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Back in 1986...

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Jerry G. Williams & Sons Lumber was started by Jerry Williams, when he bought a former Union Camp sawmill in Smithfield, which is located about 25 miles southeast of Raleigh, N.C just off Interstate 95.

Jerry had a lengthy career in the forest products industry.  He grew up in Oklahoma and was educated at Oklahoma State University, then earned a Master’s degree in forestry from Michigan State University.  He worked for a number of companies in the forest products industry before going to work for Coastal Lumber Company in Weldon, N.C. in 1971.  By the time he bought the Union Camp mill and started his own business, Jerry was vice president of operations at Coastal Lumber Company, where his two sons, Mark and Scott, also had worked.

Within a few years after buying the Union Camp mill, the Williams family expanded it into pine production.  In the pine lumber market, the company focused mainly on 5/4 lumber while its hardwood operations concentrated on producing 4/4 lumber.  The company benefited from strong markets over the next 10 years that allowed it to prosper and grow.

Production was about 75% hardwood lumber and 25% softwood lumber.
By the mid-1990s, however, the Williams family knew they would have to begin upgrading the mill if they were to remain competitive, and in 1996 the company began a series of investments in major machinery and equipment.  Most of the improvements were finished in 1998 although the final stage was not completed until 2001.

At Jerry G. Williams and Sons, Mark had responsibility for forestry and logging operations while Scott supervised sawmill operations. Jerry passed the ownership of the company to his sons in 1999.

However, Scott was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident later the same year, and Mark became president and owner.  Jerry passed away in 2005, the same year Mark's son Kevin Williams came to work for the company and is now Vice President of Jerry G. Williams and Sons and oversees all mill operations.