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Rhonde Knoche Wins Inaugural NKBA U Professional of the Year Contest


January 21, 2015


At KBIS 2015 in front of a panel of industry judges and KBIS attendees, four finalists competing for the title of NKBA U Professional of the Year shared the importance of professional development and how NKBA University has contributed to their growth and success. Rhonda Knoche, CMKBD, of Portland, Oregon-based Rhonda Knoche Design was named the first-ever NKBA U Professional of the Year.

“Throughout the contest and in the Finals, Rhonda demonstrated how NKBA U has fueled her growth, and how continuing education shapes her career trajectory as she works toward her professional goals,” said National Kitchen & Bath Association Director of Learning Nancy Barnes. “Continuing education is deeply woven into the fabric of NKBA and this contest. We’re thrilled to celebrate Rhonda and the commitment that she, our runners-up and NKBA U embody.”

In the spirit of continuing education, the following prizes have been awarded:  

·       Grand Prize Winner Rhonda Knoche received three all-expenses-paid trips for two from the contest’s sponsors: Platinum sponsor Cosentino will send Knoche and a guest to Spain to tour its headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Almeria; Gold sponsor Kohler Co. will provide a tour of its headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Kohler, Wis., and Gold Sponsor GE will provide a tour of its Monogram Experience Center in Louisville, Ky.

·       First Runner-Up Sarah Robinson received all-expenses-paid trips for two from Gold sponsors Kohler Co. and GE.

·       Runners-Up Melissa Helvey, AKBD and Paula Kennedy, CMKBD received all-expenses-paid trips for two from GE.

“I made a promise to myself that I would always keep learning,” Knoche says. “I credit NKBA and NKBA U’s continuing education courses to much of my success, and I am so thrilled to receive the honor of being named the first NKBA U Professional of the Year. It validates a lesson important for all industry professionals: Constant learning is key for constant growth and continued success.”

NKBA Professional of the Year Runners-up

First Runner-Up: Sarah Robinson; Jansen, Inc; Pensacola, FL

Runner-Up and People’s Pick Winner: Melissa Helvey, AKBD; Great Floors; Spokane, WA

Runner-Up: Paula Kennedy, CMKBD; Timeless Kitchen Design; Seattle, WA

The NKBA U Professional of the Year Contest comprised three rounds and began in July; applicants submitted essays online that shared how they excel in one of the eight NKBA U learning paths and how these skills come to life day-to-day on the job.

Finalists received a customized NKBA U curriculum and submitted a short video explaining how the courses will advance their career; the videos were then posted to the contest landing page for public voting. Finalists received air, hotel accommodations and a VIP pass to KBIS® 2015 in Las Vegas for the final competition. Live from NKBA’s Center Stage, Finalists shared what they learned from taking the NKBA U courses and how they are implementing the lessons to fuel their success.