Phil White Presented Chamber’s 2014 Business Appreciation Award
Phil White, owner of Medlock Forest Products in Charleston, was presented the Charleston Chamber of Commerce’s Business Appreciation Award during the annual Chamber Banquet that was held last Saturday at the Charleston Middle School cafeteria. He was presented the award in recognition and appreciation of his loyalty and commitment to the business community of Charleston.
Chamber emcee Mike Callan spoke about the history leading up to the current business during the presentation. During World War II Charleston businessman Herman Adams established a wood products manufacturing company. Over the next years the business built a variety of products from army tent pins, to cot frames to ammunition boxes. Some of you here tonight may have worked there as the establishment has been in operation for years, Mike said. The company changed hands in the early 1960s and was renamed M&S Lumber Products and the business began manufacturing wooden pallets. Six years ago Phil White purchased the company, then Medlock Forest Products, and continued wooden pallet manufacturing.
Just over a year ago on April 9th, 2013, a fire broke out in the manufacturing building and with freshly made pallets providing fuel, and a strong breeze assisting, an inferno broke out, Mike told the large crowd attending the banquet. With support from Branch, Big Creek and Lavaca Fire Departments, the Charleston Fire Department controlled the fire, saving the office and other buildings. But, the main manufacturing building, machinery, tools and approximately 4,000 pallets were lost. I’m sure many of the 22 employees wondered what would become of the company they worked for, Mike said. Phil was quoted at the time as saying the next day “our immediate goal is to get back up to full production. We’ve had people who have worked here for years and they are counting on us for a job.”
Immediately Phil had most of the employees working in some way for the company as it attempted to rebuild, Mike said. “Phil and his team immediately began work to get the Charleston plant operational. When they were finished rebuilding Phil had a more efficient manufacturing process than before. They have built and shipped 160,000 pallets since the fire.”
Phil’s company General Pallets has grown over the last 25 years and also includes facilities in Fort Smith and Goodman, MO. One must consider Phil had the option to manufacture those pallets built here at one of the other company operations but instead chose to rebuild here, Mike said. “Tonight the Charleston Chamber of Commerce recognizes Medlock Forest Products for over 70 years of service and Phil White for his dedication to the town of Charleston exhibited by his rebuilding his company here after losing so much in the fire, Mike added. “Thank you Phil.”
Phil attended the banquet with his wife, Kim, Medlock Office Manager, Lavanda Clark, and Mark Beattie of General Pallets.