Brian paves his road for forestry success
BRIAN DEAM WAS A POPULAR WINNER OF THE EASTLAND Wood Council Skilled Professional of the Year at the 2017 awards.
The 61-year-old, who works for Gisborne’s Big Bark Logging, has been involved in creating forest roads and infrastructure for around 40 years and never expected his efforts to be recognised by an award.
Brian, who also won the Eastland Port Roading Excellence Award, says it is “very special” to be recognised in this way.
He’s well known in the region, having started out in Hikurangi Forest Farms developing Kopua Station. Brian also worked for Doug Hood, becoming a trainer assessor for the company’s quarrying and mining operations, before returning to roading, first in Taumaranui and then back to Gisborne.
Last year, his career turned full circle when he was back roadlining in Hikurangi forests and will be there again shortly to continue the work.
His boss, BBL’s Tony Shanahan, describes Brian as a “very valuable part of our operation and a key asset to us”.
Brian enjoys his work so much he says there are no plans to retire any time soon.
His award was the highlight of the presentation evening, held in front of nearly 500 people packed Showgrounds Event Centre.
It is the eighth year of the awards and chief judge, Julian Kohn, says that while the region faces challenges around infrastructure, the industry was in very good health from a commercial point of view.
“We are moving into a very strong growth phase from a harvesting perspective,” he says. “A lot of the plantings from the early to late 1990s are now coming up to a harvestable age and when you look at that in conjunction with strong development in the Chinese market, and to a lesser extent, the Indian and domestic onshore markets, it augers well for the future.
“We face issues around infrastructure and specifically skilled labour for local roading. There is a serious constraint on the size of the port and capacity, which means the costs are particularly high. However, the industry is working hard alongside the port, as it has done for some years, to improve the efficiency there.”
Mr Kohn also highlighted the challenge of finding good skilled labour, adding: “The perception of forestry as an employment opportunity for a lot of young New Zealanders is not a positive one, so it is a harder task to attract people into a labour force competing against other industries that also faced labour shortages.”
But he says the opportunities for those in the forestry are huge, with jobs spanning administration to harvesting, planning, plotting, engineering, management, planting and more.
“We have been at a critical point for labour for three or four years already, but somehow the logs are still going out over the wharf and we find the people,” says Mr Kohn. “Seven or eight years ago when we were doing 700,000 tonnes a year we were having the same conversations.”
Now, the district produces around 2.8 million tonnes annually, and over the next five years – subject to market and infrastructure capacity – he expects that to be “north of 3.7 million tonnes”.
Social Development Minister and local MP, Anne Tolley, present Brian Deam, of Big Bark Logging, with the Eastland Wood Council Skilled Forestry Professional of the Year award.
The award winners are:
• NZ Apprentice of the Year: Angus Fraser – Blackstump Logging, • Trainee of the Year: Kevin Leopard – Down n Out Logging • Training Company/Contractor of the Year: Ian & Marcella Diack –
• Forestry Excellence: Jesse Kapene – TKT Limited,
• Roading Excellence: Brian Deam – Big Bark Logging,
• Harvesting Excellence: Matthew MacIntosh – Big Bark Logging, • Distribution Excellence: Richard Bronlund – STS Transport, • Wood Processing Excellence: No award,
• Breaker Out Excellence: Tom Wehi – Blackstump Logging,
• Faller Excellence: Steve Maynard – Blackstump Logging, • Extraction & Skidwork: Phillip Cossgrove – Raywood Contracting.
Excellence – Industry Development Awards
• Contractor of the Year: Blackstump Logging,
• Outstanding H&S Management: Eddie Te Kahika – Kimberly
• Outstanding Environmental Management: Patrick Bethel &
Wayne Trafford – Hikurangi Forest Farms
• Outstanding Regional Service: Turanga Ararau.
• Eastland Wood Council Skilled Forestry Professional of the Year: Brian Deam – Big Bark Loading.