Industry Professionals: Hall of Fame
Walls & Ceilings celebrates and honors these true industry professionals.
No stranger to W&C readers, Bob Drury served the wall and ceiling industry proudly through his position as executive director with the Northwest Wall and Ceiling Bureau. His wife’s father was also the founder and editor of W&C magazine, Charles “Chuck” Clay. Drury joined the NWCB in 1972 as its architectural consultant, where he worked with the industry, city officials a nd more. Shortly after his joining, Clay passed and he was voted by the bureau’s board of directors to become the executive director. One of his many achievements was that in the 1980s, he pushed the industry to move more towards EIFS and exterior claddings. Drury still serves on W&C’s Editorial Advisory Board. He officially retired from the NWCB in 2012.
A massive contributor to the industry, Pruter was active in the walls and ceilings trade since 1947. Before he passed, he held the title as senior consultant to the Technical Services and Information Bureau, the educational branch of the Western Wall and Ceiling Contractors Association. He began his career with United States Gypsum, where he held different positions and left when he was the national assistant sales manager of its lath and plaster products. Although his career has taken him down many roads, many will recognize Pruter as one of the authors of a book called the “Plaster and Drywall Manual.” Three editions have been published between 1978 and 1988.
Recently named Allied Building Products’ Vice President of Purchasing for its Interior Division, Clint Valleau has been in the industry for approximately 35 years. Before his new position for the New Jersey-based supplier, Valleau served as Allied’s Director of Purchasing, Regional Manager for New York and New Jersey, and as Product Manager. He also is involved in these association groups and committees:
- Immediate past president DISCA (AWCI New Jersey subchapter) serving as a 17-year board member
- Board of directors for Steel Framing Industry Alliance
- Executive Committee Member
- AWCI Cares
- Committee Member Suppliers and Manufacturers (AWCI)
- Committee Member Fighting Children’s Cancer Foundation of New Jersey
Joe Koenig Sr.
Joe Koenig Sr. was the first entrepreneur in the vinyl siding industry who introduced rigid PVC J Bead into the drywall industry in 1968. Back then, the industry standard metal beads and trims would dent, rust and require constant maintenance. Rigid PVC doesn’t have any of these drawbacks and lasts the life of the structure. With a briefcase in hand and a single engine airplane as his sales vehicle, Koenig Sr. traveled North America promoting innovative drywall products. Since the introduction of rigid PVC cornerbeads and trims, demand for his ground-breaking products has continued to grow. Forty-five years later, Trim-Tex now offers more than 200 rigid PVC shapes in 600 styles and lengths.
A true Californian entrepreneur, Nathan Kimmel started Nathan Kimmel Co. out of his garage and it was incorporated in 1956. He used to go to the army surplus store in the 1950s and would buy different lots of merchandise. One day he had some hose and took it to the George Raymond Co. and they tried it. They loved it and asked for more. From that hose, they asked him to get other supplies and he started serving the plastering industry. From there he went to other companies and built the business in southern California. He started many companies on a handshake and they are some of the premier companies serving the industry. Tarps became a premier product that are made in its factory on the premises. His wife Bella was a major partner in life and in building the business. In 1974, Carol, his daughter came to work for the company. In 1993, Kimmel died and Carol and Bella continued the business until 1996 when Carol purchased the business and has grown it to an international status. Bella died in 2005 at the age of 94. She worked until the day before her death.
Carol’s sons, Adam and Jason, are the third generation to work in the 57-year-old business.
As former executive director with the Minnesota Lath and Plaster Bureau, Clint Fladland recalls the excitement of meeting his counterparts of other associations and bureaus throughout his time in the industry. A veteran of World War II, he started working in the industry for Zonolite, a supplier of plaster aggregates, fireproofing, steel, metal lath and insulation products. He did this several years before joining the MNLPB in 1958. “I was selling to architects and they thought that it would work out good to have me on staff to promote the business to architects and specifiers,” he told W&C. “At that time, we were still trying to promote plaster vs. drywall. It wasn’t until the ’70s when Dryvit and EIFS changed our approach. But at that time we were trying to sell plaster and lath products. And metal framing was big back in the ’70s. We had both interior and exterior metal framing. We did a lot with exterior wall systems at that time. We were promoting stucco systems on all kinds of exterior products. I was deeply involved with the industry. We travelled around the world.”
Look for more industry professionals profiled in the upcoming months in this Hall of Fame department.