A member of a bygone era, local man recognized as Logger of the Year
Mike Jolovich is a quiet man, evoking the hardy yet courteous spirit of the American Old West.
He is among a slowly disappearing breed of citizens, the kind who always pick up litter, volunteer with community organizations and yet to never seek recognition. In the modern era of rampant branding and self promotion, Jolovich is a throwback to a bygone time when a man was known by the quality of his work and character alone.
“I don’t like to brag,” Jolovich said with quiet sincerity. “I just try and do things right.”
Recently Jolovich was recognized by the Colorado Tree Farm Committee for exactly those reasons when he was awarded the 2017 Colorado Outstanding Logger of the Year Award. Jolovich received the award at a ceremony in Pagosa Springs back in mid-August.
Jolovich was out working one day earlier this year when Colorado State Forester Matt Schiltz approached him and told him the Colorado Tree Farm Committee wanted to recognize his work as a forester.
“I told Matt (that) today is not a good day to play poke the badger,” Jolovich said. “Talk about an unsuspecting candidate. I didn’t believe him.”
Jolovich, who owns and operates Windy Gap Logging just outside of Granby, has been a member of the Grand County community since the early 1990s when he moved to Middle Park to help oversee operations at the Ranch Creek lumber mill.
A few years back, several of the logging companies Ranch Creek relied upon to supply its operations with timber closed up shop after retirements and Jolovich needed a way to fill the gaps. He reached out to Ron Cousineau, district forester with the Colorado State Forest Service based in Granby, about what he could do to fill Ranch Creek’s need for lumber. From that discussion emerged the idea that Jolovich would start his own logging business.
At the time Jolovich’s son, Dan, was in position to take over the Ranch Creek shop, which freed the elder Jolovich to pursue a new logging venture.
Windy Gap Logging was established in 2014 with a leg up over the competition, a guaranteed customer in the form of Ranch Creek. But even then the success of Windy Gap Logging was not guaranteed.
Still, over the years, Jolovich has persevered and his recent recognition by peers within the timber industry meant very much to the jovial Wyoming native.
“I was really flattered,” he said of the award. “It is a great honor. At the end of the day when you look behind you, and you meet people on the street you have worked with, their respect and what they say, what their attitudes are, is really important.
“I don’t stand there with a drum and beat the drum. I just try to look at the details each day and what it takes to get through the day. I work hard but I don’t have a lot. But the guys I work with out there, that is the real wealth.”
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Editor’s note: The following letter to the community was submitted to the Sky-Hi News by Winter Park Mayor Nick Kutrumbos.