Rakauskas becomes WMIA Chairman of the Board; Association elects new officers, Board members

daveDuring the 2017 Woodworking Industry Conference (WIC) in Rancho Mirage, CA, members of the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association (WMIA) elected a new slate of officers to lead the Association for the next two years. David Rakauskas, executive vice president of Colonial Saw Company, Inc., Kingston, MA, was elected WMIA’s new Chairman of the Board at the Association’s Annual Business Meeting on Wednesday, April 26.

“I’m really looking forward to leading the association during such exciting times,” Rakauskas said. “The economic situation for our industry is great, our association’s staff is doing a terrific job, our partnership with the other industry associations has never been stronger, and our financial position is solid. We are in a great position to be able to make a real impact, driving value for our member companies over the next few years.”

Rakauskas, who started his career at Deloitte & Touche, becoming a certified public accountant in 1994, was introduced to the woodworking industry when he became Colonial Saw’s controller, later moving onto become vice president of operations before assuming his current position. Involved with the WMIA since 1998, when he joined the Young Executives Committee, Rakauskas served as the Association’s vice-chairman of the board from 2015-2017 and secretary/treasurer from 2013-2015, and participated as both chair and member of the Technology Review Committee.

“My plan is to focus our attention on education, both for our members’ sales and technical staff as well as the American woodworking workforce,“ Rakauskas continued. “At the same time, we need to ensure we get more machinery distributors involved in the Association, continue to support the coordination of ISO and ANSI safety standards, and ensure that the IWF trade show and the Woodworking Industry Conference remain successful.”

Elected as WMIA’s Vice-Chairman of the Board is Jim Besonen, who has been selling woodworking machinery for over 30 years in the upper Midwest. Besonen has owned and operated Wood Machinery Systems in Minnetonka, MN for 20 years. He served as secretary/treasurer from 2015-2017, and was first elected to WMIA’s Board of Directors in 2007, but his real passion is education—he serves on the WMIA Education Foundation Board of Trustees, and was a long-time member of the Association’s Education Committee.

“It’s an honor to serve as WMIA’s vice-chairman over the next two years,” Besonen said. “I’m very much looking forward to working with Dave, Pascal, Scott, and the members of the Board and staff to expand member benefits and continue to ensure the IWF show remains vibrant and valuable for the entire wood products industry.”

Joining WMIA’s Executive Committee as secretary/treasurer 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 was a Board member since 2013.

“Being involved in WMIA for many years, I cannot wait to work with Dave and the other members of the Executive Committee to take the association and IWF to another level,” Doucet remarked.

Scott Mueller, co-owner of Edward B. Mueller Company, Inc., who served as WMIA Chairman from 2015-2017, will remain on the Association’s Executive Committee as Chairman Emeritus. Additionally, WMIA members elected three new individuals to the Association’s Board of Directors: Rick Braun, Machine Solutions, LLC; Joe Hammock, Friulmac, Inc.; and Jason Howell, WEINIG, and re-elected Mark Craig, Anderson America, to a second three-year term.