Class of 2018

John OlsonJohn Olson’s initial experience in the wood industry began in 1962, when employed by Hoffman Lumber Company, in his home town of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. In 1968 John moved with his family to Amasa, Michigan to manage the Amasa Lumber Company. The Amasa location included living quarters above the mill office, which was referred to as “Mill Site Manor”, where John’s family moved into and resided.
 
During this time, Laminated Industries decided to expand by opening another plant adjacent to the Amasa Lumber Company mill, with John then appointed to Vice President and instrumental in developing the new facility. After a few years in operation, Laminated Industries decided to close their Amasa operation. John remained in the UP and continued in the wood industry becoming manager of Newberry Wood Products.
 
John moved from Newberry to the Cut Stock Plant operation at Ahonen Lumber Company in Ironwood, Michigan. Unfortunately, a massive fire occurred at the Ahonen facility in 1973 which destroyed the Cut Stock Plant. After reconciling the lost inventory of machinery and material, John continued with a division of Ahonen Lumber as a foreman of Superior Studs Company located back in Newberry.
 
Preferring to return to the central western UP, John and his family moved back to Amasa, and again took up residence at the Amasa Lumber Company property. This time John worked as a caretaker and watchman at the mill, which was no longer in operation. This unassuming move led to John becoming a valuable and instrumental part of Connor Sports and MFMA for many years.
 
In 1975, Carl Abendroth, Bill Gamble, and Roy Ahonen formed a partnership to open a new hardwood flooring mill called AGA Incorporated. The old Amasa Lumber Company mill and property offered a good base to build from, and according to Mr. Ahonen, there was someone he knew living at the facility who would make an excellent mill foreman. John was approached by Mr. Abendroth to fill the position. 
 
AGA began producing MFMA flooring in 1976 thanks to the hard work and ingenuity that John assisted in to bring the mill into operation. He continued as Mill Foreman and eventually Plant Manager for nearly 30 years at AGA which was purchased by Connor Forest Industries in the early 1980’s, eventually operating as Connor Sports.
 
John continually improved Connor’s operations and took the lead on other industry related offerings. He initiated and led the program for Connor to become an ISO manufacturer. John’s progressive push resulted in Connor becoming one of the earliest wood related participants to become FSC Certified and offer Smartwood. His development of Connor’s parquet line, to take advantage of otherwise non-used edging material is an example of John’s desire to constantly improve raw material yield and resources.
After John’s employment at Connor, he continues to be an important part of MFMA as the association’s mill inspector. In addition to performing quarterly inspections, John frequently presents observations and suggestions to benefit our industry, but more importantly to benefit MFMA’s end users.

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