"I was fortunate to have good health and the ability to be a
self-starter and the good Lord to help me," Swaner said from behind a
large wooden desk and surrounded by wood-paneled walls and floors of his
The 74-year-old chief executive officer moved to Glendale from Salt
Lake City when he was 13. He dropped out of Hoover High School in
Glendale two months before his 17th birthday to join the U.S. Armed
Forces during World War II.
He came back to Glendale two years later and began working for his
father-in-law's hardwood flooring business. After 11 years, Swaner began
a business for himself.
But Swaner said he never expected his business to grow as much as it
"I just wanted to make a living for my family, which I have done," he
Swaner does more than that.
Swaner Hardwood uses trees from Swaner's own 4,500 acres of forestry
in Washington to manufacture and distribute a number of wooden
commodities, including lumber for stores like Home Depot and Lowe's,
furniture, flooring, moldings and even sawdust.
"Anything in wood, we can do," Swaner said.
Swaner Hardwood provided the flooring for the J. Paul Getty Museum in
Los Angeles and for business tycoon Bill Gates' house in Washington,
Swaner said. The company also manufactured the moldings used in the
Bellagio, Mirage and Golden Nugget hotels in Las Vegas.
Outside of his business, Swaner said he spends much of his time
involved in community organizations and charities, donating wood and
supplies to causes like Toys for Tots, Porter Ranch YMCA, Boy Scouts of
America and Encino Food Bank.
Swaner owns a 17-acre plywood plant up in Washington with 250
employees. In Burbank, his two-acre property manufactures and then ships
products to nine Western states, Swaner said.
And though Swaner's son, Gary, 52, and son-in-law, Steve Haag, 51, now
both help run the business, Swaner said he's not planning on retiring any
"What for?" he said. "If you like doing something and you can come and
go as you please, why quit? They don't pay me any money, but it's fun."
THE SWANER FILE
WHO: Keith Swaner
WHAT: CEO of Swaner Hardwood Co. Inc. that manufactures and
distributes lumber, furniture, sawdust, flooring and moldings.
WHERE: 5 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank