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Nanaimo native Don Banasky began his forestry career 18 years ago, setting chokers as a 22-year-old. This Vancouver Island entrepreneur helped create a logging and roadbuilding business with integrity at the core. When driving south on the Seward Highway, one cana€™t help but notice a massive log building at milepost 100 in Bird. Greg Anderson and his wife are going to open an art gallery at the end of May to go along with the wood carving business that has been featured on the property by their sons Jason, 33, Jordan, 27, and Jerod 29. The gallery will also feature works by other local artists, such as metal, stone, and 3D art. In addition to the gallery, by mid-summer Jason anticipates opening a coffee shop adjacent to the gallery. As for the wood carving competition, it will be called a€?The Alaska Cupa€? to be held Aug. Of all the Anderson wood carvers, though, it is Jordan who has risen to the top of his craft. Jordan has developed quite a bit since he began wood sculpting seven years ago to the point where is working year-round, spending part of his time carving May through September at the Bird location and then to Roseville, Cal. As his reputation has grown, Jordana€™s carvings are more and more sought after, like a large crab he carved that is on display inside the gallery that was made for a commercial fisherman, fetching $9,300.
Jordan said his experience in Alaska and the Northwest coast has inspired him to continue with the goal of always creating something new and innovative. Neither the service provider nor the domain owner maintain any relationship with the advertisers.
Top: “We are yarding full-length logs to roadside and then manufacturing to specific lengths, sorts and quality, based on customer demands. The massive sculpture is on display at an art gallery soon to open in the large log home in Bird at milepost 100 on the Seward Highway. It is the home of the Anderson family, and has been a work in progress the last four years. Inside the gallery, which on its own occupies 3,200 square feet, diamond willow was used for the log railing and display racks, and inside many of the displays will be Wendya€™s artwork.

The medley of animal wood sculptures displayed on the front lawn are the works of Jordan and his skilled hands with a chainsaw. In case of trademark issues please contact the domain owner directly (contact information can be found in whois). Banasky moved through the ranks very quickly as a chokerman, rigging slinger, and then as a hooktender on equipment that included 90-foot Tower, Madill 044 and 124 grapple yarders. Locals have speculated what might be planned for the large structure built from cedar logs, some over 400 years old. The wood carving competition is the brainchild of Jordan, who has networked with many of the top carvers in the nation and around the world during his travels to competitions. One of the most famous carvers is Bob King from the Seattle area, a perennial champion carver. Within just a couple of years, Banasky started up his own logging consulting business, working primarily for Weyerhaeuser’s Northwest Bay Division where he trained processor operators and consulted on mechanical harvesting systems. There will be prize money for the top five carvers, with the grand prize expected to more than $5,000, and auctions will be held Friday and Saturday to bid on the carvings.
From 2000-2002, he alternated day- and nighttime shifts with a variety of consulting, training, and logging systems development projects that included working for Western Forest Products (WFP) as well as other contractors on Vancouver Island and the coast of British Columbia.By 2002, Banasky began consulting for a Vancouver Island business – a well-known roadbuilding (civil and logging roads) company owned by Gregson Holdings Inc. The Gregson Group (Bryan, Dave and John Gregson), purchased 100 per cent of FallTech Logging in 2011, and Banasky is currently providing consulting and management services to both FallTech and Copcan in many locations on Vancouver Island. With that purchase, the business partnership was off to a running start, which soon expanded to ownership of eight units.
Their many projects include work for the Khowutzun Forest Service, an area managed by the Khowutzun tribes in Duncan, as well as the Snuneymuxw First Nation projects, on their traditional territory in Nanaimo.
We also provide full logging road services to Island Timberlands, Timberwest and WFP on Vancouver Island from Port Hardy to Victoria. FallTech Logging’s phase activities, of mechanically falling and mechanically processing – from Victoria to Vanderhoof, were estimated to be more than one million m3 annually.“Since the downturn in the economy, Copcan and FallTech have refocused their efforts on working for quality customers who we feel operate with integrity,” Banasky says. In the past, we found that working for so many clients in so many locations created challenges in obtaining payments in full on many occasions.
Our new business model is supplying us with stump to dump activities of around 40,000 m3 annually for Copcan and phase projects of around 400,000 m3 to 500,000 m3.
The logging road activity has picked up and we are really focusing on re-establishing our Copcan roots on the roadbuilding side of things. We are pushing to have a competitive logging roadbuilding division which provides safe, quality and timely roadbuilding services in any location, and under any conditions,” Banasky says.Equipment StableAccording to Banasky, Madill has provided a great complement of equipment for FallTech Logging over the years. It has been a great choice for our operations,” Banasky says.Yarding and Skidding“We are yarding full-length logs to roadside and then manufacturing to specific lengths, sorts and quality, based on customer demands,” explains Banasky.

We utilize 624 Waratah processing heads at or near roadside to process all of the timber to length. We do all of the pure load sorting at the road side during the processing phase.”Staffing LevelsThe combined companies within the Gregson group have up to 140 employees and contractors, depending on the time of year and workload. We do provide our own and outside lowbedding services though.”The present emphasis for Copcan Contracting is on increasing its volume of roadbuilding on the logging side. With our revised business model, knowledge, management team and workforce complement, we will be able to be competitive and profitable into the future,” Banasky says.Logging roadbuilding equipment used by Copcan includes a variety of gear such as Hitachi, John Deere and Komatzu excavators, Volvo articulating rock trucks, and M-40 rock drills from various manufacturers. Of course, some of the equipment does double duty, working on logging roads and civil highway construction projects.Shop FacilitiesJust a few short kilometres from Vancouver Island’s second largest city, Nanaimo, is where Copcan and FallTech’s main office is located. The site also includes a large shop facility, which provides easily accessible servicing and regular maintenance for their full fleet of equipment. Seventeen mechanics and three welders handle all of the logging equipment and the roadbuilding equipment for both companies (logging roads and civil road construction). This industry is a hardworking environment, and one that encourages people to be self-motivated.
I feel we will struggle to acquire and maintain a steady group of qualified, safe, productive employees over the next few years, but I am hopeful we can lure back some of the men and women who have left the forest industry for a life in the oil patch. I think some of those people will come back, as the oil patch may offer big dollars, but for many, I like to think the forest is in their blood. There is never a boring minute and an employee can earn a handsome wage.”Looking ForwardDespite the challenges of the past few years, Banasky is optimistic about the logging business when looking forward. This will in turn provide us with the platform we need to plan, develop and modify our processes as needed to compete in today’s market, while maintaining the integrity of the business.
I really hope the licensees of the timber see the value of building long-term relationships with reputable companies like ours to ensure maximum value for their timber.
We know from experience that the cheapest rate is not always the way to go and that having a steady and consistent working relationship can be beneficial for everyone in the long term.”When asked what drives Copcan and FallTech in their success, Banasky doesn’t hesitate in answering. Shortcuts are not an option in our group and safety and environmental protection are top priorities for us. We also encourage and promote open communication between owners, managers, employees and customers. Our decision-making process includes input from all involved parties and we listen to each other and operate with respect, admiration and a sense of equality.

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