We work and live in dozens of communities that depend on the forest for their economic and social viability. In this blog series, Resolute’s Forest Families, we are profiling families with a long history in the forest products industry – employees, suppliers, contractors and neighbors of Resolute – and asking them to share their stories of managing the resources in their care.
In this installment we meet the Creed family, founders of D.J. Creed Inc., a dealer in forest products such as pulpwood, sawtimber and timberwood and fourth generation wood suppliers to Resolute’s Catawba (South Carolina) mill.
Dewey James (DJ) Creed II was 21 years old and studying at the University of South Carolina when he got a call that changed his life. His father had just passed away and DJ was needed back home to run the family business. That was in 2012 and DJ has been running D.J. Creed Inc. ever since.
“It must have been hard for Resolute to do business with a 21-year old – who knew nothing about running a timber business – but we never skipped a beat. They knew my family situation and they said, ‘We’re not going anywhere, we’re here to support you for the long term.’ So from the get-go, they had gained my trust, even though I imagine it was hard for them to trust a 21-year old.”
The Creed family’s relationship with Resolute began over 30 years ago, when the company started supplying wood to the Catawba pulp and paper mill. DJ’s great grandfather, Dewey James Creed I, established the land and timber business in 1943 in Camden, South Carolina. The company now has 65 contractors and five office administrative staff.
In the four years DJ has been running the business, he has been impressed with how committed the timber industry is to protecting the forest and to sustainable forest management (SFM) practices. He says SFM is helping to change attitudes about the business; and, with more trees being planted than ever before, the emphasis on immediate replanting and the growing prominence of creek buffer zones, people can see the evidence for themselves.
“Sustainability is the smartest thing we can do for the future – it ensures we have work down the line and it ensures we have paper. I know I plan on leaving this land and this company better than when I started.”
While providing jobs and helping 70 people earn a living can be stressful, DJ is gratified when the contract work comes together. “Some of the workers have been with us for 40 years, I consider them part of my family. They are also helping me carry on our family’s proud legacy in this business and in Kershaw County.”
What’s next for DJ and D.J. Creed Inc? With the recent improvements in the housing market, and the company’s expansion from 25 to 65 contract workers, the goal is to continue to acquire more timberland and more business, while creating good quality jobs. “I always want to grow bigger than the year before. If I’m standing still, I can’t stand it. I like moving forward.”
Featured image from D.J. Creed’s Facebook page.