NEW HAVEN, Vt. - Dave Laforce, owner of wood component manufacturer Built by Newport, received the 2015 VWMA Woodworker of the Year Award from the Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association.
Family owned since 1963, Built by Newport manufactures quality furniture parts using the latest technology in its Newport, Vermont, plant. After two generations and 40 years in the furniture parts business, Built by Newport established itself as a
leader in the wood component industry and one of Vermont's finest wood furniture manufacturers.
Laforce has continued to be innovative and resourceful during a hard economic time for the wood products industry. He recognized that the company had challenges involving company culture, customer service and operational inefficiencies and faced those challenges head on by working with the Northern
Forest Center (NFC). NFC matched the company with Dovetail Partners who was able to assist them in transforming the company culture, developing a strategic plan and vision, and improving teamwork and internal communication, all of which contribute to a better manufacturing operation and improved
Built by Newport is also participating in the Skilled Workforce Initiative, which VWMA and the Northern Forest Center are partnering to implement, in part with grants to VWMA from Vermont's Working Lands Enterprise Initiative. Looking towards future growth, this initiative will assist the company in hiring people to fill jobs and also enhance a career path within the company for existing employees. You can learn more about Built by Newport by visiting www.builtbynewport.com.
That same evening the VWMA also recognized the Working Lands Enterprise Board as the 2015 Friend of the Industry. Each year the VWMA selects a person, organization, or group that has supported the growth and vitality of the sector. This year we wish to recognize the entire board and Agency support
staff for their desire and commitment to advancing the forestry and wood products sector.
Kathleen Wanner, VWMA Executive Director states, “We have finally arrived at that place where farm and forest are critically linked as Vermont’s working landscape. When this effort began just a few years ago, “farm and forest” did not roll off the tongue as easily as it does today. As members of the Working Lands Enterprise Board, you have all helped to foster this new attitude and we thank you!” View the entire list of Working Lands Enterprise board members and the initiative at http://workinglands.vermont.gov/.
After the awards were finished, the VWMA held their election of officers and board of directors. Scott Duffy of Rockledge Farm Woodworks and David Hurwitz of David Hurwitz Originals were both reelected for three year terms. By voice vote, the following officers were approved for the 2016-2017 term;
Brent Karner of Clearlake Furniture, President; Armin Driver of Copeland Furniture, Vice President; Mike Rainville of Maple Landmark Woodcraft, Treasurer; & Scott Duffy of Rockledge Farm Woodworks, Secretary. The Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers was again approved to appoint an
affiliate representative to the board for another year. Charles Shackleton of ShackletonThomas in Bridgewater will fill the seat.
Other VWMA board members are Jon Blatchford of JK Adams, Joel Currier of Currier Farms Forest Products and Jared Duval of the Vermont Department of Economic Development, who serves as an advisor. The VWMA would like to thank outgoing board members Kevin Hastings for his dedication to
the industry and past service on the VWMA Board.
The VWMA represents primary and secondary processors and related businesses statewide. Its mission is to support the industry in Vermont and promote its long-term viability by expanding members’ presence in the marketplace, ensuring a sustainable supply of raw materials, increasing workforce skill, and acting as responsible employers and community members. Learn more about our organization at www.vermontwood.com.
From left to right, Working Lands Enterprise Board members Emma Hanson, Will Belongia, Ela Chapin, Jared Duval, Robin Scheu, Ken Gagnon, Brent Karner (VWMA President), Ellen Kahler, & Kathleen Wanner.
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