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Timber Roots - Karl Kanduch

Like many of us in the timber industry, Karl Kanduch was born into it. Growing up outside Philipsburg, Karl and his two older sisters would often visit their dad Ken, and Uncle Joe Kanduch, on job sites in the area. Watching his dad, Karl knew at a very young age, the woods is where he wanted to be. In fact, a speech Karl had to give in school as part of a project gave him an opportunity to bring in one of his Lego logging machines which gave little doubt to where Karl’s interests lie. He didn’t know why he had to worry about school work. He always knew he wanted to work in the woods.

Ken and Joe worked through high school building snow fence, delivering lumber, doing some logging and working for the small family sawmill near Anaconda. The family had a contract with the Anaconda Co. to supply timbers to the Butte Timber Yard. On call, the brothers would always have a bundle of timbers ready to go. When the call came in, they would quickly load the truck and hurry into town. Both Ken and Joe would take turns making deliveries. Not just timbers to the Timber yard, but lumber, log siding, and snow fence. Years later the family would sell the sawmill. Holding on to the family logging equipment, Ken and Joe would start a new chapter. Branching out as independent loggers for Champion International.

Working in the Philipsburg and surrounding areas gave young Karl many opportunities to visit his dad and uncle, and if he was lucky, get to ride along on a piece of equipment. Skidders or loaders, Karl would sit on the lap of Ken or Uncle Joe just happy to be one of “the guys”. Kanduch Logging’s first buncher, a John Deere 490D with shear, was even the site of a nap or two by young Karl. With just enough room behind the seat, and a smooth operator like Ken, Karl would nestle in and be put to sleep with the sights and sounds of timber hitting the ground.

By high school, Karl would spend the school year focused on football and basketball, but summers he would turn his focus to logging for the family. Helping anyway he could, Karl would often find himself behind the controls of the loader portion of the Hahn Harvester. Eventually working his way into the seat of a skidder, keeping the harvester fed with timber. By his Junior/Senior years, the Hahn Harvester would give way to a Timberline boom delimber, and Karl would jump in the seat of one of Kanduch’s 450c Timberjack skidders. Though Kanduch Logging had both, a swing grapple and a fixed grapple. The swinger was by far Karl’s favorite. Skidding bunches laid down by his dad.

Not sure of his place in the future of Kanduch Logging, Karl graduated high school in the summer of 2001 and enrolled in Montana Tech that fall to study engineering. School eventually took a back seat to joining the local rugby team, and spending time with friends. In the fall of 2004 Karl would take off a semester from Montana Tech to get back to logging and clear his head. This also gave Karl the opportunity to make good on a bet he had recently made to the new girl in his life Kendra. He flew to Colorado to take her to dinner. Kendra, who had been in Karl’s kindergarten class as a kid, moved with her family to Colorado shortly after, but would return for summers to visit family and friends in Philipsburg. In the summer of 2005, Kendra visited some family and friends in Phillipsburg which is when Karl got his chance to pop the question at Skalkaho Falls. That fall Karl went back to Montana Tech for the fall semester. By the spring of 2006 Karl was working in the woods again, but still unsure of his future place in Kanduch Logging.

Karl and Kendra would get married in the summer of 2006. Kendra moved back to Philipsburg to be with Karl and take a job at the local elementary school. The next few years Karl would continue to work for the family, buy a home with Kendra, and even work a brief stint at Sun Mountain Lumber on the green chain before returning to Kanduch Logging. “I enjoyed the experience.” Karl said. The couple had 2 kids, Elaina and Dominik in the coming years, continuing to grow the Kanduch’s Timber Roots.

Working with the family again, Karl learned the importance of a good work ethic. Something passed down to him from his grandfather to his father and uncle, and now down to him. The willingness to do whatever it takes. Most days Karl would run the skidder, keeping the landing full. But some days he would have to fill in on the delimber or loader, pile brush with an excavator or even turn wrenches. Karl would later get his CDL, giving him the ability to drive a dump truck and haul logs. Just like his dad and uncle, when something needed to be done, Karl would not hesitate to jump right in where needed.

Through the years Kanduch Logging mostly worked on private land. But would buy the occasional federal sale or state sale. Sending most of their wood to Sun Mountain Lumber in Deer Lodge, or Pyramid Mountain Lumber in Seeley Lake. The company would see many changes over the years. The days of the John Deere 490D with shear would give way to a Timberjack 2518 then 2618 and then a major update to a Tigercat 830D. The machine Karl spends most of his time in the seat of today. The skidders would be updated over the years from a pair of Timberjack 450c’s to a Tigercat 620E and John Deere 948LII. Another major upgrade to Kanduch logging was the addition of a Valmet 520T with Valmet harvesting head. That would later give way to John Deere swing machines with Waratah’s.

The Kanduch’s have always been a model of good forest stewardship and quality logging contractors, even inviting several local high schools to come out to their logging sites during Forest Products Week every year in October. Here they would demonstrate and teach responsible forestry practices to ensure that the loggers of Montana continue to recruit a young workforce. Karl joined the board of directors at the MLA in 2015, and has served as an executive officer from 2019 to 2023.

In 2018 Kanduch Logging received the Montana Wood Products Association’s Logger of the Year award.

In 2020 the Kanduch’s provided Helena with the Capitol Christmas Tree, and were awarded the Northwest Montana’s Hoo-Hoo’s Lumberman of the Year award. Karl, Cousin Kevin, and Uncle Joe Kanduch have all become ALP loggers over the years with Kevin now becoming Vice President of the MLA under Karl.

In 2022 Karl and the Kanduch family took on a new venture. Karl and 3 other partners, Kevin Kanduch, Hammy Mitchell, and Bryan Lorengo merged to create KLM Contracting. The name may have changed but the company's timber roots have not. The strong work ethic and dedication to the industry that was instilled in Karl will continue to be passed on to the young KLM crew. With all the puzzle pieces now coming together, Karl found his place in KLM Contracting. Leading by example with boots on the ground, and his let’s get it done attitude. KLM is sure to have many years of success ahead of them with Karl at the forefront.






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