Posted April 28, 2016

Evergreen recognizes members and suppliers of the year

Acme Tools is tier 1 distributor member of the year; Milwaukee Tool is top tier 1 supplier.

The Evergreen Marketing Group has recognized three distributor members and five manufacturer partners as 2015 Member or Preferred Supplier of the Year. The awards were presented at the group’s 27th Partnership Conference held in Dallas, TX in April.

Earning distinction as 2015 Distributor Members of Year were:

  • Acme Tools of Grand Forks, ND (Tier 1) (
  • Pro Tool & Supply of Waltham, MA, (Tier 2) (
  • Jobsite Supply of Indianapolis, IN (Tier 3) (
Acme Tools was named Evergreen's Tier 1 Distributor Member of the Year for 2015.

Earning distinction as 2015 Preferred Suppliers of the Year were:

Milwaukee Tool was named Evergreen's Tier 1 Supplier of the Year for 2015.

The awards were created to recognize the top distributors and manufacturers based on multiple criteria. Distributors and manufacturers were first divided into tiers based on size. Within each tier, the distributors and manufacturers were then ranked based on a number of criteria including contribution to the group, growth, participation and member and supplier input.

Annual George A. Sheatz Awards

With another key award at its April conference, the Evergreen Marketing Group awarded Kevin Kauffunger, Director of Training, Freud America, Inc., and Dan Ward, National Safety Training Manager, Werner Co., its twelfth annual George A. Sheatz Excellence in Education Award. 

Kauffunger and Ward tied for recognition as the top manufacturer instructor participating in the group’s 2015 training program.

Supplier instructors are rated by students and Evergreen training center staff during each school.  Those instructors who achieve the highest ratings earn the award, which was named after George A. Sheatz, a former tool and fastener distributor who was instrumental in Evergreen’s Training & Education programs for nearly 20 years.

“Evergreen’s training programs were inspired by George’s life-long commitment to professional development,” said Kevin Higginbotham, Chief Executive Officer of Evergreen. 

“Over nearly two decades, thousands of tool and fastener distributor sales people were touched by George and his passion for learning.  In winning this year’s George Sheatz Award, Kevin and Dan along with Freud America and Werner join an elite group of professional trainers in the tool and fastener industry.”

Past winners of the award include:

  • Calvin Mixon (Construction Electrical Products), 
  • Keith Ripley (Diamond Products),
  • J.C. Tiller (Greenlee Textron),
  • Chris Mackzum (ITW Ramset),
  • Jon Finch (Milwaukee Tool), 
  • Patrick Kearl (Relton Corp.),
  • Mike Fraser (Stabila),
  • Darrell Hammond (Stabila),
  • Wil Granger (Stanley Black & Decker/CDIY),
  • Brendan Conway (Sumner)
  • Jack Zenor (Powers Fasteners.)

Professional Development Recipients

Twenty-two sales professionals were also recognized as Evergreen Certified Tool Specialists during the group’s 2016 Partnership Conference. Thirteen others were recognized for achieving their next Diamond Level. Evergreen also recognized six individuals as Evergreen Certified Operations Specialists and another eight as Evergreen Safety Specialists.

The 22 individuals earned initial certification by completing a multi-year training and education program that included completion of 137.5 hours of continuing education covering product, applications and selling skills.  To achieve a Diamond Level, the professional must first become certified and then complete another 52.5 hours of professional development and have a teaching experience.  There are a total of nine Diamond Levels available in the program.

Becoming an Evergreen Certified Operations Specialist requires more than 80 hours of training in areas such as purchasing, inventory management, human resources and operations.  Becoming an Evergreen Safety Specialist requires nearly 70 hours of specialized training in safety products and applications.

Achieving their first Diamond Level were:

  • Steve Bogden, Acme Tools (Grand Forks, ND)
  • Matt Brevik, Acme Tools (Grand Forks, ND)
  • Curtis White, Darragh Company (Little Rock, AR)
  • Jayson Sato, Slim’s Power Tools (Honolulu, HI).

Earning her second Diamond Level was

     • Paula Myers, Darragh Company (Little Rock, AR).

Earning their third Diamond Level were:

  • Joe Roeder, Acme Tools (Grand Forks, ND)
  • John Szlenkier,  Fasteners Inc. (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Chris DeBalsi,  Pro Tool & Supply (Waltham, MA).

Earning their fourth Diamond Level were:

  • Eric Steinbrecher, Lincoln Contractors Supply (Milwaukee, WI).
  • David Oquinn, United Tool & Fastener (Houston, TX).

Earning his fifth Diamond Level was:

     • Gee Bridges, PBC Industrial Supplies (Baton Rouge, LA).

Earning his seventh Diamond Level was:

     • John Becker, Construction Tool Service (Pittsburgh, PA).

Earning his eighth Diamond Level was:

     • Karl Weber, PBC Industrial Supplies (Baton Rouge, LA).    

The following sales professionals earned their initial certification:

  • Jerry Baley, A.W. Myer Company (Ridgefield, NJ)
  • Dorne Anderson, Acme Tools (Grand Forks, ND)
  • Will Smith, Acme Tools (Grand Forks, ND)
  • Dean Kirk, American Producers Supply Co., Inc. (Marietta, OH)
  • Kerry Clanton, Beerman Precision, Inc. (New Orleans, LA)
  • Steve Schafer, California Service Tool (Hayward, CA)
  • Phillip McFalls, Carson’s Nut-Bolt & Tool (Greenville, SC)
  • Scott Panther, Carson’s Nut-Bolt & Tool (Greenville, SC)
  • Chris Thompson, Carson’s Nut-Bolt & Tool (Greenville, SC)
  • Tim Palmer, Colony Hardware Corp. (Orange, CT)
  • Eric Reisman, Colony Hardware Corp. (Orange, CT)
  • Loretta Collins, Darragh Company (Little Rock, AR)
  • Scott Van Meter, Dixie Construction Products (Atlanta, GA)
  • Chris Anastasi, DriveKore (Mechanicsburg, PA)
  • Kenneth Montgomery, Fort Worth Bolt & Tool (Fort Worth, TX)
  • Jason Kirkby, Jobsite Supply (Indianapolis, IN)
  • Heinz Kahmann, Lincoln Contractors Supply (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Brock Olson, Lincoln Contractors Supply (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Cassie Levings, Northern States Supply (Willmar, MN)
  • Austin McNeil, Northern States Supply (Willmar, MN)
  • Matt Evans, Salisbury Supply (Topeka, KS)
  • Wayne Hudler, Whitton Supply Co. (Oklahoma City, OK) 

“There are now more than 250 sales professionals in the tool and fastener industry who have earned the designation as Evergreen certified,” said Evergreen CEO Kevin Higginbotham.  “Through this program they have demonstrated their commitment to this industry and their own professional development.”

Evergreen Certified Tool Specialists earn the right to wear a championship-style gold ring or a handsome, custom-made gold watch.  Following initial recognition, sales professionals build toward the Diamond Levels by taking additional classes and workshops designed to sharpen their skills further.

Diamond Levels of certification require the sales professional to complete an additional 52.5 hours of professional development programs, take Evergreen-developed online training modules and have a “teaching experience.”  The teaching experience is designed to drive the training effort deeper into the distributor’s organization by requiring the Certified Tool Specialist to share what they know with others.  Each higher level of certification is marked with a diamond placed on the ring or watchface.

Evergreen Safety Specialists

The group launched a companion recognition program for sales professionals in the specialty area of safety products and applications several years ago.  The following individuals earned designation in 2015 as Evergreen Safety Specialists by completing a rigorous set of courses related to safety products:

  • Heidi Becklund, Acme Tools (Grand Forks, ND)
  • Steve Bogden, Acme Tools (Grand Forks, ND)
  • Matt Brevik, Acme Tools (Grand Forks, ND)
  • Justen Karnopp, Acme Tools (Grand Forks, ND)
  • Kory Mielitz, Acme Tools (Grand Forks, ND)
  • Scott Peterson, Acme Tools (Grand Forks, ND)
  • Paul Thoman, Acme Tools (Grand Forks, ND)
  • Scott Wertz, Bailey Tools & Supply (Louisville, KY).

Operations Certification Recipients

Evergreen also launched a certification process for employees in the operations side of a distributor’s business.  Operations certification requires 80 hours of professional development. Earning operations certification this year included:

  • Aaron Schmitz, Acme Tools (Grand Forks, ND)
  • Steve Bailey, Bailey Tools & Supply (Louisville, KY)
  • Brandon Culver, Fasteners, Inc. Michigan (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Zach Ramsdell, Fasteners, Inc. Michigan (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Kirt Stevens, Fasteners, Inc. Michigan (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Mike Roche, Pro Tool & Supply (Waltham, MA).

The Evergreen Marketing Group is a member-owned cooperative founded in 1989 by six construction/industrial supply distributors. It currently consists of 66 distributors with more than 280 locations in the United States and Canada and has combined revenues of over $1.7 billion dollars. The group is focused on driving growth and profitability of its distributors and preferred suppliers through an on-going program of training & education, business development and partnering.

Evergreen maintains a state-of-the-art 17,000 square foot training center in Farmer’s Branch, Texas and offers the industry’s only professional certification program for distributor sales and operations people. Evergreen members are the leading distributors of tools, fasteners, concrete accessories and other construction/industrial products.

For more information, contact Kevin Higginbotham at 1-800-859-8733 or visit