NEWPORT, N.C. -- Veneer Technologies has announced the 2017 panel that will decide this international design competition highlighting achievement in the use of natural wood veneer products. The judges for this year are Karen Koenig, editor of Woodworking Network’s special publications and projects, including the Red Book resource guide; Stephen Latta, professor of cabinetmaking and wood technology at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, and a contributing editor for Fine Woodworking; and Mike Taylor, president and CEO of States Industries, manufacturer of hardwood plywood veneer panels.

“Our competition is unique in that we recognize the entire supply chain, from the material source to the distributor to the designer/craftsperson,” explains Veneer Tech’s Alan Hubbard, face veneer sales manager. “Our judge panel also reflects a cross section of industry experts, drawn from educators, hands-on woodworkers, trade media, and manufacturers.”

Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge entries are being accepted now through May 31, 2017. Competition categories include Architectural Woodworking, Cabinetry, Furniture, Marquetry, Specialty Products and Student Design. Entry forms are available online through There is no entry fee. Material does not need to have been sourced through Veneer Tech to be eligible.

A cash award of $3000 will be made to the creator of the grand prize winning entry. The distributor of the veneer for the grand prize winning entry will receive $2000, and the corresponding distributor salesperson will receive $1000. Category winning entries receive $1000 each. There is also an additional $1000 award to the grand prizewinner for early entry by March 31, 2017. Awards will be announced at AWFS Las Vegas, July 19-22, 2017.

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-Special Projects 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 (competition co-sponsor) and other Woodworking Network online and print media owned by CCI Media, Cedar Rapids, IA.

Stephen Latta is a professor in the Cabinetmaking and Wood Technology program, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A. He is a contributing editor for Fine Woodworking magazine, and has produced several instructional DVDs with Lie-Nielsen Toolworks and the Taunton Press. He has lectured at museums nationwide including Winterthur Museum and Gardens, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Historic Sturbridge Village, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Latta is a juried member of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, and a member of both the Furniture Society and the Society of American Period Furniture Makers.

Mike Taylor is president and CEO of States Industries, Eugene, Oregon, a manufacturer of ApplePly and other premiere hardwood plywood veneer panels. He serves on the board of the Hardwood Forestry Fund, and is a past chair of the Hardwood Plywood and Veneer Association. He started his career at States as plant manager in 2000, and proceeded to hold positions as director of operations, and vice president of manufacturing, before assuming his current role in 2010. Taylor earned a BS degree in chemistry from the University of Oregon (UO), and a BS in chemical engineering from Oregon State University. He completed his MBA through UO’s Lundquist College of Business.

See for coverage of last year's competition.

Veneer Technologies is located in Newport, NC, and specializes in natural face veneer, sheet veneer and edgebanding. Inquiries can be made by telephoning 800-593-5601, or going to


Judges for the 2017 Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge design competition are, from top, Karen Koenig, Stephen Latta, and Mike Taylor.


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