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Meet MHLDA's Lumber Person of the Year, Rich Protsko

Protsko was honored for his long-standing service to the industry.

Back in November, the Mid-Hudson Lumber Dealers Association honored their 2013 Lumber Person of the Year, Rich Protsko.

At the West Hills Country Club in Middletown, N.Y., MHLDA director Tim Erchick presented the award to Protsko at the 2013 Annual Meeting Nov. 1.

Protsko, who currently works for American Lumber Co. and serves as ex-officio on the MHLDA board of directors, has been in the lumber and building materials industry since he graduated high school. He got a job with a hardwood company from Holland (H&L Lumber), where he learned to operate the kilns, as well as grading, surfacing and machine maintenance.

After serving with the Air National Guard as an optician, he rejoined the industry via a job with Hallock Lumber, unloading rail cars, driving forklifts and handling lumber. Wishing to better his lot, he attended the NAWLA School of Lumber to earn his lumberman credentials.

His career has included stints at Mid-State Lumber, Wiener Crowley & St. John and American Lumber Co. He was also simultaneously involved with the military, retiring from the Air National Guard after 22 years as a master sargent in 2002.

“Everywhere I worked I had a blast and continue to do so,” he told the MHLDA. “It is the people in this industry who make it that way. It’s not always sunny and bright, but no job is. Somehow it always comes down to having fun.”

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