Meet the 2018 Wood Industry 40 Under 40
August 2, 2018 | 5:13 pm CDT
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When asked what one word best describes Mark Andersen, senior vice president of Corporate Woodworking Inc., the response was short and simple: Grit.

 

Citing specific examples of his impact on the architectural woodwork company, the co-worker who nominated Andersen notes, “His hands-on, immediate action philosophy started with learning the project management and estimating side of the business and then quickly spread to manufacturing, customer service and accounting.  His mastery of the operation including field installation, outsourcing, personality management and marketing and promotion, have not only re-written many of the ways in which we do business here at Corporate Woodworking but has forced our customers our suppliers and most notably, our competition to take notice as we continue to ascend in our marketplace.”

 

Motivated by hard work, honesty and solving problems, Andersen, “appreciates the good in all people and works hard to extract the efforts and positive contributions in each and every individual he interacts with on a daily basis.  Mark is motivated by his unwavering faith and by serving others with no limits to his capacity for giving, caring and for enriching the lives of anyone and everyone around him by understanding his role and his attempts to make everyone a better employee and a better person.”

 

Corporate Woodworking Inc. is located in Fairfield, New Jersey.

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In a short time, Jeremy Basler, EHS manager, American Woodmark Corp., has helped transition one of the company's worst performing in terms of internal safety metrics to one of the cabinet manufacturer’s best.

 

“Through Jeremy’s leadership and establishment of the importance of safety culture, the plant has since achieved the lowest recordable incident rate in its history, which means less employees are experiencing injuries, and are able to stay working,” says the co-worker who nominated him.

 

Basler’s motivation has been the 600 employees that work at the Kingman Plant.  “He was once quoted as saying, ‘Safety has been, and always will be about people.  I firmly believe that you must create a lasting relationship of trust with your people, before you can lead them to empower change in any culture.’”

 

Basler’s impact has been felt throughout the company. “Through his leadership and direction, he has changed the safety culture to one of caring about the employee, and not just the job or production goals.  Not only has Jeremy made a lasting impact on the Kingman plant, but his selflessness also led him to help mentor and guide other plant and service center leaders to improve safety at their own locations.”

 

“Caring is one of American Woodmark’s supporting values, and Jeremy is a great representation of what someone who emulates caring in all aspects of his life can do for a culture.”

 

Basler works at American Woodmark's Kingman, Arizona facility. American Woodmark is headquartered in Winchester, VA.

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In the short time since Rachael Beaty joined Maco Manufacturing Inc., she has already had an impact. The office administrator at the educational furniture manufacturer, Beaty “has quietly become very the face of Maco Manufacturing,” while earning the respect of the entire Maco team, says a co-worker.

 

“Rachael has a brought a new perspective of how we look at all aspects of the business.  She is constantly showing her creativity, ever-growing knowledge, and passion for the company.

 

“Being a 20-year employee of the company, I can see her enthusiasm being shared by other company employees. I am proud to say Rachael played an integral part in Maco Manufacturing increasing sales 74% for the last yearly reporting period.”

 

Beaty is also determined to help the Texas-based manufacturer be a leader in the industry. “She is committed to what she is doing and takes pride in seeing a goal accomplished.  Rachael is fearless at attempting a task she has never experienced, but we at Maco know she will give 100% to getting the job done with precision and confidence.”

 

Maco Manufacturing is based in Belton, Texas.

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The director of Technology at ClosetPro Software, Mike Bergamo has helped develop a responsive, cloud-based design tool that utilizes 3D imaging.  “Mike is a young tech, driven by the potential of using new technologies to enhance the closet industry,” said one nominator.

 

“His particular contribution has been in the area of web-based 3D technologies that allows closet designers to display their customer’s closets in an interactive 3D space on any size or type of device including laptops, tablets or even smart phones.” The tool also prices the closets in real time allowing the salesperson to close more sales while requiring less on-site visits.

 

“We have worked with Mike over the past two years on transitioning us onto their closet design platform. His attention to detail has been amazing,” said another nominator. “Mike’s past programming knowledge and experience is a welcome addition to the custom closet industry. Taking a design tool specific for our industry and bringing it to the cutting edge of technology and 3D modeling is a huge benefit to us all. He is responsible for raising the bar for what we expect from these products.”

 

Bergamo has been described as “hard working, smart, innovative and sincere. “I feel as if he enjoys being a part of producing a product that exceeds expectations of its users. Moreover, being one step ahead.”

 

ClosetPro Software is based in Ocean, New Jersey.

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Patrick Beseda’s impact at Twig Custom Builders LLC can’t be overstated, says the co-worker who nominated him. “Patrick is our MVP and pushes Twig and our clients to innovate and explore new materials, techniques, and processes.”

 

Beseda is a designer and project manager at the company, which produces stairs, millwork, cabinetry, storage solutions, convertible furniture and more. “From the day he walked into our shop, Patrick has had a direct and significant impact on our business.” For example, “During our first meeting, he introduced me to a concept that later that day I was able to use in discussion with a prospect who is now a primary client.”

 

Beseda is also constantly exploring new materials and production methods to help Twig grow its business. “Patrick constantly works to improve his process, whether in design, modeling, CAM, machining, assembly, etc. He is deeply involved in developing the best output we can deliver in that moment.”

 

“We are also involved in ‘alternative housing’ and Patrick sees a direct link between what we do and how we can contribute to both our clients and our community.”

 

Twig Custom Builders is based in Denver, Colorado.

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The president of DARRAN Furniture, Jennifer Cashion is known for her passion to succeed. And, her nominator adds, although only in her thirties, Cashion demonstrates the leadership and organizational skills of someone much older. In fact, Cashion was among a select group of small business owners and entrepreneurs from across the country to meet last year with Congress, as part of a Small Business Event at the White House. At the event, discussions focused on improvements being made for job creation, tax reform and small business regulation to encourage manufacturing in the U.S.

 

A woman-owned company, DARRAN has three manufacturing facilities in North Carolina, where it produces more than 40 collections of high-quality, mid-priced office and contract furniture. Under Cashion’s leadership, “the company has surpassed all historical records of performance, innovation and new product diversification,” says her nominator.

 

The company’s innovation was on display recently at the recent NeoCon, where the company made news with the debut of its Cell tables, the expansion of the Bota lounge collection, and the Cone, an overhead meeting space designed to create privacy.

 

DARRAN Furniture is based in High Point, North Carolina.

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Adaptable is the word one nominator has used to describe Jesse Cline, owner of Brave Custom Woodworking. Cline, who left work as a superintendent for a large home builder in 2008 to start his own firm, weathered through a tough economy, “but due to our high client satisfaction rate and A+ reviews, we never had to send an employee home due to lack of work.” Since beginning in a two-car garage, the company has grown significantly, with sales surpassing a $1 million the past two years.

 

“Jesse is motivated by being the best at what he does. I've been with Jesse since close to the beginning, when we were hand drawing all of our drawings and cutting out cabinets on a table saw.  He had very little computer skills.  Today he is doing all of our designing on cabinet software and is our CNC programmer.”

 

Adds the nominator, “He totally streamlined our process from sales to assembly to installation. I truly believe that we are building the best cabinet for the money in our market due to his innovation and ability to adapt and change to the market.”

 

Another nominator notes “Jesse is motivated by offering the best product, customer satisfaction and his unbending integrity.” He adds Cline’s honesty, attention to detail and sense of humor also drives employees to do their very best.

 

Brave Custom Woodworking is located in Manassas, Virginia.

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With #JonahRocks one of the most trending hashtags on an e-support forum, it’s easy to why Jonah Coleman has gained the industry’s recognition. The engineering manager for Wilkie Sanderson/Innergy ERP, “is the most active user on our eSupport community, taking the time to post answers to questions, and helping other software users improve their manufacturing processes,” says one nominator.

 

“By taking personal time to share his knowledge of Cabinet Vision software and manufacturing in general, and also the scripts and customizations that he has freely shared with the community, Jonah has helped hundreds, if not thousands, of shops around the world save time, improve their processes, and better their businesses. The impact could very well be immeasurable.”

 

Words like “selfless” “driven,” and even “brilliant” have been used to describe him. “He wants everyone to be able to do their jobs efficiently and correctly, and he wants to help them get to that place as fast as possible,” adds another nominator. “Jonah has an unmatched ability to combine computer programming with the millwork industry. His programming skills have been combined with engineering software as well as ERP software. This creates a way to make improvements to multiple processes in a time frame that no one else is capable of matching.”

 

Wilkie Sanderson is located in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota. Innergy is also located in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota.

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Trevor Deutmeyer, president of Nine Thirteen Interiors, has been called a visionary by some of his contemporaries. As “owner and brain trust” of the Denver architectural woodwork and design firm, Deutmeyer has helped steer growth and quantify the company’s work.

 

“With the help of a custom-built time keeping application, the employees also code all of their work time so that we can quantify the cost of each project down to the shims,” explains the nominator. “To make the dream work,” she adds, “Trevor embraces technology wherever and whenever possible.”

 

What motivates Deutmeyer is “family and a personal challenge.” Since founding the company in 2012, Nine Thirteen has grown to include an overall project manager, full time drafter, a shop manager and two shop carpenters, plus eight carpenters in the field with a project manager at each home.

 

Family is equally important to Deutmeyer. Nine Thirteen is named after his firstborn’s birthday, September 13. “I think in building and running the company he wants to show his kids and family what it means to work hard and go after your wild and crazy dreams, even if you are the first one to do it.”

 

Nine Thirteen Interiors is based in Denver, Colorado.

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In addition to his job as owner and president of Quis Machinery, Jason Dingess has also made contributions to the woodworking industry as a member of the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association and serves on the WMIA Technology Committee. “He strives on improving himself, the industry, and the people around him,” says one nominator.

 

“Passion, drive and determination,” is how another nominator describes Dingess. “He loves helping people and providing solutions to their equipment needs.”

 

“Jason brings new concepts and ideas to the WMIA to help educate its members, such as cloud-based computing, technology in customer service, catering to the Millennial generation, Industry 4.0 and more,” says another nominator.

 

“Coming from a background of custom furniture, Jason brings a mentality of tailored solutions for his customers,” he adds. “The North Carolina furniture industry has struggled for many, many years, and over the past four to five years, and Jason has contributed significantly in helping his customers grow, be more competitive, manufacture more, and add jobs.”

 

“Jason is motivated by having established, and maintaining, a quality reputation in the industry – and by knowing this is something his children and family can be proud of. He puts others first and himself second.”

 

Quis Machinery is based in Asheville, North Carolina.

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Ezra Drissman, sales and marketing for Oakwood Veneer Co., has a passion for woodworking, and of course, veneer. “Ezra is a true resource for all things veneer,” says his nominator. “He is extremely passionate about the quality of the products his company produces and is customer service driven. Ezra has a real talent for marketing as an added role with the company.”

 

Over the past five years, Drissman has helped grow Oakwood Veneer into a brand name in the high-end commercial and residential market. He has also been instrumental in the revamping of the company’s website, including the addition of how-to videos and promotion of new product lines.  “Ezra continues to try and always push the envelope.”

 

“I love sales,” Drissman adds. “I also love strategy and helping companies maximize their sales are marketing efforts. I am passionate about getting things right. I also know how to move internal pieces to make sure that companies are on the correct path.”

 

 “I think Ezra is driven as a result of internalizing and living the business of veneer products,” his nominator adds. Through his actions, Drissman also promotes the visibility, and viability, of the industry as a whole.

 

Oakwood Veneer is based in Troy, Michigan.

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Trent Evans has made a significant impact at Genesis Products, having worked his way from an entry level position to his current role as vice president at the components manufacturer and panel processing firm. “Trent is ambitious, and an excellent leader by example,” says one nominator. “His fast rise through the ranks of the company demonstrate this to a tee. His tenure has, by no coincidence, been accompanied by outstanding growth of the company's product lines.”

 

“Passion for profit and team success are what motivates Trent,” he adds. “His team excels in problem-solving and being proactive; both of which are trickle-down traits of his leadership. There is great cohesion in that team, and it creates a great work environment where everyone's contributions are recognized.”

 

Empowering, charismatic leadership, and #Mentor have been used to describe Evans.

 

“He's been a role model for myself and the younger generation by showing what can be accomplished by a young professional with an appetite for success and an eagerness for improvement,” says another co-worker.

 

“Trent's impact can be seen just about anywhere you look at Genesis, including the three manufacturing plants that have either been established and/or expanded on under his leadership, or the sister plants that have seen growth feeding materials to his plants, and all the careers that have been created as a result,” he adds.

“Trent is results oriented with a drive to see the company succeed and grow.”

 

Genesis Products is headquartered in Elkhart, Indiana.

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Jeff Finney took his successful Ultimate Cabinets business and in 2016 turned it into Ultimate Cabinet Components, where the owner and CEO has been motivated to “become the most efficient cabinet part manufacturer in the world.” The components manufacturer posts revenues of more than $2 million yearly, notes one nominator, with continued growth projected. In addition to running his company, Finney also writes a weekly blog for customers and followers, has started a podcast "The Push Thru,” and is a published author of articles, including Woodworking Network publications.

 

Finney also demonstrates peer inspiration, leadership, profitability and ingenuity, says one nominator, who describes him as “a genius of logistics” and “a friend willing to help others succeed.”

 

“Through his blogs, articles and videos, Jeff inspires others to be more successful and indeed teaches them how to be more successful in whatever they do,” she says. “He is a valuable resource of knowledge, inspiration and materials for cabinetmakers across the U.S.”

 

 “At 39, Jeff has enabled hundreds of businesses to enjoy more success by using flat-packed components – and has inspired us to work smarter every day.”

 

 Says another nominator, “The impact (of using Lockdowel technology, flat-packed components) has been substantial and in our local market many heads are turning. From multi-family and single-family contractors are taking note. The time savings and dollar savings are enough to get anyone excited.”

 

Ultimate Cabinet Components is based in Collinsville, Oklahoma.

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Chad Foster, president of Gator Millworks, is recognized for his efforts within and outside the workplace. “Speaking with his employees and colleagues, you can get a real sense of the pride they share discussing the positive growth the company is experiencing and the respect Chad has earned amongst them,” says one nominator. “Chad's passion for the woodworking industry and his drive to make Gator Millworks the best millwork shop in the state has inspired many of his peers to reevaluate their own practices. I have seen a rejuvenation in the local cabinet shops that I haven't seen in 16 years.”

 

“He has also invested time, money and resources in his community to educate the local potential future of the woodworking industry.”

 

Described as devoted, business minded, hardworking and compassionate, “Chad’s concern with the well-being of his employees and understanding that life can take unexpected turns was fully on display after the devastating floods that hit Louisiana in 2016. With over 6 feet of water throughout the Gator Millworks buildings, he realized it wasn’t just production that was going to take a hit; it was employees, family members and friends throughout the area who had also lost everything,” says another nominator. While rebuilding his own facility, Foster also assisted those in the Gator Millworks family.

 

 The family/team environment continues. “Realizing that the success of the company relies tremendously on the drive of its employees, Chad has put into place the technology, training opportunities and benefit packages to allow his employees to focus on the task at hand each and every day. Advancing skill sets is a priority while finding new efficiencies and ways of revolutionizing the industry are highly encouraged.”

 

He adds, “For Chad, his motivation comes from continuously providing the highest quality architectural millwork for Gator Millworks’ clients and the best working environment for his team all while pushing the envelope in the millwork industry to see just how much Gator can accomplish.”

 

Gator Millworks is based in Denham Springs, Louisiana.

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Each piece of Brian Frieze’s woodwork tells a story. By using locally sourced reclaimed wood from barns, churches and mills in Illinois, Frieze, president and founder of Sangamon Reclaimed is able to track the history of each piece of furniture. “This allows the business to share with it the local stories of each structure and the people associated with them,” says the nominator. “It also means that Brian and his team are doing their bit in creating a sustainable product.”

 

There’s more. Upon noticing the popularity of the company’s barn wood American flags, Frieze, an Illinois firefighter and military veteran, created Flags for Heroes, an initiative benefitting non-profits that support veterans and first responders. Recipients of the program have included the Chris Kyle Memorial Benefit, Land of Lincoln Honor Flight, The Travis Manion Foundation, Spring St. Veterans Renaissance and Operation Fight Veteran Homelessness.

 

“It is something of which Brian and the team are very proud – and one of the many reasons I am nominating Brian for this award along with his service to his country and his ownership of a business that has grown exponentially in just five years – from his garage to a purpose built 16,000-square-foot facility.”

 

Sangamon Reclaimed employs and trains veterans and in 2016 was awarded the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve "Statement of Support" certificate. Frieze was also awarded an Illinois Veterans' Business and Appreciation Award in 2017. Additional recognitions and awards have also received by Sangamon and Frieze, a man described as ”driven, compassionate, and resilient.”

 

Sangamon Reclaimed is located in Springfield, Illinois.

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The sales and marketing manager, “Jeremy Funk has made a measurable impact with Elias Woodwork, showing his ongoing dedication and leadership over the past 20 years with the company. He exemplifies the virtue of hard work and dedication to a job well done and always exceeds the status-quo. He has devoted time to ensure his fellow employees are well trained, properly equipped for their careers and ready for success,” says his nominator.

 

“Besides impacting our own company, Jeremy has played key roles in our partner’s success and growth, devoting time and out-of-the-box ideas to deliver mutual success. His position of trust and knowledge coupled with his exemplary commitment has supported the foundation of many growing companies!”

 

A customer testimonial also cites Funk’s invaluable expertise, problem solving methods, and the willingness to go beyond his scope of practice. “We truly appreciate everything Jeremy has done for our company and cannot count the amount of thank yous we would give for doing such a superb job!”

 

The nominator adds, “I believe Jeremy is driven by the dedication to the greater good, of the company and beyond. He desires to see everyone succeed, while maintaining constant growth. He is motivated by the families that this company supports.”

 

She continues, “Jeremy is humble and works diligently without the need for applause. The success of the company shows the success of his work.”

 

“The impact of Jeremy’s unwavering commitment has brought Elias Woodwork into a position of an industry leader in refacing,” where the components manufacturer has won numerous awards and recognition, including inclusion in the WOOD 100 and being named one of Manitoba’s fastest-growing companies.

 

Elias Woodwork and Manufacturing Ltd. is based in Winkler, Manitoba, Canada.

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Determined, committed, innovative and hardworking are just a few of the words used to describe Peter Haber, owner of CustomCut Interiors.

 

“We have watched Pete’s business evolve from its inception to the recognized and respected custom wood shop it is today,” says his nominator. “CustomCut Interiors is sought after by well-known designers, architects and contractors throughout the tri-state area.”

 

Testimonials from designers bear this out. “My designs are often complex, and schedules are demanding. However, Pete’s enthusiasm, energy and love of his work permeate every aspect of each job.  He is inventive, and his creative problem-solving abilities are a huge contribution to each project.   When presented with a challenge, Pete’s answer is always ‘yes, we can do it.’  Then he and his team make it happen.”

 

Another designer notes, “There has never been a problem that Pete has not been able to solve, and he’s continually coming up with creative solutions to create functional and beautiful pieces and custom finishes that have made him extremely popular with our clientele, and in constant demand…. Besides his creativity and incredibly fine eye for detail, he is fantastic to work with.”

 

Haber is motivated by “the creative puzzle,” of the project says the nominator. “The hand’s-on art form that transitions a pallet of wood into a finely crafted heirloom. When Pete delivers a piece or installs a room of his custom work, he makes a personal connection with the owner of the item/space.  He enjoys the challenge of creating and finds a way to make it happen.”

 

CustomCut Interiors is located in Durham, Connecticut.

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The CEO and president of Pillar Machine, Jeff Hatch provides high-level executive oversight of all administrative, financial, personnel, and organizational functions while developing a manufacturing team of 27 for both Pillar Machine and sister company Accu-Service.

 

“Although he wears many hats in this company, Jeff is the senior mechanical engineer with over 20 years of verifiable success in both the development and manufacturing of advanced woodworking machines and associated operational software,” says his nominator.

 

“Jeff’s engineering skills and creativity are what is changing the production in wood shops across the country, Canada, Mexico and even in Europe. He is not only a successful business leader, but he has insight on the needs of his customers.”

 

“He thrives on analyzing processes and data in all aspects of business and using that information to engineer and create something better.”

 

Hatch is often sought after for his extensive knowledge on products and processes, including haunched doors and frames, and he has created a “Miter Door Bible,” to assist woodworkers. In addition to the company’s standard line of offerings, “If a customer needs a custom-made machine, Jeff takes on the project from start to finish,” the nominator says. “Jeff prides himself with the ability to help the customers see how his machinery can give them a sure return on their investment and aims to help each shop produce a high-quality safe product.”

 

 “Jeff is also motivated when he can provide jobs in the USA and create a culture for his employees that is surrounded by creativity, and a family oriented, safe place to work.”

 

Pillar Machine is based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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The Manufacturing Technology manager at transFORM, Keith Hernandez “is passionate about looking for innovations in the worlds of engineering, manufacturing, and technology that can help elevate the level of production at transFORM,” says his nominator.

 

Hernandez has worked at the closets and home organization specialist for more than a decade, transitioning from the factory worker to his current position. “He deserves to be recognized for all of his hard work over the years.”

 

“Keith plays an integral role in the innovation of the manufacturing technology at transFORM. After managing the company’s Engineering Department for several years, Keith is now the key point person for both the Engineering and Production departments. When the manufacturing facility was upgraded with state-of-the-art machinery, Keith worked closely with vendors to program each and every one of the new machines. He continuously works with transFORM’s team members to ensure production is running efficiently. This sometimes means late nights at the office prepping to ensure the next day’s production lineup runs smoothly.”

 

“His can-do attitude and positive outlook encourage those around him to stay motivated and perform to the best of their abilities,” says the nominator, who uses the word “inspired” to describe Hernandez.

 

“Keith’s efforts will continue to move transFORM forward in the years to come.”

 

TransFORM is based in Bronx, New York.

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Bob Holloway has been passionate about woodworking for more than 20 years. The owner/operator of Advantage Architectural Woodwork “is very creative and passionate in what he creates and builds out of wood. He always strives for perfection and his clients love his work,” says his nominator.

 

Holloway opened the architectural woodwork firm in 2010, which specializes in European windows and doors for low energy homes and buildings. Advantage Architectural Woodwork recently became the first smartwin partner in the United States.

 

“He has built it from the ground up with lots of sweat equity and continues to increase the productivity and profitability in his business. He is the hardest worker I know,” the nominator adds. “In hard times when most would have quit, his passion keeps going till he finds a solution.”

 

“His motivation is driven by his passion for woodworking. He lives and breathes woodworking. He is always looking for new and better things in the industry that will make his products better and more outstanding.”

 

Holloway’s creativity was evident, even as a student. While enrolled at Pittsburg State University, he was a winner in the 2002 International Design Emphasis Competition. Holloway was also named Outstanding Wood Technology Senior in 2004.

 

He continues to inspire students to enter the field, where “the possibilities are endless – you just have to set your mind to it and never give up.”

 

Advantage Architectural Woodwork is located in Colby, Kansas.

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Elite Fine Finish President Louis Jasso has worked tirelessly to stand out in the refacing and refinishing industry for cabinetry, furniture and commercial casework.

 

“I started my company a little over three years ago with no start-up capital and working out of my garage. We now have eight employees and 3,500 square feet of shop space – and close to $2 million dollars in sales!” he says. “Our success has enabled us to hire local and support local organizations.”

 

Helping the community is important to both Jasso and the team at Elite Fine Finish. When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, not only did Jasso use his boat to help with rescue efforts, the company put its refinishing and restoration skills to use and “worked to help dozens of homeowners get back in their homes and save precious family heirlooms.”

 

A third-generation finisher and father of six children, Jasso adds his motivating factor is the ability to pass his craft and business to his children.

 

Elite Fine Finish is located Humble (Houston area), Texas.

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Nick Johnson has been with Bellmont Cabinet Co. for 15 years. Although his official title is chief financial officer, his contributions at the cabinetry manufacturer go far beyond just finances.

 

“Nick has led our finance team during a fivefold increase in business over the past eight years,” says one nominator.

 

“Not only is Nick very bright, but he really gets business. He's heavily involved in our production management and processes. He's also an innovator and a risk taker, which does not typically apply to a CFO. He has helped us guide the company through some phenomenal growth not only in the top line, but even more important in the bottom line.”

 

Adds another nominator, “Having a CFO that really gets the operation is invaluable. His ability to mix numbers with firsthand plant floor knowledge has been paramount for Bellmont's growth since 2010.”

 

A highly competitive person, “Nick relentlessly pursues improvement opportunities for our company.”

 

“He's a competitor who wants to win at everything he does. He's also a great family man and fits really well into our culture of respect and growth.”

 

Bellmont Cabinet Co. is based inSumner, Washington.

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Mike Kamouyerou exemplifies the term “leadership,” says his nominator. His quick rise to store manager at 84 Lumber Co., along with earning Rookie of the Year honors for 2017, backs that up.

 

“Only the second person to receive this honor at 84 Lumber, Mike has consistently exemplified traits that are characteristic of a natural-born leader,” she adds. These traits track back to the age of 15, when Kamouyerou was thrust into caring for his mother and two younger siblings following the sudden death of his father, a design and construction professional. “It was a sobering situation that ultimately helped shape Mike into the leader he is today.”

 

Joining 84 Lumber in 2017, Kamouyerou rose quickly to a co-manager position, where he helped drive a 5% sales increase and added close to 10 new customer accounts at the Greenville, South Carolina store. “He also redesigned the storeroom to help drive sales of lesser-viewed products.”

 

Recently promoted to store manager in Winder, Georgia, Kamouyerou continues to find ways to acquire more leads and improve close rates. “Mike is proud to be finding success in a field that had been instrumental to his father,” the nominator says.

 

Kamouyerou adds, ‘Building a career in the construction industry has been an incredible experience and has given me the priceless opportunity to honor my father’s legacy.”

 

Kamouyerou manages the 84 Lumber Winder, Georgia store. 84 Lumber is headquartered in Eighty Four, Pennsylvania.

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Five years prior to the startup of Chic Carpentry & Cabinetry Co., woodworking was literally a foreign term to Alex (Arash) Khosravian. An immigrant to Canada in 2005, Khosravian didn’t know how to speak, read or write in English, his nominator says. but through hard work and perseverance, he not only learned the language, but earned a high school diploma with honors.

 

Khosravian found work at a woodworking company, where he fine-tuned his skills as he advanced through the ranks. Four years later, he embarked on the “Canadian dream.”

 

Khosravian opened Chic Carpentry in 2010, with one employee. Since then, the custom woodworking firm has grown to nine employees, and “is one of the best woodworking companies” in the greater Toronto area, says the nominator, with a host of customers including NBA players and rappers.

 

A one-stop shop, Chic Carpentry produces custom cabinets, doors, mantels, staircases, millwork and more, including refacing and refinishing services. 

 

“This is his goal and because he believes in himself, nothing will [stop him from] doing it,” the nominator says. “He is tough, smart and a real Canadian dreamer.”

 

Chic Carpentry & Cabinetry is located in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.

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The director of Operations at South Shore Millwork, Chris Levesque is “dedicated and determined to do what it takes to get a job done,” says his nominator.

 

Levesque has been instrumental in helping the architectural millwork firm grow in size and sales volume every year. “In his present role, Chris works with manufacturing to ensure all projects are progressing as efficiently as possible as well as on time and on budget. He has been instrumental in the growth and forward trajectory of the company, its overall vision, and its methodologies.

 

“He is also an integral part to the overall operation of the facility and the equipment and machinery within it; he continues to stay on top of the latest materials, processes, and technologies to help improve the company’s overall productivity,” the nominator says.

 

Levesque is well versed in the residential and commercial architectural millwork firm’s operations, having held a variety of positions at the company, including: millworker, CNC operator, cabinetmaker, project manager and Engineering manager, in addition to his current position as director of Operations.

 

 “Chris also serves as a mentor, role model, and inspiration for our younger apprentices that join the company ranks; proving to them that there is always room for growth within our organization.”

 

What motivates Levesque, the nominator adds, is “figuring out complex manufacturing procedures and processes; finding new, innovative cost-saving ways to accomplish historically proven techniques.”

 

South Shore Millwork is based in Norton, Massachusetts.

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Having grown up around woodworking, it was inevitable that Beau Lewis, owner/Consulting & Implementation at Allmoxy, would one day make an impact on the industry.

 

Allmoxy is a web-based ERP system that uses cloud computing technology to connect businesses with sales. The flexible software system is especially ideal for companies that manufacture cabinet doors, cabinet boxes and drawers.

 

“Beau has been vital in growing both Lewis Cabinet and Allmoxy at an accelerated rate,” says one nominator. “He has been amazing in his ability to influence people and help them love what they do.”

 

 “I don’t know anyone who has impacted the industry more than Beau in my sphere of influence. He is insanely innovative and has the ability to connect companies and thought leaders in a way I have never seen before.”

 

Another nominator calls Lewis, “A networking genius that helps people reach their full potential.”

 

With Allmoxy, he adds, “Now small non-tech shops can have all the shiny buttons.”

 

Allmoxy is based in Ogden, Utah.

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As a forest products specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Scott Lyon has served as lead and point of contact on urban wood utilization supply chain networks in the state. “He has worked closely with the nonprofit organization Wisconsin Urban Wood to expand markets - and validation - for urban wood, virtually a new product that competes in a well-established and highly standardized market.  Opposition to change is a hurdle that Scott is helping to lower for this new industry,” says the nominator.

 

“As a result of Scott's direct involvement with this new industry, there is a growing confidence in this ‘new’ wood product.  Scott also has helped guide Wisconsin Urban Wood toward the development of standards related to grading and drying and, ultimately, a specification for urban wood. His position with the DNR, knowledge, and character are a validating contribution to urban wood utilization,” he adds.

 

“I've worked with Scott for 4 years now and his quest for knowledge is motivating and encouraging.  In simple terms, he's a combination of intellect and creativity.”

 

“The word(s) that best describe him are ‘relationship builder.’  But, it seems, I prefer ‘partner.’  That says a great deal when describing someone working for the public sector.”

 

Lyon's office for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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The shop manager at Greg Pilotti Furniture Makers, “Cory McCall is an extremely dedicated craftsman that possesses an attention to detail that is by far unmatched. He is also efficient in his problem-solving and decision making, allowing him to be a beyond effective shop manager and craftsman,” says one nominator.

 

“As a shop manager, he is economical and effective as a result of the aforementioned traits. He keeps the shop running as a well-oiled machine and without him the company would not be where it is today.”

 

Says another nominator, “He is dedicated and passionate about the company and its goals, as well as the individuals that make it up.” He adds, “I'm the lead cabinetmaker and therefore work very closely with Cory as a shop manager. There's not a day that goes by that he's not helping us to critique a process or motivate our team,” demonstrating leadership capabilities far beyond someone in their early 20s.

 

He continues, “When you have a leader like Cory, who's dedicated and always willing to give of his time, it's contagious. It is almost impossible to have a shop that is unproductive and unmotivated if led by someone like Cory, who cultivates ingenuity and productivity, as well as dedication to each other.

 

“Cory McCall is simply a cut above the rest, as an employee, as a shop manager, and as an individual.”

 

Greg Pilotti Furniture Makers is located in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania.

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Known in her blogs as the “custom cabinet girl,” April Morse has played an integral role at Weber Co. since coming on board in 2001. In fact, she took over the cabinetry and specialty wood products firm in 2012.

 

Among her achievements, her nominator says, has been the development of a new product line, custom wood cutting boards. Not only are they a popular item on Weber’s website, but the handmade cutting boards “got the attention of the president of Williams-Sonoma which in turn got our company associated with them as a vendor.”

 

Morse has also played a pivotal role in expanding the company’s online presence. In 2009 she launched customcabinetgirl.com, which records the obstacles and successes of running a custom cabinetry business, and which has also helped Weber Co. “create new relationships with customers and suppliers.”

 

“April also strives to learn as much as she can about custom wood products and is constantly adding to her resume.  She can now measure for jobs, draw plans on two different cad programs for cabinetry, bid jobs, build custom wood products and finish our custom work in the finish booth.”

 

Motivated by her philosophy to never give up, her nominator adds, “she has been taught to work hard and be the best at her craft.”

 

Weber Co. is located in Lodi, California.

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A project manager at Thomas Riley Artisans’ Guild, Jessica Novak inspires co-workers with her motivation, positivity and creativity, says the nominator.

 

Novak honed her skills while working in various areas of the company, which produces fine interior woodwork including furniture, cabinetry and architectural millwork. “I first met her when she was working in the shop. Her bench was always a spot to stop and see some amazing craftmanship. On top of that she had a dry erase board with an inspirational quote written on it that would change daily,” her nominator says.

 

“She has since moved on to become an exceptional project manager who now supervises larger projects and communicates with the general contractors and designers that we work for. Her amazing talent, drive and attitude make everyone around her inspired to do their best work. She always shows up with a smile, even to the most difficult client meeting. She keeps everyone around her organized and on task,” she adds.

 

“I think Jessica is motivated by an internal drive to better herself and better the company she represents.”

 

Thomas Riley Artisans’ Guild is located in Naples, Florida.

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“I wear many hats in the business process,” says Samantha Parenti-Gurrola, vice president of sales and marketing at Parenti & Raffaelli Ltd. Since joining the architectural woodwork firm full-time in 2009, she has been instrumental in the revamping of the website, marketing and brochures, then helped reorganize the engineering department.

 

“As I grew to understand the business, my roles evolved. I transitioned to an assistant project manager, to project manager, to senior project manager. As a project manager, I reorganized our scheduling systems for shop production and our installation schedule. Now I also manage our estimating and sales department. We are working towards transitioning to a completely paperless system. I have also put other systems into effect that help us manage our bid due dates, vendor pricing and sales data.” Parenti-Gurrola also played an integral role in the relocation and layout of the company’s new facility in 2017.

 

“My grandfather started the business in 1951. We put great value in our tradition of craftsmanship and quality,” she says. “I take great pride in what we do — and being able to make what we do even better is fantastic.”

 

In addition to her role at Parenti & Raffaelli, Parenti-Gurrola is active in the Architectural Woodwork institute and is the current vice president of the Chicago Chapter, where she is involved in marketing, promotion and networking, as well as standards and education.

 

Parenti & Raffaelli is based in Mount Prospect, Illinois.

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The dedication of Heritage Woodwright LLC’s Collin Parker “to the mastery of the cabinetry and architectural millwork trade is unsurpassed,” says his nominator.

 

Parker also has been instrumental in incorporating CNC technology into the company’s production of cabinetry, architectural products, closets, ceilings, mantles and other custom products, while maintaining the old-school craftsmanship and design techniques Heritage Woodwright is known for.

 

 “He is a student of maintaining the quality of the past, while applying the automation of the shop. Being the old school craftsman that I am, this has not been easy for him. First, he had to sell me on the CNC automation. Once he convinced me, he installed and implemented the programs necessary to produce fine casework.”

 

“The impact has been a seamless implementation of the automated shop process to further his trade. As a result, the output of the shop and quality have increased drastically. The shop is able to take on work that was before not possible or profitable. His stretching of his horizons has pushed all involved to new heights.”

 

“Collin has produced some magnificent pieces with very customized engineering. He is breaking new boundaries weekly,” the nominator adds.

 

Heritage Woodwright is based in Sherrills Ford, North Carolina.

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Peterman Lumber’s Jeremy Peterman has been in and around the business his whole life. Since coming on board full time at 18, he has held various positions at the family-owned firm, including his current role as regional branch manager, and has been instrumental in bringing new product lines to the company. “He will keep us on the cutting edge of all the new trends,” says one of his nominators. “He is a man of vision and will take Peterman Lumber to the next level.”

 

“Jeremy lives and breathes sawdust,” she added. “He has a motivation to be the leader in the wood industry and is making big changes in how we do business, focusing it towards how our customers need to buy materials today and providing them the best solutions.”

 

“Jeremy is just as concerned with the employees as he is with his customers,” says another nominator. “He has made huge strides to educate employees on the lumber industry – including filming videos for us on the weekends – and to bring in products that are smartly designed and coordinate together.”

 

Within the workplace, Peterman also creates a true “team feeling,” says a third nominator. “He is a world class manager of his team and has the experience and clear direction to lead us into the future.”

 

Adds a fourth nominator, “Jeremy has brought Peterman Lumber to all new levels that keep us on the cutting edge. He is success oriented and will be running the company one day. He doesn’t settle for second best. He pushes us to be the best company we can be.”

 

Peterman Lumber is headquartered in Fontana, California.

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An architectural designer (Arch III) at Perkins+Will, Ryan Rideout specializes in “innovative building techniques that prioritize the practical and sustainable qualities of wood,” says his nominator.

 

“Ryan’s understanding of wood as a building material, specifically mass timber, has been developed throughout multiple building typologies and scales that include high rises and art installations. Ryan’s continual passion for the development of wood technology has enabled him to lead the Seattle Perkins+Will Wood Building Technology Laboratory.”

 

“Ryan’s dedication to wood is evident in all aspects of his work and mission as an architectural designer," the nominator adds. Rideout’s projects include a 16-1/2-foot bathymetry map of the Puget Sound, on display at the University of Washington, and a wood installation at the University of Washington’s Life Science Building that educates students on the history and importance of Pacific Northwest forestry.

 

Rideout’s work at the architect and design firm has also led to multiple research projects and grants in the past five years.  “Ryan is passionate about impacting the built environment through his architectural work and believes that wood is an integral part of that mission. He believes that the natural beauty of the material, as well as its sustainable characteristics, makes wood the best candidate for building material for future generations.”

 

Perkins+Will is based in Bellingham, Washington.

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A whopping 11 people nominated Jeff Robinson, president of AllRout Inc. for his “work ethic, business practices, employee treatment and skill level beyond the norm.”

 

“Jeff is one of the most innovative young entrepreneurs in the wood industry I have had the pleasure of working with,” notes one person. “He is constantly in search for the next new idea that will help his customers and has a constant appetite for creating a fun culture for his team.”

 

“We call on him for all the most challenging projects and he comes through consistently,” says another. “It doesn't matter what the material is. It seems like the more difficult the job the more Jeff rises to the occasion and gets it done.”

 

Others agree. “Jeff has proven to be a leader and motivated innovator in our industry.  His problem-solving ability and knowledge on current technology make him a top resource for a wide range of products and projects,” says one.

 

“Technology holds many companies back from their full potential because of many different challenges and the fear of doing it wrong,” agrees another nominator. “Jeff has perfected manufacturing, no matter what the application or material, and thus has helped many companies grow beyond their potential.” He adds, “Jeff is always looking for a way to take the next step and raise the bar on how he can make his own company succeed – and in turn, raising that bar for his customers. He is looking into the future to constantly see the next step.”

 

Another nominator comments, “Jeff does not settle for the status quo. He constantly strives to improve himself, his team, and his community. He hosts tours for the local high school and helps to promote careers in the skilled trades.”

 

As part of his “promotion” efforts, Robinson helped his former teacher obtain a CNC router to teach high school students CAD/CAM. “I now have 200 high school students that learn how to draw in CAD and use AlphaCAM or VCarve Pro to program CNC routers."

 

The teacher adds, “His impact in our community has been significant.  He also serves on several boards and committees that help local businesses network and become stronger.”

 

AllRout is based in Zeeland, Michigan.

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James Scarlett of Scarlett Inc., “has a passion for machining, and helping his customers succeed in this ever-changing market.”

 

The nominator adds, “He has been on the leading edge of technology, keeping all his customers up to speed on what is new in the industry.”

 

Scarlett heads the machinery distributor, which provides technology and manufacturing solutions to the North American woodworking, aluminum, plastics and composites industries.

 

“Their customers grow because of his involvement,” says another nominator. “Our industry grows because of his involvement.  And my company has grown because of our friendship and collaboration.”

 

It was about 10 years ago that Scarlett took over and revamped the family-owned, finding success “by narrowing the focus of solutions provided to Scarlett's typical markets,” says a third nominator. “His major key to success was surrounding himself with an amazing business partner and an incredible team of talented people with similar drive and focus.”

 

Calling himself “the chief problem fixer,” Scarlett thrives on new challenges in business, while still finding time to volunteer. He is a board member of the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association, and also serves as WMIA Technology chairman. Scarlett also is involved with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, with a focus on bringing different industries together to help solve common problems and also promote the industry to tomorrow’s workers.

 

As part of his community service endeavors, Scarlett serves as a ski instructor for Challenge Ski, an organization which brings snow skiing to individuals with physical or mental disabilities.

 

Scarlett Inc. is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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The CEO and president of Nexis3 LLC, Steve Schoenacker “has created a true wave in the industry. He has a real passion for the technology that drives our industry and has been a true innovator that many of his peers routinely are in awe over,” says the person who nominated him.

 

Schoenacker opened Nexis3 in 2001 and it has grown significantly since, from a 3,000-square-foot shop with limited tools to a state-of-the-art 67,000-square-foot facility, with a range of CNC technology, including the Homag Intellistore panel storage and management system. The company manufactures customized products and parts, including cabinets, casegoods and closet components, wood surfaces and contour parts.

 

Schoenacker “is a force of nature and an inspiration to all that meet him,” says his co-worker. “Everyone that sees what he has created and then meets him almost always does a double take. He is somewhat shy and will tell you that he still has a long way to go, but he acknowledges he is far ahead of what most other shops are capable of,” with the range of technology and services offered.

 

“His vision is to create the most advanced modern manufacturing facility he can. The technology and the level of quality he can create with it is his motivation.”

 

Nexis3 LLC is based in Rochester, New York.

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The Manufacturing Engineering manager at Dura Supreme Cabinetry, Eric Schwarzkopf is a person who leads by example.

 

“I have worked with Eric since he joined Dura Supreme straight out of college as an entry level engineer,” says his nominator. “It became clear to me early on that he had the ability to learn new manufacturing processes very quickly and studied the small improvements that made great efficiency and production advancements.”

 

Schwarzkopf rose quickly through the ranks at the cabinetry manufacturer, including several promotions while in the engineering department, a stint in production management. In 2016, at the age of 37, he became the youngest person in Dura Supreme history to be given the title of engineering manager.

 

“Dura Supreme is one of the most efficient and profitable cabinet manufacturers in the U.S. and Eric has played a key role in getting them there. He is all about his team and gives all the credit for the success to his project engineers, who consistently complete projects under budget and on time.”

 

“Eric loves the industry, loves being a part of the Dura Supreme family and is proud of the value and quality Dura produces for their customers.”

 

Known for its craftsmanship, Dura Supreme offers semi-custom and custom, framed and frameless product lines.

 

Dura Supreme is headquartered in Howard Lake, Minnesota.

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The senior manager, Engineering, Operations & Supply Chain at MasterBrand Cabinets Inc., Kyle VanMeter is a force to be reckoned with in the wood manufacturing industry.

 

“After proving his skills in mechanical engineering, process engineering, and project management, he accepted a role as a senior manager with engineering responsibilities over an entire division of MasterBrand – at only 29 years old. Since taking this role, he has spearheaded efforts to bring 21st century manufacturing technologies and processes to the division,” says his nominator.

 

Examples include designing multiple facility-wide dust collection systems, overhauling finishing room and material delivery systems, and revamping the door building system for the entire division.

 

“Kyle's influence is immediately apparent when stepping into any of the facilities in his division. The gains in material flow and the visual workplace are dramatic, and the seamless integration of cutting-edge technology with well-designed processes has quickly brought new life to some of these facilities that had not been making the most of the resources available previously. Kyle's impacts aren't just to the bottom line but also to the overall spirit and morale of the workforce and the changes are garnering attention across the company.”

 

VanMeter, his co-worker says, is motivated by his passion for woodworking. “He often jokes that ‘if it doesn't pertain to woodworking, I probably don't know much about it.’"

 

MasterBrand Cabinets is headquartered in Jasper, Indiana. VanMeter is at the company's Huntingburg, Indiana, facility.

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Matt Weber pretty much does it all. Weber is the owner, carpenter and cabinetmaker at Crossgrain LLC, which specializes in custom residential remodeling, custom cabinetry, furniture and other woodworking.

 

Motivating Weber is “his craftsmanship and helping bring excitement to a client when it’s all completed,” says his nominator.

 

“Matt’s craftsmanship is superior to the rest, his attention to detail is unreal and while having high-quality work, he is very mindful of the customer and taking care of their property by keeping it clean,” he adds.

 

Weber’s attention to detail and service has also earned the company recognition in the 2017 WOOD 100: Strategies for Success. In it, Weber says, “Every single step is thought about before execution. Decisions are made quickly, with experience to keep the job flowing seamlessly and without disruption.” He adds, “Using only quality products that ensures zero callbacks throughout each project is also key to making profits happen.”

 

“It makes you want to tell everyone about his craftsmanship so that they can experience it as well and have great looking woodwork throughout their place of dwelling,” says his nominator.

 

Crossgrain is located in Union, Missouri.

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A Black Belt – Finishing Excellence at MasterBrand Cabinets Inc., Chad Wiggs “brings numerous innovative solutions for process standardization and process improvement initiatives in industrial solid wood finishing environments,” says his nominator.

 

Wiggs’ unique and effective approach to scoping, documenting, and implementing control measures with a scientific and analytical structure, the nominator adds, is effectively taking the tribal knowledge out of the finish equipment setup and material application processes and making the information available to others.

 

“It is rare in the wood industry to encounter a person who both has a technical working knowledge of industrial wood finishing processes and Lean/Six Sigma. Chad possesses both of those unique skill-sets. Through the utilization of his Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification and process control knowledge that accompanies the certification, Chad manages and implements best practices in finish process controls and fluid handling systems company wide,” the nominator adds.

 

“Once again, it is rare person who possesses a full understanding of solid wood finishing equipment and processes. Chad has a strong passion for the technology, equipment, and the processes involved with wood finishing. Chad's motivation definitely stems from the team-based development and implementation of these best practices in an industrial setting.”

 

MasterBrand Cabinets is headquartered in Jasper, Indiana. Wiggs works at the company's facility in Opelika, Alabama.

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The 40 Under 40 Class of 2018 is sponsored by the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America (WMMA).

Honorees of the Wood Industry 40 Under 40 Class of 2018 have been announced by Woodworking Network. This year marks the third annual awarding of the 40 Under 40, which celebrates the next generation of industry professionals who are making an impact on wood products manufacturing in North America.

This year’s class represent all facets of the wood products industry, including: manufacturers, suppliers and designers.

"Clearly the industry has adopted 40 Under 40 as its own," said Tim Fixmer, CEO of CCI Media, the parent of Woodworking Network. "Many of these individuals are already having a profound impact on the wood manufacturing businesses at which they are employed. We believe they represent a sampling of the energized talent that will shape the future of our industry and lead us to new levels of success."

View the slideshow (arranged in alphabetical order) to find out more about this year's class of honorees. The 2018 Wood Industry 40 Under 40 is sponsored by the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America (WMMA).

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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About the author
Karen Koenig | Editor

Karen M. Koenig has more than 30 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As editor of special publications under the Woodworking Network brand, including the Red Book Best Practices resource guide and website, Karen’s responsibilities include writing, editing and coordinating of editorial content. She is also a contributor to FDMC and other Woodworking Network online and print media owned by CCI Media. She can be reached at karen.koenig@woodworkingnetwork.com