PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In an industry long dominated by men, one Oregon woman stands out amid a veritable forest of peers.
Heidi Leib is one of just two female logging contract coordinators in the entire Northwest. She’s currently working on a site in the Tillamook Forest.
“I buy logs for the mill and I also hire contractors, road builders, loggers to cut the timber and make sure we’re able to remove it without ruining the resources,” Leib said.
Her crew focuses on thinning out hazardous trees and creating wildlife habitat and revenue. The logs that are removed will go to a local veneer plant, where they’ll be turned in products people can buy.
At 60,000 logs over a 36-month period, the current job is one of the biggest contracts Leib has ever negotiated.
And she’s worked hard to be where she’s at today.
The 36-year-old graduate of Oregon State University’s College of Forestry is a standout in her industry — but it wasn’t easy at first.
“In the beginning, I worked my butt off and I was that person that felt I had to work double as hard as the guys to prove I deserve to be here,” Leib said. “The first several months, I would roll up, park and just sit in my pickup and think, ‘Alright Heidi, you gotta get out and you have to walk out and talk these guys.'”
And she was in for a pleasant surprise.
“They’re all super friendly once you get to know them but it can be really intimidating walking up to 5 guys working out in the woods their whole lives.”
Leib’s recipe for success is one that applies to all aspects of life.
“Just have to show up — just show up. We work hard every day and we just keep on going,” Leib said.
Her friend, Mark Schroeder, nominated her for Women Crush Wednesday, writing Leib is “one of the most impressive foresters I know. She put herself through school, found a job based on her own merit and is rapidly breaking barriers.”
Leib is also working to improve the industry as one of three women on the Oregon Logging Conference Board of Directors.
“It is nice to get a little encouragement and recognition occasionally,” she said.
KOIN 6 News anchor Jennifer Hoff’s series, Women Crush Wednesday, highlights women who are crushing it. Who do you know breaking the glass ceilings, inspiring others, doing good? Send a message to Jennifer Hoff.