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Have You Met: Brian Shepley?

At Richmond International Forest Products, the thing we are the proudest of is without question our people. From our operations team to our traffic and logistics team, to our trade floor itself – we go above and beyond to do our best to make sure that everyone is as trained and properly supported in their roles as possible. And it shows with the long-term tenure of our folks.

In today’s blog post we’d like to ask you – have you met Brian Shepley? Brian has been with Richmond International Forest Products since April 2005, and currently wears multiple hats as a trader of our Southern Yellow Pine team, helping with our recruiting and training efforts, and as a manager of our pine/lumber department. You could almost say he was destined for our industry as he was originally a Turf Management Major at Virginia Tech before transferring into Forest Products Marketing and Management in the College of Forestry and Wildlife his sophomore year.

“I was lucky enough to get an assistantship program and stayed on and got an MS degree in Wood Science and Forestry,” Shepley said.

“My first job in the industry was an internship the summer before my senior year. I worked in a rough mill making finger jointed panels and handrails as well as a hardwood concentration yard grading hardwood lumber. I graduated grad school in December of 2002 and started working in Sales for an SYP sawmill in Southern Virginia January 2003 and worked there until I started here at Richmond.”

Ask anyone what not only drew them to the industry but what keeps them there, and most folks will without hesitation tell you it’s the people. We’re an industry that is built so deeply on the relationships that you make with folks, and for many it’s refreshing compared to the typical “ink and paper” structure many other jobs are built around. For Brian as well, it’s absolutely the people, both in and out of RIFP.

“What drew me to the industry and continues to be my favorite part about our industry today are the people that I get to work with in it,” said Shepley. “What drew me to lumber trading was the variety of products I could trade, the opportunity to run my own business, and the family here at Richmond.”

It’s safe to say that a few things have changed here and there in the 19 years since he started, between technology and the speed that information flows, along with consolidation amongst others. Larger companies buying out smaller companies might change a thing or two, but overall, it sounds not too different.

“There has been a lot of consolidation in our industry since I started,” he said. “Many of the

vendors I use to work with were bought by bigger larger companies. Technology and communication have also improved greatly and the rate at which information flows today is a lot quicker the it use to be.”

One thing we can always count on Brian for is his supportive, positive demeanor. Whether it’s with operations folks, rookie traders, or folks who have been here 20 years, we can always count on him to lift up his colleagues when we’re struggling, but also hold us accountable when we both know we could do a little better. What advice would he have to someone just starting out in this industry?

“I think it’s important to view yourself being successful, so I’ve always tried to do that,” said Shepley. “That being said my business today looks a lot different today then it did 19 years ago. I still talk to some of the same people I did when I first started and there are also a lot of new people and products in my business now as well. The only shortcut is hard work. Set big goals, work hard, reach your goals, set bigger goals, repeat. Do your best and do the right thing.”

Are you interested in applying to work with our trade team? Email Ash at for more information.

Ready to learn more about Brian and our trade team? Visit our trade team page today to learn more.



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