News Release

Published on Friday, October 21, 2005

Western Wisconsin Technical College’s Foundation Board will be presenting this year’s Distinguished Alumnus Award to Richard A. Walz, president/owner of WalzCraft Industries, Inc. in La Crosse. Walz will be honored at the Foundation’s annual Honoring Excellence Banquet on Tuesday, Nov. 8, from 5:30-9:00 p.m. at the Pettibone Resort on the River in La Crosse.

Walz, a 1973 graduate from the Wood Techniques Program, started his own construction company in La Crosse in 1978. In 1982, he accepted an opportunity to become a partner in a cabinet component manufacturing business named The Cabinet Factory. He became president of the company in 1987, and in 2002, changed the name to WalzCraft Industries, Inc.

During Walz’s tenure, the company has grown from four employees to nearly 400 full-time employees, many of them WWTC graduates. The business started out in a 2,000-square-foot pole building and has expanded to a 340,000-square-foot manufacturing facility today, shipping products to businesses in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Walz serves on the Hardwood Forestry Fund’s volunteer Board of Directors. The organization is dedicated to establishing sustainable hardwood forests and focuses on replanting hardwood trees that are used for cabinetry and other building projects.

“The Distinguished Alumni Award was established by the WWTC Foundation to recognize an alumnus of the College for exceptional accomplishments in his or her profession, leadership, and dedicated service to the community and to WWTC,” said Lynn Rudig, director for the WWTC Foundation. “Dick Walz represents the very best that WWTC has to offer, and we are very proud to have had a role in his success.”

Past recipients of the Distinguished Alumnus Award are Keith Steenlage, Terry Rydberg, Michael Sexauer, Kathy Foust, Jeff Komay, Cinda Vingers, Donald Jobe, Lynn Smyrk-Lenz, Kevin Kobishop, Karen Long, Karl “Butch” Halverson, Jim Timm and Dick Fox.

For more information on the Honoring Excellence Banquet, call 608.785.9487. To learn more about WWTC programs and services, call 608.785.9200 or visit our Web site at wwtc.edu.