FAIRFAX, VA – During the 2019 Woodworking Industry Conference (WIC) in Amelia Island, FL, the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association (WMIA) elected a new slate of officers to lead the Association for the next two years. Jim Besonen, president of Wood Machinery Systems, Inc., Minnetonka, MN, was elected Chairman of the Board at the Association’s Annual Member Meeting on Wednesday, April 3.
“I am proud to serve as chairman for the next two years,” Besonen said. “WMIA has had many excellent leaders preceding me which have grown our membership significantly and increased the services we offer our members. It is truly an honor to follow in their footsteps. The wood products industry is expanding, machinery and tooling sales are strong, and the IWF show continues to grow. This is a great time to be in the woodworking industry.”
Besonen started in the woodworking machinery industry in his early 20s, working for a manufacturer building the machines. By his late 20s he had moved on to the distribution side, selling machines for a prominent dealer in the upper Midwest. At the age of 35 he founded Wood Machinery Systems, which grown into one of the largest equipment dealers in the Midwest. Jim has always been active in the WMIA and the WMDA before that, serving on the Education Committee, and three terms as a board member before joining the Association’s Executive Committee as Secretary/Treasurer in 2015.
Besonen continued, “My goal for the next two years is to expand the educational offerings Dave [Rakauskas, now Chairman Emeritus] started with the WTII and Pittsburg State University, and create new programs aimed at attracting young men and women into the wood products industry as well as leadership positions in WMIA.”
Elected as WMIA’s Vice-Chairman of the Board is Pascal Doucet, vice president of sales at Doucet Machineries in Daveluyville, QC, Canada. Doucet started working in the family business at a young age, and then after completing a mechanical engineering degree, started working full time in 1999 as production quality improvement project manager. Through the years, Doucet worked his way up through to the company’s executive level by supervising customer service, equipment installation, and, since 2005, the sales and marketing teams. He has been involved with WMIA since 2008, serving on both the Education and Technology Committees (which he chaired from 2013-2015), and has been a Board member since 2013, most recently serving as Secretary/Treasurer from 2017-2019.
“I have been involved with WMIA for many years and have learned a lot about the Association and IWF,” Doucet remarked. “I’m looking forward to working with the staff and the other members of the Executive Committee, because I think we have a great team and we can get a lot of things accomplished in the next two years. IWF is on a growth path and we need to be sure the show keeps moving in the right direction.”
Joining WMIA’s Executive Committee as secretary/treasurer is James Scarlett, owner of Scarlett Inc. in Grand Rapids, MI. Receiving a degree in mechanical engineering technology and industrial business management from Michigan Technological University, Scarlett spent seven years at Gentex as an industrial manufacturing engineer, where he helped a team of people innovate manufacturing processes while working on a number of automotive platforms and projects. He has served on WMIA’s Board of Directors since 2015 and chaired the WMIA/WMMA Joint Technology Committee from 2015-2019.
Dave Rakauskas, executive vice president of Colonial Saw Company, Inc., who served as WMIA Chairman from 2017-2019, will remain on the Association’s Executive Committee as Chairman Emeritus. Additionally, WMIA members elected four individuals to the Association’s Board of Directors: John Benjamin Henderson, John Henderson & Company LLC, Las Vegas, NV; Scott Masse, Masse Sales Ltd., Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada; Erich Mazurek, Maze Machinery LLC, Corinth, TX; and Volker Schmitz, Schmalz Inc., Raleigh, NC, and re-elected Matteo Fregosi, Salice America, Charlotte, NC, and Joe Hammock, Friulmac Inc., Hickory, NC, to a second term.
Since 1978, the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association (WMIA) has represented importers and distributors of woodworking machinery and ancillary equipment in North America. WMIA is the recognized voice of importers and distributors, and serves as a vital communications link between suppliers and manufacturers of wood products in North America. WMIA is the co-owner of the International Woodworking Fair (IWF), the largest woodworking trade show in the U.S., and is co-sponsor of the annual Woodworking Industry Conference (WIC). For more information, visit www.wmia.org.