Lift Trucks: Toyota Material Handling NA announces management changes

Brett Wood has been promoted to executive vice president of TMHNA; Jeff Rufener will take the helm as president of Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A., Inc.

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Toyota Material Handling North America (TMHNA) announces the expansion of its executive team in an effort to further strengthen the North American regional operations and distribution channels of the two respected lift truck brands it represents: Toyota and Raymond.

Effective immediately, Brett Wood has been promoted to executive vice president of TMHNA. TMHNA is a management and organization structure over both the Toyota and Raymond brands’ North American material handling equipment business and manufacturing organizations. Wood will continue to serve on the boards of Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A., Inc. (TMHU) and Toyota Industrial Equipment Mfg., Inc. (TIEM), Toyota’s forklift manufacturing facility in Columbus, Ind. In his new role, Wood will lead several strategic TMHNA assignments in sales, marketing and operations to accelerate synergies between TMHU, TIEM and Raymond. Wood previously served as president of Irvine, Calif.-based TMHU from 2009 to 2011.

Jeff Rufener will take the helm as president of Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A., Inc. Rufener joins Toyota after most recently serving as vice president of marketing for Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America Inc. He brings more than 30 years of material handling industry and executive experience to Toyota.

“In 2010, we formalized TMHNA’s management and operations structure to strengthen the North American regional brands of Toyota and Raymond,” said James Malvaso, president and chief executive officer of TMHNA. “Today, we are adding more talent to the team. Brett’s position is critical to the future direction of TMHNA, and Jeff brings a wealth of leadership and material handling knowledge that will help further strengthen TMHU.”

TMHNA is comprised of TIEM; TMHU, supplier of the number one selling lift truck brand in North America; and The Raymond Corporation, a leading provider of electric lift trucks and solutions used in warehouse and distribution environments.

Wood has been a TMHU associate since 1989 and he has held numerous managerial and technical support positions including: vice president of marketing, product, strategic planning, training operations and dealer development before being appointed to president. Prior to joining Toyota, Wood held engineering positions with IBM Corp. and Northrop Aerospace. He is a member of the Industrial Truck Association’s (ITA) executive committee and board of directors. Wood is on the editorial advisory board of Modern Materials Handling magazine and has been recently elected to the Roundtable of Industry Leaders of the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA). He sits on the advisory board for SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A., the national nonprofit solely dedicated to child passenger safety. Wood has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Rufener held a variety of positions at MCFA including: vice president of sales; director of counterbalanced products; general manager of national accounts and fleet management; purchasing manager; and various other management, staff and field positions in sales and product support. He also serves as the president of the Industrial Truck Association, further reinforcing his leadership position within the material handling industry. Rufener has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.

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