Heading up Jhajj Lumber is founder Parm Jhajj. Surrey, B.C.-raised Parm graduated from BCIT in electrical engineering. After a long road of character building and experiences, he fell into a job at Westex Timber Mills, and was taken under the owners’ wing, learning quickly under the mentorship of Mohinder and Baljit Sull. He moved on to work with North American Hardwoods, further refining his expertise under the kind care of Bob and Eva Wilson. Parm was then presented with an opportunity to go out on his own. With the support of his wife, Kulwant, and their three children, Parm worked from a small office in their home, building the company from the ground up. For Parm, the bottom line is running his business with integrity and leading his team by example. That philosophy also extends into community giving; he started the charitable Jhajj Foundation in 2006 and, an avid golfer himself, he launched the Jhajj Lumber Charity Golf Tournament in 2016.
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“The first customer I had when I first got into the business is still a customer. Many more have joined and stayed, too. That says a lot about the people we do business with, and says something about us as well.”
Kulwant Jhajj is truly the heart of Jhajj Lumber. Not only does she manage all the accounts going in and out of the business every day, she keeps the office, and everyone in it, organized. Born in India, Kulwant was raised in England and came to Canada after marrying Parm. She studied office administration and is the mother to three children — Raymond, Selena and Hansi. When Parm came to her with the idea to start Jhajj Lumber, she was 100 per cent behind him, helping him to build the business with her meticulous attention to detail. She has also been instrumental in the development of the Jhajj Foundation, which supports local addiction recovery and homelessness charities.
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“Things have been so good for us that we want to give back. We want to try and help others as much as we can.”
Hansi Jhajj is the next generation of Jhajj Lumber. The youngest son of Parm and Kulwant, he assists in the day-to-day operations of the business, from remanning to bookkeeping to tech support. Hansi is learning the business from the ground up. He studied electrical engineering at BCIT, but his long-term plan is to work in sales alongside his dad, Parm. For now he’s ready and willing to step in wherever he’s needed to support the family business. He is also becoming more involved in the annual Jhajj Lumber Charity Golf Tournament.
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“It’s definitely cool working next to my dad. I’m looking forward to what the future holds for the business as it continues to grow.”
Jhajj Lumber is definitely a family affair. Jared Jhajj is helping his uncle Parm and aunt Kulwant on the accounting and documentation side of the business. He is currently working toward a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Douglas College.
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“Parm is a really strong leader and a good example to follow. And Kulwant is very kind, helpful and really organized.”
Peter Bhandar was Jhajj Lumber’s first official employee, and is today its longest-serving sales manager. Trained as a welder and millwright, the Victoria, B.C.-native worked up in northern B.C. before settling in the Lower Mainland. Here, he leveraged his extensive understanding of lumber mills into a successful career in the lumber trade, before joining Jhajj. He prides himself on being just a phone call away for his clients, racking up 10,000 minutes a month on his cellphone. His specialty is selling bedframe and pallet stock in Canada and internationally, with a particular focus on California. When not working, Peter loves to dance to the local R&B music scene. He has two adult children, a daughter, Jasmine, as well as a son, Jay, who now works alongside him at Jhajj Lumber.
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“If you phone me, I’ll pick up and give you a quote right when you call. If I don’t pick up my phone, I’ll contact you back in five minutes.”
Dean Ponak knows the wooden pallet market inside and out, having worked in the industry for more than 20 years. Dean started his own small company back in 1995, and opened his first remanufacturing plant in 1997. Dean and Parm worked together on a number of different projects and, in 2013, Dean started full time with Jhajj Lumber. Vancouver-born, Dean lives in Surrey and has two kids.
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“The industry has changed over the years, so you either adapt or go out of business. Call Dean for your lumber needs.”
Have a question about logistics? Ken Maksymic is your go-to person. A self-described jack-of-all trades, Ken came to Jhajj Lumber with years of experience in warehousing and transportation. You’ll often find him at the Jhajj lumber yard, unloading and loading freights of lumber and sending them to their final destination via truck in Canada and the United States. Ken can tell you there’s an art to loading lumber, as his priority is to ensure the proper distribution of weight for safe travel. Born in Edmonton, Alberta, and raised in Coquitlam, B.C., Ken also does lumber sales, mainly to truss manufacturers in the Lower Mainland of B.C. He also love golf, and is a key event organizer for the annual Jhajj Lumber Charity Golf Tournament.
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“I enjoy the camaraderie working with the Jhajj family. We all get along great.”
Welcoming Nalin Kalra to the team in 2016 has given Jhajj Lumber a global edge. Born in India, Nalin used to import textiles from China to India before immigrating to Canada. He studied construction management at BCIT after arriving and then started working with Jhajj Lumber. At Jhajj, he uses his international experience and cross-cultural communication skills to market lumber and lumber products to overseas markets like India, Pakistan and the Middle East, as well as the United States. Nalin is enjoying the lifestyle Canada offers, including the time to indulge in his passion for tennis.
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“Every day, I talk to and meet lots of different people from around the world. It’s the beauty of the lumber industry.”