This post is sponsored by Georgia Pacific. My thoughts and opinions are honest and based on my personal experience. #ad @GeorgiaPacific

I recently went on a trip to East Texas and learned about an important process that showed me, literally, how plywood was made. My wife and I had the chance to tour Georgia-Pacific’s Corrigan plywood plant as one of the first media groups to ever have access inside the plant. At first I was not sure what to expect since this was all new to me, even after having worked in fabrication plants and refineries in the past. Every place is different and I knew I was going to be learning a lot of new things, from processing to quality control, distribution, end product, and how this renewable resource was being managed to avoid overcutting/ deforestation. 

My wife and I arrived at the entrance of the plant were a large pile of logs greeted us, and it was interesting since I had previously thought that sights like that were only found further up north, like in Washington or Canada. We were surrounded by the aroma of freshly cut pine trees and a beautiful sunny day. The first order of business was to meet our guides and other media colleagues. Then we got a Happy Mill Box which had a personalized hard hat and a vest with our blog names on it. It has to be one of my favorite packages! Soon after, our safety orientation began and was, as expected, simple, to the point, and emphasized staying together within the safe zone. There are a lot of moving parts in a plant, from machinery to personnel on vehicles and staying on the marked pathways was the best place to be throughout the tour. 

We walked with the Operations Manager and walked through the whole process beginning with the arrival of the logs. We learned that in order to operate around the clock, they needed about 75 trucks a day. That is a lot of wood, and it is all put to good use. The plant runs on its own steam power which uses wood chips for boiler fuel. Every part of the log is used, even the sawdust and pieces of wood that get soiled with oil or lubricants, they are sold as a byproduct. I was amazed at the whole process, especially the efficiency of production which was aided by some automation. We came to learn that this Georgia-Pacific plant was one of the only plants in the country that uses robot automation. Walking through the plant was like a maze, I surely would not be able to backtrack or remember where we went, space is all put to use and seemed like the whole interior of the facility was being used from the floor to the ceiling.

Toward the end, we began to feel the heat inside even though it was a cool day out. The steam and walking through hot drying racks were really starting to heat things up. Most of these chambers were over 200 degrees. There were so many moving parts and being able to see it all was a once in a lifetime trip. It may not be on everyone’s bucket list but I learned some really important things and got an answer that I hadn’t been able to get answered. After the tour, we went back to the main office for lunch and some discussion followed by Q&A. 

The one question I wanted to ask since I arrived was: How are the forests being managed to keep up with the high demand of building material? Are trees simply being cut down without proper management or replanting of trees. This is the great thing about being able to tour places where many of the products around us are made, we get to see and understand how it works. I learned that trees are replanted and cut at three different growth stages. The source for the Corrigan plant was a 300,000-acre forest managed by foresters who make sure this renewable resource is not overused and still be able to keep up with the demand. I left with a greater understanding of the plywood around us and what it takes for a log to become the finished product. Learning about plywood was something new and exciting and now my wife and I can go home and share this all with our daughters, family and friends. To learn more about GP’s work and programs, visit: