Finding Good Startup People
Never trust your mill to a rookie. Yeah, we were all rookies once, but why should your mill be the training camp.
A good salesman does not necessarily mean you will get good startup people. Sometimes I think the quality of the salesman is inversely proportional to the quality of the startup people. NBE goes with excellent startup people and no sales people. So far this has kept us from getting too rich.
Pick your startup team, like you would pick equipment. When you visit mills to checkout equipment, find out who does good startups. Call several prior customers to get a good feel. We all know that good equipment will keep making you money for many years, but if your startup takes too long, you may not be around to reap the rewards.
Who starts up NBE projects?
Rod Nelson (me) has developed scanner/optimizer programs for a variety of companies since 1983. He also goes to startups. When you have a question, he does not have to call the office guru. He does have a tendency to blame screw-ups on his brothers, but if you show him a bug and he will exterminate it.
Jeff Ralph has started up log processors, gang edgers, board edgers, trimmers, sorters, stackers, etc. He has done startups in over 50 mills and 4 countries. He is the “world’s best” PLC programmer / startup person.
Robin Matthews worked with Jeff and I back at Lumber Systems (LSI). He does controls design and PLC programming in sawmills and outside the industry.
Both Jeff and Robin frown on September startups that interfere with bow hunting.
Wayne Ransier also worked with us at LSI, programming sorter memories and optimizers. He has helped us on a variety of startups. Wayne is most familiar with the Trimmer, Edger and Gang products though he has worked on some log systems also.
Leif Hauge worked for NAC and LSI in the 80's and now helps develop optimization programs. Leif is most familiar with the Curved Gang and Log, and Bucking products.
Robert Cecil uses NBE optimizers on his projects. He also worked with a variety of companies, before going independent. Robert is the eternal optimist. For him there is never a "bad startup", some are just more challenging. Robert adds more log optimization depth to our group of associates. He is the first person that was brave enough to put scan heads on the carriage to measure the backside of logs.
Joey Nelson had written some the log and cant optimizer code and he developed the camera boards used in our earlier scan heads. After getting his engineering degree, he started JoeScan in 2002. JoeScan makes the JS-20 series of scan heads for the sawmill and other industries.
Jeff Nelson has been helping on startups since 1998. He has done scan head repair and assembly at JoeScan for a couple years and is now helping us. Jeff intends to make improvements at NBE. I wonder if replacing me is one of those improvements?