Caskey Logger of Year

By Dolores Blaloc
Special to The Journal

Daniel Caskey, Dodson bassed logger, displays plaque commemorating his
selection as Logger of the Year by Louisiana Loggers Association/SIF. Crew,
form left, Mike Neison, Ray Duck, Daniel Caskey, Bruce Martin, son Micah
Caskey, Christ Weaver, Donny Ray Horton.

Daniel Caskey received the 2015 Logger of the Year award from the Louisiana Loggers Self-Insured Fund on Friday June 17, 2016 at the Mariner's Restaurant in Natchitoches.

Administrator of the Louisiana Loggers Self-Insured Fund Terry Duke presented the award plaque to Daniel Caskey Logging, LLC to recognize this well-managed business with an outstanding safety record that includes six years without any accidents at all.

About 35 people attended including the Board of Directors, and his crew members along with their wives.

Selective cutting is Daniels's specialty. He contracts for Weyerhaeuser primarily cutting first thinning plantations in Winn and Jackson parishes. He hauls long pulpwood mostly to the Campti mill.

"Daniel runs a good safe job using good equipment. His operation is fully mechanized with each man on a machine rather than on the ground. He has a high quality operation with strong focus on safety," says Safety Engineer Jimmy Standley. He is in charge of Loss Control and regularly visits the work sites several times a year.

"Daniel is always on the job paying attention to what employees are doing. They use good safety practices and personal protective equipment including hard hats, ear plugs, safety glasses and vests," Standley says.

Daniel Caskey Logging, LLC is a business that exemplifies modern logging techniques where Master Loggers operate heavy equipment from air-conditioned cabs to cut, process and haul timber. Equipment is advanced using joysticks, computers and the most up-to-date safety techniques.

"This is a dangerous occupation with all that big equipment, " says Terry Duke. "At a fairly young age, Daniel took over the business from his father, David G. Caskey, who died about 10 years ago. His father was a good logger, welder and mechanic. He was an excellent mentor and gave Daniel a strong background in the various aspects of logging.

All Daniel's employees are older than he is and most everybody is long term in the woods. He has a well- qualified crew and they work well together."

For the past 10 years, Bruce Martin has run the delimbinator and loaded trucks.

Before joining Daniel's company, they hunted together for years. "He's a good fella. We don't have any trouble, " Martin says. "Daniel is the youngest one in the company out there in the woods and he appreciates our experienced help.

Daniel will tackle anything. He'll work on anything and he can fix most anything."\par }{\plain Daniel Caskey Logging operates with a crew of five including Ricky "Flash" Johnson, Shear; Danny Ray Morgan and Mike Nelson, Skidder; Bruce Martin, Loader; and Chris Weaver, Truck driver. He also works with contract haulers Ray Duck, J. R. Box, Josh Box, and Barry Weaver.

"Daniel got the aptitude from his daddy. In Daniel's company, they are more like a big family," says Bruce's wife, Jo Ann Martin, who works at Hanna Manufacturing Company in Winnfield.

Daniel's wife, Jodi, attended the award dinner along with his two daughters, Elizabeth, 15, and Ava, 8, and his son Micah, 13. Jodi teaches first grade in Dodson and works as office administrator in Daniel's business. His mother, Rita Holtzclaw, who helps with family responsibilities, also attended the award presentation.

"Daniel was very bright in high school and always up on current events," says Kayla, wife of Skidder Mike Nelson. As a student, Daniel took business administration courses she taught.

After graduating from Dodson High School when he was 18, Daniel worked with his father, David, and learned about logging. "I like the freedom that logging gives to work for yourself," Daniel says.

Daniel is a Deacon in the First Baptist Church in Jonesboro. He also takes part in activities at Dodson High School where all three children attend.\

The Louisiana Loggers Self-Insured Fund offers workers compensation coverage for the logging industry and sponsored the Logger of the Year award. The Fund, controlled by loggers for the benefit of loggers, offers loss control services and superior claims management for the 225 members of the Louisiana Loggers Association throughout the state.