WoodLINKS USA, an industry education program, took a moment to celebrate its supporters during a ceremony at IWF 2010. National director Mark Smith used the occasion to thank those who have continued to support the organization in a tough economy and bestow awards.
"A number of states are in financial difficulty so the money going to schools, including their woodshop programs, is being cut short. We've seen a slight downturn with how many WoodLINKS schools are coming on because of the economy," says Smith, noting that the WoodLINKS' budget is down about 20 percent from 2008.
In addition to the Educator of the Year award (see story above), ShopBot Tools of Durham, N.C., and WalzCraft of La Crosse, Wis., were singled out as Industry Supporters of the Year.
"Both companies are filling a desire to get involved on the national level as well as working with their local WoodLINKS schools," says Smith.
Jerry Finch of Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, Wis., was presented with the Larry Hilchie President's Recognition award.
"Jerry's never been paid a dime, but he's labored now for over a decade serving WoodLINKS and its interest. He's been a very active supporter serving not just WoodLINKS, but the wood industry and wood education avenue across the board, including the Skills Standards initiative handled by the Woodwork Career Alliance," says Smith.
Patrick Molzahn, director of the cabinetmaking and millwork program at Madison Area Technical College in Madison, Wis., was introduced as the next president of WoodLINKS' board of directors. He succeeds David Peel, president of Microvellum, whose three-year term ends in 2011.
"Patrick is a very proactive teacher in light of advocating the wood industry and wood education. I've known him for six years. He's a very educated man and runs a fantastic shop. He stays very current with what's going on in the wood industry and has served on a number of boards. He will make a fantastic board president," says Smith.
The American Home Furnishings Alliance was also recognized for funding the WoodLINKS Teacher in Service program at IWF 2010, while the Wood Component Manufacturers Association presented WoodLINKS with a check for $2,500.
For information, visit www.woodlinksusa.org.
This article originally appeared in the November 2010 issue.