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Tolko marks 65th anniversary

August 20, 2021
By Tolko
L-R: John, Brad, and Al Thorlakson at Tolko’s Lavington division, 2021. Photo courtesy Tolko Industries.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of Tolko. Our story began in Lavington, B.C., in 1956 with the Lavington planer mill and has grown many folds since then. To help celebrate our anniversary, we have an article that looks back with Al, John, and Brad Thorlakson. We’ll also be posting an anniversary video next week that celebrates some of the milestones in our history. Look for it on our website’s Our History page.

Throughout those 65 years, Tolko has been driven forward by our core values — safety, respect, progressiveness, integrity, open communication, and profit. Tolko’s values have helped shape the innovative and nimble company we are today, and the biggest reason for our long-term success has been our people. Tolko people are known throughout the industry for their hard work, commitment to getting the job done, and working safely.

Brad Thorlakson, Tolko’s current president and CEO, reflects on Tolko’s first 65 years, “I think it’s an amazing accomplishment and our employees have played a crucial role in Tolko’s success. We’ve grown into a strong and thriving organization, but we haven’t forgotten where we came from. I grew up around Lavington planer mill and have seen many ups and downs in the industry, so it’s extremely rewarding to see this company flourish into an international business within my lifetime.”

We stress diversity at Tolko — diversity in our products, in our markets, in our operating areas, and in our people. Not having all our eggs in one basket has helped us get through tough times when one product sector may be struggling but another is doing well. With that diversity, we can offer customers standard lumber products, oriented strand board, plywood and other value-added products, wood pellets, engineered wood products, and more.


“We are a generational family company with deep roots, and I am extremely proud of our 65th milestone,” says Brad. “I’m confident we will successfully manage our way through to many more anniversaries thanks to the great work of our employees, our diversity, and everyone’s commitment to excellence.”