Nebraska manufacturer partners with college with investment in innovation and research

Nebraska manufacturer partners with college with investment in innovation and research

By Kerry McCulloug...

October 5, 2021

Jule and Len

Working to elevate design excellence, student engagement and innovation, Nebraska-based Timberlyne, manufacturer of pre-built post and beam kits, pledges $50,000 to the College of Architecture to establish the Sand Creek Post & Beam Design and Fabrication Fund which will provide competitive grants to support wood construction research and fabrication. Starting this fall, architecture faculty and student teams will be eligible to apply annually for seed money from the fund to support their projects.

For UNL alumni and cofounders Jule Goeller and Len Dickinson, making an investment in education and innovation with the potential to make a substantial impact on the trajectory of the mass timber industry just made sense.

“With this grant program, the College of Architecture is going to be part of shaping the future of what our company does,” said Jule Goeller cofounder. “We would like to be able to continue to create beautiful buildings and dreams for our customers. We think it's important to make sure that the people who are now in college or will be going to college, are educated in timber construction and allowed to use their creativity in designing what direction that future might take for all of us.”

Jule Goeller and Len Dickinson established Sand Creek Post & Beam Inc., now rebranded as Timberlyne, in 2004 in Wayne, Nebraska, when they found themselves empty nesters living in Lincoln and Goeller’s mother urging them to move back closer to the family farm which had been in their family for over 100 years.

“We had nothing holding us back in Lincoln, and Len had always wanted to live in the country. So, I said to Len, ‘well what will we do?’ and he said, ‘I don't know. But we'll think of something,’” said Goeller.

And think of something they did. Dickinson had always had a passion for timber framing and being graduates of the UNL College of Business, they started noticing some trends.

“Lots of professionals were moving out of the city onto acreages or the country. And we were noticing that people were looking for old barns to move on to their property and, especially in Nebraska, there are only so many barns,” said Goeller. “It's a finite number. And we thought, why not do what Montgomery Ward and Sears, Roebuck & Co. used to do in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and provide shipped kit homes and barns. So, we thought, let’s do that!”

Fast forward to today, the couple has a thriving business employing over 130 people in three locations and now carries multiple product lines encompassing residential, commercial and specialty agricultural/equine structures.

With their good fortune, the pair felt compelled not only to give back but explore the future possibilities of mass timber construction.

“We chose the College of Architecture, because of the exciting trends in wood construction,” said Goeller. “This last year or two we’ve seen more emphasis on climate and ecology and healthy living. We’ve seen all the work your faculty and students have done with cross laminated timber (CLT) wood construction, so we would really like to be able to see the college do some research and fun projects with that.”

Cofounder Dickinson is excited to see what projects will be developed from this grant especially with all the advancements in the CLT and mass timber industry and what is now possible with commercial buildings. Commercial businesses are using timber in applications not thought of before including its use in creating 15 story, all-wood apartment buildings and office complexes.

“We're delighted to be on the ground floor, I think we are seeing a trend now away from steel and maybe concrete, and to some of the more renewable and ecologically appropriate products for construction,” said Dickinson. “With some of the developments in the mass timber industry and some of the ecology pushes, I see us really being on the brink of exciting things yet to come.”

With the potential for more growth and innovation with mass timber and their business, it seemed like the right time to create the partnership with the college.

“Whenever we've talked to any architects about our products and the trends we were seeing, they're like, this is great,” said Dickinson. “So why would we not want our alma mater, our budding architects to be able to experience that? And we are also looking for great creative architects, for our businesses. It just seemed like a good fit.”

“We are very excited about the Sand Creek Post & Beam partnership,” said Architecture Program Director David Karle. “It brings together faculty, students and industry partners to research and fabricate new and innovative solutions for mass timber. Through these experiential learning opportunities our students can apply classroom knowledge to real world scenarios.”

For more information regarding donation opportunities, contact Cameron Andreesen, director of development with the University of Nebraska Foundation at 402-458-119 or