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Q & A with Dakota Timber Co. Founder Seth Carlson

We asked Dakota Timber Co. founder, Seth Carlson to answer a few questions! Check out his responses below. 

What is your role at Dakota Timber Company? I founded Dakota Timber Company in 2013 and serve as company President where I oversee the manufacturing, operations, and retail distribution of our products. 

Tell us about your background and why you started the company: I grew up in a small town in North Dakota and was raised by “tree-hugger” parents who encouraged me to spend most of my free time outdoors. My dad volunteered as City Forester and I quickly learned how to plant and care for trees alongside my dad and older brother, Craig. It was during this time that I really developed a passion for sustainability and for finding creative ways to support environmental causes. 

I graduated from Central Cass High School in Casselton, N.D. and attended college in Duluth, Minn. at the University of Minnesota Duluth. My degree is in Acting. When I was in college I enjoyed working in the scene shop where I would build sets for plays and performances. After college I started building and selling platform beds. 

I founded Dakota Timber Co. in 2013 after an opportunity to purchase lumber inventory from a reclaimed wood company that was going out of business arose. I quickly noticed a large demand for high-quality, American-made products which led to investing in machinery, equipment, and personnel to start processing old wood into usable and saleable material.  

What started as a post-college side-hustle has now grown into a full-scale, sustainable wood manufacturing plant. We operate several dry kilns, a sawmill, ripsaw line, planing line, resaw, automated sanders, automated table glue-up stations, chop saw stations, boring stations, advanced finishing department, material handling equipment and so much more. All of this equipment runs daily and produces an enormous volume of finished products ready for homes and businesses across the country.

How is Dakota Timber Co. making an impact?

When I founded the company, my main objective was to disrupt the commodity wood manufacturing industry by infusing recycled/sustainable woods into the market at a high enough volume to see an actual impact.

At the time, it felt like I was very alone in the sustainable wood world, but thanks to nationwide support, we have seen this alt/sustainable branch of wood manufacturers blow up and expand all over the country.

This movement involves many different types of "sustainable" woods. Some manufacturers are dedicated to barn wood, others urban salvaged woods, while others are utilizing plantation grown sources--and there are so many more I cannot even fit in this response. But the industry is growing, and I love it!  

Today, I see our company mission shifting from strictly producing sustainable wood products to more of a focus on utilizing local supply chains, manufacturing in-house, and committing to 100% American Made wood products. 

Really the transformation of our day to day lives starts with the "American Made" or "Local" movement. As consumers continue to experience frustrations when shopping at their typical big box stores and major retailers--much of it is due to an incredibly broken system that began almost 40 years ago in which most major manufacturing of consumer goods was sent overseas.

We now see firsthand what happens when this system breaks: product shortages, supply chain issues, hyperinflation, corrupt distribution chains, delays and so much more.  

Dakota Timber is not the first company to proclaim themselves as 100% American Made. We proudly join hands with the thousands of small businesses nationwide who make it their mission to produce goods from American soil.

What makes Dakota Timber Co. different?

I think the main difference between our company and many others right now is our commitment to focus on a very tight, and immediate regional supply chain that allows for fast supply flow and simple logistics. When we couple this incredibly efficient flow of supplies with our objective to utilize sustainably sourced wood, manufacture in-house, and sell direct-to-consumer; that is when we set ourselves apart. Deleting the middleman while committing to sustainability gives our customers guaranteed access to competitive prices, high quality goods, and a sense of pride knowing they are building a stronger American economy. 

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?love spending time with my wife Ashley and our two kids, Alden and Etta. We enjoy being creative and spending time outdoors exploring nature. 

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