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February 6: Timber in Our Community

Springfield is now the fifth largest city in Oregon outside of the Portland Metro area. While the image of Springfield as a small timber town is rapidly fading in the rear-view mirror of history, timber remains an important part of the local economy and local image. The City Club program on February 6 will give two leaders of that industry an opportunity to explain the continuing importance of timber and of the companies that produce it.

Steve Swanson is the Chief Executive Officer of the Swanson Group. His Springfield mill, which was completely rebuilt after being destroyed by fire only a few years ago. John Murphy is the President of Murphy Plywood. The companies are nationally recognized in the plywood and veneer markets and vigorous participants in the activities of the local community.

John Murphy is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Murphy Company, a third-generation family owned and managed wood products manufacturer with six locations located in Oregon and Washington.

John was born and raised in Portland, OR, and graduated from Jesuit High School.  Later he attended Santa Clara University, and the University of Oregon, where he studied business and marketing before beginning his career with the Murphy Company.  During his career, he has worked in all areas of the company including logging, veneer peeling, plywood manufacturing, and engineered wood operations.

Steve Swanson is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Swanson Group — a family owned company started in 1951 as Superior Lumber Co.  Mr. Swanson’s career with Swanson group began in 1977, when he started working as an Accounting Manager for Superior Lumber Co.  In 1982, Mr. Swanson assumed the position of Assistant General Manager of Superior Lumber, and then assumed the role of General Manager in 1989.   In 2001, Mr. Swanson became President and Chief Executive Officer of Swanson Group.

Under Mr. Swanson’s leadership, Superior Lumber/Swanson Group underwent substantial growth, increasing its workforce from 90 to approximately 750 employees, with the operations arm including three manufacturing locations in Oregon.   Swanson Group also started its aviation division in 1995 under Mr. Swanson’s leadership — Swanson Group Aviation.  Today, Swanson Group Aviation includes a fleet of 2 helicopters utilized for any task that requires lifting heavy loads at high altitudes.


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