2019 Friend of the Timbermen
Alvin "Al" Rush
Al was born at home and raised on his family’s farm where he learned and developed his strong work ethic. As a high school senior, Al took a job at Gibson’s Refrigerator. In 1967 Al started Rush’s Forest Products which he owned and operated for nearly 50 years. During that same time, Al also owned and operated A&E Sawmill.
2019 Logger of the Year
Cutting Edge Forest Products LLC
Kevin is a fifth-Generation logger with roots going back to Sweden in 1895. His love for the woods started as early as 2 years old. He often rode with his Dad in his wood’s equipment and logging truck. Kevin started working for his parent’s company, after school, at the age of 12. . Kevin and Becky have seen their fair share of challenges in the 22 years of working together but working in the woods has always been their way of life and will continue to be for years to come!
2019 Excellence in Trucking
J. McGill Trucking, Inc.
Jerry McGill purchased his first semi-truck in 1995, back then he hauled milk, cattle, farm animal feed, and food produce. He took after his father, Vic McGill who in 1962 started driving truck. In 1973 Vic bought his first truck and trailer and started McGill Transportation. Jerry grew up washing and working on his dad’s truck. With the efficiency and support of his wife Carol, the company grew stronger and more successful. Carol and daughter-in-law, Ashley manage the office affairs. With everyone doing their part in this family business it creates a true family atmosphere that keeps them running logs every day.
2019 Excellence in Manufacturing
Acme Pallet, Inc.
Asher Tourison began working for Acme Pallet in 1977, soon becoming the Plant Manager. Asher later bought the company. The Pallet manufacturing facility in Holland, MI is an 125,000 square foot building which houses 3 Viking automated nailers as well as a cut-up shop that processes 10.5 million board feet of cants annually. These manufacturing capabilities enable Acme to produce 2.3 million pallets per year.
2019 Legislator of the Year
VanderWall chairs the Health Policy and Human Services Committee and serves as vice chair of the Economic and Small Business Development Committee and the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. In addition, he is a member of the following four committees: Elections, Environmental Quality, Finance, and Regulatory Reform.
Prior to joining the Senate, VanderWall served two years in the Michigan House of Representatives, representing the 101st District.
2019 Distinguished Service
Michigan Association of Timbermen’s distinguished service award honoring individuals that go above and beyond for Timbermen’s and the industry, is proudly awarded to Wes Windover of Manton, Mi. Wes earned an AAS in Forest Technology and a Bachelors Degree in Forestry from Michigan Technological University in 1994. He has been the Procurement Manger for Biewer Lumber for the last 15 years, where his strong leadership and prominent roll on the strategic team has resulted in steady growth for their mills.
2019 Jess Birtcher Scholarship Winner
Hunter graduated from Novi High School and will be attending Canisius College in Buffalo New York where he will be double majoring in Biology and Environmental Science and minoring in Ecology & Conservation. His career goal is to become an Environmental Lawyer. He will also be playing lacrosse at Canisius and looking forward to the competitiveness of D1 sports.
During high school he was a member of DECA, played football and lacrosse, and volunteered in his community.
2019 Jess Birtcher Scholarship Winner
Collin Leonarduzzi attends Michigan Technological University as a forestry major. He was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula, so the outdoors has always been an important part of his life. His hobbies include hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, kayaking, and snowmobiling. When spring comes, he also enjoys making homemade maple syrup from the trees in his back yard.
Upon graduation, he would like to remain living in the Upper Peninsula working for an industrial forestry company. He’s very excited to start his career sustainably managing important resources such as water, wildlife, and timber.