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Three New Members Inducted Into American Furniture Hall of Fame

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Bobby W. Bush, Sr., Charles T. Knabusch, and Ronald G. Wanek were inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame at the AFHF's 18th Annual Banquet Gala in High Point, NC. BOBBY WESLEY "BOB" BUSH, SR. (b 1931) Bob Bush, Sr. is a member of the board of directors and retired vice president of sales of the Hickory Springs Manufacturing Company. He graduated from Riverside Military Academy in 1949 and from Duke University in 1953. Over his 50 years of service, Mr. Bush built this family company into a business known for its quality, innovation and value. Before the term "partnering" became an industry buzzword, Mr. Bush teamed with fledgling customers in the then developing southern furniture industry offering assistance, advice, and marketing ideas. He recognized the importance of production proximity and timely delivery. He positioned Hickory Springs facilities near to customers who were unable to maintain large raw material inventories. He also established a "Just In Time" delivery program in the 1960's. His foresight of industry trends and pitfalls was of great value to furniture manufacturers during the formative period of the southern furniture industry. He provides knowledgeable, balanced, and intelligent contributions to many industry organizaations including: the AFMA Suppliers Division, International Sleep Products Association, Polyurethane Foam Association, the Bienenstock Furniture Library and the American Furniture Hall of Fame. Bob Bush is not just a brightly colored jacket and a smiling face. He remains a highly respected individual known for his honesty, integrity and outspokenness. Anyone can wear a brightly colored jacket…but no one can fill his shoes. CHARLES T. KNABUSCH (b1939 d1997) The son of La-Z-Boy co-founder, Edward M. Knabusch, Charles Knabusch began working in the Monroe Payroll Department in 1961. He received his degree in Business Administration and Corporate Law from Cleary College in 1964. In 1965 he rejoined the company and held several positions until becoming President in August of 1972, succeeding his father. During his tenure, the company completed a series of acquisitions and mergers and consistently outperformed industry growth averages. He was named Chairman of La-Z-Boy in 1985. After he assumed the CEO post in 1985, La-Z-Boy's sales rose from $52.7 million to more than $1 billion annually. Under his direction, the company became the largest upholstered furniture manufacturer in the U.S., and the world's largest producer of reclining chairs. Mr. Knabusch has held various furniture industry posts, including several years of service with the AFMA and its forerunners. He was on the original AFHF board of directors and was one of the organizations first supporters. In 1994 he was named among the nation's ten outstanding business leaders by Northwood University and in 1996, the governor of Michigan, John Engler, appointed him as a public representative to the Michigan National Resources Trust Fund. The La-Z-Boy Museum & Archives was established in 1984 by Charles T. Knabusch. Located in the original structure built in 1927 by company co-founders, Edward M. Knabusch and Edwin J. Shoemaker, displays include 40 reclining chairs and other products representing a broad range of product history and evolution, and several items made by the founders before the invention and introduction of the famous recliners. His is survived by his wife, June, four children, seven grandchildren, and one great grandchild. RONALD G. WANEK (b 1941) Ronald G. Wanek founded Ashley Furniture Industries in the early 1970's. Since that time he has taken Ashley from being a modest manufacturer of occasional tables to the largest furniture manufacturer in the world and the second largest retailer in the United States. In the 1970's Mr. Wanek began using European flat line construction methods that offered both high quality and labor efficiencies. In the 1980's, he developed global sourcing, becoming one of the first manufacturers to both source and sell around the world. He also introduced the industry's most successful line of colorful polyester finishes. More recently his work has focused on the development of Ashley Furniture HomeStores that focus on meeting the the needs of middle income consumers. With sales from independent stores and the Ashley-branded stores growing rapidly, Mr. Wanek has successfully branded the Ashley name, creating not only the industry's largest entity but also its fastest growing consumer brand. His leadership in the furniture industry and his community has been recognized with numerous awards over his extensive career. Ron Wanek is known in his community and in the furniture industry for his ethics and strong family values. He has been married to his wife, Joyce, for 45 years. They have three children and nine grandchildren. He is a versatile man who, in his spare time, enjoys sculpting and is actively involved in politics. __________________________ The American Furniture Hall of Fame is an all-industry effort organized to honor those individuals whose outstanding achievements have contributed to the continued growth and development of the American manufactured furniture industry and to research, collect and preserve its cultural, economic and artistic history.  For more information on AFHF or the furniture industry legends inducted into the AFHF, go to www.furniturehalloffame.com.

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