Market leaders are those that meet the challenges facing today’s wood products industry and turn them to their advantage. They seek opportunities to improve and grow their businesses, and go above and beyond to work for the betterment of the marketplace.
On the next pages you’ll read the stories behind this year’s leading executives: not only their strategies for success, but their influences, achievements and insights. Not only did they help lead their companies to greater prominence — but an entire industry as well.
These are your 2012 Market Leaders.
Chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co.
President & CEO of Panel Processing Inc.
President & CEO of California Closets
Chairman & CEO of Wood-Mode Inc.
COO of Meyer & Lundahl
General Manager/Wood Division for Steelcase
This marks the fourth year Wood & Wood Products has identified those that have made an impact — at their own companies and on the industry as a whole. Along with this year’s Market Leaders, we recognize our past honorees: (titles/jobs at time of listing):
• Keith Atherholt, president, Lewis Lumber Products. Under Atherholt, the millwork/components producer increased sales and products, while reducing operating costs.
• Mark Bernhard, president, Bernhard Woodwork Ltd. With a lifetime of experience in the industry, Bernhard has guided the architectural woodwork giant to new levels.
• Steve Brewster, director of sustainability, Kimball Office. In addition to his work at Kimball, Brewster gained recognition as a speaker on sustainable manufacturing.
• Franco Bianchi, president & CEO, Haworth Inc. Under Bianchi’s leadership, Haworth has stayed the course, offering integrated and innovative products.
• Mike Carson, president, Closet Works Inc. Carson was instrumental in launching The National Closet Group, a group for the home storage and organization industry.
• Mark Clemens, VP product development, idX Corp. In addition to his efforts at idX, Clemens has worked to improve the industry and is active in the AWI.
• Margaret Fisher, director of market development, Lange Bros. Woodwork Co. A business advocate and author, Fisher has been a speaker on behalf of the AWI on the topics of LEED, wood and carbon, and forest sustainability.
• Roger Jones, VP Global Logistics, Century Furniture. Jones helped increase international work and develop the infrastructure to support Century’s Lacey Act implementation.
• Steve Kincaid, president, Kincaid Furniture. Under Kincaid’s direction, the company looks to become the leading solid wood furniture manufacturer/marketer.
• Kevin Kuske, general wood manager, Steelcase Inc. Kuske helped Steelcase reinvent its Wood business and put in place sustainability initiatives.
• Pernille Lopez, president, IKEA North America. Lopez has directed IKEA’s growth from a small retailer to a nationally recognized home furnishings and accessories chain.
• Bill LePage, VP operations, The Simple Furniture Co. LePage helped direct the RTA company’s efforts on sustainability, including an eco-friendly line of children’s furniture.
• Jeff Pray, president & CEO, PIN. Under his direction, the store fixture maker is achieving new heights as it grows business through new and existing product niches.
• Mark Richey, president, Mark Richey Woodworking & Design. Richey’s success comes from his strong environmental initiatives as well as empowering employees.
• Kevin Sauder, president and CEO, Sauder Woodworking. A strong advocate of environmental initiatives, the RTA giant produces almost 300 tons of wood waste daily, yet has not taken a load to the landfill in more than nine years.
• Jim Sherbert, CEO, Bush Industries. Under Sherbert’s direction, Bush has diversified into new markets, developed new brands and introduced product lines, while putting in place strategies to increase enterprise value through sustainability.
• Greg Stoner, president, MasterBrand Cabinets. Stoner parlayed his experience in large-scale manufacturing environments to position MasterBrand in its leadership role.
• Karen Strauss, president, Masco Cabinetry. Under her direction, Masco consolidated the retail and cabinet divisions into one streamlined organizational structure.
• Brian Walker, president and CEO, Herman Miller Inc. Walker has led Herman Miller to be one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For,” according to Fortune magazine.
• Ron Wanek, chairman, Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. A self-made man and one of the richest Americans, Wanek has led the furniture company in becoming one of the first to both source and sell around the world.
• Chris Watson, COO, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. Watson has led the components firm in strategic initiatives, including resizing of operations and lean manufacturing.
• Bill Weaver, president and CEO, Canyon Creek Cabinet Co. Weaver took a small company on the verge of bankruptcy and built it into a major cabinet manufacturer, renown for its sustainability initiatives.
• Jennifer Q. Williams, owner and president, St. Louis Closet Co. In 1991 Williams launched the first locally-owned closet firm that installed custom organizing systems.
• Andy Wilzoch, owner and president, Premier EuroCase. With the goal of always moving forward and reinvesting in infrastructure, Wilzoch has propelled the company from a 1,000-square-foot shop into one of the largest panel processors.
• Eric Wolff, president & CEO, The Stow Co. Under his direction, Stow has become a premier, sustainable, manufacturer of home organization products.
• Boe Young, VP of manufacturing, Impressions Marketing Group. Young has helped lead Impressions in its winning ventures, including multiple awarding of the A.R.E.’s “Above and Beyond Award” for customer service and project execution.
Read about last year's Wood Industry Market Leaders>>
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