Model Railroad – Hall of Fame

In any organization it’s always the few doing for the many. HMA is no different in that regard and would like to thank those listed below for their dedication and service throughout the years.
Download the 2015 Nomination Form

2016 Hall of Fame Recipients

Jerry Williams (Williams Reproductions Limited)

Jerry Williams founded Williams Reproductions Limited in 1971 with the idea of making replicas of the hard to find Lionel and Ives items. Initially Jerry concentrated on the desirable tinplate models like the 1694 Ives locomotive, the Lionel 9E, Lionel 381E, Lionel 408 and others. Around 1975, Jerry started to shift his attention to the O Gauge market, first with kits, then with completed models. The replicas of the Lionel Madsion cars, FM TrainMaster, and Classic GG-1 were among the first “Post-War” reproductions and the beginning of the Golden Memories Series. In the mid to late 1980’s Jerry explored another idea: Scale sized locomotives for 3-rail track. They started out as very simple models of common steam locomotives. However, in the late 1980’s Jerry introduced many models for the first time in 3 rail including the Big Boy, Challenger, N&W 611, Camelback, and Cab Forward. This was the birth of “Hi-Rail” or scale sized items for 3-rail track. From 1990 to 2007, Jerry concentrated on the development of models of diesels, passenger cars and rolling stock and the expansion of the Golden Memories line.   In 2000, he indulged himself by making one of his favorite models, the Lionel 671 turbine locomotive first cataloged in the mid-1940’s.  Most people discouraged him from making this model since they were common items, but Jerry’s instinct was right again and this model proved to be a success. Jerry’s vision and competition forced other companies to raise their standards. Additionally, many of today’s train manufacturers have benefited from the experience that they learned while working with Jerry. These include Mike Wolf and Andy Edleman of MTH, Ken Silvestri of Broadway Limited, and Larry Harrington of Bachmann Industries. He should be credited with the birth of Hi-Rail and recognized as a major reason for the size of the O Gauge market today.

Brian Ellerby (Evergreen Scale Models)

Brian Ellerby, a native of the Pacific Northwest, had a life-long interest in model railroading. He started Evergreen Scale Models in his basement in the mid 1960s to support his hobby. His first products were pre-fabricated track switches. Soon, using machinery that he designed and built, he developed an extensive line of styrene plastic strips, sheets and shapes. These unique products were quickly discovered by scale modelers and architectural model builders. In the early ’70s Evergreen marketed three HO structure kits, but Brian decided he was better able to help others than produce his own competing line of kits. He was willing to help other manufacturers engineer and produce kits of exceptional design. Today, some 40 years later, Evergreen’s styrene is used by tens of thousands of scale modelers worldwide. A model builder of exceptional skill, Ellerby wrote articles for model railroad publications about his home layout, often describing innovative construction and operating techniques. Photographs of his model railroad were published in numerous catalogs, promotional materials, and web sites. In recognition of his contributions to the hobby, he received the National Model Railroad Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2009. Brian Ellerby, President and Founder of Evergreen Scale Models, died at University Medical Center on April 29, 2010, after a seven-month battle with cancer. He was 67.

2015 Hall of Fame Recipient

Hiroshi Kato (Kato)

Hiroshi Kato is the President of Kato. He is a second generation leader as he succeeded his father, Yugi Kato, who is a member of the Model Railroad Hall of Fame. Under Hiroshi’s leadership, Kato has been the leading manufacturer in Japan and has expanded to a robust product line of both N and HO scale trains in the USA. Kato has been the hallmark of quality in N scale. Its unitrack product line is an innovative high quality patented track line. Hiroshi has been the President of the Japanese Association of Model Railroaders (JAM). Hiroshi created the largest train show in the world with over 50,000 people attending. The show has been held at Tokyo’s Big Shot Convention center and in Osaka. It is an amazing site, with hundreds of booths, dozens of operating railroads, classes and much more. It is one of largest and most impressive model train shows in the world. Hiroshi also created a school program which exposes over 200 schools and over ten thousand students to model railroading using a school model railroad club program with an annual model contest. He also manages the Kato Hobby Centers which promote model railroading with operating model railroads and provide retail services in Japan. Hiroshi is a founding member of the World’s Greatest Hobby program and has served as their vice president. He has been focused on taking successful promotion programs from Japan and bringing them to the USA and taking successful USA promotions to Japan. He has also worked on the NMRA DCC committee. Hiroshi maintains the highest level of integrity and is well respected across the world. On a worldwide basis no one has done more to promote model railroading or expose the general public to model railroading than Hiroshi Kato. Congratulations to Hiroshi on this deserving honor.

2014 Hall of Fame Recipient

Fred Hill (The Coach Yard, Allied Hobbies, The Original Whistle Stop)

Fred’s accomplishments are many. As a business person, Fred, working with his partner Dave Allen, imports a series of HO hand built brass passenger cars that are acknowledged by the industry to set the highest standard for fidelity and workmanship. Fred is very generous with his industry knowledge and has introduced and guided others into the world of brass model manufacturing. Those that have known Fred over the years recognize him for his total dedication to the model railroad industry. He exhibited at the old MRIA shows before there was a combined “Chicago Show”. He is the only brass manufacturer to continually support the model railroad industry from those early days and through the current iteration of iHobby Expo. Not only has he contributed to the trade shows as an exhibitor, but he also tirelessly supports the show behind the scenes. He has served as the HMA President and Treasurer while on the Board of Directors, iHobby Show Committee chair, the MRID Council and various other service posts. His enthusiasm for the Model Railroad division remains strong. Congratulations to Fred on this deserving honor.

2013 Hall of Fame Recipient

Michael Stephens (Wm. K. Walthers, Inc.)

Like many of us, Michael fell in love with model trains at an early age, thanks to his late father Hugh, who was Vice-President-Sales for Kalmbach Publishing, a passionate model railroader, and close friends with both Al Kalmbach and Bill Walthers. At age 14, Michael took his first job in the industry, working for his dad in the family’s model train importing business, Amro Ltd. located in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. In the mid-1970s, Michael took his first position with Kalmbach Publishing, starting as a researcher for Airliners International magazine. Michael’s career track then took him into both advertising and marketing for various Milwaukee-based agencies, eventually bringing him back to Kalmbach in 1998, as Vice-President – Marketing. During his time there, Michael was instrumental in creating the firm’s online presence, and helped develop and guide the World’s Greatest Hobby promotion campaign, sponsored by Walthers, Kalmbach and several other firms. After a brief detour into publishing, Michael headed west to assume the role of President for Athearn Trains in 2007.

A long-time friend of the entire Walthers family, Michael returned to Milwaukee in 2010 and joined the Walthers team as Vice-President of Proprietary Products. In this role, he helped direct and develop a major overhaul and update of Walthers product branding, creating the new WalthersProto™, WalthersMainline™, WalthersTrainline™ and Walthers SceneMaster™ brands. Michael also played a significant role in the development and promotion of new Walthers products, including the Hulett Unloader and some yet to be released projects, while building relationships with vendors and suppliers worldwide.

2012 Hall Of Fame Recipient

There was no recipient of the Hall of Fame Award in the year 2012.

2011 Hall of Fame Recipients

Edward C. and Douglas R. Suydam of the Ed Suydam Company
Ed Suydam and his brother, Douglas, owned and ran a company in Pasadena, California that manufactured camera equipment, roll film adapters, grill tops, and animal cages, among other items. However, in 1950 they desired to get into model-railroading and shifted the output of their factory to that area. The line of well thought-out mat board buildings, corrugated metal buildings., and railroad freight and passenger cars could be found in every hobby shop in an eye catching yellow box. The metal buildings needed to be soldered, which was different than anything else in the hobby. At one time it was hard to view a model train layout without seeing a Suydam model. Even today the models are still being sold, made and displayed. Prior to the formation of the Model Railroad Industry Association (MRIA), several model railroad industry leaders would meet regularly in Tustin, California: Leo Campbell, Tom Ayres, George Hook, Ted Hollow and Ed and Douglas Suydam. Out of those meetings the Model Railroad Industry Association was formed. Ed held the position of secretary/treasurer in those early years of 1967 and 1968. Ed, with his quick wit and sense of humor, was the front man in the company, while Douglas worked behind the scenes at the factory. Both Ed and Douglas passed away several years ago.


2010 Hall of Fame Recipients

Phil Walthers – Wm. K. Walthers
With his nearly four-decade record of hard work, creativity, service, and most of all, integrity, Phil Walthers has earned a reputation as not only one of the most capable executives in our industry, but one of the most trusted. His tenure at Wm. K. Walthers, Inc. has been marked by a substantial expansion in the firm’s line of products, including a new track system, a new line of passenger equipment and limited-run trains, and the 2005 acquisition of Life-Like Products. Phil also led an expansion in the number of lines Walthers distributes, and he has helped many smaller firms grow by promoting and distributing their products via the Walthers catalog.

He has represented our industry ably, including service on the boards of the Model Railroad Industry Association and Radio Control Hobby Trade Association. Under his leadership Walthers has helped build awareness of our hobby by being a primary sponsor of the World’s Greatest Hobby program and also of the PBS railroad program “Tracks Ahead.” And while it is less well known, thanks to his modesty, Phil has compiled one of the most remarkable records of community service in the industry. Throughout his career, Phil has consistently led by example in promoting the hobby, serving our industry, and introducing new products that have inspired model railroaders. It is for those reasons that he is nominated for election to our Hall Of Fame.

Jim Conway
In 1958-59 when Jim was 18 years old, he built a large HO train layout in the basement of his family home. He later found a part-time job at a local hobby shop in Chicago and his love for trains grew. He built hundreds of model freight car kits and sold them through local hobby shops and mail order. In1960, Jim joined the NMRA and attended his first NMRA National Convention in Chicago. In 1962, Jim developed a line of kits called “Con-Cor Models.” Among the first kits were USRA Boxcars and Billboard Reefers, Hon3 freight cars, and the “Airslide” Covered Hopper kit. Also in 1962, Jim organized a group of fellow model railroaders from Chicago and opened a new Model Train Hobby Shop on the West Side of Chicago. During the 1960’s and 70’s, Jim grew his business under the name of Con-Cor. Con-Cor became the “N” Scale Rivarossi Agent in the USA starting in the mid-1970’s. Jim also had a wholesale business under the name of JMC International.

Download the press release

2009 Hall of Fame Recipients

Nick Pfusterschmid played a key role in the creation and sales of hundreds of the model train hobby’s most successful models and has been an employee or a trusted partner of many of the industry’s major firms, including AHM, Athearn, Atlas, Con-Cor, Life-Like, Liliput, Mehano, Rivarossi, and Roco.

Robert H. (Bob) Staat of Horizon/McHenry Couplers is the primary inventor of, and patent holder for, magnetically actuated couplers. In addition to his dedication to the railroad industry, Bob has been an avid flyer and R/C enthusiast. He has been a leader in the industry serving as President of the Model Railroad Industry Association for two terms and was a key member of the Industry Unification Task Force that formed the Hobby Manufacturers Association. Bob was elected in 2005 to serve as the first President of the newly formed HMA during the very difficult start-up period, and did an outstanding job of pulling together the various industry divisions to help make the HMA the association it is today.

Past Winners

2008
Richard (Dick) Maddox, Bachmann Trains Bud Reece, Bachmann Trains
2007
W.S. Ting, Sanda Kan Manufacturing Phyllis Carstens, Carstens Publications
William Lenoir, Lenoir Models
2006
Lewis Polk, Aristo Craft Trains Bernd Lenz, Lenz Electronik
Fred Icken, Icken Models
2005
Russ Larson – Kalmbach Publishing Co Fred Gates – Märklin, Inc.
2004
H. Lee Riley- Bachmann Trains/AHM Bob and Lynn Lunde Magnuson
Models/DPM
2003
Bill Bowser – Bowser Manufacturing Robert Rands – Micro Engineering/Rail
Craft
Lewis English, Sr. – Bowser
Manufacturing / English’s Model RR
2002
Mike Trost – Trost Models Alan Armitage
Kemtron/Revell/PSC/Kadee
Eberhard Richter – LGB Wolfgang Richter – LGB
2001
Louis Barnett
International Models, Inc.
2000
Charles Ulrich – C. J. Ulrich Co., Inc. Lee L. Blyler – Ambroid Co.
William Ryan – Pacific Fast Mail
1999
Levon Kemalyan – Kemtron Products Roy Gelber – Model Rectifier Corp.
Yuji Kato – Kato USA, Inc. Hugh Stephens – Kalmbach Publishing
Co.
1998
John Anderson – Cal Scale Castings Howell Day – Howell Day Models
Sol Kramer – Life-Like Products David Osment – Woodland Scenics
Nathan Polk – Polks Model Craft
Hobbies/Aristo-Craft Trains
1997
Thomas Ayres – Ayres Scale Models August Kniff – Tru-Scale Models
Robert Lindsay – Lindsay Products Robert Lobaugh – Lobaugh Models
Bernard Paul
International Hobby Corp.,/AHM/IHC
1996
Leo Campbell – Campbell Scale Models Harold Carstens
Carstens Publications
Dale Edwards – Kadee Quality Products
Co.
Keith Edwards – Micro-Trains Line Co.
Cliff Grandt – Grandt Line Products, Inc. Max Gray – Champion Decal Co.
Bobbye Hall – Hallmark Models, Inc. Clarence Menteer – Model Die Casting
Harold Rosenlund – Floquil-Polly S Color
Co.
Bruce Walthers – Wm. K. Walthers, Inc.
1985
Irvin R. Athearn – Athearn, Inc. Joshua Lionel Cowan – Lionel Corp
Alfred C. Gilbert – A. C. Gilbert George Hook – Central Valley
Albert C. Kalmbach – Kalmbach
Publishing Co.
Charles A. Penn – Carstens Publications
Stephen Schaffen, Jr. – Atlas Tool Company George Stock – George Stock Company
John Tyler Mantua Metal Products Company, Inc. Gordon Varney – Varney Scale Models, Inc.
William K. Walthers – Wm. K. Walthers, Inc. Carmen Webster Kelly – Model Railroad Equipment Company
Edwin P. Alexander – Alexander Scale Models