News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

OSU honors Freres with family business award

Freres Engineered Wood for the second time has been awarded a family business honor by Oregon State University.

The innovative Lyons wood products company received the Dean’s Leadership Award from OSU’s College of Business on May 7 at a ceremony at the downtown Marriott Hotel in Portland.

The Excellence in Family Business Awards program, organized by OSU’s College of Business and Center for Family Enterprise, honors the work of Oregon’s family-owned businesses and their impact on local communities.

Freres, the Santiam Canyon’s largest employer, also received the award in 1994, when it was called the Austin Family Business Award.

“It takes a lot of perseverance and fortitude to operate in such a volatile industry in Oregon, but we remain committed to be a long-term survivor,” said Rob Freres, company president, in his keynote address. “Thank you for recognizing a century of hard work by giving our family the Dean’s Leadership Award.” 

Freres told The Canyon Weekly that “the award was a complete surprise to us. We understand it’s the dean’s individual choice as to who is chosen. The Dean sat with us at the awards luncheon and was so gracious to our family. It’s a special honor to be recognized twice by OSU.”

OSU’s Center for Family Enterprise provides education and research to support family businesses across the state and launched the awards program in 1988 to celebrate the innovation and achievements of these businesses. 

Freres has been family owned since 1922 when T.G. Freres opened a small sawmill in the North Fork area above Lyons. Key products for the firm today are finished plywood, lumber, veneer, structural composite lumber, mass plywood panels and biochar. The company also operates a cogeneration facility that supplies renewable power for the Santiam Canyon.

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