Rural Builder Hall of Fame Recipients: 1982-Present


Kifle G. Grebremedhin

Kifle G. Grebremedhin

Gebremedhin, Kifle G.
Inducted: 2001
Cornell University – Ithaca, New York

Gebremedhin has made major contributions to diaphragm design and the development of computerized methods of structural analysis for post-frame engineers.

Few educators have done more research targeted directly at metal-clad, post-frame construction. His full-size post-frame building tests have validated diaphragm design used by engineers throughout the industry. He also developed software packages for the analysis and design of two- and three-dimensional structural systems. He is active in many committees of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers and co-authored two chapters in the Society’s 1992 book Post-Frame Building Design.

Gebremedhin earned Masters and Ph.D. degrees in agricultural engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and is currently a professor in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department and the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University.


Al Geisthardt

Al Geisthardt

Geisthardt, Al
Inducted: 2014

Plyco Corporation – Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Geisthardt started his engineering career at Jack Walters & Sons, Corp., where he was Engineer for Commercial and Agricultural Structures for over 23 years. He moved to Plyco in 2001 and has concentrated his efforts on improving people’s lives through the tools and structures they use.

He has been an active member of the National Frame Building Association. At the time of his induction he was serving on the Technical and Research Committee, assisted in the writing of a Post Frame Marketing Initiative presentation, and a judge for the Building of the Year contest.


Henry Getz

Henry Getz

Getz, Henry
Inducted: 1993
Morton Buildings, Inc – Morton, Illinois

Henry Getz, president of Morton Buildings, Inc., assembled the first materials package for a farm machine storage shed using a framework of wood laminated arches and a corrugated metal skin in 1950 for Interlocking Fence Co., a business formed in 1902 to market woven wire fence, gates, and other equipment to farmers. In 1955 the company added pole buildings using round poles pressure-treated with creosote and intended to provide low-cost shelter over a short life span. By 1964 the company’s name became Morton Buildings, its galvanized skin painted, and many attractive overhangs, wainscots, and cupolas added to provide a finishing touch. Today Morton Buildings has sales and construction offices in 32 states and offers pre-engineered buildings for the commercial, industrial, and institutional markets as well as agricultural.

Glen Graber

Glen Graber

Graber, Glen S.
Inducted: 2017
Graber Post Buildings, Montgomery, Indiana

In 1971, Glen Graber began a carpentry business, and two years later was running a 3-man crew building post-frame buildings, a rather new industry at the time. He would work with the crew during the day, rush home to shower and eat supper, then grab his briefcase and sell buildings to customers at night.

In 1976, with Graber Post Buildings now housed in a 60×244 foot building, he began buying and selling building materials by the truckload to save costs, selling off the excess to other construction crews. This launched GPB into the retail and wholesale markets.  Graber grew his business organically without job descriptions or organization charts and without taking out loans.

The years 2006 and 2007 were years of great physical expansion. After a devastating fire, new truss manufacturing and trim manufacturing facilities were built, giving GPB more than 300,000 square feet of under-roof production area. A new $1 million state-of-the-art facility was built to house the company’s offices, showroom and hardware store.


Robert E. Graves

Robert E. Graves

Graves, Robert E.
Inducted: 2000
Pennsylvania State University – University Park, Pennsylvania

Robert Graves, P.E., Ph D, is a professor of agricultural engineering in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department at Penn State University. He is recognized internationally for his work in dairy production systems and manure handling.

At Penn State he is responsible for developing educational programs and materials on farm buildings, manure handling, and composting. A native of New York State, he holds degrees from Cornell University and the University of Massachusetts. He came to Penn State in 1982 from Massachusetts, where he was manager and part owner of a 350-cow milking and 500-acre crop farm.

Between 1972 and 1977 he was an assistant professor and extension agricultural engineer at the University of Wisconsin. While in Wisconsin he began the Farm Builders and Equipment Suppliers conference that has evolved into the present Wisconsin Frame Builders Conference and organization.

Prof. Graves has observed and worked with farmers in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. He is involved in regional, national, and international agricultural engineering activities and has authored more than 200 articles, bulletins, and hand books. He has served on various committees of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, including the SE-03 Standards, SE-403 Dairy Housing, and SE-415 Research Facilities Engineers groups.

He has received numerous honors. In 1993 he was awarded the Henry Giese Structures and Environment Award from ASAE, and in 1994 he was honored by the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association with their Extension Award.


Ken Guffey

Ken Guffey

Guffey, Kenneth J.
Inducted: 2017

Rigidply Rafters Inc. and Blue Chip Structures, Inc., Richland, Pennsylvania

Ken Guffey grew up on a dairy farm in Northern Pennsylvania, the son of a Penn State Agricultural Extension Director and dairy specialist. He attended Penn State University where he received B.S. and M.S. degrees in engineering under the guidance of post-frame researcher Dr. Harvey Manbeck.

While completing his M.S. degree, Guffey accepted a position at Fabral as an application engineer. There he was introduced to Rigidply Rafters Inc. and subsequently partnered with its owner, Arthur Shirk, and Dick Taylor in founding Blue Chip Structures, Inc., a pre-engineered post-frame package building company. He simultaneously assumed the role of general manager for Rigidply.

Guffey has authored or coauthored numerous articles and technical papers related to metal roofing and siding, as well as post-frame design and construction. He is also the primary author of a patent for the structural horizontal metal roofing concept. He considers his most significant achievement, however, his association with Rigidply Rafters Inc.



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