Jon Kleinschmidt retires after 28 Years with Hyne

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28 years, 6 months and 1 week. Last Friday (5 May), Jon Kleinschmidt, known fondly throughout the business and industry as ‘JK’, officially retired as Chief Executive Officer of Hyne Timber and XLam.

Jon has held the role of CEO for eleven years, having commenced in the business as the Mill Engineer at the Tuan Softwood Mill near Maryborough Qld in 1994. Throughout nearly three decades with the Hyne Group, Jon has held many roles from Mill Engineer to Division Engineer, Operations Manager to Divisional Manager, and General Manager Development and Technical Services, before being asked by the then Chair to take on the role of General Manager Finance & Administration to fill the role with “someone who knew the business”.

From there, Jon went on to become a joint CEO for about 12 months before being solely appointed to the CEO role. Jon attributes much of his success to the many mentors, exceptional team members, experiences and of course, the focus and support from the Hyne family.

“The fact that Hyne is a family business is what attracted me in the first place. The late Warren Hyne was the Managing Director at that time, and he was a legendary industry and business leader. “Innovation was key and the word ‘can’t’ didn’t exist in the Hyne vocabulary. The ‘let’s have a go’ attitude was typified by the Hyne family. As a young, inquisitive engineer, I was inspired and encouraged from the onset.

“’They said you can’t ‘ultra-high temperature’ dry radiata wood. We did. You can’t convert the market to termite treated timber. We did. Years later, we established the first Cross Laminated Timber plant in Australia, and I am proud of the men and women in our business who continue to drive innovation with creativity and passion.” Jon said.

Jon, in his role as General Manager Development & Technical Services, managed both the Tuan Mill and Tumbarumba Mill redevelopments where the company’s processing capacity was increased more than eight-fold to meet the increasing demand for softwood timber to build the Australian family dream home.

Throughout Jon’s tenure, there has been a rapid and exponential growth in the use and application of technology in the business. A key development being the step change from visual grading to automated machine grading of the structural framing products produced at both Mills.

There have been highs and lows, challenges and wins over the years and an epic win for Jon was being part of the leadership team that successfully steered the Hyne ship through the Global Financial Crisis. “Despite the stress and challenge, I look back on the GFC as a high point for me. There were many who thought that the company couldn’t survive. I made it my mission to ensure that wasn’t the case. Never accept the word ‘can’t!’ Let’s have a go!

“We had to completely restructure, sell assets, strip the business back. It wasn’t easy but we came out the other side. Last year, we celebrated our 140th year with exciting announcements of growth and expansion with new partners, James Jones and Sons. And with the further expansion announcement this year with Rocky Point” Jon said.

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Source: Hyne Timber

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