Canadian Biomass Magazine

From log truck to leadership: The 4 a.m. meeting that changed everything for Joe Webster

April 24, 2024
By Canadian Biomass Staff

Joe Webster.

Joe Webster’s career began in the woods of British Columbia. In 1991, he entered forestry as a truck driver — hauling logs and building roads for Pioneer Logging.

Webster, now operations manager at Tŝideldel Biomass, has won Honourable Mention at the 2024 Canadian Biomass Awards in the Champion of the Year category.

Webster’s career in biomass began unexpectedly at 4 a.m. on a Thursday in 2008, amidst economic uncertainty and mill closures. Atlantic Power was short on fibre, and he had been summoned into his supervisor’s officer.

It took 15 minutes for him to alter the course of his career as he consented to head out to the woods with a grinder. In short order, he was running a 24-7 operation, overseeing six contractors. Using two Cats, ploughing snow ahead of four grinders yielding 80 loads a day, Atlantic Power had a yard full of fibre.


Pioneer Biomass changed hands several more times before Webster landed at Tolko Industries in 2013. Even when laid off in 2019, opportunity was literally waiting just outside the door; Philippe Theriault of Tsi Del Del Enterprises was standing in the parking lot and was ready to bring him aboard Tŝideldel Biomass.

As an operations manager, Webster does not see his role as merely overseeing logistics but as fostering a collaborative environment where innovation can thrive.

“Everything you try is a success because when you are trying new things, you’re never wrong,” he said. “You just might not be right.”

Looking forward, Webster is focused on the sustainability and legacy of the biomass industry. He is particularly invested in the future of the Pressy Lake project, viewing it as a critical component of his professional legacy and a potential blueprint for the industry’s advancement.

“I would like to ensure that my successors have a clear path going forward with enough runway to figure out for themselves the next stage in biomass and a way to keep future generations employed in the industry,” he said.

Through his Honourable Mention at the Canadian Biomass Awards, Webster’s contributions to the industry are not just about maintaining productivity but also ensuring a sustainable future. His vision for a continuously evolving biomass sector highlights the importance of adaptation and community in navigating the challenges of a changing economic landscape. Joe Webster’s story is a testament to the power of resilience and a proactive approach to career and industry challenges—a true champion by any measure.


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