About Aker Woods Company
Aker Woods Company provides log home, timber and wood products for your home including house logs, log siding, milled timbers, hand peeled posts, rustic wood flooring and paneling, log railings and stairs, wood mantels and countertops and other special order products.
The Akers have been logging in the Black Hills since the 1940's. Grandpa M.E. Aker started with a team of mules and some of the early versions of chainsaws. He operated a sawmill and different kinds of logging equipment right up until the day he died in 1980. Three of his 4 sons worked in the woods and in sawmills, too. Grandpa Aker made sure all his grandsons had work to do, even if it meant setting up a little sawmill or firewood business for them.
His son Merlyn Aker continued the family business. Like M.E. Aker, he worked in the woods right up until his death in 1992. He was a master welder, and made several improvements to the logging equipment available at the time. Merlyn even sold a patent to a log grapple he designed from scratch. Merlyn made sure working in the woods was both fun and safe. His son Alan started going to the woods regularly at about age 10. Starting pay was one Hershey bar per day.
Alan's first jobs were to fetch tools and supplies, pile fenceposts and brush, and stay out of the way. As he grew older, Alan graduated to chainsaws and large logging machines. Injuries were limited to a few sprained and dislocated joints, only one chainsaw cut, an axe cut on the chin, and dozens of yellowjacket stings. They were all educational.
Alan and his wife Heidi operate Aker Woods Company today. They share credit for their success in logging with their friends on their logging crew. For short periods, Alan worked as a newspaper reporter and television weatherman. He completed both his undergraduate degree and a master's degree in business while working in the woods.
In 1994, Alan won election to the South Dakota State Senate. In his second year there, he was elected Senate Majority Whip. In 1998, he gave up his state senate seat to run for the U.S. Senate, and lost. He gets occasional encouragement to seek elected office again, but is enjoying working in the woods. In 2000, the Akers began to diversify their business, producing all the products offered elsewhere on this site.
Alan and Heidi have three kids: Erik, Sarah, and Hannah. They live in grace on a small tree farm where Alan tests new ideas for increasing diversity of species and lumber quality.
Visitors are welcome and every day is earth day on their farm.