Former Toyota executive honored with industry service award

A former Toyota Material Handling executive is being recognized by a national trade organization.

According to the Columbus company, the Industrial Truck Association recently recognized former president and CEO Jeff Rufener with this year’s Meritorious Service Award. The award recognizes leaders who serve the organization and advance material handling industry.

Brett Wood, Toyota Material Handling North America ‘s President & CEO said that Rufener led the industry for more than four decades. Wood said that Rufener had a humble and inspirational leadership that “motivated others to embrace challenges and improve each day”

During Rufener’s time with Toyota, which started in 2011, he led the company’s move of its headquarters to Columbus and oversaw the integration of Toyota Material Handling and Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing creating a single company. He retired in 2021.

Rufener served as the ITA Chairman from 2009-2011, as well as serving on the executive committee and as a board member. He helped found the inaugural National Forklift Safety Day and advocated for increased safety in the industry through operator training, educational programs and other improvements.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Material Handling. Brett Wood, Toyota Material Handling North America President & CEO; Jeff Rufener, former Toyota Material Handling President & CEO and recipient of ITA Meritorious Service Award; Bill Finerty, Toyota Material Handling President & CEO