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Obituary: Michael D. St. John of Pacific Woodtech

BY Ken Clark

A veteran of the engineered wood product industry, Michael D. St. John died Nov. 29. He was 66.

St. John was integral to the founding of Pacific Woodtech in Burlington, Wash., and its business plan, heading up sales and marketing since 1999. He served as VP and director of the company. He is credited with originating private-labeling in the EWP market.

St. John also worked for Trus Joist for about 22 years. He was a board trustee of APA, chairman of the APA Marketing Advisory Committee and a member on the APA EWS I-joist/SCL Management Committee.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University in 1974, where he played football. St. John served in the Navy from 1960 until his Honorable Discharge in 1965, including as a Navy Seal. He was awarded three combat metals.

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At Orgill, a trio of executives retires

BY Ken Clark

Three executives with long tenures retired from Memphis, Tenn.-based Orgill this month: Bill Fondren, Ken Post and Steve East.

Fondren retired as chairman of the board, but he will remain as a board member. Ron Beal will assume the chairman of the board post.

Ken Post was chief merchandise officer, a position to be filled by Brett Hammers. And Steve East was VP advertising. His replacement is Jeff Curler. 

According to Beal, the trio of Fondren, Post and East will be missed for their friendship and professionalism. They also spent a long time planning their succession, he said. “These three are all long-term contributors to Orgill’s success, but the real story is the bench strength we have to move on without missing a beat,” said Beal.

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Fastenal, SW make ‘wealth creators’ list

BY Brae Canlen

William Oberton, CEO of Fastenal, came in third place on the top “Wealth Creators” by Chief Executive magazine. The annual list shows which CEOs have created the most value for shareholders during the three-year period from July 2009 through June 2012. The rankings were limited to CEO’s at S&P 500 companies who had been in their jobs for at least three years.

Christopher Connor, CEO of paint manufacturer Sherwin Williams, ranked No. 14. James Ryan, chief executive of W.W. Grainger, came in 10th place.

The rankings, created in collaboration with Great Numbers! and the Applied Finance Group, looked at four key measurements: operating cash flow in excess of its risk-adjusted cost of capital, prospects for continuing to make money, wise use of capital and market value of the company’s assets.

"CEOs are hired to create wealth for their shareholders, as well as value for their customers and employees," said J.P. Donlon, Chief Executive’s editor-in-chief. "Chief Executive created the Wealth Creators Index to measure just how well or how poorly some CEOs are performing their jobs."

Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Steven Temares was ranked 59th. Michael Koehler, CEO of Teradata, occupied the 73rd place on the index, two spots above Amazon.com CEO Jess Bezos.

To see the complete list, click here.

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