Profile: Kevin Burke

Hi, I am Kevin Burke. My wife and I live in Bellingham, where we raised our two beautiful daughters, both now grown and out of the house. A Midwesterner by birth, I went to art school on the east coast before moving with my young family to Washington in 1987. I worked in the Horticultural industry for more than 20 years, starting out in the fruit orchard and retail nursery and moving into landscape design thanks to my background in art. I designed and managed the crew on installation for commercial and residential customers.

In 2011 I came to work for Pacific Rim Tonewoods primarily as a log buyer. I got the opportunity to travel all over, from S.E. Alaska through coastal British Columbia, for the first time. It is a privilege to walk the log sort yards selecting individual spruce logs for our mill and ultimately for our customers. It has been a pleasure to get to know the interesting and competent folks in the timber industry.

For the past year, I’ve been working with Native Nursery on Maui as part of our Paniolo Tonewoods work.  We’re working on propagating desirable lines of koa, as well as selectively harvesting koa from Haleakala Ranch.

In 2015 we purchased Utopia, a 53 acre farm in the Skagit floodplain, after looking for about a year for land suitable to our growing interest in a Big Leaf Maple plantation. We have been moving as quickly as possible, building the infrastructure, greenhouse, barn, and water systems needed to support these trials. I am overseeing the work there and am initiating research into the cause for figure in trees. I’m working closely with professors and scientists, all of it first steps. As Steve would say, “It’s interesting!”