WMIA Award Winners Pursue Woodworking Excellence
August 15, 2011 | 9:10 pm UTC
Northland Forest Products' Technology Innovations

 Making payroll has been a goal of many woodworking companies during the past couple of years. Plans to invest in new technologies or plant expansions have taken a back burner as more wood products execs have looked to hunker down and ride out the recession.

No wonder the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association chose Select Veneer and Foliot to receive its annual Wood Globe Awards of excellence for staying focused on future growth in spite of the softness of the market.

For good measure, the WMIA honored a spanking new, high-tech woodworking training facility developed by the Carpenters' Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee as its 2010 Educator of the Year Award.

Frank Kilbarda, co-owner of Select Veneer
, left, receives the WMIA's Innovator of the Year
Award from Bob Grayson of E.B. Mueller.

WMIA 2010 Innovator of the Year: Select Veneer
Select Veneer, winner of the WMIA's Innovator of the Year Award, was started by brothers Doug and Frank Kilibarda in 2000, renting out 400 square feet on the property of the C.A. Garner Veneer Co. facility in Smithfield, KY. The Kilibarda brothers' initial strategy was to export furniture grade logs and veneer to Asia.

Four years later, Select Veneer invested $1 million in veneer face equipment, which gave the company entre to provide veneer faces for lay ups to the domestic high-end wood market. 

Select Veneer next purchased equipment to manufacture architectural panels in 2005. Two years later, the company invested an additional $1.4 million in a panel production line to supply stock veneer plywood on a just in time basis.

The company was on a roll when the recession hit in 2008. According to presenter Bob Grayson of E.B. Mueller, "Just as Bill Gates did when he started Microsoft in the recession of 1981-82, Select Veneer forged ahead. With pressures on sales volumes and reduced magins, they determined that adding value to existing veneer and panels they could gain a larger market, with small incremental increases in costs." The result, Select Veneer added a CNC router and a finishing department to offer more value-added products to customers.

Today, Select Veneer employs more than 70 people and owns and operates out of a 90,000-square-foot facility located on 17 acres. Projects range from Harrah's Cherokee Hotel and Casino in Cherokee, NC, to the Eward Jones Dome in St. Louis, MO. 

Daniel Foliot was unable to be present to accept
his company's WMIA Commitment to Excellence
Award. John Gangone of SCM Group USA,
holding the Wooden Globe, accepted in his abence.
Joining Gangone are Rob Howell of SCM, far left,
John Henderson, WMIA vice president, and Dave
Ortmeyer of Italpresse USA.

WMIA 2010 Commitment to Excellence: Foliot Furniture 
John Henderson, vice president of the WMIA, said, "Never in all the years of presenting this award has one company received so many nominations."

Foliot Furniture of Montreal, QC, earned its award for its new state-of-the-art, 300,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Las Vegas, NV.

The plant, designed on lean manufacturing principles, makes laminated institutional and hospitality casegoods furniture. It is the third plant for Foliot Furniture, a company founded in 1992 that also operates manufacturing facilities in Montreal and Tennessee.

In addition to embracing high technology and lean concepts, Foliot Furniture has made a green pledge. The company focuses on sustainable manufacturing practices and offers furniture constructed of Nu Green no-added formaldehyde panels, which are certified as an Environmentally Preferable Product by the Composite Panel Association. Foliot Furniture is also pursuing GREENGUARD certification for its laminated products

Read related story about Foliot Furniture's new Las Vegas plant. 

Ian Strouse of Hermance Machinery presents
WMIA Educator of the Year Award to Wayne
Babjack of the Carpenters’ Training Program.

WMIA 2010 Educator of the Year: Carpenters' Training Program
Ian Strouse of Hermance Machinery noted that the new Carpenters’ Training Program in Pittsburgh originated from the need for the Carpenter’s Union to provide a higher level of training to its members.

Strouse showed photos of the new modern training facility in Pittsburgh whcih includes a plethora of new woodworking equipment.

"This facility has created a reinvigorated sense of pride in being a unionized carpenter and will continue to provide high-quality training in the region for many years to come." Strouse said. The key to the success of this project is the instructor for the Mill Cabinet Program, Wayne Babjack."

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