When longtime kitchen cabinet manufacturer Wood-Mode closed its doors, nearly 1,000 employees were put out of work and hundreds of dealers were also left stranded. But a new owner, Bill French, bought the company and is reviving it. Will Sampson, editor of FDMC and Woodworking Network, talks about the role employees play in successful ventures, and he interviews French about his plans for Wood-Mode and what it takes to thrive as a wood products manufacturer today.
Before buying Wood-Mode out of bankruptcy, Bill French has been the president for 20 years of Professional Building Systems, a builder of manufactured homes. He has an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editor of FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.