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Pallet Industry Mourns Bruce Scholnick, Industry Warrior
NWPCA President and CEO Bruce Scholnick recently passed away. He is remembered by industry members as someone who fought on Capitol Hill against regulations that could threaten the industry.
Date Posted: 8/1/2012
The pallet industry unexpectedly lost an important leader last month. Bruce Scholnick, who has led the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) through many industry changes over the past 12 years, passed away on July 9 from cancer.
Since joining the NWPCA as president and CEO in May 2000, Scholnick has dedicated his considerable energy and astute mind to the wood packaging industry. “His mission was to ‘help our members make and/or save money’ in every program and activity he pursued,” the association stated.
“I can’t think of anyone more devoted to our industry than Bruce Scholnick,” said James Ruder, NWPCA board chairman. “His mind was always going. A couple years ago, Bruce introduced the concept of a pallet industry management system in which independent companies would collaborate to create a pallet pool. Some industry visionaries adopted that concept and are making it a reality, but as with so many industry innovations in the past decade, the creative spark began with Bruce.”
During his time in the pallet industry, Scholnick was known as a warrior on Capitol Hill and with Washington regulators when proposed rules threatened the industry. His tenacious dedication in all he did earned him the respect and affection of many NWPCA members.
“I have no words that can express how appreciative I am for the passion he displayed for this industry,” said Ruder. “For most of us, pallets comprise our livelihood and are all we know. Bruce constantly led the battle for us with that same conviction…and it will not be forgotten.”
Scholnick brought a wealth of experience and insights to his position at NWPCA. His prior experience included Division vice president of member services & products for the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents, vice president of corporate planning for Thatcher Manufacturing Corporation (a division of Dart & Kraft Industries), and director of marketing and economic research for the Glass Packaging Institute.
According to the NWPCA, Bruce’s most often repeated quote was “creativity is merely the insightful rearrangement of known elements,” a concept he put into practice on a regular basis. He regularly challenged staff to identify innovative ways to deliver member products and services and create valuable new ones and was constantly seeking to identify undiscovered industry opportunities.
“Bruce was always a little ahead of the rest of us in seeing where the industry as a whole needs to go,” said Sam McAdow, chairman of the Pallet Foundation and chairman emeritus of Buckeye Diamond Logistics in South Charleston, Ohio. “He would get frustrated until we caught up, then he’d charge ahead again. He wasn’t just looking for the next big thing; Bruce was looking for what would come after the next big thing.”
Bruce was preceded in death by his wife Elizabeth in April 2008. He is survived by their son Matthew, sisters Nan Parker and Penny LaPorte, and their husbands and children.
His death came as a shock to the industry, and Ruder said the NWPCA board is still in the process of determining the steps needed to initiate a seamless transition in leadership. In the meantime, McAdow has been asked to fill the role of interim acting president. He will be working with Ruder to deal with the daily operations of the association and serve as a point of contact for staff and association members.
Please join the staff of the Pallet Enterprise and other industry members in praying for comfort for Scholnick’s family during this time of loss and grief. NWPCA leaders also intend to advise association members about a way the industry can join together to honor Scholnick in the near future.