The Woodworking Machinery Industry Assn. honored two woodworking firms and one college woodworking program for their commitment to excellence at the association’s 22nd annual awards dinner on Monday night.

“One of the main characteristics the companies we are honoring this evening have in common is that they are extremely efficient and let technology drive their business,” said David Rothwell, executive vice president of Stiles Machinery and president of the WMIA, during the awards ceremony, which was held at the Woodstock Inn and Resort in Woodstock, VT.

The 2009 Wooden Globe Awards were presented in three categories: Innovator, Commitment to Excellence in Technology and Educator.

Innovator -- Anvil Motion

The Innovator Award was presented to Anvil Motion of Brigham City, UT, which developed a new, patent-pending automated cabinetry system in 2008.

Michael Cassell, North American CNC production manager for Holz-Her US Inc., who presented the award to Anvil, praised the company for its forward-thinking technology. “Dissatisfied with the quality of outsourced cabinets, it developed its own custom products. In 2008 it coupled its commitment to Old World quality and craftsmanship with the latest in automated technology,” he said.

The technology allows consumers to open and close cabinet doors with the wave of a hand, using recognition sensors. It also incorporates biometric technology to set the lighting, audio/video equipment and room temperature to the specific individual entering the kitchen.

Anvil was profiled in the September issue of Custom Woodworking Business. Read the story.

Commitment to Excellence in Technology -- Hoff Enterprises

The Commitment to Excellence in Technology Award was presented to Hoff Enterprises, based in Johnstown, PA. The Commitment to Excellence in Technology Award is annually presented to a company that has achieved consistent growth and profitability in its market segment and attributes its success to investing in high-technology equipment from WMIA member companies.

Hoff Enterprises manufactures a wide range of laminated and wood case goods and solid-surface countertops for government offices, medical facilities and residential construction.

The company was founded in 1907 by Walt Friedhoff, and today, is run by his son, Kurt.

Joe Wentzlof, regional sales manager for Holz-Her U.S., Inc., and a WMIA member, said Kurt Friedhoff’s commitment to technology is evident in his business. “I’ve had the opportunity of working with Kurt on some purchases and found his knowledge of the industry and its equipment was amazing,” Wentzlof said. “He knew what he wanted, where his business was heading and how he planned to get there. This commitment, even in a tough economy, has kept him ahead of his competitors.”

Educator -- Hennepin Technical College

This year’s Educator Award was presented to Hennepin Technical College of Brooklyn Park, MN.

Jim Besonen, CEO of Wood Machinery Systems and a WMIA member, said Hennepin Technical College is remarkable in how many of its alumni have gone into the woodworking industry, becoming skilled craftsmen, entrepreneurs, business managers and machinery buyers.

Hennepin has been training people to enter the woodworking industry for more than 35 years. Its two-year cabinetmaking program focuses on hand skills and layout in the beginning of the program and progresses to more complex machining, including CNC machining and CAD layout and design. The program has about 18 graduates a year and virtually all of them land jobs in the industry.

“The wood products industry of 2009 has just as great a need for a skilled technical workforce as it did back in the 1970s, and I’m proud to see that Hennepin Technical College is just as committed today to providing us with those skilled individuals as they were four decades ago,” Bensonen said.