D. Nels Reese

Idaho Genius: The Troutner Legacy

TArthur Troutner is one of those rare Idaho geniuses. His rags to riches story, of a poor boy from Pingree, Idaho, who fought in World War II, attended the University of Idaho and went on to not only build a number of cutting-edge modern homes in Boise, Sun Valley and Idaho Falls, but invented a building product that led to the development of a Fortune 500 corporation. He and his partner Harold “Red” Thomas led the wood products world by not only creating the Trus Joist Corporation, but they also created one of the most inventive structures in America–the University of Idaho’s Kibbie Dome. In 1976, it earned the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Structural Achievement Award. This all-Idaho team created new and far-reaching ways to use wood that changed America’s construction techniques forever.

In 2000 Weyerhaeuser paid $720 million to buy Trus Joist, still a 51 percent owner and managing partner of Trus Joist MacMillan.