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WMC recognizes Stan Pauls with 2020 HR Award of Distinction

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WMC by Richard Lipman
Richard Lipman is president of the Wood Manufacturing Council. For more info email

Stan Pauls

After a challenging year and a drawn out awards program due to the virus, travel restrictions and health concerns, the Wood Manufacturing Council (WMC) is pleased to announce the recipient of its 2020 HR Award of Distinction - Stan Pauls, owner of Decor Cabinets, Morden, MB.
What a great way to finish off the year to have the opportunity to spend some time paying tribute to an industry leader. The WMC HR Awards Program honours companies and individuals who develop and implement creative solutions and contribute to best practices in the wood manufacturing industry. The program was established to promote the importance of HR in our sector and give outstanding individual(s)/firms an opportunity to share their innovative ideas with others.
Our 2020 Award of Distinction recipient is someone who is described as a visionary when it comes to wood manufacturing and growing a successful company. His firm is at the forefront of the Canadian kitchen cabinet industry and is also growing continuously in the U.S. market. Stan Pauls is a very intentional person, who has endless ideas and is described by his people as a great leader with a passion for craftsmanship - but his greatest passion is his focus on people.
Stan Pauls genuinely cares for his employees and is committed to their growth. He believes the company culture must challenge and support people to reach their full potential. And with this comes the expectation that everyone in the organization, seeks to “be better, to do better and to think better.” Stan’s desire is to have people “go home happier and have a happier home.” Stan has stood for and has worked hard to create family in his company - and it is now truly a family business with his wife Connie joining the senior leadership team.
Stan has an eye on the future – he is ready to revamp, build, expand and market. His company vision is to be “Undeniably Different.”  To respond to the needs of customers, the performance of Decor’s cabinets is top of mind, and Stan studies the requirements of different demographics, including aging Canadians. He consciously applies design and functionality to ensure Decor’s cabinets can best serve all customers.
Stan has recognized that digital transformation is critical to the success and growth of the business and he wants Decor to be the Digital Disruptor, not the company whose business model becomes obsolete. He recognizes that if the outside rate of change is faster than the inside rate of change, you will be disrupted. Even before COVID-19, Stan had his team working on how Decor can interactively work with partners and clients - developing new tools to reach people through technology and he continues to invest in this area. With the investment in a new ERP system, Decor is focused on streamlining their customer experience and internal processes. They are modernizing the plant floor to provide more relevant information to their operators and reduce paperwork across all operations.
Decor looks continuously at technology and improvement as key priorities. Along with significant equipment purchases to stay at the forefront, Decor is doing unique things on the operational side. The process by which continuous improvement is undertaken is always under review and subject to change. Decor implemented ‘2 Second Lean’ to achieve this and it has paid off. Employees have come up with numerous changes, from the simple to the complex, which have resulted in great enhancements.
With all the focus on being a leading-edge company, community involvement remains a top company priority. Stan recognizes the power to bring positive, measurable change to both the community they live in and those around the world. The company supports various organizations that give help to those in need, including Opportunity International Canada.        
With the nomination, it was the desire of other leading figures from the wood industry to recognize Stan Pauls - citing his business acumen and his tremendous passion for people. WMC Chairman Pete Fournier, Triangle Kitchen, Dieppe, N.B. and his father presented Roger Fournier, a previous Award of Distinction recipient the award in late December, via Zoom.
The WMC is very proud to recognize Stan Pauls with our 2020 Award of Distinction.

Other award winners
The other HR awards were handed out throughout 2020.  The Post-Secondary Educator Award was given, for the first time, to Mark Bramer, Professor, Conestoga College. This award is for someone from a post-secondary woodworking program or institution who demonstrates dedication and leadership with students and who supports and promotes education and academic learning in the woodworking industry. Mark was recognized for a remarkable career supporting student success in their preparation for careers and his active promotion of post-secondary woodworking education. His extensive participation and support of local, provincial, national and even international skills competitions and his work internationally in the promotion of skill and competency standards has been exemplary.
The Employee Recognition Award recipient is Amanda Gay, marketing and product manager, Planit Canada. This award is presented to an outstanding individual who excels in their role, someone who either has overcome challenges, proposed creative solutions to a problem or exemplifies a great work ethic and an enthusiasm that motivates others around them. Amanda was recognized for her constant forward thinking along with her willingness and success at trying new things. She has thrived in a supportive work environment to research, learn and bring new technology and thought to the company. When things go wrong, she is the person you want at the table working on the solution. She invests so much planning into each event and all marketing material. Amanda is also a rare creative person who is ultra-organized and brings positivity and energy to all tasks. She has demonstrated and been noticed for her efforts, not only on behalf
of her company, but also on behalf of the industry. She has freely contributed her marketing expertise, which is self-taught, to several industry organizations.
The Innovation in Human Resources Award (Individual) was awarded to Amrita Boghal, HR manager, Sunrise Kitchens Ltd, Surrey, B.C. The purpose of the award is to discover, celebrate and inspire innovation in the HR field. It is for an individual that makes a difference to people or business management, through an innovative HR program or practice. Amrita has embraced the principles of Kaizen from the Kaizen Institute and is applying those business principles at Sunrise Kitchens to shift the culture within her organization. She is using Kaizen because of its focus on people. She firmly believes that you must take care of your people first if you want to improve production. But while Kaizen provides a framework, it’s up to the individual to apply the methodology. This requires creativity and innovation because Amrita is taking a theory and turning it into a practical tool within her company. She has shared her experiences and best practices with the industry, through her trade association, the CKCA.
The WOODLINKS Success Award has been awarded to Gloucester High School (formerly Rideau High School) and to teachers Mark Backmann and Robert Aucoin for their work on the 1917 Streetcar Restoration Project. Numerous local volunteers wanted to see an old streetcar restored to its former glory. The high school group was invited to assist and has been participating since 2013. They have, to date, volunteered more than 4,000 student hours, building and fabricating parts. The initiative has allowed for multiple grades and skill levels to participate and the engagement of female students has been noticeable. Such an extended and comprehensive project would not happen without the strong leadership and commitment of the teachers. From an educational prospective, the cross-curricular involvement, where the streetcar project has proven to “leap” subjects, has been impressive. Students and teachers from woodworking and transportation classes, co-op education, graphics, English and history have all contributed to the effort.
We will soon open our 2021 awards program for nominations– in what we all hope will be a more “normal” year. Best wishes to all.

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