Edson OSB Mill Celebrates 40 Years and Honors Its Longest-Serving Employees

Cyril Tejada and Allison Hinks stand in front of an old sign from when the mill was part of the Alberta division. The sign was discovered in a storage shed by Timberlands team members and brought to the mill for the anniversary event.

Six employees at our OSB mill in Edson, Alberta, remember the days when the mill had a smoking room at its center, right in the middle of highly flammable materials. In addition to our improved safety practices, much has changed since then, and those first employees — and countless others over the past 40 years — have seen the mill through multiple milestones as a cornerstone of the Edson community.

Dave Byzuk, mobile shop lead, is the longest-tenured employee; he witnessed the very first press load on Oct. 7, 1983. Edwin Miller, operator, joined in 1985. And Rick Gardiner, log yard operator; Dave Bulmer, oiler; Rodney Smith, maintenance supervisor; and Len Brown, log yard operator, were all hired in 1988. They were among a number of current and former employees recognized during the mill’s 40th anniversary celebration in October.

“It was a proud moment,” says John Perrin, tradesman, who took part in the event. “I’ve been here for 16 years, and although many employees have come and gone in that time, we’ve also seen a lot of expertise handed down from one generation to the next. Our people are what make this mill great, and I’m so glad we got to honor some of the folks who helped us get where we are today.”

Image of Dave Byzuk and Glen Smud.

Glen Smud, operator, and Dave Byzuk, Mobile Lead Hand. Both came to the event early to help set up.


When it officially opened on Oct. 14, 1983, Edson was Canada’s first-ever OSB manufacturing facility, with an initial focus on sheathing products.

“Al Owen, who founded the mill, had an incredible entrepreneurial spirit,” Rick says. “He was driven and creative and had a great rapport with his employees. That’s the spirit we’ve worked to keep alive all these years in terms of innovation, safety and our relationships with each other.”

After Weyerhaeuser acquired the mill in 1988, it expanded into flooring, producing our Edge™ and Edge Gold™ products. But no matter the product they were producing, the Edson team always recognized the mill’s role in the community and the many ways it’s intertwined with the lives of its neighbors.

“We’re the biggest economic contributor to Edson in terms of both jobs and tax revenue,” says Jennifer Armstrong, operations manager. “Lots of other companies have come and gone since 1983. Not only are we still providing stable employment, we take every opportunity to make sure the whole town benefits from our success.”

The Edson team spends countless hours volunteering in their community, which has translated to monetary volunteer match rewards through our TREE-mendous Matching Gifts program in addition to about $45,000 U.S. annually in Giving Fund donations to local schools, nonprofits, sports organization, the Lions Club, public trail systems and various community events.

Group poses by the trailer that was filled with sand and toys for kids to play in.

Employees pose by a trailer filled with sand and toys for kids to play in during the event, which was an idea from Braden Reid and Erika Fairweather.


The anniversary party on Oct. 14 was widely attended. Dignitaries from the town of Edson and Yellowhead County were there, along with Member of Parliament Gerald Soroka, Daniel Lux, assistant deputy minister of Alberta Forestry and Parks, and representatives from the Alberta Forest Products Association. Also in attendance were some retired mill employees and current financial and marketing staff members based in nearby Edmonton.

“We wanted to celebrate the relationships we’ve built between the mill, Timberlands, our contractors, our local governments and the people of Edson,” Jennifer says. “We were overwhelmed by the response when we asked them to join us.”

Speakers included Jennifer; Rick; David MacDonald, operations manager of Pembina Timberlands; Ryan Beaver, vice president of Panels; and several government officials, who handed out plaques recognizing the mill’s anniversary. Dave; Gerry Kravic, lead hand; Scott Watson, control room operator; John Perrin; and Howard Elgersma, control room operator, accepted plaques from the dignitaries.

“We had a spread of catered food with a roasted pig as the centerpiece, and a band consisting of mill employees played,” Jennifer says. “We offered public tours of the mill with information desks for both Wood Products and Timberlands. In my 12 years here, I’ve never seen so many people come out.”

Image of Reid Peace and Braxton Harder playing in the Linde foreklift that Dave Byzuk safety set up to showcase in the kids zone.

Reid Peace and Braxton Harder playing in the Linde forklift that Dave Byzuk safely set up to showcase in the kids zone.


David Graham, vice president of Canadian Timberlands, said in an email congratulating the team: “If there is a secret to success, it often comes down to good people. From my first visit to Edson in the early ‘90s, several things stood out to me that continue to impress me now: your commitment to working safely, pride of ownership and a willingness to innovate and evolve.”

These commitments have allowed the Edson team to be successful and remain a steady community force.

“Over the last four decades, other major industries in the area like agriculture, oil and gas have had big ups and downs,” David MacDonald says. “I think community members really appreciate that we’ve been such a stable presence. I’m so pleased to have been included in the celebration, and so proud of what Natalie [Peace] and her team have accomplished with this facility. They’re setting themselves up for another 40 years of success, and it’s very exciting to see.”

Image of employees from the Edson OSB, Pembina Timberlands and Edmonton Sales office set up tables to share information on what and who we are.

Employees from Edson OSB, Pembina Timberlands and Edmonton Sales office set up tables to share information about the plant and assorted teams. One of the employees, Shyanne Knoop created coloring pages for kids to color showcasing employees at work.


Over the years, capital projects and advanced resins have increased Edson’s mill’s annual production capacity from 240 million to 460 million board feet. On Nov. 17, 2021, the mill hit its four millionth press load on its original hydraulic water press. With 72 panels in each press load, that’s enough OSB to produce 884,000 homes. The team is currently working on a forming line project that will boost production even more.

“This new project will bring us to 480 or even 500 million board feet capacity when it’s complete,” Jennifer says. “It’s an exciting prospect for all of us!”

The mill has also had its challenges, including this summer’s wildfires in Alberta, which came right up to Edson’s doorstep. But the team has persevered through it all.

“In my role with Pembina Timberlands, I speak to people at the mill just about every day,” David MacDonald says. “Working on the wildfire response brought us even closer. Timberlands and Wood Products are separate businesses, but in Canada, we’re very much linked, and I think our closeness is key to the success of both.”