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BIFMA Announces 2016-2017 Board of Directors

Monday, June 27, 2016  
Posted by: Nicole Cook
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June 24, 2016

CONTACT: Nicole Cook
616-285-3963 ext. 19


BIFMA Announces Election of New Board Officers and Directors for 2016-2017


Grand Rapids, Mich.The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) recently announced the election of a new Board President, a Vice President/President-Elect, and four new Directors.

Sylvain Garneau has been elected as BIFMA Board President for the 2017 fiscal year. He is the President and CEO of Groupe Lacasse based in Saint-Pie, Quebec, Canada. An MBA graduate, Sylvain’s professional experience includes more than 25 years in the manufacturing sector where he has occupied various executive positions from EVP to CEO within large North American organizations with multi-location operations. Throughout his career, Sylvain and his family have had the chance to live in Chicago, IL and in Vancouver, BC prior to their return to Montreal in 2010 when he joined Groupe Lacasse.

Don Van Winkle has been elected Vice President/President-Elect. He is President and COO of Kimball International, Inc. based in Jasper, Indiana. Don joined Kimball in 1991 and has held various roles in accounting, finance, administration, marketing, manufacturing operations, and branded sales and distribution strategies. In 1999, he became Chief Finance and Administrative Officer for the Furniture Brands Group. He assumed full operating responsibility of the National Office Furniture subsidiary in 2003 and was promoted to President of the Furniture Group subsidiary in 2010.

In addition, BIFMA is excited to have Rebecca Boenigk, Julio Enrique Hirschfeld Mereles, Chas Hepler and John May join the Board of Directors. Rebecca Boenigk is the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Neutral Posture, Inc. in Bryan, Texas. Rebecca has over 27 years of experience in research, development, design, and the manufacturing of ergonomic seating with expertise in the areas of finance, strategic planning, HR, operations, growth, and diversity. Rebecca has grown Neutral Posture to an international company with numerous award-winning patented products.

Julio Enrique Hirschfeld Mereles is the Executive Director of PM Steele in Mexico City, Mexico. He joined the company in 1994 and has held several positions in the company. In 2005, he became the Executive Director and has helped the company with significant achievements including ISO 9001 Certification. These achievements have kept the company at the forefront for over 60 years.

Chas Hepler has served as President and CEO of Via Seating since 2013. Located in Reno, Nevada, Via Seating has specialized in office seating for almost 30 years across North America. Via offers the widest range of office seating including the first to market Active Seating in addition to a wide range of lounge, task, executive, conference and multipurpose chairs. Prior to joining Via, Chas held multiple interim CEO positions at companies including Boston Apparel Group in Brockton Massachusetts. Hepler is a graduate of Indiana University with a degree in Finance. 

John May was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Dekko and a member of its Board of directors in June 2013. Headquartered in Garrett, IN, Dekko was established in 1952 and has been a major supplier of electrical components to the office furniture industry for the last several decades. Prior to accepting this new position, May was President and CEO of several market-leading businesses with revenues ranging up to $500 million annually. He is well known for bringing focused growth, innovation and market leading technologies to the companies he has led.

Also continuing to serve on the BIFMA Board of Directors are:

·      Roger Arciniega, President & CEO, Momentum Group
Stan Askren, Chairman, President & CEO, HNI Corp.

Franco Bianchi, President & CEO, Haworth Inc.

Joel Feldberg, President & CEO, The Global Group

James Keane, President & CEO, Steelcase, Inc.

Mike Keilhauer, President, Keilhauer

Carol Keogh, CEO, ESI Ergonomic Solutions

Greg Moore, CEO, MooreCo, Inc.

Brian Walker, President & CEO, Herman Miller Inc.

“We are fortunate to have such great leaders working with us,” stated Tom Reardon, BIFMA Executive Director. “The expertise and experience of this Board highlights the leadership of our industry and strengthens our representative voice of the commercial furniture industry.”


BIFMA is the not-for-profit trade association for business and institutional furniture manufacturers. Since 1973, BIFMA has been the voice of the commercial furniture industry.

Our industry’s service to our customers – providing healthy, comfortable, and productive workspaces – rests on an infrastructure of engineering and materials standards. These standards, founded on centuries of craft and enhanced by ever-advancing science, embody the best of our knowledge on safety, ergonomics, and sustainability.

At BIFMA, we sponsor the development and refining of standards, explain their importance and application, and translate their necessary complexity into more easily understood and implemented formats. We also monitor the state of the industry, serve as a forum for member cooperation and collaboration, interact with international counterparts, and advocate for regulatory conditions that foster value and innovation.

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