Rural Builder magazine has inducted three new members into the Rural Builder Hall of Fame. Dwayne Borkholder, owner and president of Borkholder Buildings & Supply, Nappanee, Ind.; Stephen Pohl, PhD, from the University of South Dakota; and Wayne Schrock, owner of Pacemaker Buildings, North Webster, Ind., were inducted during a special luncheon held during the Frame Building Expo in Memphis, Tenn., on February 21.
The magazine annually recognizes suppliers, contractors and educators who have shown outstanding leadership in advancing the rural building industry, particularly in the areas of post frame. The award is especially significant because members are nominated and voted into the Hall by existing Hall of Fame members, with Rural Builder staff monitoring the process. The award has been presented annually since 1982.
Some of Dwayne Borkholder’s earliest memories revolve around the family business. He remembers helping to clean the lumberyard at Borkholder Buildings & Supply in Nappanee, Indiana, and riding around the country with his father to visit jobsites. He had no doubt that he would one day follow in his father’s footsteps,
even though those footsteps were mighty big. His father Freemon was one of the five founding members of the National Frame Building Association and he had helped pioneer a number of innovative ideas in the rural construction industry.
There were a few detours to Borkholder’s ultimate career but after finishing college with dual degrees in marketing and management, he returned to the family business and headed up the sales in the truss division.
His plans were to continue in sales when fate dealt the family a heavy blow. Freemon, also a member of the Rural Builder Hall of Fame, was paralyzed while working on his house after falling through the boards of a rotten porch.
In the late 1990s Dwayne, at the request of his father, took the reins of the company.
Under the leadership of the younger Borkholder, the company has continued to flourish, now as a design and supply company.
Dwayne’s interest in energy efficient buildings led to a Building of the Year Award in 2010 from the National Frame Building Association for a net-zero energy home.
Mission work earlier in his life whetted Borkholder’s appetite for helping others around the world through post frame. While the company had been selling buildings overseas, it was Borkholder’s idea to extend the knowledge of simple and inexpensive buildings to countries like Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Ireland.
It has not been without major challenges, but the effort has also had its rewards and he remains committed to spreading the word of post frame throughout the world.
Borkholder and his wife Jolene have been married for 30 years. They enjoy spending time with their seven children and two grandchildren.
Stephen Pohl, PhD
Stephen Pohl started with a good working knowledge of the ag construction trade before following a career in education in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at South Dakota State University. He was the oldest of 11 children raised on a poultry and dairy farm in northeast South Dakota, where they had a 4,000 bird, laying operation and a small dairy herd. If any building needed to be built or maintained, it was a family project.
After high school, Pohl attended South Dakota State University where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in ag engineering and subsequently his PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
After getting his masters degree, he went to work at the University of Nebraska in extension and research. After two years, he switched to the private sector. In his six years with Great Plains Supply he worked in post-fame and frame construction, aiding in setting up eight truss plants across the Midwest.
During the farm crisis of the 1980s, when related industries were adversely impacted, he held various positions with Lester Buildings, James Basin steel company and Entercept Buildings Systems.
Finally, in 1986 he was offered an ag engineering position with South Dakota State, where he has remained.
One of his most significant contributions early on was to repair the broken connection he saw between private and educational sectors. The results of ag engineering research on the university level was not getting into the real world where it was needed. As a result, Pohl and Dr. Larry Jacobson from the University of Minnesota organized the Minnkota Agri-Builders and Equipment Supplies Association. The organization meets annually with agricultural builders, equipment suppliers, consultants and other key stakeholders in the upper Midwest region to share information on livestock housing systems. This organization has had a major impact on the agricultural building industry in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa since its first meeting in 1989.
Steve and his wife Kathy have been married for 38 years. They are the parents of a grown son and daughter.
Wayne Schrock was 17 years old when he began on his lifelong journey in the post-frame industry. The Iowa farm boy went to work for his uncle at a franchised pole barn company called Pacemaker. Just a year later, he was made crew foreman.
In 1976, at the age of 25, Schrock struck out on his own, taking on the management of a newer Pacemaker franchise in Indiana. When Pacemaker was sold, Schrock was able to keep the name and establish his independent enterprise with his existing crews. One of his six younger brothers, Carl, joined him as a minority partner.
The Pacemaker business has been almost 100 percent devoted to post frame, divided into three categories: commercial, ag buildings, and urban utility.
Schrock says he still enjoys his work and the sense of accomplishment in seeing a job completed and a new structure standing. You can’t drive very far in his northern Indiana territory without finding one of his buildings dotting the landscape.
Schrock has also helped to further the goals of the post-frame industry through his volunteer work, serving several years on the state board of the Indiana Chapter of the National Frame Building Association.
Today, Schrock’s Pacemaker company employs about 20 crewmembers, plus two outside sales people, and two shop workers. The shop workers are dedicated to manufacturing roof trusses and laminated columns.
Schrock and his wife Norma have been married for 35 years. They enjoy spending time with their two grown children – a son and a daughter – and a grandchild.