John (from left), Brad and Al Thorlakson of Vernon-based Tolko Industries gather at the Lavington Planer Mill where it all began for the company 65 years ago in 1956. (tolko.com)

John (from left), Brad and Al Thorlakson of Vernon-based Tolko Industries gather at the Lavington Planer Mill where it all began for the company 65 years ago in 1956. (tolko.com)

Okanagan-based lumber giant harvests 65 years

Tolko Industries began with operation at Lavington Planer Mill, now an internationally known company

The core values – safety, respect, progressiveness, integrity, open communication, profit – remain in place today for Vernon-based Tolko Industries.

It’s the values that have helped shape the company, but the biggest reason for its long-term success has been its people. Tolko people, says the company, are known throughout the industry for their hard work, commitment to getting the job done, and working safely.

Tolko celebrates 65 years in operation in 2021.

“I think it’s an amazing accomplishment and our employees have played a crucial role in Tolko’s success,” said current president and CEO Brad Thorlakson, who grew up around the Lavington Planer Mill in the North Okanagan and has seen many ups and downs in the industry. “It’s extremely rewarding to see this company flourish into an international business within my lifetime.”

Diversity is also stressed at Tolko. In its products, markets, operating areas, and in its people. The diversity helped the company get through tough times when one product sector could be struggling but another is doing well.

And with that diversity, Tolko can offer customers standard lumber products, oriented strand board, plywood, and other value-added products, wood pellets, engineered wood products, and more.

“We are a generational family company with deep roots, and I am extremely proud of our 65th milestone,” said Thorlakson. “I’m confident we will successfully manage our way through to many more anniversaries thanks to the great work of our employees, our diversity, and everyone’s commitment to excellence.”

Tolko’s roots are embedded with the Lavington mill which began in 1956. A historic article on the company can be found on its website, tolko.com, featuring Brad, his father Al and uncle John.

The company will be adding an anniversary video to its Our History page shortly that celebrates some of its milestones over the past 65 years.

READ MORE: Vernon-based Tolko returns to Louisiana to build second sawmill

READ MORE: Tolko walks back plans for cutblock above Greater Vernon water source

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