Published January 1, 1992 | January 1992 issue
The Siberian landscape may soon be dotted with American-designed log homes once a Montana firm helps a new factory in Bratsk, Siberia, get up and running.
Rocky Mountain Log Homes in Hamilton, about 50 miles south of Missoula in the southwestern part of the state, is making a $3 million deal with the Siberian company Bratskana to build the homes.
Spurred by the rapid changes toward privatization in Russia and the demand for housing, the company intends to build single-family log homes for families who have long lived in high-rise complexes. Bratsk, population 400,000, is in central Siberia.
Jim Schueler, president of Rocky Mountain Log Homes, says that his firm will supply the expertise and equipment for Bratskana to start its business. "We are selling equipment and technology for their own use. Two years down the road, hopefully, they'll be exporting to Europe."
Schueler had been working on other business ventures with Russians for about three years before the Bratskana deal. Although the political situation in Russia is unsettled at best, Schueler is optimistic about the continuing relationship with Bratskana. "I don't see that there's any problem. Things seem to be different in the far eastern part of the country."
Rocky Mountain Log Homes employs about 75 people in Hamilton, a community of 2,700, and produces 300 to 400 buildings a year, mostly single-family homes. The arrangement with Bratskana is not expected to boost Rocky Mountain's employment until Bratskana begins selling its product in Europe. At that time, according to Schueler, Rocky Mountain Log Homes, which currently exports products to Taiwan, Japan and Thailand, will become the export agency.