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Independence Lumber, Inc.

Logging Crew

Damon Eller

Vice President

Operation Manager - Logging Crew

Independence, VA

Damon Eller son of owner Randall Eller, started with the company as soon as he graduated from college in 1999, but has always been a part of the operation since Established in 1984. Independence Lumber, Inc. is his second home since it's a family business.

Randy "Smoke" Cox

Logging Crew - Operation Manager

Independence, VA

Randy "Smoke" Cox has been with the company since 1988. Smoke is a big part of the Independence Lumber, Inc. family team.

Operation Managers, oversee a spectrum of different types of projects that manage forests. Managing projects could entail activities such as: supervision of crews, directing the production of heavy equipment, data measurement and evaluation, problem-solving and decision-making, planning safe work, contract administration, or accomplishing various construction assignments. These sought-after jobs offer rewarding careers in a production setting—often outdoors—where every week brings new challenges, achievement and satisfying results. Jobsites change, working conditions vary, the weather passes, new problems are solved, and projects are started & finished.

 Operation Manager Careers begin by gaining on-the-job experience, training, and learning through performance in working different jobs. Skills and experience are often learned by working your way “up the ladder” in related jobs. Managerial performance is improved through continuing education classes, attaining trade certificates or commercial drivers’ license and supervising others.

Independence Lumber, Inc. Logging

The logging crew falls the standing trees, cuts and de-limbs them into desired log lengths, and moves them from the stump to the roadside landing—often on steep hills and over long distances. At the road, the many log types are processed, sorted and loaded on trucks for transport to saw-mill. All crewmembers receive ample job-tailored safety and task training, due to the many hazards from falling trees, moving logs, rough terrain, heavy equipment, and mountain driving.

Tailored to the site conditions, the crew uses a suitable mechanical logging system to cut trees, and move the timbered logs to the roadside. A logging crew may entail two to eight workers and a variety of purpose-built heavy machinery.

The heavy equipment machinery operator on a forest jobsite is often part of a 2 to 8-person team engaged in logging, forestry maintenance, or road building. The “operator” runs a machine (heavy equipment), which is purpose-built to accomplish a specialized forest production task—such as tree falling, log processing, debris piling, or road grading. Each machine demands specific skills in operation and safe performance. The operator spends much of their day inside an enclosed climate-controlled machine cab, at the automated controls that direct the machine’s movements. The operator is typically responsible for their own machine basic service, refueling, diagnostics and minor repairs.
Becoming a proficient heavy equipment operator takes a tremendous amount of skill and experience, often learned by working your way up-the-ladder in related jobs and operating less complicated machinery. Inexperienced new employees must start in entry-level jobs to learn the trade. Then, once more experience is acquired; seasoned workers can learn equipment operation from an experienced operator.


Drives a “long-log truck” to transport logs from remote forest locations to lumber mills. Truck travels highways as well as unpaved, narrow, winding, steep logging roads. Logs are loaded onto this truck by another log loader machine, located at the forested roadside. The driver operates a purpose-built, heavy log truck—which is an 18-wheel semi tractor with removable trailer with log bunks & racks.  


Drives a “lowboy truck” to transport heavy equipment or machinery between logging jobsites, or to haul equipment between remote locations and to the maintenance shop at Independence Lumber, Inc. The lowboy truck, and its long, low-slung flat trailer, travels on both highways and on unpaved, narrow, winding, steep logging roads. Heavy equipment is carefully moved onto the low-slung trailer, driven by its machine operator. The truck driver operates this heavy truck—which is an 18-wheel semi tractor, with its flat trailer

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