Mendocino Redwood Company

Harry Merlo

Harry Merlo was CEO of Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LP) from its launching in 1973 up to his departure in 1995—a very long run by any industry standard. Currently he oversees, with his son Harry Jr., his winery business in Sonoma County, Lago di Merlo. In January 2008, Merlo agreed to an interview at his office in Portland, Oregon. The focus of the interview was Merlo's role in purchasing the various timberlands in Mendocino County that are now part of Mendocino Redwood Company. In the process, we also tried to catch at least a glimpse of the man, not just the CEO. Most of the personal questions, especially about the pivotal influence of his mother, were sparked by his 2008 autobiography, Vintage Merlo, which was released at the time of the interview . The larger story of LP in Mendocino County as well as related environmental efforts, like Redwood Summer, will be a later undertaking for this history web site.

Interviews, without the aid of video cameras and tape recorders, are tricky to negotiate and especially difficult to translate into print. The interviewer often needs to surround direct quotes with a context of information and with a sense of time, space, voice, and attitude—all the elements that recreate the spoken word, the living person. It's no wonder that Mark Twain, who sometimes insisted on being interviewed in bed, had few good things to say about interviews. "Sometimes in despair," Mark Twain said, "they write up a lot the man never said, never intended to say, and couldn't say if he thought of it." We have tried to avoid those pitfalls and capture, as best we could, an "inner view" of Harry Merlo rather than just an "interview".

Interview Notes



Primary Source

Interview of Harry Merlo by Doris Schoenhoff at Lago di Merlo Distribution Office, Portland, Oregon, 10 January 2008. All direct quotes of Harry Merlo are from this interview, supplemented by telephone conversations with him on 1/11/2008 and 1/16/2008. One week prior to the interview, MRC received an electronic copy of Vintage Merlo..


 Mendocino Redwood Company - Ukiah, California