April 17, 2023
Meet Our Members: KayCee Hallstrom
KayCee Hallstrom is no stranger to the lumber industry, having grown up working for the family business, Zip-O-Log Mills, Inc. Now the vice president at Zip-O, she is a fourth-generation industry professional dedicated to the trade. Learn more about KayCee, including her thoughts on working with family, her involvement with NAWLA and how she has seen the industry evolve in the Q&A below.
Tell me about yourself. What is your background and how did you get involved with lumber manufacturing?
My great-grandfather started Zip-O-Log Mills, Inc. in 1944 and I started working there in 2012. I had worked in the office and out in the plant while I was in high school in the summers.
What motivates you to continue on this career path and be a part of the lumber manufacturing industry?
The people I work with and have met in the industry. Plus, I enjoy the variety of challenges and problem solving it provides.
Tell me about working for your family’s business. What is it like to be a part of a multi-generation team?
Working for the family business has its challenges just like any other business. You’re not only navigating different generations working together, you’re also navigating family events outside of work together, too. However, it is unique to have the perspective of the generation before you just down the hall to talk to. It is important to keep business as business and personal as personal.
In what ways have you seen the lumber industry evolve over the years?
The mass timber movement has really taken off in the last couple of years in the United States, and it is refreshing and exciting to see public opinion about wood shift to being a positive in construction and daily life. Another evolution is the continued advancements in technology used to process wood from the forest to packaging. We are also seeing new technology in trucking, which will help make jobs more appealing.
What has been the most rewarding part of your career so far? Are there any wow moments that particularly stand out to you?
The relationships I have made with others in the industry, which have helped shape me into who I am today. When I joined my 10 Group in 2013, I had no idea I would not only be making great connections in the industry, but also some great friends.
Tell me about your involvement with NAWLA. How long have you been a member and what made you want to join?
My first NAWLA event was Wood Basics in 2012. I then joined my 10 Group in 2013, participated in the Executive Management Institute (EMI) in 2015, joined the scholarship and education committees in 2019 and 2022 respectively, and was voted into YELP in 2020. I’ve been attending Traders Market and the Leadership Summit since 2013 as well as participating in webinars over the years. Zip-O has been an active member for many years prior to me joining, and I was encouraged to join because of the history but also to create my own connections and take advantage of the education opportunities.
Tell me about volunteering with NAWLA? Why do you volunteer? What do you get out of it?
Initially, it was a way for me to get involved in the industry in some way to make connections. Now I have a passion for it and wish to continue my involvement to create great experiences for others. With volunteering, I get a sense of community — we all have a common goal and passion for the industry, not just our individual companies.
What advice would you give to a new NAWLA member?
Talk to your supervisor to get permission to participate in a 10 Group to get started and participate in Wood Basics if you are new to the industry or sales. You get what you put in to NAWLA; be an active participant and the possibilities are endless.
What’s been your favorite NAWLA moment?
Any time I am with my 10 Group.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I am thankful for the opportunity to grow within NAWLA and this industry. I have some great mentors that pushed me out of my comfort zone and I am grateful for that.