Our Story: Five Generations, One Name
For over 150 years, our family has been manufacturing and distributing
quality forest products. Our story begins in the mid 1800s when Hugh
Shiels arrived in the Ohio river valley from Ireland. On the banks of
the Ohio, he set up a veneer mill and a hardwood mill.
In the latter part of the 1800s, Hugh’s son Charles opened his own
lumber distribution company to service the burgeoning industrial
markets in the Cincinnati area, ranging from supplying foundries for
machine tool manufacturing to furniture and cabinet building.
The company eventually wound up in the hands of Charles' youngest son
Richard, who pushed heavily into the domestic hardwood markets. In
1965 Richard’s son Dan (our president) began working for his father as
a janitor after school. Richard passed suddenly in 1968, leaving the
company to his wife Marjorie.
In 1971 Dan graduated from the National Hardwood Lumber Association
Inspector Training School. Following inspection school, he moved to
the east coast where he graded imported species at the Port of
Baltimore and domestic production at sawmills before returning to
Cincinnati a few years later.
Dan was able to work his way up through the company, building a strong
reputation for impeccable service and top notch quality, ultimately
serving as President from 1986-2010. Having grown up with his dad
taking him down to the yard, Chase started in the summer of 1999 in
between school until his dad&rsquos departure in 2010, doing everything
from cleaning bathrooms to working at the dry kilns and meeting with
vendors. Today, he’s responsible for overseeing day to day operations,
technology (including Whitewater’s proprietary cloud platform), and
purchasing rough lumber.
Today, Whitewater represents the sole fifth generation of our family
in the lumber business. This gives us the advantage of a long term
outlook rather than concerns about meeting a quarterly earnings goal
and gives our customers, vendors, and employees the security of
knowing there’s a strong succession plan in place to continue the
We pride ourselves on running one of the most modern operations in the
industry, and invest heavily in it because we know what it takes to
stick around for the long haul. From a state of the art computerized
millwork plant to maximize yield and minimize production time to a
mobile dispatched fleet, our goal is to provide the best experience
for our customers, team members, and vendors - without them, we
wouldn't be here.
150+ years in we feel it’s safe to say that both quality and
sustainability are our ingrained into our DNA.
This isn't just what we do, this is who we are.
We appreciate all of our incredible customers & vendors who have been
with us over the years, we look forward to serving you for many more.