An executive at a hardwood company nominated a rising young manager at a competing lumber firm. An ex-Marine with training in Six Sigma launched a woodworking firm to create career paths for fellow vets. An inventive technologist successfully develops a substitute for formaldehyde plywood, then 'grows' engineered wood.

The rising young manager at the lumber firm is 40 Under 40 winner Julio Alvarez. He works at Bill Hanks Lumber in Danbury, North Carolina. He was nominated by Robert Miller at Frank Miller Lumber Company. "The past two years I was the Millennial Council Coordinator for the Hardwoods Manufactures Association (HMA), and Julio was one of my millennials on this council," Miller said in his nomination form.  He came up with some great ideas to further develop HMA and get our millennials engaged in the organization."


Wood Industry 40 Under 40 Class of 2016

Profiles of the 2016 Wood Industry 40 Under 40, the next generation destined to make an impact on the wood products manufacturing industry in North America.

Miller says Alvarez has helped grow HMA membership, helped with putting together a panel discussion titled "Leveraging the Generational Differences in the Workplace" and is now looking at putting together, with the help of the Millennial Council, an industry video on promoting American Hardwoods and the Hardwood Industry.

"Julio is self motivated and comes with a lot of passion for our industry," Miller notes. "Allowing Julio to think and work freely motivates him and will typically motivate most Millennials."

40 Under 40 Winner Brian Steorts' veteran group launched Flags of Valor to bring jobs to ex-military. It is also turning them into real woodworking craftsmen. Steorts was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne. As he recuperated from combat injuries, he decided to move into woodworking, with something that became an obsession. He was also motivated to produced something "Made in America." Steorts says veterans who come to work at Flags of Valor develop deep skills in wood craft and finishing. The Ashburn, Virginia company has also received strong support from DeWalt.
Brian Steorts

The flags are classic styles of U.S. flag rendered in antiqued paid and carved or on pine boards layed up into panels. Flags are sold at prices ranging from $149 to $399, through a website built on the Shopify e-commerce system. Steorts has set up a serious business operation. A 2005 business graduate of the University of Alabama, he is Six Sigma certified from Villanova University, operations are consistent and methodical.



Guy Bucey, Inova LLC

Another great story is that if 40 Under 40 winner Guy Bucey is a 30-year old decorated Marine who served for three deployments in Iraq. He has been working at Inova, a manufacturer of fold-down beds, for five years, starting as a team leader in subassembly, and is now plant manager at the Albany, New York, firm.

In nominating him, company owner Loren Sherman said, "Guy is clearly on his way to being the COO as we grow." Here's how Sherman described Bucey:

Guy has done a beautiful job of teaching and modeling the best leadership and team behavior and has had a super positive impact on me and all of our employees."

Since he implemented his vision for how to build our team, build our culture, and grow the company, we have doubled the size of our facility, gone from 14 to 38 employees and made extraordinary increases in our production efficiency, capacity, and quality. Disney, Marriott, and other major hotel chains as well as student housing and other kinds of developers are major clients of ours. Without being able to increase our capacity and quality in our Albany location, we never would have been able to grow these important partnerships. He has inspired everyone in the company to follow, learn, and find their own motivation to become their best within the environment he has created

Guy will simply not give up when he sets his mind to something. He carries responsibility with strength and commitment and every day he applies the principles of continuous improvement to himself and everyone around him.  He has a tremendous level of self-respect so he sets high standards for himself and dedicates himself to meeting them.

The inspiring stories like these of the 2016 Wood Industry 40 Under 40 offers assurance that this industry has an amazing future. Read more about the Wood Industry 40 Under 40 here.

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