Hatton-Brown Publishers: Rich Tradition, Bright Future

The Hatton-Brown organization in Montgomery, Ala. dates to 1948, when local newspaperman Hartwell Hatton founded Hatton Publications.  His first forest-oriented magazine, Alabama Lumberman, was published from 1949-57.

Hatton, Brown & Co., Inc. was established in 1953, the same year a new Southern regional logging title, Pulpwood Production, was started.  Charles Cline joined the company as editor in the summer of 1953 and helped get the first issue into print that August. Pulpwood Production’s title was lengthened to Pulpwood Production & Saw Mill Logging in 1956 and its circulation was extended into the Lake States and New England in 1962.

Dianne Sullivan joined the company as circulation manager in 1964. In February 1968 David Ramsey joined the staff as sales manager and David (DK) Knight joined the company 30 days later as an editor. Mr. Hatton retired in 1971 selling his stock to Charles Cline, David Ramsey and David Knight. Dianne Sullivan then became office manager.

Anticipating the need for an economical logging newspaper in the South, Hatton-Brown launched Loggin’ Times (later titled Southern Loggin’ Times) in 1972. In late 1974, sensing a change in the nature of the traditional pulpwood market, management decided to phase in a new name for Pulpwood Production & Saw Mill Logging, which went national in 1977 as Timber Harvesting. Also in 1977, Hatton-Brown started Timber Processing Industry, a regional tabloid newspaper for the lumber industry that became a national sawmill magazine, Timber Processing, in 1979.

In 1981 Charles Cline retired and David Ramsey and David Knight became the new owners. Ramsey and Knight formed a new corporation, Hatton-Brown Publishers, Inc. Dianne Sullivan became Secretary of the corporation, and was named General Manager and joined the owners on the Board of Directors.

In 1981 David Ramsey, David Knight and some key employees of Hatton-Brown purchased Plywood & Panel. This journal, officially acquired in January 1982, was subsequently renamed Panel World.

Hatton-Brown has also published the official program for various logging equipment expositions across the country through the years, including the Timber Harvesting Expo-SE in South Georgia, the Carolina Log’n Demo in eastern North Carolina and the Pacific Logging Congress In-the-Woods demo.

Rich Donnell joined Hatton-Brown in December of 1983 as Managing Editor and has since become Editorial Director overseeing all publications under the Hatton-Brown banner.

In late 1988, with employment practically double the number of 1981, the company owners elected to build a new and larger office building at the corner of Clay and Hanrick Streets in Montgomery. The building was completed and occupied in April 1990. The official open house followed on June 7, 1990.

Hatton-Brown diversified its publishing interests in January 1991 by acquiring its first non-forestry or paper related title, Chain Saw Age & Power Equipment Trade. To better position the publication for the overall lawn and garden industry and its many equipment suppliers, the company changed the publication’s title to Power Equipment Trade in 1992.

Specialty began in 1988 with the acquisition of the annual hard-bound reference guide The Wood Book. In 1993 Hatton-Brown entered into an agreement with the American Pulpwood Assn. to publish a new edition of a book entitled “How To Stay At Peace With Your Government.”
In 1995 Hatton-Brown purchased its first consumer publication, IronWorks, an upscale magazine appealing to Harley-Davidson motorcycle enthusiasts. Dennis Stemp, founder of the magazine remained as editor until his death in 2003.

Hatton-Brown acquired another forest products magazine in 1999. Founded in 1881, Southern Lumberman had a rich history of serving the growing Southern lumber industry at it inception and for more than 120 years was a popular title for many hardwood and smaller specialty sawmillers. The publication’s archival records are rich with tales of Southern lore and lumbering. However, Hatton-Brown ceased publication of Southern Lumberman in December 2009 due to economic conditions in the wood products industry.

Thus at the beginning of the new century the company owned seven magazines, one trade show newspaper and one regional trade show. Hatton-Brown began to expand its reach with live demos and sponsorships for various industry shows.

The company has developed and worked with multiple shows in various capacities, including the All-American Loggin’ Demo, Timber Harvesting Expo SE, Mid South Forestry Equipment Show, Timber & Biomass Expo SE and the Panel & Engineered Lumber International Conference & Expo through Panel World.

In early 2005, Wade Ramsey became a consultant to the company focusing on advertising sales and marketing while also serving as its legal counsel.

Staying on the leading edge of industry trends, Hatton-Brown Publishers has leveraged its sterling forest products reputation by starting the green energy publication Wood Bioenergy in 2009. The publication provides a critical information source as the forest products and energy industries meet to produce green fuel and power, and the overall company effort has provided synergy with Hatton-Brown’s forest industry equipment show and conference projects.

Throughout its history Hatton-Brown has consistently delivered the best marketing and promotional publications and events for top suppliers and vendors in a variety of industries, backed by insightful and informational editorial content.

Hatton-Brown publications have strived to take strong positions on industry issues, and editors have served readerships by taking on strong roles in industry organizations, participating in events and conferences and providing critical networking platforms for trade associations and activism.

This type of dedication to Hatton-Brown’s loyal readerships and their industries—and the key vendors and suppliers who serve them—is the hallmark of the company’s success, allowing it to build a rich tradition and reputation that provides leadership and insight for a successful future.