(MONTROSE CO 04-30-15)-Montrose Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced today that a Montrose business has received the prestigious 2015 EDIE Company of the Year Award from the Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC).


The awards are given annually, MEDC Chair Sandy Head said. “This year, I nominated Montrose Forest Products…and they won!” she said. “This is the first time a Montrose company has won– I am beside myself with excitement.”


The award was presented at a luncheon in Steamboat Springs today, Head said. Company owner Jim Neiman flew in from South Dakota with his wife Christy to accept the award, and Montrose Regional Forester Norman Birtcher attended from Montrose.


In the nomination, Head highlighted the many benefits that Montrose Forest Products has brought to the region:


“From 2010 – 2012 the local sawmill in Montrose was in receivership.  In August of 2012 after months of due diligence, the Neiman Family purchased the Montrose Mill,” the nomination states, and goes on to note that though the Neimans’ main business operations—four plants that produce ponderosa pine–are located in the Black Hills, expanding to Montrose has broadened their product line to include lodgepole, spruce and fir. And by naming the new company Montrose Forest Products, they showed an immediate commitment to the community as well.


“Jim Neiman said he wanted to promote our community and this would ensure our name would be seen across the country as the finished lumber was shipped,” the nomination continues. “The purchase retained more than 250 jobs, bringing stability to not only the employees of the mill, but to the loggers and truckers who bring the timber to the mill.  In addition the many businesses who supplied goods and services to the mill had the ability to gain back lost business and revenues.


“This investment in Montrose came at a time when our economy needed a boost.”


Working conditions at the mill have been improved under the new ownership, employees were given raises, and new technology has increased the operation’s efficiency, the nomination states, adding, “In 2014 the Neiman family spent an additional $9 M dollars on new buildings, heat and air for the plant and additional new equipment that allows them to process dead timber more efficiently. This will help all of Colorado in our fight against the bark beetle.


“The direct impact of Montrose Forest Products through their total operations equates to $15M per year.  The multiplier effect on those direct dollars equates to $17M bringing the total annual economic impact to $32M….Sawmills are the foremost asset we have as we seek to maintain forest health which is important to tourism, wildlife, air and water quality, and public health and safety. This affects Montrose, the State of Colorado and the US Forest.”


The company has been a good corporate citizen when it comes to supporting local non-profits with lumber and donations as well, the nomination concludes.