Congratulations, and thank you to Toby Hammond for an outstanding 44-years of service with Hancock Lumber! As the longest tenured HancockLumber employee, it’s hard to begin to summarize all of Toby’s accomplishments and the impact he’s had on the forest products and building materials industries–but, during his last Hancock Lumber Board of Directors meeting on 12/18/20, Kevin Hancock summarized it with the following:
“I am really at a loss kicking this celebration of Toby Hammond off because we are talking about an irreplaceable icon. I am 54 and I have no memory of the company that doesn’t include Toby. None. Toby started with the company in 1977, the year after America’s 200th birthday, and he’s got 44 years in. Of the 563 people at the company, Toby is the senior in terms of tenure. I am not even going to try to summarize his accomplishments at Hancock Lumber because he essentially did everything there was to do—on both sides of the business and on a management level for both the sawmill and retail divisions. He then went on to become only the 6th president in the company’s history, only the 6th CEO in the company’s history, only the 6th chairman in the company’s history—and, in all 3 cases—the only (at that time) non-family member to hold any of those positions in the company’s history. Since 1986 Toby has been a director of the company—and, for a long time, he was also a company stockholder. Beyond the company, Toby has been an industry leader in many capacities. But, maybe the dearest to Toby, was the work he has done over his lifetime for NeLMA, the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers’ Association, an organization that every softwood mill in New England belongs to. Toby has been on that board. He has been on every committee. He was the chair of NeLMA for a long time and then was the official ‘Godfather’ of NeLMA for many years after that—all roles that Toby’s dad also played while he left an amazing legacy in the white pine industry. Toby added to that legacy. Additionally, Toby served on the Board of Directors of the Maine Forest Products Council, was appointed by Governor McKernan to both the Finance Authority of Maine Board and the Governor’s Citizens’ Forestry Advisory Board. Locally, he served on numerous boards and has helped organize the Fryeburg Fair’s annual Woodsman Day for years.
Then, you get beyond formal roles. One of the most valuable ones is confidant—confidant to essentially every leading member of the Hancock family for almost 50 years…so long with my dad, so long with my mom, with my brother, with me. Then—at the time—in a lovely way that you don’t quite see anymore, his level of commitment became a family commitment. I grew up essentially thinking of Toby’s wife Janie, and their daughters, Holly and Robin, as extended family. We are sitting here today at a high point in the company’s history, but what makes Toby’s time particularly valuable is the thick and thin of it; it was not always high times, it was not always simple times, it was not always successful times. And, in fact, there were times that were so tenuous that it would not be an overstatement to say the future of the company hung in the balance, and it would not be possible to predict which way it was going to tip. Toby was there for all of that.
And, it’s not just been about what Toby has done, but how he has done it. What strikes me first, interestingly enough, was how he essentially always figured out how to make it fun—always with stories to tell, always with smiles to share, and the keen ability to take problems and put just the right amount of spin on them to keep everything in perspective. Right alongside the element of fun was its opposite—Toby’s candor—a constant willingness to, at the right place and at just the right time, call everything as he saw it. To be able to balance both of those things is really a gift. Finally, Toby is one of the rarest presences, and probably my best living image of when you walk into the room, everyone knows you have entered. Toby has always had this really fabulous presence about him.
So, Toby, you’d say that success is succession, so you’re certainly sending this company off on a high note. It will be tough for us to keep up with the legacy that you’ve left here. We are going to treat this not as ending, but as the beginning of another phase of your relationship with us individually and with the company. Thank you!”
A lifetime of forest products and retail building materials industry experience, combined with an understanding of the complexities of running a family business, enabled Toby to succeed and set a precedent for leadership and service throughout his career. Toby hails from a large family with deep roots—including three generations—that worked in the lumber industry.
“It has been an honor and a privilege for me to serve on the Hancock Lumber Board of Directors for more than four decades. The personal satisfaction I have felt, the opportunities I have been afforded, and the friends I have made cannot be measured. I will always have the highest regard for the Hancock family, the Hancock Lumber Board of Directors members, and our wonderful employees—all past and present. You can be sure that Hancock Lumber will always hold a very special place in my heart.” —Toby Hammond
Upon his retirement, Toby Hammond passes the longest tenured employee baton to Jim Foster, one of our Counter Pros in Saco with 42-years of service and counting. Thank you, Toby, for your leadership and lifetime commitment to Hancock Lumber—you truly are an irreplaceable icon!