Jack Billman
Hillbilly Logging

Concrete, Washington
CDFI: Cascadia Revolving Fund
Loan type: Small business loan

Jack Billman and his family live in a small town in northeast Washington state. Jack has worked as a logger for years. "I worked here for seven years and I went through the ranks, and had a good job, probably equal to a foreman’s job in a factory. My title was hooktender. I guess it was the winter of 92, right before Christmas, they told us we was all getting laid off on January the 9th."

Suddenly unemployed, Jack’s options were few——go on welfare, move to the city, or enter a retraining program. But Jack had bigger ideas. He wanted to keep working in the woods doing timber thinning, a new and more environmentally friendly form of logging. The only problem was, no conventional bank would lend him the money for the equipment he needed. Things looked pretty hopeless until he got connected to the Cascadia Revolving Fund, a community development financial institution in Seattle. They were impressed with his experience and his boundless energy and agreed to give him a loan for his equipment.

Jack knows everything there is to know about logging and running the equipment, but he's not an experienced businessman. Cascadia helped Jack's wife, Marcia, get training as a bookkeeper, but it's still difficult to make a profit. With additional hands-on technical assistance from Cascadia loan officer Dave Klieber, Jack and Marcia are running Hillbilly Logging. They have been able to remain in their community and provide a living for themselves and several employees.

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