South Dakota Congressional Delegation Staff Tour Wheeler Lumber in Whitewood, South Dakota
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
by: By Lindsey Collins

Section: 2016 NRC Grassroots Events

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The NRC's grassroots program was created to invite United States Congressmen to visit NRC member facilities and construction project sites. These visits give the Members of Congress firsthand knowledge of the rail industry and demonstrate how rail contractors and suppliers are positively affecting the rail industry and the local and national economy. If your company is interested in hosting your Congressman for a visit, please contact Lindsey Collins at to begin the process.
Whitewood, S.D. – On September 8, staff of U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and staff of U.S. Congresswoman Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) joined National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association (NRC) member – Wheeler Lumber – for a tour of their facility in Whitewood, S.D.
Attendees included:
Mr. Jeff Parrett, Vice President, Wheeler Lumber
Mr. Dave Koch, Sales Manager, Wheeler Lumber
Mr. Jeff Marlette, BG, U.S. Army (Ret.), West River Regional Director, Sen. Mike Rounds
Mr. Mark Haugen, Field Representative, Sen. John Thune
Ms. Sandy Marlette, Constituent Services Representative, Rep. Kristi Noem
Ms. Lindsey Collins, VP of Grassroots Advocacy at NRC
Jeff Parrett gave an overview of Wheeler Lumber and their current operations. Since 1892, Wheeler has produced solutions for a variety of construction segments, including the rail construction and maintenance industry. Wheeler is multifaceted, providing quality building materials and related services which serve both public and private infrastructures.
Jeff Parrett and Dave Koch led a tour of the facility, which included the treating plant rebuilt in 2004 after a fire destroyed the original plant. It was at that time Wheeler converted to Copper Naphthenate, which is quickly becoming the preferred treatment for timber bridges. Wheeler employs twenty-four people on their Whitewood team.
Senator John Thune was elected to the United States Senate in 2004. For the 114th Congress, he serves on the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee and the Finance Committee. He is the Chairman of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. He serves as the Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, the number three position in Senate Republican Leadership. Previously, he served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Senator Mike Rounds was sworn into the United States Senate on January 6, 2015. He serves on four committees: Senate Armed Services; Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; Veterans’ Affairs; and Environment and Public Works. He previously served as the 31st governor of South Dakota from 2003 to 2011 and as a state senator from 1991 to 2000.
Congresswoman Kristi Noem was elected to serve as South Dakota’s lone Member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. She currently serves on the House Ways and Means Committee. She previously served as the 6th District Representative to the South Dakota House of Representatives. 
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