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Michael Stephens inducted into HMA Hall of Fame

By Nick Bullock
Published: July 23, 2013
Michael Stephens
Michael Stephens
Wm. K. Walthers Inc. announced July 22 the posthumous induction of Michael Stephens (1954–2013) into the Hobby Manufacturers Association Model Railroad Industry Division Hall of Fame.

Stephens’ wife, Tammy, accepted the award, presented during the National Model Railroad Association’s 2013 National Train Show July 21 in Atlanta, Georgia. The HMA Model Railroad Industry Division Hall of Fame recognizes business people, inventors, publishers and others within the industry for their significant contributions to model railroading.

“While Michael’s time with us at Walthers was relatively short, his impact on our business and on me personally was great,” Stacey Walthers Naffah said during the presentation of the HMA Hall of Fame award. “His time with our industry was long and his impact on our industry and the people within it was tremendous.”

Stephens’ love for trains began early thanks to his late father, Hugh, a modeler who was a close friend of both Al Kalmbach and Bill Walthers, according to a press release from Walthers. Michael Stephens’ career in the hobby industry began at age 14 with Amro Ltd., his family’s model train import business located in Cedarburg, Wis. He then went into advertising and marketing for a few years before landing at Kalmbach Publishing Co. as vice president of marketing. He later served as president of Athearn Trains. He was also a key member of the team that developed the World’s Greatest Hobby organization as well as the World’s Greatest Hobby On Tour shows.

Stephens returned to Milwaukee in 2010, joining Walthers as vice president of proprietary products. During his time at Walthers, he helped refine the branding and product offering of the WalthersProto, WalthersMainline, WalthersTrainline and Walthers SceneMaster brands, according to the press release