Northwest Hardwoods, backed by PE firm Littlejohn, has retained Hanold Associates for their Chief Human Resources Officer search based in Tacoma, Washington. Katrina Prospero, Sandra Peña and Jason Hanold are leading the search.
Founded in 1967 with a single mill and a pioneering spirit, Northwest Hardwoods is the number-one manufacturer and global distributor of hardwood-related raw materials. The company is now backed by Littlejohn & Co., a private investment firm based in Greenwich, Connecticut, known for acquisitions of mid-market companies in the industrial and manufacturing industries.
Northwest has grown significantly over the years and currently employs more than 1,600 people in more than 40 manufacturing, sales and distribution locations in the United States. With approximately $700 million in annual revenues, the company maintains a substantial lead over its next-largest competitors. Significant strategic growth opportunities remain through geographic expansion, operational initiatives, product line innovation, capital investments, and focused acquisitions.
Northwest also leads the industry in promoting sustainable forestry management and holds several certifications which reinforce its commitment to vibrant forests for generations to come. The company has a team of over 40 professional foresters throughout the various growing regions who are knowledgeable and experienced in forest management best practices as well as sustainable forest management. This team is responsible for operating forest harvests in a way that promotes a continuous supply of high quality, desirable hardwood trees for the company’s sawmill, while maintaining and enhancing all the other benefits that healthy forests provide, such as clean water, clean air and recreation, both for today and for future generations.
Northwest Hardwoods aims to be the market’s first choice based on its emphasis on sustainable forestry, customer communication, respect, and honesty. As the premier provider in the industry, Northwest offers the highest quality and most innovative products, best service, and most efficient logistics. Their team believes that their products are the result of their efforts, and their job is to make the customer’s job easier.
Reporting directly to the CEO, Nathan Jeppson, the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) will be a key member of the leadership team of Northwest Hardwoods. In conjunction with other leaders, this person will be responsible for developing and maintaining all HR processes throughout the company. They will also directly oversee a team of nine HR professionals located across the country.
He/she will have experience working with large-scale operations within the industrial and manufacturing industry and a strong ability to apply that background knowledge to the Northwest Hardwoods business. This individual should also have experience with distributed, multi-site, blue-collar workforces, including in employee relations. They should be a collaborative, lead-from-the-front type who can quickly develop a connection with employees.
Northwest Hardwoods has access to global markets that few players in the industry do; as such, it is uniquely positioned to outpace the industry. As Northwest Hardwoods moves forward with a shift in the operating model to one that is demand-driven coupled with an emphasis on driving a stronger commercial orientation across the company, the CHRO will be a key asset in bringing change management leadership, relating human resources strategies to the business, partnering with senior leadership in driving the organizational evolution, and developing a unified culture throughout the organization.