The Legacy of Don and Dan
By Chase Warner, Wood-Mizer
Around Wood-Mizer, they are known as Don and Dan. Almost always said together. That’s because Don Laskowski and Dan Tekulve shared a passion for innovation and making a difference. What began in 1982, resulted in Wood-Mizer – the product, the company, the philosophy.
“Don and Dan were amazing guys. They got their heads together and scratched it out on a piece of paper and they talked about it and then Don said to Dan ‘see what you can do’. Dan took that home and the next thing you know he had a machine built. He just made it come to life.” – Dave Mann, 30+ Years with Wood-Mizer
“Because you couldn't get lumber from the sawmills, Dan decided - and Don - they looked at it and said ‘we'll just make our own’. We all kind of laughed. Three months later we had our first one. Both their goals were the same. It just seemed like it was just a partnership that was meant to be.” – Charlie Lamppert, Founding Family & 40+ Years with Wood-Mizer
The legacy of Don and Dan lives on through 100,000+ sawmill owners in 120 countries around the world and thousands of employees that have been part of the Wood-Mizer family over the years. In fact, the legendary “LT” in Wood-Mizer sawmill models stands for the first letters of their last names - Laskowski and Tekulve.
“No one gave us a chance in the world we surprised everybody including ourselves. We were in love and that makes a big difference.” – Phyllis Laskowski, Founding Family
“Dan and Don and the early employees just took this product that was really revolutionary and here we are 40 years later and we're still doing it.” – Darryl Floyd, 30+ Years with Wood-Mizer
Don and Dan, with a strong Christian faith, created a culture of “doing the right things for the right reasons” and established Wood-Mizer with this moral responsibility to customers, employees, and the environment.
“We are the beneficiaries of 40 years of hard work that came before us. Wood-Mizer is much more than a sawmill and we've seen that over the years as our customers have grown with us it really is a lifestyle. I lived it myself when I pulled my LT28 out in the woods and cut a log. That feeling of accomplishment that we had by cutting a log into lumber. We say this all the time we're changing people's lives.” – John Smith, CEO & Wood-Mizer Sawmill Owner