A Lucky Quarter Brings Jann Futrell’s Rich Experience to Our New Trade Compliance Manager Role

Jann enjoys the fall leaves while on a walk in Maple Valley, Washington.

Jann Futrell can trace the decision that led her to Weyerhaeuser back to a quarter she found lying on the pavement in Wichita, Kansas.

She was living and working in Wichita at the time and had been offered a job with a start-up company, a plum role she said would have been a career capstone type of position. But the new job was in Nevada, and she wanted to move to Seattle, where her sister and mother lived. Jann says she’s always been very close to her family, and when COVID hit it made them all rethink the concept of chasing careers over personal connections.

“I’d gone for a walk, trying to decide if I should take a leap of faith and move to Washington state without a job offer, or take the sure bet in Nevada,” Jann says. “I turned around to walk home and noticed a quarter lying heads-up on the ground. I flipped it over and saw it was a Washington state quarter. It was a sign — pennies from heaven but counting in inflation, I guess! I still have it, months later.”

So she took the leap of faith and moved to Washington. She lived in an RV in her sister’s driveway while she looked for a job and a more permanent place to live. When she saw our job posting for a Trade Compliance manager, she knew immediately it was the job for her.

Jann is a licensed customs house broker, someone who helps us with the import and export documentation we need for our products to clear international borders. There are only about 12,000 licensed brokers in the U.S. While companies aren’t required to have a licensed broker on staff, Jann says it’s always a good idea, because brokers help ensure their employer is always fully compliant with rules and regulations.

Jann’s career working in the customs brokerage business covers a ‘who’s who’ list of well-known companies, from DuPont to Newell Brands (Coleman, Rubbermaid, Sunbeam, Marmot and others) and Dollar Tree. And though the forest products industry is brand new to her, she marvels at how well her new job fits her background and experience.

“I feel like I was wearing the left shoe and Weyerhaeuser was wearing the right shoe, and then we finally put the pair together,” she says. “This is the place for me. And out of my entire career, this is probably the happiest place I’ve ever worked. It was like my entire career was leading up to the point where I could come and work for Weyerhaeuser.”

Image of Jann, right, with her sister and their mom.

Jann (right) with her sister and their mom. Being closer to family is what drove her to move from Kansas to Seattle.


Why did you choose Weyerhaeuser?

The second I saw the job posting, I knew it was “my” job. It lined up perfectly with my career experience. On my first day here, it felt like I’d just taken a long vacation, remodeled my office and changed my coworkers, because everything else I did was exactly the same as I’d done previously.

What do you do as manager of Trade Compliance?

This is a new position; Weyerhaeuser’s import and export levels have grown to the point where they recognized the need to have someone on staff to manage trade compliance. I work at an advisory level, overseeing the standard operating procedures we already have in place that help ensure our import and export regulatory compliance. I’m also working to ensure we stay compliant as we switch SAP systems. But people can also reach out to me with general everyday questions, like what to do if we have a truck stuck at the border or a shipment stuck at a port. I also manage a team of two cross-border coordinators, and I monitor the work of our customs house broker.

How do you describe what you do to your family and friends?

I don’t have to — my sister does the same thing, but for Eddie Bauer, and is also married to someone who’s in the transportation and trade compliance industry. And my nephew works in the industry, too!

Have there been any surprises in your experience so far?

Nothing about the job duties, but I have been surprised and pleased by the open and committed culture here. It’s very agreeable to my personality.

Image of Jann with a statue carved out of a stump in her front yard.

When Jann needed to remove a tree in her front yard, she contacted a chainsaw carver to create a friendly statue out of the stump.

What do you want to learn more about?

I’m still learning about the commodities side of our business and our method of pricing; there are a lot of complexities in terms of import and export regulatory requirements for the products we have. I’m also still trying to peel the accounting onion and learn how our financials work.

What's been most different from where you came from?

The culture here is so warm, inviting and caring, and the people are so friendly! The fact that we have a long-term vision is different, too. You don’t see a lot of companies who are truly in it for the long run like we are. And Weyerhaeuser truly cares about the next generation of employees.

At many of the other companies I’ve worked at, employees were often encouraged to stay in their own lane. Here, it’s more open. People want to know what I think and often ask if I have anything to share or add.

Have you had any bumps in adapting along the way?

The cost of living in Seattle is astronomically higher than that of Kansas. That’s still something that shocks me.

Image of Fast Facts about Jann, listing her hometown as Greenville, Tenn. Her first job was in the U.S. Army. She joined Weyerhaeuser in January 2023 as a manager of trade compliance on the Wood Products Transportation team.