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New CEO leads Ward Lumber

Ward Lumber, local lumber dealer for the North Country since 1890 and Worker-Owned Cooperative since 2021, started 2024 with Bryan Mellick as its new CEO. Jay Ward’s distinguished service as CEO allowed the board to do a comprehensive national search for his replacement. Cooperative Board President Tim Clark recalls, “Bryan really stood out from our first conversation. It was clear right away that he had all the elements in a leader we were looking for.”

Bryan brings a wealth of leadership experience, including a decade in the lumber business and two other 1800’s companies. He has spent time in other industries including technology and management consulting, and time as an entrepreneur. According to Bryan, “Ward Lumber’s Board and worker-owners stand out—in my 34 years working with midsized and entrepreneurial companies—as top 1% in this class. When you have people of this quality running and owning a business, it does not matter the industry, you have a foundation for continued success and that is what drew me to Ward Lumber.” An avid outdoorsman, there certainly were other incentives for Bryan to move with his family from Connecticut to the North Country. “His attitude and energy fit perfectly,” Tim confirmed.

Kevin Kennedy, Board Treasurer, ran the search process for a new CEO. “I am excited to see the impact that Bryan can bring to our company. He embraces out of the box thinking while strengthening our core values. His empowering and development of each individual worker will help us in continuing our transition from single owner to the cooperative model.”

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Jay shared in his outgoing remarks as CEO that, “I have taken very seriously the responsibility for our team and am happy to be able to hand off that responsibility to Bryan as our next CEO.” Jay will be staying on as Purchasing Manager.

Ward Lumber is more committed than ever to be a top local employer, to serve the community, and to maintain and strengthen its family and business values with integrity all while partnering with its customers for their success.

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