2001 Excellence Award Winner

Besse Forest Products | Gladstone, MI

Besse Forest Products

It would be impossible to give a brief history of Besse Forest Products Group Companies, without mentioning the founder, John Besse. Born into a lumbering family, his father owned and operated a hardwood sawmill. He pursued a degree in forestry while working in his father’s sawmill, and went on to hold powerful positions in companies before venturing on his own.

In 1966, John formed Northern Michigan Veneers, Inc. a veneer splicing company. Utilizing the former Atlas Plywood plant, Northern Michigan Veneers began operations in September. By January of 1967 they were splicing 1,000,000 square feet of veneer a month. John Besse’s belief in supplying a good product at a fair price has led to the expansion of the Besse Forest Products Group.

His son Greg, who is currently the Executive Vice President, has worked all his years in the company business. Today, the company has grown to its present size with over 1100 employees and 750,000 square feet of manufacturing facilities. They are one of the largest producers of hardwood face veneers in North America. In addition to logging crews and a forestry department, the group has four rotary cutting mills, two veneer slicing plants, two veneer splicing plants, two plywood departments, and five complete sawmills. They are emerging as a leading exporter of North American Hardwood Products to markets and customers around the world.