,” said Mark Wilson, the port’s executive director. “The region is beginning to experience an economic rebound, and Kalama is perfectly placed to support businesses ready to grow to the next level.”
Christiansen, an avid fisherman, said Kalama’s river access also played a role in the relocation decision.
“It’s a real draw,” he said.