The third time is the charm, the old saying goes. For Aaron Jorden, however, it’s the fourth.
He was a nominee in 2014, 2015 and 2016, but this year Aaron Jorden of Benton is the winner and has been named the 2017 Outstanding Louisiana Logger.
There were several nominations for this year’s award, which is judged each year by a panel of three. This year the judges included Dr. Neils de Hoop of LSU, Holly Morgan with U.S. Forest Service Kisatchie office and Kevin “Man” Martinez, last year’s Louisiana Logger of the Year.
Like many logging operations, Aaron Jorden Logging is a small, family business. It downsized in 2010 because of the economy, Jorden said.
“I have five woods guys and all the trucks are contracted,” he said.
Before 2010, Jorden ran two crews. It was difficult, he said, because he could get rolling on one crew when a problem arose at the other, which could be several miles away. By the time he got the problem worked out with the second crew, something else would come up at the crew he had left and he had to return to the first crew.
“I can do a better job with one crew,” the Master Logger said.
That was one of the reasons he said he was surprised to be named Logger of the Year as most previous winners had multiple crews.
Taught Me Everything
Jorden’s family operation actually began with his dad, Billy Jorden, in the late 1970s. When he was a boy, Jorden spent time in the woods with his father, riding in the big equipment. He learned as much as he could so that when he was older he could operate heavy machinery his father had.
Over the years, the Jordens developed a close father-son relationship. At work in the woods, hunting in the Midwest or snow skiing, Billy and Aaron Jorden spent a lot of time together.
In 2003, Aaron was mostly handling the trucking part of the business when his father decided to take a road trip to South Carolina on his Harley-Davidson. He told Aaron to take care of the business while he was gone.
The 50-year-old Billy Jorden didn’t make it back; tragically, he was killed in a motorcycle wreck. Aaron took over the business permanently at the young age of 24. Now at 38, he has kept it going strong.