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Industry Pioneers to be inducted into 2010 Hall of Fame at VDTA/SDTA Convention

Two industry leaders will be inducted into the VDTA/SDTA Hall of Fame during the 2010 VDTA/SDTA Trade Show and Convention in Las Vegas, NV, in March. Inductees for 2010 will be Maurine Smith-Scott of the Smith Crown Company in Salt Lake City, UT, and the late Russell Hanson of AB Vacuum Center, LLC in Willmar, MN. Each inductee will be honored during the convention at an awards ceremony to be held at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel on March 24, 2010, beginning at 7 p.m. Make your convention reservations today so you can be on hand to help congratulate and fondly remember these industry contributors. During the ceremony, each inductee will be recognized and a plaque will be presented to/in honor of them. A plaque for each will also be placed into the VDTA/SDTA Hall of Fame.
Being inducted into the VDTA/SDTA Hall of Fame is a high honor for professionals in the floor care and sewing industries. Those who hold the classification have over 20 years of experience working in the industries. They have conducted business in such a manner to always reflect favorably on the industry, and they have contributed as a leader in some fashion so as to better the organization as a whole. Please join us as we honor these leaders who have made a significant impact on our industry.

Russell Hanson
Russ Hanson was the founder /owner of AB Vacuum Center of Willmar and Marshall, MN. He entered the vacuum industry in 1973 selling Kirby vacuums and later opened an “All Brands” vacuum store in Willmar, MN. He expanded his business in 1994 by opening a second store in Marshall, MN. That same year he was the VDTA Vacuum Salesperson of the Year. During his 35 years in the industry he became a leader in sales, a mentor to his peers, and had a deep passion for the business he had built. He contributed so much knowledge to the industry, not only to his customers, but to his peers, sales reps, and other industry leaders. Russ was married to Barb Hanson for 37 years and had three children, Trevor, Tanya, and Trent. Before he entered the vacuum industry, he was active in the United States Navy, and later in the Marine Corps, where he served his country in Vietnam. He was honorably discharged from the military in 1969, receiving numerous metals, including the Purple Heart. Russ loved fishing and running his business, but what he enjoyed most was spending time with his seven grandchildren. Russ died peacefully at his home on November 22, 2008, after a courageous battle with cancer. He is greatly missed by his family, as well as others in the vacuum industry.

Maurine P. Smith
Maurine P. Smith was born of goodly parents who immigrated to Utah from Armenia in the late 1800s. Her parents were actually children when their families made this move. She was just a twinkle in someone’s future. Her parents (about 20 years later), being very industrious, found employment. Her grandfather was a street sweeper. Her father became the owner and operator of Plowgian Auto Repairing...another strong family business that is being operated by his grandsons. No one in this large immigrant family was afraid of hard work...they were so grateful for the opportunity. Maurine was the first child of Aram and Elsie Plowgian. Born June 22, 1919, she was the first of four daughters and one brother. Maurine and her youngest sister are the only surviving members of her family.

Maurine graduated from high school and worked as an accountant for Anderson Jewelry where she worked as a personal assistant to the owner of the company. One day her mother sent her to a local store to buy a shirt for her brother. It was a fortunate day for her. The gentleman who helped her would one day be her husband and the father of her children. They had actually known each other at Forest Elementary School as children.

They dated and one day married. Blair was working in California for Union Oil before they married, so California became their new home. His next job was at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, UT. They moved to Salt Lake for their home and Blair commuted to Ogden each day. One day, a co-worker showed him a new vacuum -- A Filter Queen that was being sold door to door. Blair was always enthusiastic about anything he thought was good. His friend told him how “easy” it was to go door to door and sell these vacuums. It was the start of the vacuum business for Blair and Maurine and eventually for most of Blair’s brothers and nephews. John and Terry Smith presently operate Crown Vacuum in Phoenix. At one time, Blair’s brother, Byron Smith, had a store in Seattle. There were also stores in Bozeman and Portland.

But many things change with time. Smith-Crown started as a single line door-to-door business and through the years changed to be a multi-lined business that sells and repairs all brands of vacuums and Miele Appliances. At the young age of 57, Blair developed cancer. Maurine, very capably, continued with the business, growing it even more, taking on new lines and even adding a larger building for the business that had outgrown its previous space. To this day, at the young age of 90, she is at work every day, keeping track of what is happening and making sure things run right. She is the spirit of Smith-Crown. Maurine’s dedication to the vacuum industry will be remembered by her many customers and the employees who have worked with her through the years.

Reprinted from SQE Professional, March 2010