Our Team

Eric Warner

Eric joined Pacific Rim Tonewoods in 1994, learning every facet of the business on his way to becoming general manager – and partner. The only thing Eric loves more than talking to clients and running the operations is, well, everything. Volunteer firefighter, drone photographer, and grillmaster, Eric is often the first to arrive and the last to turn off the lights. 

Steve McMinn

Steve was raised in the Pacific Northwest and has worked with wood or timber for 55 years; he built his first guitar at 28. As founder of Pacific Rim Tonewoods, Steve sourced and split every log that came into the mill. Now he spends his time finding the beauty and the music in pieces of koa, maple or spruce, and researching ways to grow, and conserve, more trees.

Kevin Burke

Kevin likes nothing better than to hike the Pacific Northwest in search of the best logs for soundboards. He’s also into the science of growing good trees, and is our key liaison with forestry experts at Purdue, Oregon State, Washington State and other universities. A background in horticulture makes Kevin a natural fit for our work with maple propagation at Utopia and koa propagation and conservation in Hawaii.  

Justin El-Smeirat

Justin came to Pacific Rim Tonewoods in 2010, having worked for years on “hotshot” fire crews. He took on one of the most important jobs – splitting logs for soundboards. Whether it’s finding the guitar in that critical first cut of wood, buying spruce logs in British Columbia, Canada, or harvesting koa on the Big Island of Hawaii, Justin knows his trees and wood. 

Steve Farrell

Steve is a millwright and our resident jack of all trades. He literally keeps us going, having tinkered with, repaired and mastered the workings of every single piece of equipment on our millsite. Steve is in charge of all our new machinery during the commissioning phase, and makes sure all of our bandsaws are sharp.

David Olson

David has a Master’s degree in paleobotany, a day job as an ear, nose and throat doctor – and plays the guitar. His interest in trees, acoustics and the magic of guitar making have led him to Pacific Rim Tonewoods. For the past several years, David has been responsible for our ground-breaking research into the sonic properties of tonewoods.

Christi Schmidt

Christi handles our phones, billing, payroll, and export paperwork. Hers is the warm voice that will answer when you call. A Northwest native, Christi is a family person, an avid reader, and a community volunteer. When she’s not helping us all stay on track at the mill, Christi loves to spend time crafting, drawing and painting.

Brian Sweeney

Brian has worked in the local timber and sawmill industry for nearly thirty years. He buys alder logs for resale to veneer mills in the Midwest, and figured maple logs for our own production. Quietly independent, Brian helps us track extraordinary logs back to their sources, so we can propagate them. He also runs our harvesting operation in Hawaii. Resourceful and thorough, Brian handles a number of concerns for us, from acquiring equipment to finding homes for by-products.

Jake Wells

Jake joined our team in 2018, the same year he graduated from Western Washington University (WWU). Jake is our head manufacturing engineer, handling all of our robotic applications and R&D. He has a passion to learn how things work and a focus on making systems better. At the millsite, there is no shortage of systems or projects to keep Jake busy.