Slideshow: Meet the 2021 Wood Industry 40 Under 40
July 7, 2021 | 8:00 am CDT
Click on the image to open

This year's class of Wood Industry 40 Under 40 includes wood products manufacturers, suppliers, developers and designers, from all facets of the woodworking industry, including: cabinetry, furniture, architectural woodwork, closets, and wood components.

Click on the image to open

“Driven” and “determined” are two words often used to describe Kelly Barefoot, franchise owner of ShelfGenie of Coastal Carolinas, a specialist in kitchen and bath organization products located in North Carolina. “When Kelly sets her mind on something she gets it done.”

“While Kelly has been a part of the ShelfGenie system for only a few years, she has quickly made a name for herself as a leader and mentor for people of all ages within the company,” says one nominator. “Her desire to succeed, be a leader and be the best,” motivates the 30-year-old.

“Kelly is a born entrepreneur, achieving Rookie of the Year her first year in business with ShelfGenie, and is an impactful contributor to the Franchise Advisory Council,” says another. “Kelly is driven by the desire to make a difference in the community she lives in, not only with the customers she serves but also with her employees. When it comes to customers, Kelly is confident she is providing the most trusted and reliable products and works diligently to ensure the very best customer service experience. She has developed a work environment of trust and respect with her employees, encourages opportunities for growth, and offers performance-based incentives that have enhanced employee satisfaction.”

Another adds, “She goes above and beyond for everyone she comes in contact with, all while juggling family life with a husband and two kids. Even throughout the pandemic she has managed to continue great sales and keep the business successful.”

Click on the image to open

Luke Barnett co-founded the Sam Beauford Woodworking Institute, a non-profit educational organization in Michigan that serves thousands of people of all ages, and at all skill levels. He also helped start a career training program, enabling students to earn a diploma in Furniture Making and Wood Design upon completion of the year-long program.

Woodworking for Warriors is another program Barnett created specifically for veterans, providing “an outlet for veterans to become creative and get some training at the same time,” says his nominator. “There are now more than 170 veterans in the program.”

The institute also offers general classes, on a range of topics including woodturning, joinery, cabinetry, Windsor chair making and CNC, as well as classes targeted for youth and women. Of the summertime youth program, the nominator says, “[Luke] has inspired youth to say, ‘When I grow up, I want to make things.’"

His nominator adds, “Luke has trained several students, veterans and youth who have taken jobs in the woodworking industry, or started woodworking-based businesses. Woodworking has opened a lot of doors for [Luke]. His motivation is to provide those same opportunities for others.”

The 36-year-old Barnett is also an award-winning chair craftsman, and his chairs have been displayed in the traveling Smithsonian Museum exhibit called “The Way We Work.” He has also been a featured speaker at events, including the 2018 IWF, where his speech, “Be the Spark” focused on engaging students at younger ages through community outreach.  

Click on the image to open

The owner/partner at British Columbia-based Amber Millwork Ltd., Janelle Berman, 36, “has done an amazing job navigating the crisis we have all be facing over the last year,” says her nominator. “We have seen a massive spike in sales from new home builds due to cheap mortgages and people fixing up their current place while they are home. Janelle has worked with our vendors to have them hold and reserve stock, maintain order levels and help improve communication on what they see as shortages coming down the supply chain. Janelle has also negotiated with secondary suppliers to have backup stock ready for when we need it.”

Her nominator adds, “Janelle took the opportunity that was presented and instead of getting frustrated with the supply chain, she took the bull by the horns and got ahead of the situation. The immediate impact it had on our productivity and cash flow was very apparent,” he adds.

“Profitability has increased due to suppliers being more organized, holding on to our stock longer before shipping” making for a tighter just-in-time system. This in turn has led to a more productive shop, he adds.

Described as “tenacious,” “The drive Janelle has to succeed is second to none. She doesn't take no for an answer but instead looks for a solution that works. Janelle has a ton of pride in keeping Amber Millwork an industry leader in the door business,” he added.

Click on the image to open

Iron Oaks LLC Owner Sean Biloski wears many hats. Among his many duties, he is also chief estimator, designer and in charge of sales at the New York-based architectural millwork firm.

“Sean's compassion allows him to create an open dialogue with the client/customer. In a field where you're constantly working against the clock - which translates to the client's growing frustration - he enables himself to step into the client's shoes, understand their point-of-view, and manage the expectations based off their feedback, which then is translated to production,” says his nominator.

The 39-year-old Biloski’s devotion and dedication to customer service and the client's needs motivate and distinguish him. “Companies have a tendency to forget that clients do come first.  They're spending [lots of money] in trusting you'll deliver.  Sean is a firm believer in honoring that trust and faith.” He not only develops long-term relationships with clients, but those clients also become friends.

Since Biloski became a partner in 2017, Iron Oaks has seen an annual growth of 160 percent. “During the pandemic, Sean's main objective was ‘know that our customers are in the same boat we're in. While we're in business to make money, we came into this business to bring the client's vision to reality. You can always make money; you can't always get back time.’”

Click on the image to open

Since joining Panel Specialists Inc. in 2002, Renfro Carranza “has grown significantly in both his contribution and impact to PSI and those whom he interacts with.  From being a key contributor in ERP System and Microvellum implementations, to developing manufacturing and project-specific solutions, Renfro’s positive and professional approach demonstrates emergent leadership. This led to his recent promotion to Microvellum Administrator” at the Texas-based architectural woodwork firm.

“Renfro makes an impact through motivating and inspiring others daily. He is internally driven and uses his experiences to find ways to improve his methods, communication, and performance,” says his nominators. “Through his training and initiative to learn, he has learned how to effectively teach and train others of all levels.”

Carranza’s efforts go beyond the workplace. For example, with iChallengeU, a collaborative project between PSI and the school district, “[Renfro] worked directly with the students to show and teach them the engineering scope of the business to include engineering methodologies and designing within Microvellum and AutoCAD.” The 38-year-old Carranza also participates in community endeavors.

“He has earned respect from the team for his professionalism, his willingness to transfer his knowledge through teaching, and for listening to and learning from others. But most of all, Renfro is revered for being a thoughtful and caring person who wants the best for the company and his team. From his contribution within systems to product development to other’s professional growth he has and continues to make a significant impact to the company and the people within it, our partner suppliers, our customers, and our community.”

Click on the image to open

Jimmy Carroll is known for going the extra mile. The general manager at Nebraska-based Ruck Cabinet Doors, “Jimmy has always been the driving force and leader behind our success,” says his nominator. “He handles a lot of big picture stuff - but he has his hands in every aspect of the business, from Marketing to Sales, to Customer Service. You can even catch him on the production floor helping out and working alongside our craftsmen.”

She adds, “In the last two years, we have grown tremendously, and Jimmy is a big reason for that. He has big aspirations for this company and he knows that we can get there and reach our fullest potential.  He's always the first one here and the last one to leave, he puts everything he has into this company and everyone on the team feeds off of that energy. It makes us all motivated to do better and work harder.”

In addition to helping improve the company’s productivity, efficiency and safety, the 33-year-old Carroll was instrumental in the development of the cabinetry firm’s partnership with VODEC, a non-profit organization that integrates people with disabilities into the community. "There are thousands of people with special needs in search of finding a purpose. And it's my hope that the work they help us with provides them with that sense of purpose and belonging to the community," Carroll has said about the program.

His nominator adds, “[Jimmy's] resilient, dependable, a problem-solver, solution-oriented, self-starter, efficient, but most importantly, he's a game-changer. He's passionate about this industry and does anything and everything he can to improve it.”

Click on the image to open

The woodshop supervisor at Narrow Gate Woodworks in Tennessee, “Marty Coleman is extraordinary because of his ability to bring forth promise, whether that's transforming raw materials into stunning wood accents that turn houses into homes or building an entrepreneurial culture of quality and excellence,” says a nominator. “Perhaps most important, Marty is impacting the wood industry by raising up the next generation of craftsmen, one young woodworker at a time. With quiet patience and contagious passion, he cultivates competence and confidence, guiding young woodworkers to become expert craftsmen.”

Under the 35-year-old Coleman’s leadership, the woodshop will represent $1 million in top-line revenue this year. Bill Spencer, Narrow Gate founder and executive director notes, “Marty's systems improvements, workflow management, attention to detail, and ability to recognize and improve woodworking talent is unparalleled among his peers. Without his participation, this company simply could not have succeeded to the extent that it has. And I cannot imagine our continued growth without his participation as a central component to our success.”

A co-worker adds, “Since I became a team member at Narrow Gate Woodworks, Marty has shown me what it means to be a craftsman. He has taught me so much with not only pursuing excellence in what we do, but also showing what it means to lead others well. Part of the reason why I am here today has been because of Marty's leadership and encouragement.”

Says another, “He helps young team members take their God-given gifts and develop them, becoming the expert craftsmen they were born to be. The products his team crafts are of the utmost quality because of Marty's mentorship of each person on his team.”

Click on the image to open

Delta Millworks CEO Robbie Davis and his team’s work with shou sugi ban have put a spotlight on the architectural millwork firm, known nationally as the leader of shou sugi ban cladding. They’ve even got HGTV talking about the process.

Davis and the Delta Millworks team began experimenting with the shou sugi ban process of burning wood with a torch in 2007 to create a new product line for the Texas-based architectural millwork firm. The shou sugi ban process not only preserves the wood by charring the surface, making it fire retardant as well as resistant to rot, insects and decay, but creates beautiful textures and grain patterns. Within three years Davis and his team had introduced the architectural and design community to a modern version of shou sugi ban and were completing the first of many exterior and interior projects.

“He modernized this ancient Japanese technique to fit today’s aesthetic and performance demands of wood architecture,” says his nominator. “He’s grown his business while keeping the business’ roots of sustainability intact.”

From the first focus of exterior cladding, Delta Millworks has expanded its portfolio to include interior paneling, flooring, decking and ceilings, adding sustainable modified woods such as Accoya and Kebony to the offerings. “Delta has allowed more people to use beautiful, long-lasting and sustainable wood on their projects through its innovative and customer-driven approach,” says the nominator.

Calling the 36-year-old Davis a true “pioneer,” his nominator adds, “[Robbie] is always out to discover the next trend in wood design and construction.”

Click on the image to open

The third-generation president of DeGeest Corp., Derek DeGeest’s “vision pushes the conventional boundaries of what's possible in manufacturing.”

While leading efforts to streamline the South Dakota-based company’s finishing operation, DeGeest’s search led him to Italy, and the Lesta self-learning finishing robots that can be programmed to paint a specific part in just seconds. “Derek was so impressed with the technology and how this could change manufacturing for general industry companies, that his company forged a partnership with Lesta to bring this robotic finishing technology to the North American market under the name LestaUSA,” says his nominator. The 39-year-old DeGeest is also the president of LestaUSA. Lesta Self-learning and scanning solutions are built, integrated and supported in the United States by the team at LestaUSA.

“Having solved production-related issues at DeGeest Corp., Derek is passionate about helping other manufacturers realize their true potential,” says his nominator. “These efforts will help to break down barriers to entry into automation for small- and medium-sized manufacturers. Derek’s desire to make an impact for the entire wood industry will result in multiplying production output without the need to hire more people.”

Called “tenacious” and a “visionary problem-solver,” DeGeest is always willing to share his knowledge and his podcast, “Manufacturing a Stronger Standard" offers tips and walks through changes made at the company, to help other manufacturers succeed. He is also active in the community, including partnering with local technical colleges and schools.

Click on the image to open

The director of Sales and Marketing at TigerStop, Elizabeth Dick is no stranger to the woodworking industry. She began working trade shows at age 13 and was involved in the launch of new products at the Washington-based machinery manufacturer at 18. After joining the family-owned company at 23, she spearheaded the company’s social media content and channels, including blogs, case studies and whitepapers. In 2019 she launched TigerStop's product configurator, an innovative product builder and quoting system that simultaneously teaches about the product offerings. That same year, she took on global marketing and became director of the entire sales department in 2020. “She has grown sales at TigerStop and expanded its brand awareness,” notes her nominator, including the launch TigerStop's new global site in 2020.

“Elizabeth is smart, inquisitive, remarkable, and quite funny. She's constantly on the move and thinking of ways of bringing manufacturing to the forefront,” her nominator says. Dick has been featured on many podcasts related to business and exporting, most recently Bootstraps in Business and Columbia River Economic Council's Podcast on Exporting. “Elizabeth is a great resource and colleague. She never sits still and is always thinking of the next project.”

The phrase, “Impatience is a virtue,” describes the 30-year-old to a T, adds her nominator.
Known for her drive, work ethic, and natural leadership abilities, “Elizabeth is paving the way for women in manufacturing. She has empowered other women to take more roles in leadership and amplified women's voices in the community.”

Click on the image to open

The Sales and Marketing manager at Hocker North America, Bennett Dipzinski “brings his energy and expertise to solving the problems of woodworking safety, productivity, quality and energy conservation,” says his nominator.

“Through his leadership at Hocker North America, [Bennett] has incorporated solutions in dust extraction beyond the traditional ‘sucking up chips’ approach used by the industry at large. His ‘Energy Management’ approach to justifying investment in infrastructure has revolutionized how factories consider these purchases,” he added, “resulting in a workplace that embraces their employees’ concerns as well as contributing to the heath of the environment, while at the same time contributing to the company's ‘bottom line.’"

Dipzinski’s leadership abilities came to the forefront in 2019, when he took over major segments of the family-owned business following his mother’s heart attack and subsequent recovery with the assistance of his father. “His actions saved the company and set the stage for the dominant position they enjoy today.”
Described as "a man in motion," the 26-year-old Dipzinski “is a "whirlwind of activity. A constant student of his chosen profession, an expert in his field, a dedicated teacher/coach, committed to family and community, a sportsman, and an all-around great young man.”

Dipzinski is also motivated by business excellence, family loyalty and a dedication to the community. The Michigan-based company contributes to several charities including veteran groups, Habitat for Humanity, and woodworking trade schools, including The MiLL.

Click on the image to open

“The title Design manager just doesn't capture all that Adam Doran contributes to Closet America,” says his nominator. “Sure, he trains and supports our designers but he also plays a significant role in product development. In the past year, Adam has created a ‘builder product’ which has led to selling three commercial projects.”

Not only were these types of projects a first in the Maryland-based company’s history, “The impact of the development of the commercial project was the manufacture and installation of closets in over 1,000 apartment units – over 2,000 closets and nearly $1 million in commercial sales in 2020 alone.”

And in 2020 when COVID’s impact was at its highest, the 37-year-old Doran developed office partitions to create physical barriers between employees and enable them to return to the workplace. “These were attractive, effective and able to be produced using the equipment we have in our manufacturing facility,” adds the nominator. “We were able to bring staff back into the office where they are the most effective.”

Doran also is known for his commitment to quality, service and good design. “I believe Adam has truly found something he loves to do.  He is a leader in the company, exercises his influence on closet design and has the ability to continue that influence through new product development.”

Founded in 2009, Closet America is a vertically integrated manufacturer and installer of custom home organization systems for closets, home offices, pantries, and garages.

Click on the image to open

The vice president of New York-based Red Star Cabinet Co., “Robert Edelbach is a successful manager and leader in a field of companies that manufacture cabinets in the USA for new construction high rise projects in NYC,” says his nominator.

Edelbach’s efforts in monitoring the new construction market have helped the company to be extremely successful in winning project bids over lower-cost imports, adds his nominator. This has resulted in increased market share and revenue (34% in 2019 alone), with post-pandemic revenue also on the upswing. Along with his other capabilities, the 39-year-old Edelbach also “has a great ability to design new and unique products,” further distinguishing the company from competitors.

Family-owned and operated since 1997, Red Star Cabinet Co. specializes in mass-produced custom kitchen and bath cabinetry solutions.

Edelbach’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, and Red Star Cabinet Co. has been featured multiple times in the WOOD 100: Strategies for success, published by FDMC magazine. “All our business is by word of mouth or referrals. We pride ourselves on creating lasting relationships with our customers,” he has said. “We pride ourselves on manufacturing here on Long Island offering a competitive edge of faster lead times and quicker reactions to field conditions than our competitors who import can.”

Click on the image to open

In 2019 David Fair took his skills as a career investment banker and strategy professional and applied them to a sector he’s always been interested in: woodworking, cabinetry and design. The result is Third Bench, a holding firm focused on the cabinetry and millwork industries, which Fair co-founded.

As CEO of the Utah-based firm, “David is an expert in mergers and acquisitions, capital raising, and valuations. He leads Third Bench’s financial management; analyzing suitable synergistic targets, managing the mergers and acquisition process, and identifying growth opportunities and operational strategies,” says a nominator. 

Even a pandemic couldn’t slow this entrepreneur.  Fair implemented strategic initiatives for operational efficiencies, introduced new commercial product lines, and announced plans to be a coast-to-coast provider of cabinetry and woodworking products before the end of 2021 through additional acquisitions.

“The entrepreneurial endeavor has had several positive impacts on the woodworking industry and will continue to have positive future impacts as we grow our company,” Fair adds. Revenues at Third Bench have almost doubled since 2019 and “we project a climb to grow another 50% by 2021.” They have also helped the turnaround of two companies from break-even to double-digit cash flow margins after implementing extensive operational changes, added employees, and “we are in the process of implementing strategic initiatives to centralize functions of our operations, creating synergistic optimizations that will make our operations highly competitive with other cabinetry operations.”

“I am passionate to be part of the cabinet industry,” the 36-year-old Fair adds. “I am passionate to continue to learn and strive for a successful enterprise, where my employees are excited to be part of the team and our customers are thrilled to work with Third Bench.”

Click on the image to open

The owner of Vantage Customs LLC, Kevin Finney “has used his knowledge of software development and engineering to change the face of the local woodworking industry, which in turn brought a massive expansion of production to the business,” says his nominator.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic led our society to a new normal, Kevin was able to navigate the company and ensure it thrived during a historically tough time.  His contributions have been integral in harnessing innovation in design, automation and technology. He was also instrumental in developing software that improved delivery time and customer service.”

Under the 40-year-old Finney’s leadership, Vantage Customs developed a niche market for his products, expanded the plant to nearly double the manufacturing space in 2017, spearheaded the company’s lean journey, and significantly reduced the Oklahoma-based company’s carbon footprint.

“Apart from the fact that his direction and leadership led to the expansion of the company’s capabilities, Kevin took the manufacturing firm to an enviable height, making it the number one example to most of the stakeholders in the industry, which the competitors even attested to,” adds his nominator. “As an experienced individual in the industry, Kevin was able to guide the company to new levels, constantly challenging and exposing the firm to new methodologies, including those learned from other industries along the way.”

“He strives for excellence in manufacturing high-quality wood products, while he continues to become educated on the latest technology and lean manufacturing.”

Click on the image to open

In addition to being the third-generation president of Guffey Cabinetry, Nathan Guffey, 38, “has invented and developed an amazing production system that dramatically increases the throughput of a typical cabinet shop spray finishing process,” says one nominator. Guffey installed the system at his own Tennessee-based shop, and after seeing the results, started Guffey Systems LLC to manufacture and market the system as a configurable product line. “Other shops are now experiencing the tremendous efficiency that the system enables and have been able to strengthen and expand their own businesses.”

“Shop owners have raved about the spray system Nathan created, and said it has literally saved their business. Some have said it was the shortest payback of any investment they have ever made. They have been able to weather the loss of employees during a production spike, they have increased their total revenue by bringing in new finishing work from other shops, and have said they are making it home earlier and working fewer weekends because of the time savings. This is the kind of quality-of-life impact that makes a cabinet shop a more attractive business and career choice.”

Adds another nominator, “Nathan is an innovator and visionary constantly looking for the next big thing to share with the custom cabinet industry. The type of guy that never thinks twice to lend a hand anywhere he can. Vertical finishing of all sides of components while also providing a convenient way to move product through the spray booth is key to getting out of the spray booth earlier. Nathan is excited to share every time-saving tip he's learned with every competitor he has in the cabinet building industry.”

Click on the image to open

Roughly a decade after his startup of Gatewood Builders, a successful licensed general contracting firm specializing in new residential construction and remodeling, Roger Harry was introduced to Bill Truitt, then owner of Bill Truitt WoodWorks, by a mutual acquaintance. The fateful meeting would result in Harry acquiring the North Carolina-based manufacturer in 2016 and expanding his portfolio.

Bill Truitt WoodWorks produces high-end custom cabinetry, furniture and architectural millwork for the residential and commercial markets, combining “tried and true” techniques and handcraftsmanship, with high technology. Under the leadership of the 40-year-old principal/CEO Harry, the company continues to grow, transforming its products and services to generate new sources of ongoing revenue while continuing the tradition of “Building a better reputation.”

“Roger has kept the quality and put processes in place to make BT WoodWorks a better place to work,” says his nominator. The company also shares its expertise with others, including offering training to the next generation of skilled woodworkers, and has had offers to start a training program at local universities. “Roger's work ethic is top-notch.”

“Today, our work is featured in many beautiful and high-end homes in Charlotte, North Carolina, and surrounding areas,” she adds.

Click on the image to open

The general manager and partner at Windmill Cabinet Shop, Will Holsappel “has taken great pride in developing people. Instead of looking at how he can put more money into the business to make it better he instead looks at how he can improve the lives and workload of his employees,” says his nominator.

At the Ontario-based manufacturer of residential cabinetry, Holsappel “has taken his business from a place of employment to a place that every employee contributes to its growth and ideas,” empowering and encouraging employees to participate in the decision-making process. “He is making his business a place of growing people, knowing that growing people will allow the growth of other bigger ideas of the business.”

Beyond his executive role, the 39-year-old Holsappel is “a consistent and dedicated resource” to others. “Despite being a very in-demand individual here at Windmill, he continues to drop what he is doing to help myself and others with any questions or concerns. He has a way of always ensuring that no one is left feeling like their time is any less valuable than his own,” the nominator adds. “The best part is he never leaves you feeling like you work for him but instead as though you work alongside him.”

“By creating a workplace where respect is the driving focus, he hopes this will spread through his employees out to the community, which in turn will hopefully improve the lives of others outside his place of business.”

Click on the image to open

Already in the short time since Dave Hoppe has been a project engineer at Dynamic Wood Solutions, “we have seen vast design and documentation improvements directly related to his actions, which have positively impacted our bottom line,” says his nominator.

Dynamic Wood Solutions is an architectural woodwork firm specializing in TFL and plastic laminate cabinetry, solid surface counters, decorative wall panels and custom pieces for healthcare, educational, financial, retail and other commercial projects.

At the Michigan-based manufacturer, the 35-year-old Hoppe “has made an incredibly positive impact on our company” his nominator adds. “He has improved our design intent for complicated units, to both our clients and our own fabrication and install teams through his 3D modeling skills. His ability to problem solve and create solutions for complicated operations has improved rework costs both in the shop and in the field. He has also been integral in streamlining our engineering process, improving accuracy, helping implement documentation and communication processes, all the while reducing overhead needs.”

Hoppe, the nominator adds, perfectly exemplifies the company’s motto, “Be Dynamic." “Dave has a passion for problem-solving and process improvement. His drive for finding efficiencies, maintaining accuracy, and reducing waste is incredible.” 

Click on the image to open

A whopping 37 people nominated Austin Jackson, director of Sales & Distribution at SurfPrep Sanding by Dixon.

“Austin's woodworking and finishing knowledge and customer service are second to none,” says one nominator. “Austin is well known & supports the woodworking community nationwide. [He] has enthusiasm for this industry and is helping people save time and money, and improve their quality of finishing.” And not only has he helped increase sales of sanding products tenfold, “Austin flies all over the country to educate, help and assist woodworking businesses grow and improve their finishing process.”

The 34-year-old Jackson is well-known at the California-based sanding specialist for going above and beyond in customer service. “Austin's overall knowledge of the woodworking industry as a whole, not just sandpaper/abrasives, has helped our customers and distributors come to respect the SurfPrep brand on a whole new level,” says a co-worker.

Adds another, “As Austin works to be an expert in the field, he has had a large impact on the people he is working with. I work directly with Austin in a capacity that allows me to see his work ethic and willingness to serve customers in any way they need. By possessing the knowledge of the industry he holds in conjunction with his passion for serving others, Austin is improving the lives of all the individuals he works with. He brings a positive attitude to every group he works with and leaves individuals feeling better about their work after he leaves.”

Click on the image to open

The vice president of Leeman Architectural Woodwork, over the past two years Seth Johnson “has strategically implemented new processes and procedures to increase efficiencies and streamline production,” says his nominator. “The company has been rebranded with true core values that are exhibited throughout our team members and our processes.”

“The overall morale of our employees has increased tremendously,” adds his nominator. “In addition, with new processes and procedures in place, the team knows the expectations and is measured and rewarded accordingly.”

Along with spearheading the implementation of a new ERP system at the Georgia-based Leeman Architectural Woodwork, thereby eliminating three other systems, Johnson is also credited with helping the firm achieve 20 percent growth over the past two years. “Seth is motivated by success. He works hard and supports his team members in their growth. He is dedicated to helping the company achieve and exceed its goals and is always willing to put in the extra effort and time to reach goals.”

The 35-year-old Johnson is also a dedicated leader. “He motivates others to do their best and he leads by example, always willing to support his team members and work alongside them to reach goals. He is process improvement driven and seeks excellence in all he does.”

Click on the image to open

The CEO of The Washington Woodworking Co., Frankie Jordan is described by his nominators as dynamic, visionary, hardworking and a dedicated leader. “From his enthusiasm, support and dedication he inspires us to be not afraid to try new methodology and put new practices in place,” says one.

The 37-year-old Jordan became CEO of the Maryland-based architectural woodwork firm in 2019 and made an immediate impact on the company’s productivity and profitability. “In 2020 Frankie Jordan not only led our company through a worldwide pandemic, but he also grew revenue by over 20%,” says another of his five nominators. “I have been working for Washington Woodworking for 35 years and have served as VP under three different CEOs. Since Frankie Jordan’s leadership the past two years, our revenues are on track to double. Frankie Jordan is a visionary who clearly communicates the plan to our team and motivates.”

During the pandemic, when many companies were hunkering down, Washington Woodworking expanded its facility and upgraded its capabilities, including heavy investments in CNC technology. Washington Woodworking has been manufacturing and installing custom architectural woodworking to major law firms, corporations, and general contractors and architects for 125 years. “His drive is the team – making sure we have what we need to be successful.”

“During Frankie Jordan’s leadership this past year we were able to bring life back to a company that was stagnant,” adds another nominator, resulting in an increase in employment in addition to revenue growth.

Washington Woodworking was featured in the January 2021 issue of FDMC.

Click on the image to open

The president of Quarry View Building Group, Ben King, “actively seeks out opportunities to make a positive impact in the community,” says his nominator. “From helping Amish register to vote, to raising funds and volunteering for invaluable organizations like the National Center for Healthy Veterans, to saving a local farmstead to give it a new purpose as our own workplace – Ben is never short on ideas of how to help others.”

The Pennsylvania-based timber-frame construction company has grown significantly since being founded in 2008 by King with his father and brothers.

“Ben values expert opinions and requests the guidance of those experienced in success within the specific areas that he is aiming to grow. Humble enough to ask for help, yet bold enough to grow the mentor relationship into friendship. He pays this support forward as he mentors and guides others along their journeys as well,” his nominator adds. At just 34 years old, “Ben inspires the younger generation to grow and follow their dreams, as he is doing. Quick to give advice and a helping hand, Ben truly wants everyone to succeed.”

She adds, “Ben paves the way to be bold, stand up for what you believe in, unapologetically authentic, doesn't give up, and will stop at nothing less than the best! When your leader lives with that mindset, the impact is felt past the internal team, and is carried out to the customers and community in which we interact.”

Click on the image to open

The production manager at Laurysen Kitchens Ltd., Michael Laurysen has had “an immediate impact in introducing new technology and methods of production, resulting in increased [capacity and speed],” says his nominator. “He is continually looking to learn and implement new manufacturing processes and is not afraid of change.”

The 33-year-old Laurysen has helped guide the award-winning Ontario-based cabinetry and custom closets manufacturer through the transition from “cut parts to batch size one” and works with the production team on lean manufacturing and implementing 5 S on the manufacturing floor.

“He changed our manufacturing method from made to stock to make to order and reduced inventory of WIP by 50 percent,” adds his nominator. This led to an increase in sales from $12 million to $22 million while maintaining the same building size and with the same direct number of employees. Laurysen also was instrumental in increasing the company’s water-based finish offerings, resulting in a “dramatic drop in our VOCs.” Laurysen Kitchens also recently added a robotic sanding machine, “keeping us in the forefront of manufacturing methods.”

The third generation in a family-owned and operated business, “Michael is motivated by his passion for the wood industry.” He also has a Bachelor of Science in Wood Products Processing from the University of British Columbia.

Click on the image to open

Steven McNeilly, national sales manager at Cefla North America, “has dedicated his career to growing and improving the woodworking industry,” says his nominator. A dynamic and critical thinker, “he is constantly looking for ways to improve the lives of his customers through innovation and process improvement and has helped develop patented manufacturing processes that have had positive impacts on the industry.”

In addition to his work at Cefla, the 38-year-old McNeilly is active with industry organizations including the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association and is a member of the WMIA Board of Directors, WMIA Joint Technology Committee, and WMIA Education Foundation Board of Trustees.  McNeilly also has spent “a lot of time working with technical schools, inside and outside of the industry, to promote the industry and attract new talent for customers and manufacturers. He has strong leadership skills that he uses to encourage and grow the people around him.”

She adds, “Steven is motivated by seeing companies successful as a result of his efforts.  Having invested many years in the industry, he strives to keep the industry alive and healthy by promoting new technology and garnering the interest of new talent to enter this great industry.”
Finishing technology specialist Cefla North America is based in North Carolina.

Click on the image to open

A “dedicated servant leader,” Madelyn Melchert is the woodworking instructor at Nehemiah’s Workshop, part of Church Hill Activities & Tutoring (CHAT)’s Workforce Development Program. The Virginia-based CHAT is a non-profit organization that provides training and skills to youths for personal and vocational success.

At Nehemiah’s Workshop, the 23-year-old Melchert trains and mentors at-risk youth while teaching modern and traditional woodworking techniques to craft furniture and other products.  In a recent blog, “You’ve got to start somewhere,” she notes: “Even though I’ve learned so much over the years, I still get nervous before I take on something new. But I know I’m not alone in this. That’s why one of our goals here in CHAT’s Workforce Development Program is to provide job experience to young people who are just starting out. Here, young people can learn new skills and grow in confidence for the next new thing they want to tackle, without the fear of failure. One of the main things our teen and young adult staff say about their experience in the program is that it’s a safe place for them to learn and be themselves. It can be easy to get bogged down by all the things you have to learn. But the important thing is to keep learning.”

Says her nominator, “I think Maddy is motivated by being the most humble perfectionist with a true teacher’s spirit.” He adds, “In the time I've known Maddy she has demonstrated high attention to detail for her craft and for applying best practices to teach shop safety and fundamental woodworking skills.”

Click on the image to open

The president of RFP Design Group Inc., Andrew Moretti has “created a culture change at RFP; driven by values, and specific and measurable goals to hold the business accountable,” says his nominator. “He also interconnected all departments into one seamless organization. In one year we were making sub-components to complete produced projects,” says his nominator.

Under the 34-year-old Moretti’s leadership, the company also expanded its product offerings. A new operational organization tool was also implemented, to track production, identify issues and deliver on time and in good quality. The Ontario-based RFP Design Group specializes in custom furniture for residential and commercial installations from its newly built 50,000-square-foot facility. “We are slowly becoming a titan in our industry. Everyone is excited about each day and each new project.”

And not only did the company experience zero layoffs due to the COVID pandemic, but during the slow periods, “Andrew Moretti increased the training and education for all employees, to learn more about materials and new technologies.” And, the nominator adds, throughout the year, team members are also encouraged to work a minimum of four hours per month, on company time, on a passion project of their choosing.

Moretti’s mantra, says his nominator, might well be: Nothing changes if nothing changes. “Growth motivates [him]. He wants us all to grow, be lifelong learners and improve our quality of life. He wants to change the industry by transforming the custom furniture experience.”

Click on the image to open

The regional board manager at Wurth Baer Supply, David Niemczyk “is always looking for ways to enhance our business or protect it from shortages in the market,” says a nominator and customer. “Many times, he’s making all the right decisions behind the scenes to keep our business operating.”

“David has made a measurable impact specifically during the pandemic as well as over the past six years,” adds another.  “He is a passionate advocate for his customers, working tirelessly to not only understand their needs, but to go above and beyond to meet those needs. His creative sourcing of materials and pivoting as materials flux demonstrates his ongoing initiative and dedication.”

Niemczyk’s expertise has also “catapulted him into an unofficial training role for Wurth's new reps.  He not only trains them, but he also becomes their mentor and trusted sounding board.” She adds, “Due to his ability to go above and beyond, David has been nominated to the Wurth High Potential Program and was instrumental in creating a sales training app for newbies, even presenting in front of Professor Wurth himself!  He's also been asked to present his sales techniques via webinar.  Building bridges between customers and vendors and viewing the sales process from both sides brings a fresh new perspective to the industry.”

What motivates the 40-year-old Niemczyk is “a sense of purpose.” “He's told me over and over, to live a truly fulfilled life we need to have a sense of purpose.  Purpose brings a deeper feeling of security than money ever could because money comes and goes. Purpose keeps us moving forward and motivated.”

Based in Illinois, Wurth Baer Supply is a provider of a wide range of woodworking tools, accessories and supplies.

Click on the image to open

“Our industry is becoming increasingly aware of the need for companies to operate with a high degree of corporate social responsibility. Jonny Nikolic is at the forefront of this movement, continuously coming up with innovative ways to ensure Specialty Laminates runs in a way that benefits its customers, the environment, and the community in which it serves,” says his nominator.

Nikolic, 35, is CFO of the family-owned TFL panel producer, which is headquartered in Alberta. Specialty Laminates has gained a reputation for flexibility and innovation, while providing an environmentally friendly product. “This focus of always being flexible and creative with the end product, and making their customers aware of those differences, is their secret weapon to success! [Jonny] is one of the youngest and most innovative executives in the TFL industry.”

Adds the nominator, “Running a second-generation family business, Jonny recognizes the importance of relationships and understanding your customers and their needs. Jonny is motivated and focused on providing a socially responsible product to the woodworking community. He aims to be a leader in developing niche laminate products, conscious of the impact on customers and the environment.

“By putting both their customer and supplier relationships at the top of their priorities, Specialty Laminates will continue to be the go-to manufacturer in a highly competitive TFL market.”

Click on the image to open

John Parker, Engineering manager at Halkett Woodworking Inc. oversees all projects and the team of engineers and draftsmen that fulfill them. “Customers come to him with elaborate visions of their millwork, cabinetry and built-in furniture,” says one nominator. “He can take their ideas and make the drawings that lead to reality; his talent is appreciated by our customers and outside design consultants. This makes Halkett Woodworking hyper-productive and clearly profitable.”

At the Pennsylvania-based firm, the 30-year-old Parker “inspires his team to perform at their best. They each enjoy working under John, even though his standards are very high. He enables his team to grow and recognizes their skills, quality and talent. We have 19 employees and John makes every one of them feel valuable to our team.”

The nominator adds, “Because of John's talent, leadership and customer engagement skills, Halkett Woodworking's business is quite successful. Even with this COVID economy, we are never short on customers and profitable work. Personally, as General Manager, John gives me peace of mind and confidence that we can accomplish any job successfully and within the time frame we promise.”

Notes another, “As the business owner I feel so blessed to have John overseeing all our engineering projects. With John overseeing all creations, drawings and construction we keep our Halkett name synonymous with excellence and high standards. In the process of bringing creations to fruition, John keeps our team members challenged and growing as professionals. That is important to me. Each employee is honing their skills and raising their personal bar daily. John has everything to do with that.”

Click on the image to open

Described as a “dynamic and natural leader,” Eddie San Juan, 27, Back End Operations manager at E.F. San Juan Inc., has “led his team and the company in an amazing transformation,” says his nominator. “In a relatively short period of about 20 months and in the wake of a destructively devastating Category 5 hurricane, Eddie took the lead of a 35-year-old manufacturing operation, kept it alive and thriving in make-shift conditions, and then guided the transition of it all to two new 12,000-square-foot facilities.

“One might consider it a feat worthy of an entire career’s work, but any celebration of success was short-lived with a pandemic baring down on his community and the world.  He continued to lead, coach and innovate to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis for an essential business, guaranteeing the workforce remained safe and very productive.  He also developed and transitioned his operations team to a paperless shop floor technology, facilitating vital remote scheduling and CNC programming,” at the Florida-based custom millwork manufacturer.

His nominator adds, “Eddie's unique leadership delivers a very well-defined company culture, a strong team, upgrades in technology and its use in planning, scheduling, communicating, and manufacturing and most importantly, quality.  His drive inspires accountability that leverages his natural talents in team building, problem-solving and enduring culture building.  The results: unprecedented growth of the team and recognition as an employer of choice in his local community.”

“His innovative leadership, gifted communication skills, and genuine care for his entire team fuel an environment of continuous improvement resulting in revenue and profit growth – the lifeblood of an enduring business.”

Click on the image to open

The vice president of Operations at Stevens Industries Inc., Joe Schumacher is considered a “standout” at the company, with a reputation for being both a leader and a team player at the Illinois-based panel processor and fixtures manufacturer.

“Joe is encouraging to other employees and will help anywhere needed. He perseveres through any challenges that are put in front of him and does it with a positive attitude,” says his nominator. “Stevens is made up of its 500+ employee-owners and Joe is viewed as an extremely valuable asset to this company. He is a go-to person in a time of crisis and is viewed as a source of expertise when solving problems. Joe brings a forward-thinking mentality to our company and is always looking to bring efficiency to the operations at Stevens.”

“Joe’s push for improvements and can-do attitude helps his team achieve their goals,” the nominator adds. “Joe has had a positive influence on our company, the many employee-owners of Stevens Industries, and their families.”

The 38-year-old Schumacher has also had a positive influence on his community, where he is an active volunteer on various boards and committees, as well as the local high school and youth sports teams. He can also add “inventor” to his resume; while at Caterpillar Schumacher developed and patented an engine part for an over-the-road truck.

Click on the image to open

The director of Marketing at Leuco Tool Corp., Abi Shaffer provides inspiration and influence to others “to achieve their most,” says her nominator.

“Since Abi joined Leuco Tool Corp. in 2014 she has continued to lead on many fronts to help Leuco change its internal culture and develop leaders inside our organization. She continues to influence others to achieve their very best and to grow into successful leaders. Additionally, she brings an inquisitive mind that pushes our organization to continuously bring innovation to our processes and products,” he says. With U.S. offices located in Georgia, Leuco Tool Corp. is one of the world´s largest suppliers of carbide and diamond-tipped machine tools for wood and plastic processing.

“It is due to Abi's leadership that in the last few years our organization has completely changed how we operate. She has pushed us to be a vision-driven organization with an exceptional ability to turn challenges into opportunities. She leads well beyond the scope of marketing and influences all aspects of our organization and those we partner with,” he adds.

The 39-year-old Shaffer “is absolutely motivated by influencing a positive change in people and processes. She has a unique ability to pull the very best out of people and is motivated by helping others grow both professionally and personally.”

Click on the image to open

“It is not easy for a potential user to see how a moisture detection system will benefit them directly as well how to implement the same internally,” says the nominator for Alex Staalner, brand manager for Brookhuis America Inc. However, he adds, Staalner “has done an outstanding job keeping the business up and [the topic] relevant during the pandemic.” Based in Georgia, Brookhuis America specializes in wood moisture measuring and strength grading systems.

Staalner’s efforts to educate woodworkers on the necessity for moisture control in wood and wood products include the development of presentation tools. “It has been somewhat cloudy in the past for many to understand the benefits and ROI of using a moisture control system. With the newly developed tool and marketing implementation strategy developed by Alex, it is easy to understand it all the way through,” says his nominator. “It is so much more clear for a potential buyer of how a system works, why they need it and how to apply the technology in their plants.”

Staalner has been involved in the woodworking industry for a number of years, with expertise also in sanding and finishing. Described as “caring, reliable, punctual and capable,” the 32-year-old Staalner “has long wanted to make an impact in our industry” and is motivated by contributing to the success of his company, customers, and the industry.

Click on the image to open

“Self-motivated and always on the go,” Justin Stabb started Stabb Designs LLC in 2016 to “work with clients whose design needs were not answered by major manufacturers or local vendors.” The North Carolina-based architectural millwork and casework firm is known for “pushing the limits and boundaries” on projects, providing engineering, design, materials, advanced fabrication and turnkey installation.

The 37-year-old Stabb Designs owner  “has a great entrepreneurial spirit and is a great craftsperson,” says his nominator. “Justin is helping to bring wood manufacturing back into High Point, North Carolina. In just five years he has gone from a one-person shop to a company with five employees. He is also active in the local community, helping to bring an advanced manufacturing facility into the heart of High Point.”

Initiated by Stabb and in partnership with SCM Group North America, The Generator at Congdon Yards provides access to state-of-the-art technology to start-ups and small companies in North Carolina. Medium and large companies also can utilize The Generator to expand their product offerings or “knock out pieces that they can't stop in-house production for,” according to the website. Woodworking shops are also given access to the Material ConneXion library, with more than 10,000 materials in the collection.

Click on the image to open

Alexandra Sustaita’s efforts have had a significant impact not only at the Texas-based, architectural woodwork firm Panel Specialists Inc. where she is Finance manager, but also in the community.

“Alex is a highly dedicated professional, committed to excellence and continuous improvement.  As a result, she has been instrumental in improving controls, accuracy, and efficiency not only in the Finance & Accounting department, but across the organization,” says her nominators. Examples include: utilized ERP and spreadsheet technology to automate manual processes within the department, thereby increasing efficiency and accuracy; helped create a paperless environment within the department; assisted in developing and conducting risk assessment and management training for the entire Leadership team; and revised the Corporate Capital Expenditure policy to streamline the process for tracking and auditing fixed assets, creating better control.

The 31-year-old Sustaita sets an example through her many strong leadership characteristics. “Her can-do spirit resonates throughout the company, and she inspires others to be the best version of themselves. She gives her time selflessly and shares her knowledge willingly.  People are always eager to work with Alex on projects because they know she will give her absolute best.”

Her nominators add, “Alex is a consummate professional in our industry who loves solving real-world business and community problems and places the needs of others before her own.”  Her community actions include iChallengeU, a hands-on project by PSI and the Temple Independent School District’s Career & Technical Education Program to demonstrate how a business operates, and she is an active participant in the Temple Independent School District’s Business & Industry Advisory Council. Sustaita is also a Temple Wildcat Mentor, providing mentorship to kids who may be experiencing difficulties in school and/or in life, and teaches personal finance and budgeting classes through Helping Hands Ministry.

Click on the image to open

In his role as senior technician at a major CNC machinery manufacturer, Mario Tellez assisted customers in setup and training. “While he is at the customer's facility he learns their needs, and what will best help the machine do what they need it to do,” said one nominator.

Another added, “Because Mario is so thorough and gifted at teaching, he makes the woodshops he serves more productive. Once they know their machines, they have a clear idea of features they want to add - such as an onboard label printer, a longer table, a robotic arm, or mechanical loader. As the entire industry becomes more efficient and productive, the Woodworking Industry IQ is elevated and as an industry, we become stronger, more technically advanced and competitive as a country.”

The 30-year-old Tellez also assisted in integrating 5G technology into the company’s machinery. “With 5G technology, homing isn't necessary, rubber belts are eliminated, and machines are always ready for new equipment, and new features.”

“Mario helped [us] achieve our goal of engineering our machines to be easy to operate – even for people who have zero CNC experience, and contributed the optimal customer experience to our 5th Generation machine line-up,” he added. “This makes for happy customers, repeat customers and exceptional productivity. With Mario on our team [we] achieved more than a 20 percent increase in profits for 2020!”

Click on the image to open

Justin Trewitt started Dapper Woodworks in 2017 “to combine my woodworking hobby with my love of menswear and tailored clothing.” The 30-year-old owner created a line of handcrafted men's accessory storage solutions, including tie/ belt/ pocket square racks, coat hooks, shoehorns, lapel pins, and other custom accessories.

“I am passionate about American manufacturing and produce all my products out of my shop in Sachse, Texas. Whenever possible I try and buy all my materials from local businesses or other small U.S. manufacturers,” he says.

“Outside of custom closet solutions there are no good options for accessory storage. Most men resort to hanging their ties and accessories on plastic coat hangers or cheap mass produced cedar racks. I saw that men who care about their appearance and invest in their clothing needed a nicer solution to store their accessories, and developed a line of custom tie, belt, and pocket square racks that are fully customizable to my clients’ needs. They get to choose the size, wood, hardware finish, and other options to get the perfect rack to fit their needs and compliment their style.”

Motivated by his family and faith, Trewitt says, “My wife and I are [also] passionate about mission work in Tanzania, and this business has provided funds for us to travel to Tanzania in 2018 and 2019 to assist with planting churches. Even though we couldn't travel last year we have still been able to sponsor two children in Tanzania by providing them education, food, and healthcare.”

Click on the image to open

Justin Whitaker is “a colleague and friend you can call on anytime for anything.” The Residential Cabinets product manager at Indiana-based Genesis Products Inc., “Justin doesn't mind getting in the trenches to get product out to customers and aligns with our internal sales team to drive new business forward while continuing to support existing business/customers,” says one nominator.

Adds another, “His ability to communicate potential problems before they become a problem and to also come up with options as to how we can solve it and still keep our specs and standards intact,” has been especially important this past year, with all the supply chain disruptions and shortages impacting wood products manufacturers.

“Justin is cool under pressure even amongst these trying times,” a third nominator says of the 35-year-old Whitaker. “He calmly leads and solves these everyday problems while developing new cabinet door products, qualifying raw materials and new laminates — tripling our book of business.”

“Genesis' company sales have gone from $185 million in 2019 to $225 with a 2021 forecast of close to around $300 million,” he adds. “The Industrial Products division at Genesis and our cabinet components business is responsible for most of this growth. But you can't sustain this type of growth without great people overseeing all the details to make it successful.  Justin plays a large role in contributing to this success.” He continues, “Justin doesn’t stop at the end of the day.  He gives back to our community and serves the board at Ryan’s Place, a charity service providing grief support to children, teens and families who have lost loved ones.”

Click on the image to open

The sales account manager for Closets and Home Organization with Hafele America, Tara Whitlock's entry into the industry was anything but typical.

It was in 2009 when Whitlock, who was transitioning from living in a homeless shelter with her two young children after escaping an abusive relationship, came across an ad for a closet designer at Closet America. With a background in CAD and a passion for organization, she seized the opportunity, changed jobs, and eventually became lead designer at the company.

But after losing her father to cancer, Whitlock moved to Florida to be closer to other family. She soon found work for a wholesale closet component firm, where she helped develop a successful residential division. Following her marriage and the welcoming of three bonus children, the new family relocated within Florida, and in 2018 she joined Hafele America. Based in North Carolina, Hafele America is a well-known supplier of home organization and hardware products.

In 2020, Whitlock “achieved the number one sales professional award for the organization, even with COVID and having a child born during a global pandemic,” she says. Motivated in part by her faith, the 35-year-old mother of six says she is happy and excited for what the future might hold. Along with a “passion for helping and improving the people, processes and things [I] interact with," Whitlock strives to be “a role model of overcoming tremendous obstacles for [my] children and others in the industry.”

 

Meet the honorees of the Wood Industry 40 Under 40 Class of 2021,  announced by Woodworking Network. This year marks the sixth 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.

“It is our distinct pleasure to again recognize some of the best and brightest contributors to wood products manufacturing in North America with our sixth annual class of 40 Under 40 honorees. This year’s inductees join the 200 alums from prior years, forming a group of enterprising individuals destined to advance our industry to meet the everchanging challenges of the future," said Tim Fixmer, CEO of CCI Media, the parent of Woodworking Network.

This year's class of Wood Industry 40 Under 40 includes wood products manufacturers, suppliers, developers,  designers, and educators, from all facets of the woodworking industry, including: cabinetry, furniture, architectural woodwork, closets/home organization, and wood components.

“It’s always hard to narrow down the list to 40 honorees and 2021’s entries were no exception.  Among the entrants are highly successful entrepreneurs, marketing specialists, extraordinary woodworkers, educators, and almost-rookie team members," said Harry Urban, FDMC publisher. "While dealing with COVID personally and professionally, this year’s nominees have successfully navigated supply chain volatility, led and motivated team members, and contributed to their communities. Cheers for the Class of 2021!"

View the slideshow (arranged in alphabetical order) to find out more about this year's class of honorees.

The 2021 honorees will be profiled on WoodworkingNetwork.com and in the October issue of FDMC magazine. They will also be recognized at industry events including the Leadership Reception in Las Vegas, July 19, the day prior to the AWFS Fair, and a reception at the Executive Briefing Conference, Sept. 8-10, at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado; 2021 honorees also will receive a complimentary registration to EBC.

The 2021 40 Under 40 Award program is sponsored by CNC Factory and Hexagon Production Software: Cabinet Vision and Alphacam.

Plaques for the 2021 Wood Industry 40 Under 40 are being provided by Epilog Laser.

The 2021 honorees in alphabetical order are:

Kelly Barefoot, franchise owner of ShelfGenie of Coastal Carolinas • Luke Barnett, executive director, Sam Beauford Woodworking Institute • Janelle Berman, owner/partner, Amber Millwork Ltd. • Sean Biloski, owner, Iron Oaks LLC • Renfro Carranza, Microvellum administrator at Panel Specialists, Inc. • Jimmy Carroll, general manager, Ruck Cabinet Doors • Marty Coleman, woodshop supervisor, Narrow Gate Woodworks • Robbie Davis, CEO, Delta Millworks • Derek DeGeest, president, LestaUSA & DeGeest Corp. • Elizabeth Dick, director of Sales & Marketing, TigerStop • Bennett Dipzinski, Sales & Marketing manager, Hocker North America • Adam Doran, Design manager, Closet America • Robert Edelbach, vice president, Red Star Cabinet Co. •  David Fair, CEO, Third Bench • Kevin Finney, owner, Vantage Customs LLC • Nathan Guffey, president, Guffey Cabinetry & Guffey Systems LLC • Roger Harry, principal/CEO, Bill Truitt WoodWorks • Will Holsappel, general manager & partner, Windmill Cabinet Shop Ltd.  • Dave Hoppe, project engineer, Dynamic Wood Solutions • Austin Jackson, director of Sales & Distribution, SurfPrep Sanding by Dixon • Seth Johnson, vice president, Leeman Architectural Woodwork • Frankie Jordan, CEO, The Washington Woodworking Co. •  Ben King, president, Quarry View Building Group • Michael Laurysen, production manager, Laurysen Kitchens Ltd. • Steven McNeilly, national sales manager, Cefla North America • Madelyn Melchert, Nehemiah's Workshop woodworking teacher, Church Hill Activities and Tutoring • Andrew Moretti, president, RFP Design Group Inc. • David Niemczyk, regional board manager, Würth Baer Supply Co. • Jonny Nikolic, CFO, Specialty Laminates • John Parker,  Engineering manager, Halkett Woodworking Inc. •  Eddie San Juan, Back End Operations manager, E.F. San Juan • Joe Schumacher, vice president of Operations, Stevens Industries Inc. • Abi Shaffer, director of Marketing at Leuco Tool Corp. • Alex Staalner, brand manager for Brookhuis America Inc. • Justin Stabb, owner of Stabb Designs LLC • Alexandra Sustaita, Finance manager, Panel Specialists, Inc. •  Mario Tellez, senior technician, CNC Factory • Justin Trewitt, owner of Dapper Woodworks • Justin Whitaker, product manager, Genesis Products Inc. • Tara Whitlock, sales account manager for Häfele America Co.

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

Profile picture for user karenkoenig
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