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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Estemerwalt named Innovator of the Year

  • Wayne Economic Development Corporation (WEDCO) is pleased to announce that Estemerwalt Log Homes of Honesdale, PA, has been selected their 2013 Innovator of the Year.
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  • HONESDALE—Wayne Economic Development Corporation (WEDCO) is pleased to announce that Estemerwalt Log Homes of Honesdale, PA, has been selected their 2013 Innovator of the Year. The award, given annually by WEDCO to a business that promotes job creation and enriches Wayne County’s character and uniqueness, was presented to Estemerwalt at a special luncheon on Friday, Nov. 22. A fifth-generation family-owned business, Estemerwalt operates a full service sawmill along Adams Road east of Honesdale. The company specializes in custom round log homes manufactured from Eastern White Pine. Focus on design, craftsmanship, and innovative use of equipment and process has lead to growing domestic and international sales. "We are delighted with Estemerwalt's selection of Innovator of the Year," states WEDCO president Mary Ellen Bentler. "Think of today's economy with its fluid workforce and changing technology and then think of what it takes to successfully operate a manufacturing facility in for 130 years." "The sense of tradition blended with innovation just stands out." Guest speaker was Jeffrey Mando, Chief Information Officer for Lackawanna County Mando is an awarding-winning designer of information technology systems. In 2013, Lackawanna County's IT division received national recognition for the third straight year, this time in the area of information and communication technology. The recognition is from the Center for Digital Government, E-Republic and The National Association of Counties 2103 Digital Counties Survey Award. Mando discussed Lackawanna's wireless initiative, its economic impact, and potential partnership with Wayne County. Estemerwalt Log Homes The history of Estemerwalt Log Homes began in 1883 with the founding of Propst Lumber Company by Peter Propst. Logs and timbers were pulled by horses to a portable steam-powered sawmill; the bulk of the sawn logs were used for structural support in the anthracite coal mines. While the coal mining industry eventually declined in northeast Pennsylvania, Propst Lumber Company continued to prosper; with Peter still at the helm, they opened a sawmill and retail store in Archbald. During this time, Propst purchased property in eastern Wayne County, Berlin Township. The property included a beautiful lake, which he named for his children Ester, Emory, and Walter—Lake Estemerwalt. Emory eventually took over operations and it was his son Robert that moved the business from Archbald to Berlin Township, responding to the local need for hardwood lumber. In 1980, Robert's son Kurt began his tenure with Propst Lumber Company. As with preceding generations, he faced the production and business challenges of his time. It became apparent that changing consumer needs and the diminishing supply of raw material (hardwoods) dictated a new business model; thus the company began its shift into finished white pine products and log homes. It was at this point that the company name was changed to include Estemerwalt. Today, Kurt serves as president of Estemerwalt Log Homes and his daughter Elizabeth Reece is Director of Marketing. The company employs 20 within the sawmill and log home production facilities. Estemerwalt favors a "west coast" architectural style which preserves the round shape of the log, showcasing its natural beauty. Their log homes are not pre-fabricated or template form, but customized to incorporate the home buyer's design concepts and dreams. Their signature style includes full round log ceiling beams that require special equipment to produce. The homes are built from Eastern White Pine, usually harvested within a 50-mile area of the production facility. Estemerwalt has embedded sustainable practices into their daily activities, recognizing that trees are both fundamental to their livelihood and an important natural resource. All parts of the tree are used upon harvesting. The bark is ground into mulch and sold, the scrap lumber is used to heat the manufacturing facility or sold for paper production, and the sawdust is used to fire dry kilns. Using sawdust as bio-fuel for the kilns saves 240 gallons of fuel oil per day. Heritage and tradition combined with innovation and sustainable practices are hallmarks of Estemerwalt Log Homes and has led to them being named the WEDCO 2013 Innovator of the Year. WEDCO established the annual award to recognize businesses that enrich Wayne County’s reputation for quality and creativity. The selection committee for 2013 was WEDCO Board members Tina Diehl, chair, Brian Chapman, Joseph Harcum, and Kuni Holbert. For more information about WEDCO, visit www.wedcorp.org.

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