JOHNSONBURG â€“ Tim Cowan of Ridgway has been named as the Logger of the Year by the Kane-based Allegheny Hardwood Utilization Group (AHUG).
Cowan was honored Tuesday evening at the 43rd annual Kane Area Loggers Safety Meeting at the Johnsonburg Fire Hall.
AHUG said it presents the award annually to the logger who "best exemplifies the qualities of professionalism" and has "a strong commitment to safety and has community and industry service involvement."
Cowan, a 1977 graduate of Ridgway High School, has been in the logging business for 30 years. As a teenager, he worked with his father, Les Cowan.
Cowan has his own log skidder and currently is a one-man operation. He handles work for RAM Forest Products of Shinglehouse.
"I'm totally surprised," Cowan said after receiving the title of Logger of the Year. He received many gifts and honors, including the traditional Ames True Temper "golden ax" plaque, and a Stihl chainsaw from Dick Cooney of Dick's Saw Shop in St. Marys.
According to AHUG, Cowan has "a real regard for the logging profession. As a one-man crew, he prides himself on being flexible and being able to pay attention to details that he may not be able to do if production was the main concern."
AHUG said Cowan "enjoys discussing forest management with the landowner or others who may wonder what he is doing and why." AHUG said Cowan is "knowledgeable and willing to explain the regeneration process that is the backbone of forest management."
Cowan is certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and "carries all the necessary liability and compensation insurance," AHUG said.
Dave Morgan of Kane, who serves as president of AHUG and took part in the awards ceremony, said Cowan is "one of those loggers we all respect."
"They have made it their life's work," Morgan said. "They go to work every day and they work hard. They do it because they love being out in the woods and because of the sense of accomplishment of doing a good job. It's a real pleasure to honor someone like Tim with this award."
Adam Vollmer of Kersey was a finalist for the Logger of the Year award.
According to AHUG, Vollmer works for St. Marys Lumber and has been in the logging business for 15 years. AHUG said Vollmer is "safety-conscious, has a good work ethic and does all the right things in the woods." Vollmer is SFI certified.