Shortly after launching the Golden Eagle Building Center in Wisconsin Rapids in 1966, Wally and Marlace Parmeter were inspired to set forth on their dream of building a log cabin home in which to raise a family. With trees plucked from their own property, they meticulously and beautifully crafted a home that quickly became the talk of the town.
It was the impetus for what would eventually become Golden Eagle Log Homes, a company that now constructs more than 130 log homes a year. When they retired in 1997, their sons Jay and Tod took over the family business and are still successfully running it today -- with a few minor environmental tweaks.
The business was certainly booming, but, unfortunately, so was their waste. With the exception of the wood shavings they used for live stock bedding, the Parmeters were filling a 40 yard dumpster -- which holds approximately 1,080 cubic feet of waste -- one to two times a month.
With a new dedication to not only produce exceptional homes, but also an environmentally conscious product, the second generation of Parmeters agreed it was time to launch an aggressive pilot recycling initiative.
In the first year alone approximately 90,000 pounds of waste from their facility will be recycled instead of taken to landfills, resulting in a 70 percent savings in waste-removal costs.
Recognizing the significant impact this was having on the environment, Golden Eagle Log Homes' management established an employee-run committee to reduce waste and recycle more efficiently. Employees throughout the company identified opportunity areas, and implemented the necessary changes with full support from the company owners.
"Our mill has gone from a 40-yard dumpster to a six-yard one, and our wood waste is now bought by a local wood chip manufacturer to be turned in to wood mulch for landscaping homes," says Jay. "All metal banding for lumber is separated and sold to a local scrap yard. Even in the corporate office, all internal printing is done on both sides of the paper, cutting paper usage and waste in half. It's really a great feeling to not only provide a service to neighboring businesses, but to help the environment as well. One man's trash is another man's treasure -- it goes to show that recycling can really benefit us all."
Golden Eagle Log Homes also helps consumers make energy-efficient choices when designing their own homes.
"In addition to manufacturing energy-efficient homes," says Bronk, head of HR and facilitator of the recycling initiative. "We're dedicated to promoting an appreciation for the value of energy efficient products that go into our client's homes. It starts here at our facility, and carries all the way through to the homes we create."
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.
As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When OnMilwaukee.com offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”