John McNulty has spent most of his working life servicing or working in the logging industry.
The Grand Marshal for this year’s Hoquiam Elks Grand Parade began working in 1965 at the age of 16 for Earley Tire Co. after growing up in Aberdeen and Central Park.
The current Central Park resident also drove log trucks part time for Pattison & O’ Connor, Dahlstrom Inc., Mayr Brothers and FG Peterson.
In 1977, McNulty relocated to Forks to manage the Earley Tire shop there, and two years later became a partner in the company.
In 1994, he sold the tire business and became a partner with Dahlstrom Brothers in the Local Manufacturing Co. chip plant, and in the Little River Lumber and Hoquiam Lands companies.
McNulty said he has seen the logging industry rise and fall several times over in his working career.
“I should have taken up something else I guess,” he laughs.
He’s been a big supporter of Loggers Playday over the years, donating logs, buying advertising and enjoying the festivities as a spectator.
“I think it’s important for a community like this to keep something going that shows what most people did for a living around here,” McNulty said of the Loggers Playday heritage. “Otherwise, with the way it’s going, it would be pretty easy to forget what this used to be.”
In his business, Local Manufacturing, located off Port Industrial Road, does all of the de-barking of logs shipped from the Port of Grays Harbor, a business that still is struggling.
“Like this year, the chip market is kind of bad and the pulp market is down,” McNulty said. “The big lumber mills are doing very well, so they are providing chips to the pulp mills cheap. But we’re used to it and it’s just part of the deal.”
Mills specializing in dimension lumber have seen some comeback as the housing market slowly starts to bounce back, but McNulty worries that younger generations still are having a tough time buying homes even with low interest rates. He notes that the cost of working in the logging industry also has gone up, with trucks now running $200,000 or more.
“There’s not a lot of young people coming up,” he said of the industry as a whole. Another problem with the industry, he said, is “too many regulators from what I can see.”
In his youth, McNulty recalled, people could work a number of different jobs to get ahead.
“It was interesting times, but it came out good,” he said.
When he’s not working, McNulty has a collection of 16 motorcycles and races a V-Rod Destroyer drag bike.
“It’s just my second childhood, I guess,” he said of his love for motorcycles. “For a long time, I could never afford them because I was raising kids. But finally I started buying a few and they are pretty good investments.”
His drag bike has gone as fast as 112-113 mph in an eighth of mile. He “launches” it at 8,500 rpms.
“I’m 62 and a half years old and it’s a thrill,” he said, noting he would not be riding it in the parade because it makes too much noise.
McNulty and his wife Linda have been married 41 years. One of their daughters Shannon Dahlgren and her husband Chad live in Forks, and daughter Michelle Forster lives in Central Park. They have four grandchildren.