Hunterdon County Vocational School District (HCVSD) has named Niece Lumber as its 2021 Business Partner of the Year. A partner for over a decade, Niece Lumber has donated lumber and other materials to aid construction science students in their hands-on learning – and continued to do so even after the business was hit hard by Hurricane Ida.
Niece Lumber began partnering with the district in 2012 and has remained enthusiastic over the years about helping the students enrolled in Polytech Career & Technical High School’s construction science program, and subsequently, building the trade by investing in its future workforce.
“They made countless donations of materials and supplies to our students and brought in manufacturing representatives to speak with them who also made donations of supplies and tools,” said Construction Science Instructor Charles Lachner.
Even after flooding caused by Hurricane Ida damaged some of Niece Lumber’s supplies, the business remained a loyal supporter of Polytech. Lachner said, in fact, the business reached out to him, asking how much plywood he needed and then came through with a generous donation.
“We just love working with the Polytech program,” said Rich Aneskewich, sales manager for Niece Lumber. “It’s a good thing to help kids who are interested in this industry get involved and to keep them interested. We help them out, give materials, information – whatever they need.”
Working in the construction business for more than 35 years, Rich is passionate about preparing the next generation to enter construction-related fields and values the partnership with Lachner and HCVSD.
“The available workforce is drastically low right now,” said Aneskewich. “It’s tough. We deal with a lot of businesses over the course of the day, and they all are in need of qualified people to hire. That’s why programs like Polytech’s are so important, and why we’re happy to offer our support.”
In addition to making donations, Rich and co-owner Bruce Currie represent Niece Lumber on the Polytech Advisory Committee for the construction science program. Their contributions include sharing the latest trends, tools, and techniques in the construction industry.
“It’s important to us to maintain a meaningful relationship with local business partners like Niece Lumber to keep us up to speed with industry happenings and to give our students a leg up in the job market,” emphasized Lachner.
“The main goal for us is to jumpstart students’ careers in this field,” said Aneskewich. “Polytech graduates are out there helping with contractors in our area. They are hard at work, and we’re proud to have helped prepare them in any way.”