The Jerry Metz Achievement Award was inaugurated in 2003 by Wood & Wood Products in memory of woodworking legend and treasured W&WP columnist Jerry Metz. Metz passed away in February 2003 at the age of 93, after having served the wood products industry for more than 70 years.

Metz enjoyed a nearly 40-year career with the J.L. Metz Furniture Co. of Hammond, IN. Under his leadership, Metz Furniture won the National Association of Furniture Manufacturers' Safety Award more than a dozen years in a row. Metz Furniture had the well-earned reputation of being "the safest in its field." The companyâ's dining room furniture also won numerous design awards.

Upon selling Metz Furniture in 1970, Metz became a consultant and contributing editor to W&WP. His immensely popular column, "Consult Jerry Metz" repeatedly touched on the four cornerstones upon which the Metz Award is founded: safety, training, quality and productivity.

"I did not have a chance to meet him, but it was a pleasure to read the articles," says Keith Malmstadt, Great Lake Woods Inc. president and 2008 Jerry Metz Achievement Award winner. "I feel that we're probably of like mind in terms of production, quality, safety, efficiency and innovation." Malmstadt, a longtime reader of the columnist, was nominated due to his commitment to education, quality, safety and productivity, as well as his involvement in the woodworking industry as a whole.

In addition to meeting the criteria of the award, the previous winners also stand out, each in their own way. Here is a brief overview of their achievements.

Joseph Cannon Jr., president of CAS America, won the award in 2003 for a strong commitment to educating his own workforce, as well as helping to improve Rhode Island's education and business development programs.

In 2004, the Metz Achievement Award was given to Paul Wellborn, president and CEO of Wellborn Cabinet Inc., who displayed a dedication to productivity and quality. Bob Gronlund, chairman and CEO of Wood-Mode, received the Metz Achievement Award in 2005, due in part to his successful efforts in quality control and innovation, as well as customer and community service.

The 2006 award winner, Sam Stoltzfus, president of Keystone Wood Specialties Inc., demonstrated a commitment to safety that resulted in his company being recognized as one of America's Safest Companies. Last year's winner, E.F. "Sonny" Zetmeir, owner of Grandview Products Co. Inc., has fostered an atmosphere of productivity and quality at his company.

The seventh annual Jerry Metz Achievement Award will be featured in the October 2009 issue of Wood & Wood Products.


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