By: Director of Athletic Communications & Public Relations Kevin Ruple
BEREA, Ohio – The author of this story remembers the words spoken by the late and legendary Baldwin Wallace University professor and football coach Bob Packard, who passed away in 2007, about his star running back and team captain Danny Andrews on the morning before Andrews' final game as a senior, a 25-19 upset a previously unbeaten cross-town rival John Carroll University in 1989.
"From the day Danny Andrews stepped on this campus, he has always led," said Packard. "Right from the start of that very first practice, and he has always finished what he started [referring to his goals]," said Packard.
Developing Olympic Forest Products to a National Leader
Andrews has taken that same approach to his career and has developed Olympic Forest Products, Inc. into one of the world's foremost recyclers of wooden pallets and is one of the world's largest contributors the "The green Initiative" in Northeast Ohio.
"We are a leader in providing wooden pallets and pallet management services regionally and nationally," said Andrews, who was inducted into the BW Alumni Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2014 and was both a Pizza Hut and Football Gazette Division III All-American in 1989.
"We serve single and multi-plant operations in diverse industries. Our customers depend on our commitment to exceptional service and quality resources, and our most importantly our commitment to being sustainable and being conscious of how we help our environment. We want to be a leader in the industry and for young people to learn from.
Learning About Hard Work Early in His Life
Andrews comes from a family of four boys, including his brother John '93, who played football and is a Cleveland firefighter, and one girl who all learned about hard work from their father Bob Andrews Sr.
"My father taught us that you could be successful through hard work and a good education," said Andrews. "We learned very early that he was right.
"My father and uncle [RC Andrews], who was a year younger than my Dad, were essentially on their own when they were young, so they grew up fast," continued Andrews. "When they went to St. Ed's, their coaches were like fathers to them, so when I came to visit BW, my Dad really bonded with Coach Packard. He really liked Coach Packard."
Yellow Jackets for Life
On the football field at BW, Andrews was a four-year starter who ran for a then BW-record 1,931 yards and 18 touchdowns, caught 110 passes for 854 yards and three TD's, ran back 35 punts for 347 yards and 12 kickoffs for 284 yards with his 3,416 all-purpose yards ranking third in school history. But it's the lifelong friendships he made, and the connection he had with Bob Packard that means the most to him today.
"My Dad really trusted Coach Packard," said Andrews, recalling his official recruiting visit to BW in the fall of 1985. "We had access to BW because St. Ed's played some of its games at Finnie Stadium and one of its coaches [wingbacks coach Ken Ciolek] was a Lakewood guy. It felt like home right away and it was close to home.
"I knew both of the Riemenschneider's [Chris Riemenschneider '86 and Dirk Riemenschneider '88] and Massad [Wade Massad '89 and hall of Fame '13] from Westlake and my teammate Bryan Dudash '90 all were either already at or coming to BW, so it made it an easier decision," said Andrews. "It ended up being one of the best decisions I would ever make.
"I was a business administration major," said Andrews, who carried a 3.3 grade average and earned both Academic All-OAC and CoSIDA Academic All-District honors. "Our coaches were also great teachers too. Coach Packard, Taraschke, Demmerle, Fisher, Van Dusen and Ciolek were all outstanding coaches, even better teachers and even better people. They cared about you. You were family. We were family. The BW Football Family."
Parlaying an Insurance Job into Olympic
As luck would have it, after graduation, Andrews began a career in the insurance industry utilizing that same hard-working mentality that he took from St. Ed's to BW and into the insurance industry when one of his clients noticed it. The client and his wife owned Olympic Forest Products at the time they met Andrews and then brought him on board as a partner. When they solid it to him in 1993, it was valued at nearly a million dollars. A year ago, Olympic Forest grossed nearly $140-million dollars in business alone.
Overall, Olympic Forest Products, Incorporated now includes four separate businesses: Olympic Forest Products, located on Carnegie Ave. in Cleveland until its move to Tremont this fall, Blue Sky Pallets in Garrettsville, Ohio, Specialty Pallets & Design, Ltd. In Kidron, Ohio, and The Woodcraft Company in Leesburg, Virginia.
The aforementioned trio of smaller companies were recently started and are just now becoming more profitable under the leadership of Andrews and his management team which include more and more BW graduates. The most recent are Dirk Riemenschneider '18 (Rocky River) [son of Dirk] and Matt Lowry '19 (Rocky River). Last year, the quartet of businesses grossed nearly $160-million dollars.
Outgrowing its Carnegie Avenue Location
During the past two-plus years, Andrews, his team at Olympic Forest and members of the Northeast Ohio community have worked together to renovate and build his new facility on West 11th Street in Tremont that was the former Ukranian St. Vladamir Church.
"We are on the curve of the inner belt downtown and we were outgrowing our space, so this has really been a blessing in disguise," said Andrews with his famous wry smile. "We have worked with the Federal Government, City of Cleveland Port Authority, State of Ohio, City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County to obtain grants to add to our own resources to make this project a reality.
"When we are done, it is going to look fabulous," continued a beaming Andrews, who resides in Westlake with his wife Aimee and sons Joe, 13, Charlie, 11, and Jack, 9. "It will be bright and airy, sustainable and cover all of our needs. We started the project in 2018, and hoped to have it completed earlier this year, but due to the coronavirus, now hope to have it done later in the fall. The total cost will be around $5.2-million dollars."
When Andrews finally is able to unveil his new facility this fall, he will be able to breath a sigh of relief. And, from high above, Bob Packard will be looking down with that big, broad smile he had on November 11, 1989 knowing that his star running back again led from start to finish and finished what he started.