Our Board of Directors represent the interests of the Ward Lumber Worker Cooperative and are responsible for the supervision of Ward Lumber Company’s operations. They are elected by the Member Owners for three-year terms during our annual all member meeting. Ward Lumber’s board of directors is currently made up of 7 members. Below you’ll find a short bio that focuses on why each Board Member wanted to serve on the board and what being a member of a worker-owned cooperative means to them. Our directors all put in the extra time and effort to make sure that our company has the endurance to last another 130 years.
Derrick has been with Ward Lumber for over 21 years now but has worked in the lumber and hardware retail industry since 1990. He’s an avid Bruins fan and has been in a bowling league for more than 12 years now. Don’t try to make plans with him on a Sunday night because he’s going to be at the lanes.
When the idea of an Employee-Owned Cooperative was first raised Derrick was reminded of a previous place he worked. At this place the idea of employee ownership was brought to the then owner but he was not interested in pursuing a sale to the employees. Ultimately when he retired the company was liquidated and everyone lost their jobs. That’s why Derrick was immediately invested in joining the steering committee and seeing everyone keep their jobs and stay employed.
Derrick wanted to join the board because of his knowledge of co-ops. Between being in the steering committee for the three years prior to the formation of the Ward Lumber Worker Cooperative and the research had done about co-ops previously Derrick knew he could offer the structure and forward momentum the board needed at its formation. That’s why Derrick ran for the board and was elected as its first Board President.
Scott has been with Ward Lumber for 10 years this March of 2023. Scott’s a very busy man in the communities of Willsboro & Westport. Currently he’s a Willsboro Town Councilman as of 2022 after stepping back from his post as the Essex County Fair President – a position he held for six years. Scott has been a director of the Essex County Fair Board since 1993 and has held multiple positions on the board during that time. He also presided as President of the New York State Association of Agricultural Fairs (NYSAAF) in 2016. He still helps with managing the scholarship fund for NYSAAF – one of the many ways he’s an established pillar of the community. In addition to all that he owns a farm which includes 6 draft horses that he brings to events (including the Fair of course) for wagon pulls - one of his favorites
Scott is very passionate about getting everyone involved in the ownership process. It’s part of why he joined the steering committee that developed the Ward Lumber Worker Cooperative. He wanted all employees to have the same job and financial security as well as opportunity to join. As well as create a Cooperative that is inviting and attainable for all employees.
Scott prides himself on being someone who will speak up for others. Not everyone with an opinion is ready to join a board or speak up publicly but Scott is ready to hear what other employee owners have to say and speak up for opinions and perspectives as a board member. Scott shared that he feels accomplished if he can share on behalf of those who are co-owners with him. Overall, his experience in the co-op has been positive and he’s proud that we’ve been able to take control of our company and our future. He continues to support that future as the Vice-President of the Board.
Kevin has been with Ward Lumber for over 26 years. He started at the counter, managed the counter, and now keeps our computers humming as IT manager. Kevin’s current winter sport of choice is snowshoeing - which has led him to do a few winter 46ers. A pretty impressive feat during our unpredictable winters but he loves being outdoors.
Kevin was a bit hesitant at first about the employee cooperative. Back when it was a new idea and just forming, he didn’t think it was something he’d necessarily join. However, the more he learned about it and saw the cooperative develop he saw the cooperative as a very viable way to continue the business and thought it was important to contribute to that.
Eventually as the cooperative formed it became clear that it was going to be a big part of the future of Ward Lumber. That’s why Kevin ran for the board, he wanted to help Ward Lumber find where it is going. He’s got a lot of varied history with the company and where it’s been so it made sense to him to bring that perspective to the board. That is also why Kevin accepted the role of Treasurer - to be in direct support of the companies’ financial health.
Tim has been with Ward Lumber for a bit over 4 years. He’s an avid outdoorsman. Some of his skill set he learned from his parents and grandfather but it’s a passion he’s expanded on in recent years. He’s been growing his hunting skills and trying to camp as much as possible.
For Tim, being a member owner is important for creating longevity for our workforce. Job security is so important in an ever-changing world but by having a say in the company’s direction as a member owner Tim feels he’s able to help Ward Lumber maintain its friendly community focused atmosphere. He really appreciates how it allows for more employee buy-in; literally.
Tim ran for the Board to have a say in the direction of the company and to stand as a voice for worker owners. He brings his experience and history as a member of the Upper Jay Fire Department Board. He’s also currently the President of the Mount Fay Fish and Game Club. Tim has that parliamentarian knowledge of the rules that helps to keep everything moving and orderly. As Board Secretary he’s able to use that experience to deliver concise and accurate minutes and records.
Debby has been with Ward Lumber for over 41 years and is an institution in her own right. During that time she has been involved in nearly any innovation that was needed to help the company grow. She built the modern accounting architecture for the company from the ground up. Sid and Janet Ward saw Debby’s strengths, her analytical mind, and asked her to set up Ward Lumber’s first computer system in 1987. She set up the first SKUs, product Departments, and other structures that we still use today. While the technology and programs we use have changed the groundwork Debby laid is still there. And those are just a few of the ways that Debby has been integral to the success of Ward Lumber.
Debby has always been proud to be part of the company and is now even more proud to be an owner. She once told Jay Ward he’d given her the unique opportunity to own a company without owning any of the debt. That being said Debby always felt like she owned the company, she always felt that responsibility, but now is actually a part of it in that way.
Debby has a depth of knowledge that she brings to the Board in regards to the financial health of the company. The board is in charge of larger fiscal decisions and having Debby provide perspective and guidance as a board member is just another way she continues to support Ward Lumber.
Alex has been with Ward Lumber for 8 years and is headed towards 9. He’s an avid bowler and a musical enthusiast. Besides enjoying live concerts, he also plays and writes music for both the guitar and piano. He has also acquired a violin, accordion, and trumpet with plans to play them all. When he’s not working, playing music, or spending time with his friends and family you might find him sneaking in a few hours of video games to relax with.
Becoming an Employee Owner was an opportunity that sounded great so joining seemed like a no-brainer. Starting from the bottom of the company then learning and growing as he moved up Alex has soaked up what makes Ward Lumber tick like a sponge and is proud to be an Owner.
That investment is originally why Alex ran for the board. He didn’t plan on running when he first joined the co-op but he likes the company and wants to be a part of the future, making sure it sticks around. Folks joked with him that he’d be a “lifer” when he started but he’s thinking that might actually be. He started at Wards through a summer work program and now is on the board of directors. As the Chairperson of the Membership Engagement Committee Alex is committed to bringing new employees into the Cooperative and strengthening Ward Lumber in the process.
Dave has been with Ward Lumber for over 23 years. His family is everything to him and he especially loves spending time with his 3 grandchildren. As part of that Dave pursues his passion of cooking by bringing hearty crowd pleasers to family gatherings. Here at Ward Lumber we all know his skill with a Prime Rib, commonly featured at our Holiday Parties.
When deciding to become a Member Owner Dave wanted to know where his future was headed, and make sure there was a future for the company. He sees his generation, who has more commonly been in one job for a long period of time, against the backdrop of a newer workforce. One that often changes jobs and industries multiple times in their lives. He sees that he has a depth of experience and perspective here at Ward Lumber and believes it’s important to bring that into the membership.
That experience is also what he wanted to bring to the Board of Directors. Dave feels strongly about providing that perspective and helping to bring folks together around a common goal - which for the Board is the health of our company.
If you would like to reach out to a board member please send an email to email@example.com.
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