In its 16th year, the entrants in this year’s Design Portfolio Awards competition have once again impressed and amazed the judges with their complex designs and expert craftsmanship. All the projects were beautiful, and it was a tough call for the judges to choose winners. But in the end they awarded the coveted top honors to seven companies and Honorable Mention awards to 15 companies. Click the the top seven winning entries below to get the story behind each project and see extra Web Exclusive photos:

Architectural Millwork Category and Overall Winner: Burger Boat Co., Manitowoc, WI, for “Ingot Yacht.”
Kitchen/Bath Cabinets: Modern Design, Cologne, MN, for “Custom Kitchen.”
Residential Furniture, Built-In: C.M. Wood Works Inc., Deerfield, IL, for “Harbor Springs Library.”
Residential Furniture, Freestanding: Zongkers Custom Woods Inc., Omaha, NE, for “19th Century French-Style Table.”
Specialty Products: WoodVerks of Sarasota Inc., Sarasota, FL, for “Banana Leaf Gate.”
Commercial/Institutional: Studio of Michael P. McDunn Inc., Greenville, SC, for “Conference Table.”
Solid Surface: Specialty Wood Mfg., Tacoma, WA, for “Corian Divider Walls.”

CWB congratulates all the winners for their originality in design and excellence in craftsmanship. Full coverage is on the following pages of this special section.

Thanks to the Judges

2009 judges were: left to right, Jeff Smoler, Jerry Finch, Scott DeGenova and Tom Gleason.

The Design Portfolio Awards competition saw a number of outstanding entries, making the job of picking the final winners a tough — and time-consuming — challenge. CWB expresses its deep gratitude to this year’s judges, who spent the better part of a day reading entry forms, viewing accompanying images and discussing the merits of the projects submitted. We congratulate and thank them for their hard work and thoughtful consideration of all the entries. This year’s panel included:

• Gerald Finch, who recently retired as an instructor at Fox Valley Technical College in Oshkosh, WI, which offers a one-year vocational diploma designed to prepare graduates to be shop-level woodworkers. He developed the department’s curriculum and served as its head for 25 years. He was selected as the Woodworking Machinery Industry Assn.’s 1996 “Educator of the Year” and has served on the WoodLINKS-USA Board. He currently is doing woodworking education and training services as a consultant and is on the board of the Woodwork Career Alliance, which is developing National Skill Standards for the woodworking industry.

• Tom Gleason is the founder of Gleason Woodwork in Chicago. The firm specializes in ultra high-end custom cabinets and architectural millwork. He is a past president of the Chicago chapter of the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) and active in AWI at the national level. Gleason also is an active supporter of the Fabretto Children’s Foundation, assisting with a carpentry program in Cusmapa, Nicaragua, that produces furniture for the local market and small household decorative items for sale in the United States. He was named Fabretto’s Volunteer of the Year for 2007.

• Scott DeGenova is the General Manager at Wampach Woodwork Inc. in South Elgin, IL. Wampach produces custom cabinetry, countertops and other architectural millwork for business and residential buildings. He is a past president of the Chicago chapter of the Architectural Woodwork Institute.

• Jeff Smoler is a professional member of The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and he is a member of the American Woodworker Institute. He serves as national vice president of the American Society of Furniture Designers (ASFD) and as the national president of The Consortium of Design and Construction Careers. Smoler is a registered interior designer in Illinois, and he currently teaches Computer Aided Design at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art. He also owns J.E.S. Designs, a commercial, residential and custom cabinet company.

Special thanks also go to Jerry Finch and Mark Lorge at Fox Valley Tech for providing the beautiful butternut plaques for the top winners this year.

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