Virginia Urban Wood Group
News & Updates
October 29, 2020 | Issue-4
Happy Fall!

Welcome to the fourth edition of the Virginia Urban Wood Group's newsletter! Our planned schedule is to offer this newsletter every other month.

Have a topic of interest that you want us to cover? Send your idea to me at the email address listed below!

We hope that you find this newsletter useful and enjoyable!

Joe Lehnen
VA Dept of Forestry
Urban Wood Program Coordinator
Veterans in Urban Wood
Honoring our Veterans!

Read about five more Veterans in the world of
Urban Wood

In September 2018 we featured a group of wonderful veterans from across Virginia who are now part of our local/urban wood family.

Check out their stories here >>
Serving 2.0 - Veterans in the
Urban Forest

Larry Gochenour
Sawmiller/Lumber Sales
Maurertown, VA
E-7 Master Sergeant Larry Gochenour not only devoted 20 years of his life to the Air National Guard, he also served as Shenandoah County's very first Fire Marshall. Following a life of public service, Larry has "retired" to take over the family business after the passing of his father, Ralph.

"Back in 1968, I began helping my dad on his Frick sawmill at a very young age which included the harvesting of the logs, off bearing, stacking, loading the kiln, cutting firewood to length, etc. I have always enjoyed the lumber and sawmill business, so after ending my fulltime career I became more involved and bought a Lucas Slab Mill in 2018 and a Wood Mizer mill in 2020. I also now have two, fully operational lumber kilns".

For more details, check out the website >>

Matt Shorrock - Urban Wood Artisan
Virginia Beach, VA

After a career-ending injury in 2018 and being medically discharged from the Navy SEALS, E-7 Matthew Shorrock knew woodworking was in his future after he and fellow SEALS had to build out an entire camp in Afghanistan.

“As soon as I got home, I got my first table saw and started watching a lot of YouTube. I learned my skills as woodworking became a serious hobby for a decade. I took a chance on starting a custom furniture and cabinetry business and I haven’t looked back. We use locally milled urban lumber as much as we can.”

Matt’s business, American Figure LLC, is continually growing, spurring the need to expand into a new 4,000 square foot facility with a yard for logs and lumber. “We are also raising money to purchase a Woodmizer LX250 sawmill and a dehumidifier kiln in order to expand our urban milling operation. We’ve also entered into a partnership with a local nonprofit, Lynnhaven River Now, to ensure we are putting to good use as many felled trees as possible”.

More details about Matt’s business can be found by visiting his web page >>

Jeff Tidd - Sawmiller & Urban
Wood Artisan

Jeff Tidd has dedicated his life to serving, first his country, with more than 40 years of Army service! Jeff retired in February 2020 with a final rank of Command Sergeant Major(CSM) for the Provost Marshal's Office of the Military District of Washington. 

Jeff is now serving clients with his urban/local wood business known as Tidd's Timberworks which offers portable sawmilling services, and a wide variety of products including rough-cut lumber, furniture, wooden crafts, BBQ smoking wood and sawdust. Jeff’s goal is to “be engaged in sustainable woodworking, turning wood otherwise wasted by rotting or burning, into usable items such as tables, chairs, usable lumber” 

Jeff has also provided several sawmill demonstrations at events sponsored by the Virginia Department of Forestry at various locations including Alexandria, Woodstock and Boyce.

Additional information about Jeff and his business can be found on their Facebook page >>


Many thanks to Trees Virginia (Virginia's Urban Forest Council) for hosting this newsletter and allowing access to their Constant Contact platform!
The Virginia Urban Wood Program is supported by the Virginia Department of Forestry and a grant from the U.S. Forest Service, Southern Region.
The Marketing Corner

Tell the Story

If you talk to any veteran of the urban/local wood business they will tell you that nothing sells better than wood with a story. Being able to tell customers a backstory about the tree that produced the wood or product they are about to purchase is akin to sealing the deal!

People love to hear that what they are purchasing came from the old tree that once stood at a church, or maybe it was the tree that provided shade at the local elementary school. Trees with historical significance provide wood and products that are both in high demand and often sell for well above the market pricing.

Here's three easy steps to make this happen:

  • Take or obtain a photo of the place where the tree stood

  • Make and save notes about the backstory

  • Mark and track the logs/wood until the final product is created

Want a customer for life? Give them a copy of the photo picturing the tree where it once stood and any information you have about the tree. They will be thrilled, amazed, will be a repeat customer, and will tell all of their friends how great and wonderful you are!