Rainville is Woodworker of the Year

MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association (VWMA) at its Jan. 29 annual meeting honored Mike Rainville, owner and founder of Maple Landmark Woodcraft (MLW), with the 2014 VWMA Woodworker of the Year Award.

Rainville’s love for woodworking started very early; at age 8, he took his first wholesale order out of a basement woodshop in his parents’ home. MLW has been making eco-friendly, educational wooden toys, games and gifts since 1979 at its shop in Middlebury. The company employs about 40 local folks year round.

Rainville graduated from Clarkson University in 1984. He has served on the VWMA Board of Directors for over 16 years, several years as board president and currently as treasurer. He has also served on many committees and various boards that help to serve the wood products industry of Vermont, including the Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB), a board tasked with creating and executing a fast-paced timeline to support investment in Vermont’s working landscape.

Rainville’s forward thinking and innovation is exemplified through MLW’s products, always paying attention to consumer trends, especially the major push towards safe and green wood products for babies and children. His products have won dozens of awards from Dr. Toy’s to Green Parents’ List to Creative Child magazine.

In a stroke of whimsy, Rainville was also presented with the “2015 Plaid Shirt Award,” the brainchild of David Hurwitz, woodworker and owner of David Hurwitz Originals in Randolph. As may be apparent from the name of the award, Mike has a signature style that includes plaid shirt and khaki pants. The award is embellished with photos from a decade’s worth of annual meetings, each picturing Rainville in his signature attire. The award speaks to the spirit of camaraderie and level of respect that exists among the VWMA board and members. 

That same evening, new board members were elected to serve. Jon Blatchford of JK Adams and Joel Currier of Currier Farms Forest Products were unanimously approved as members of the VWMA board. By voice vote, the following officers were approved for the 2015-2016 term: Brent Karner of Clearlake Furniture, president; Armin Driver of Copeland Furniture, vice president; Mike Rainville of Maple Landmark Woodcraft, treasurer; and Scott Duffy of Rockledge Farm Woodworks, secretary. The Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers was again approved to appoint an affiliate representative to the board for another year. Charles Shackleton of Shackleton Thomas in Bridgewater will fill the seat.

Other VWMA board members at large are David Hurwitz of David Hurwitz Originals and Kevin Hastings of Amoskeag Woodworking. Jared Duval of the Vermont Department of Economic Development serves as an adviser. VWMA representatives recognized outgoing board members Tim Keane and Ken Gagnon for their past service on the VWMA Board.

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