Don Bottemiller and John Miles earn Lifetime Achievement honors
Casual Living Staff -- Casual Living, May 25, 2012
The two men, both of whom are retired from Homecrest Outdoor Living, will be honored at the casual furnishings industry's annual awards gala to be held Sept. 22, at the Field Museum in Chicago, during the 2012 International Casual Furniture and Accessories Market. The prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award is reserved for individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the outdoor furnishings industry, to their company and to their community.
Bottemiller grew up in the small town of Wadena, Minn. His high school summers were spent working at Homecrest, a company started in 1953 by his father, Mert, and his uncle, Al. The company manufactured both indoor and outdoor furnishings. The elder Bottemiller's swivel rocker mechanism, patented in 1956, was the foundation of the Homecrest outdoor patio line, which took off in the 1960s as Americans increasingly enjoyed backyard dining and entertaining.
In 1966, after college, three years in the Air Force and two years at Control Data, Don Bottemiller returned to Wadena to replace the company's retiring purchasing agent and shipping supervisor. He became the plant engineer and coordinated the construction of several additions to the factory.
In 1973, his father and uncle sold the business to the Sperry and Hutchinson Company in New York, better known as "S&H Green Stamps." Don coordinated the final negotiation and subsequently was asked to stay and run the business for S&H.
In 1980, S&H began selling off its smaller businesses. Don partnered with John Miles, who had joined the firm as vice president of marketing and sales, and purchased Homecrest back from S&H. For the next two decades, the business enjoyed steady growth and expanded both in domestic and international markets. Homecrest's reputation grew in the 1990s and the company won the Casual Furniture Retailers Association Manufacturer Leadership Award in 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1999.
Throughout his career, Bottemiller has contributed eight utility patents to Homecrest. He is still active in the company and remains a member of the board of directors.
Miles was named president of Homecrest's Crestmark International Division in 1983. Upon his retirement in 2001, he noted Homecrest's national and international growth and recognition, but said what he valued most was the lifelong friendships he had developed over the years in the casual furniture industry.
Miles has been active in various civic and business organizations, including the Madison, Ga., Historical Preservation Commission; the Wadena, Minn., Rotary; and the Richter Cottage Interior Furnishings Committee. He received the City of Madison Superlative Service Award in 2007 and the Outstanding Preservation Leadership Award in 2011. He was also president of the Summer & Casual Furniture Manufacturers Association and served on the American Furniture Manufacturers Association Board of Directors during his term as SCFMA president. He's been an active member of the United Methodist Church for more than 50 years.
Bottemiller served on the board of the National Association of Furniture Manufacturers and the American Furniture Manufacturers Association. He is a past president and board member of the Summer & Casual Furniture Manufacturers Association. His civic involvement includes being a longtime board member for Tri-County Health Care in Wadena, serving as a director of Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul and chairing the board of Meadowlark Institute in Lake Park, Minn. In 1999 he was a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from St. Olaf College.
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