Logs To Legacy
Both of us grew up in the area, Mike in Durand and Pat lived on a farm south of Davis.The two of us had previous careers. Pat is a registered nurse spending her 30 year career in Monroe,Wi at the hospital in the Operating Room, the Rockford Clinic, and Rockford Memorial Hospital. Mike worked in Rockford at Weyerhaeuser for 29 years working @ several levels ending his career as operations manager in production until he early retired at age 48 in 1990.
Mike always had a passion to spent time in the woods and started working with Roy Wilke, a local timber buyer, cutting firewood and helping him harvest logs. After a few months the two of them saw an opportunity for Mike to start a small business as a hobby. Roy would buy the walnut logs and Mike would saw them into grade lumber on his newly purchased portable Wood-Mizer Sawmill to transport the the walnut lumber to the veneer mills in Indiana. It was time to give the new business a name, Mulvain Woodworks was launched January 1, 1992.
The portable sawmill provided the opportunity for Mike to move it to locations in the local area as people provided their own logs to saw to boards on site for their use.
As the demand for local work increased, we rented a building to keep up with the requests.We were living at Lake Summerset at the time and realized we needed a place for our new business. A few months later we purchased land from Roy Wilke a mile north of Durand to build a house and shed at the same time for the new adventure in our lives. Little did we know what the future would hold for us.
The demand for wood products increased so another small building was built for a kiln to dry the lumber to expand our market selling dried lumber which moved us into adding machinery to plane, rip the boards to size, and mold into trim & hardwood flooring for newly constructed houses.
We enjoyed working together and decided it was time for Pat to retire from Nursing to join Mike full time in our new business.
MWW kept growing so we continued to expand and upgrade the equipment, adding other buildings as needed. Pat learned how to grind profile knives out of steel by an expert Polish craftsman from Rockford to match profiles the customers wanted for their homes.
Now after 26 years in business, we have 2 sawmills (the second one is a Lucas Slab Sawmill sawing a log up to 5' in width for a live edge slab), 4 dry kilns, modern finishing equipment to process the customers' lumber into flooring, custom moldings, stair parts and other wood products.
We still work together along with four skilled employees, including our grandson, Devin, to keep MWW going into the future. We also provide tours for schools, scouts, and other organizations for education.
We've had the opportunity to provide our wood products for restorations to custom match the existing trim in many buildings and homes in the Rockford and Chicago areas, Dubuque, Iowa, Madison & Lake Geneva, Wi, and other cities.
Another blessing of our business career has been to help provide and transport a portable Wood-Mizer sawmill into a village in the remote Amazon Jungle in Peru. In 2005 Mike was able to travel there to spend time with the natives training them how to operate the sawmill to make improvements in the homes & build new homes in the village. In 2007 a group of 12 from our church, students and adults, went to the village to help dig a well by hand filling a bucket, and also form the foundation for their new church. All of us were able to help in the variety of jobs to be done during our visit with them.