Livingston is experiencing a resurgence in employment opportunities following Sun Mountain Lumber’s recent acquisition of R-Y Timber. The wood manufacturer, based in Deer Lodge, successfully finalized the purchase in early November and has been diligently working to reopen the plant.
On December 4, the plant achieved a significant milestone by restarting the sawmill equipment, signaling progress in overcoming the setbacks caused by two separate fires that inflicted considerable damage to the mill and planer within a few months, leading to the initial closure.
When the mill initially announced its closure last winter, a commitment was made to retain employees for as long as possible, processing remaining wood. Layoffs were to be implemented based on seniority in phases. Despite the challenges, many employees persevered throughout the year to contribute to the reopening efforts, as highlighted by Dee Brown, the new plant manager.
Brown acknowledged the significant achievement of the employees, noting the dedication and effort invested in restarting operations. The joy and satisfaction were palpable among the workforce as they witnessed the plant come back to life. Abram Ziegler, who retained his position as head grader, emphasized the collaborative effort and quick progress made in the year-long journey to revitalize the plant.
The plant, which typically employs 70-75 people, extended job offers to all previous employees, with approximately 40 individuals currently back to work since the reopening commenced. The company is actively seeking to expand its workforce and is open to hiring individuals with no prior experience.
Highlighting the economic impact of the mill on the Livingston community, Brown emphasized that the reopening ensures a continuous flow of millions of dollars into the local economy. The processed wood from the mill reaches as far as Texas, underlining the significance of the plant’s operations in sustaining economic vitality in the region.R-Y Timber reopening under new name.