Rural Builder Hall of Fame Recipients: 1982-Present

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Wayne Schrock

Wayne Schrock

Schrock, Wayne
Inducted:  2013
Pacemaker Construction, North Webster, Indiana

Schrock is president of Pacemaker Buildings, a post-frame building company he bought in 1976. He has been in the construction business since his first job out of school in 1967 with a predecessor of Pacemaker in Washington, Iowa. The company has a total of 25 office and field people and does business within a 75-mile radius of North Webster. Schrock was president of the Indiana chapter of the National Frame Builders Association from 1999-2000, which included service on the NFBA’s Board of Directors.

 

Jon Schwichtenberg

Jon Schwichtenberg

Schwichtenberg, Jon
Inducted:  1989
Butler Rural Systems – Lester Prairie, Minnesota

Jon was instrumental for a number of years in the development of the large scale Lester’s Building operation into one of the country’s leading rural construction firms.

Jon’s knowledge of the rural construction industry and his input and analysis of items of interest to other rural builders has been very much appreciated by many people in the industry of the years.

 

Leo Shirek

Leo Shirek

Shirek, Leo
Inducted:  2004
Wick Buildings – Mazomanie, Wisconsin

Shirek has been with Wick for 32 years, starting as a staff engineer and earning a promotion to engineering manager shortly thereafter.  He currently serves a head of research and product development.

A registered engineer, he has been involved with both the Wisconsin Frame Builders Association and National Frame Builders Association, and he has worked with universities on laminate designs and pullout tests, diaphragm action, and IBC alternative designs for the state of Wisconsin.  Shirek was also instrumental in the adjustment of IBC snow loads, making sure an alternate position for unbalanced loads was included.

 

Arthur Shirk

Arthur Shirk

Shirk, Arthur H.
Inducted: 2008
Rigidply Rafters

In 1954, the Shirk family began to manufacture laminated wood rafters in their home in Myerstown, Pennsylvania.  Before and after school, several sets of rafters were glued and clamped together in the basement.  Chester F. Shirk, owner and founder, established the name Rigidply Rafters in 1954.

The unexpected death of Chester F. Shirk in the business’s early years thrust the responsibility of running the rafter operation into the hands of his son, 17-year-old Arthur H. Shirk. The responsibility to carry on the family business became Arthur’s future. In 1963 wood roof trusses, a new product line, was introduced. The first crane truck was put into operation in 1964.  The establishment of the business as a corporation in 1971 was a significant step. Marlin R. Horst joined the business as a stockholder.  An agreement between Rigidply Rafters, Inc. and Emanuel and Edna Miller established a truss plant in Oakland, Maryland. The new plant proved to be invaluable when the Myerstown facility was destroyed by fire in 1972.  Employees from the Pennsylvania plant worked night shifts at the Maryland plant so that orders could continue to be filled until the Myerstown plant was rebuilt.  Fire struck again in 1985, this time destroying the Maryland plant.  Facing another major decision, the family and business partners chose to rebuild the Maryland plant. While Arthur is retired from active involvement in the company, he is still an owner. The business continues to grow with the support and help of three sons.

 

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Jim Simon

Simon, Jim
Inducted: 2016
Tailored Building Systems, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Jim Simon started down the road to his future career in construction while in high school. At every opportunity he learned about the trade, and discovered his greatest talent was for architectural drafting. In 1973, he answered an ad for a draftsman/estimator for Borkholder Buildings of Michigan. The company would become Tailored Building Systems two years after his arrival, and a division of Pioneer Construction in 1996. Simon worked his way into the position of president of Tailored in 2005. His goal has always been to help raise the bar for post frame. The company was building the typical ag post frame when Simon arrived, but it soon evolved into commercial post frame long before it became the rallying cry of the industry. Over the years, Tailored has garnered at least a half dozen Building of the Year Awards from the National Frame Building Association. Simon has been active in the NFBA for more than 40 years. He is a former chairman of the board and has served several terms on its board of directors.

 

Robert L. Skaggs

Robert L. Skaggs

Skaggs, Robert L.
Inducted:  1998
Wheeling Corrugating Company – Wheeling, West Virginia

Skaggs, a civil engineering graduate of the University of Missouri, retired from Wheeling in 1996 after a 24-year career there in a variety of positions, most recently as general manager of Planning and Business Development.  His responsibilities included developing new prospects for acquisition, coordinating acquisition analysis, new product development, painted coil sales, and assisting in the development of short-and long-term strategic plans for Wheeling, which is a division of Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel Corp.

Skaggs’ began his career in the steel industry at Granco Steel Products Company in St. Louis, Mo.  He began as a district sales engineer and worked his way up to general manager of sales in charge of marketing and sales policies for flat rolled steel construction products used in commercial and industrial buildings.

A registered professional engineer, Skaggs is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Iron and Steel Institute and served as Wheeling’s representative to AISC and NCCA.  Other industry contributions included serving as president of the Steel Deck Institute and as a board member of the Metal Lath/Steel Framing Institute.

 

Leo Souder

Leo Souder

Souder, Leo
Inducted:  1991
Modern Pole Buildings – Ripon, Wisconsin

A veteran of more that 25 years in the rural construction business, Souder has developed an extensive and successful business.  Not only does he maintain a staff of salesmen, engineers and crews to sell and erect structures, but he also sells building materials to other rural builders.  Leo has long been active in a number of industry activities, including the Wisconsin Frame Builders Association and the National Frame Builders Association.

 

George Squires

George Squires

Squires, George
Inducted:  1984
Combo Corporation – Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

George is one of the few people in this industry who has attended every National Farm Builder Show since the first in Detroit in 1967.  A long-time innovator in design and development of door track and allied products, he’s helped this industry grow by leaps and bounds over the years.

A true friend to hundreds of rural builders and fellow suppliers, George has enjoyed a distinguished career in this relatively new field of rural construction.

Rick Stowell

Rick Stowell

Stowell, Rick
Inducted: 2014
University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Nebraska

At the University of Nebraska, Stowell has fostered improved design and management of livestock facilities through his teachings on light-frame structures and animal housing systems. Previously, he taught in the Ag and Construction Systems Management program at the Ohio State University and helped revitalize the Buckeye Frame Builders Association.

The early focus of his extension programs and applied research was on improving ventilation, cow comfort and manure management in dairy freestall barns. Responding to changing needs of the livestock industry, he has addressed environmental concerns associated with expanding animal production facilities, including implementing use of ‘odor footprint tools’ for siting. He is an active member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and has assisted with the Minnkota Builders and Equipment Suppliers Conference.

 

Ronald Sutton

Ronald Sutton

Sutton, Ronald
Inducted:  2003
Morton Buildings – Morton, Illinois

Sutton, a registered professional engineer since 1976, has more than 30 years’ experience in the design and construction of farm, suburban, recreational, and commercial buildings with Morton.  His responsibilities include the design of structural and HVAC systems, research and testing, and building code review.  For more than 20 years he has served as staff supervisor and coordinator of Morton’s professional group of draftspeople, project coordinators, and design professionals.

Sutton is along-time NFBA member and has served on several committees, co-chairing the Technical & Research Committee and the Frame Building News Editorial Committee.  He was instrumental in the development of NFBA’s Recommended Practices and coordinated the successful one-hour fire rated wall assembly test.  In 1999 he received the NFBA’s Honorary Member Award.

Sutton has also been active in the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, serving on its Structures Group, Wood Construction Engineering, and Standards committees.  He was a contributing author to the ASAE’s Post-Frame Building Design monograph.

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