The Woodworking Machinery Industry Association (WMIA) has elected a new slate of officers to lead the association for the next two years. Jim Besonen, president of Wood Machinery Systems, Inc., Minnetonka, Minnesota, was elected chairman of the board at the association’s annual member meeting during the 2019 Woodworking Industry Conference in Amelia Island, Florida.
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. He 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.
“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 programmes aimed at attracting young men and women into the wood products industry as well as leadership positions in WMIA,” Besonen said.
Elected as WMIA’s vice-chairman of the board is Pascal Doucet, vice president of sales at Doucet Machineries in Daveluyville, Quebec, 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 said. “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, Michigan. Dave Rakauskas, executive vice president of Colonial Saw Co., 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 & Co. LLC, Las Vegas, Nevada; Scott Masse, Masse Sales Ltd., Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada; Erich Mazurek, Maze Machinery LLC, Corinth, Texas, and Volker Schmitz, Schmalz Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina, and re-elected Matteo Fregosi, Salice America, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Joe Hammock, Friulmac Inc., Hickory, North Carolina, to a second term.