Dark Horse Woodworks’ Chris Dehmer has been elected president of the Board of Directors of the Cabinet Makers Association (CMA), the industry group for professional cabinet makers and woodworkers in the United States and Canada.
Chris previously served as an at-large board member for two years and as vice-president for one year.
He joins newly elected vice-president James Fox, treasurer Matt Wehner and secretary Brian Clancy. Board members are Ken Kumph, outgoing president Leland Thomasset and former secretary Monika Soos.
“When I first became involved with the CMA in 2012, Dark Horse Woodworks was still fairly new,” Chris says. “In the beginning, I appreciated the impact of winning peer-judged awards for our work via the CMA’s annual Wood Diamond Awards. We were proud to be recognized for our work, but the awards were also a great marketing tool for us. It’s powerful for potential clients to see that you’re doing work that is honored by others in the industry.”
Chris soon took his involvement to a deeper level, attending events, participating in discussions on the online forum and eventually joining the board in 2016.
Owning a small business is challenging and time-consuming, and taking on outside commitments is no small thing.
But Chris sees the CMA time commitment and his growing leadership role as wise investments. In his inaugural “President’s Message” for the CMA’s quarterly magazine, PROfiles, he explains the value of being part of the community.
“My involvement with the CMA is the single best professional development opportunity I’ve ever encountered, and being on this board has changed me and my business forever,” he wrote. “When you start a business, it’s tempting to want to go it alone and to look at the others in your line of work as competition – even if they aren’t literally vying for the same customers, you may see them as competing against you for awards or respect or reputation. That’s not the way it works with the CMA. The best part of being in this group is the ability to draw on the knowledge of other members.”
The CMA also provided Chris with an opportunity to develop another set of skills: Public speaking and what many in the business world call “thought leadership.” He has spoken at national industry conferences and CMA events about his experiences as a business owner, craftsman and entrepreneur.
“It’s definitely rewarding to have started out as a novice and to have reached a point where I have knowledge to share with others who are just starting out or who may be changing gears,” he says. “I credit my CMA friends for helping me get to that point by sharing their hard-won expertise with me over the years, and I intend to keep paying it forward whenever I can.”