U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., helped secure a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for SmartLam, a cross-laminated timber manufacturer and distributor in Columbia Falls.
In January, Tester wrote a letter of support for SmartLam’s Wood Innovations Planning Grant application. The grant was announced last week.
“The folks at SmartLam are producing a unique product, and these additional resources will help them continue to grow and hire folks in the Flathead Valley,” Tester said in a news release. “Successful operations like SmartLam continue to show the country the high quality businesses here in Montana.”
SmartLam is the first manufacturer and distributor of cross-laminated timber products in the United States. When its expansion is complete, it will be the largest cross-laminated timber manufacturer in the world.
Wood Innovations Grants are awarded to companies that use wood products as a renewable energy source and as a building material. The money is designed to increase the use of wildfire fuel from public lands to promote forest health and create jobs.
Since its startup in 2012, SmartLam has hired 30 people and intends to hire additional employees when its planned expansion is completed.
Tester met with SmartLam leaders in March to discuss the company’s expansion and other issues facing their business.