A bi-monthly news publication for AWI Manufacturing & Supplier Members June 1, 2006
Association News

AWI Cost of Doing Business Survey Reveals Increased Profits for Architectural Woodworkers

The best performing AWI Manufacturing Members saw their profit margins increase to over 8.25% in the past year, pointing to a healthier market for woodworking projects.  Their operating profits reached their highest levels since 2002, according to aggregated data supplied by CODBS participants. Coupled with a robust Business Sentiment Index (at a five-year high), the survey results reveal a rebounding business climate.

Be on the lookout for your copy of the AWI Cost of Doing Business Survey and Compensation Study Report which is scheduled for distribution in mid-June.  AWI Manufacturing Members receive a copy as a benefit of their membership in AWI, a $950 value (nonmember fee). 

Examine the results of the CODBS and put this business management tool to use right away evaluating the 7,000 financial, human resource and compensation benchmarks in the final report against your firm’s financial performance.  See how your company matches up to industry averages and “high profit” firms.  Refine your business practices and financial management tools to elevate your profit margins for the balance of 2006 and beyond.

Also watch for your June AWI mailpack around June 12 and read all about the changes in profit margins and business sentiment over the years reported in AWI NewsBriefs
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AWI Launches 4th Annual Web-based Manufacturing Member Survey

AWI is seeking your views and opinions about various membership programs and services.  Tell us what you think! The AWI Marketing Committee, volunteer leaders and AWI staff use the survey results to assess each AWI program, product and service.

Today, Thursday, June 1, all AWI Manufacturing Members will receive an e-mail invitation containing a private link to a secure survey web page where they can easily answer a number of survey questions online.  Make sure you respond by close of business on June 16. Your input is important to the future of AWI membership services and programs.

Give us the roadmap to the future and tell AWI what you think about your member benefits.  Let us know what is working well and what needs improvements.  Give us your ideas for new member programs and services.

AWI is YOUR association.  Make your voice heard.
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Professional Development

Seats Available for Selected Summer Career & Technology Education Week Sessions

Reservations for CATE Week sessions, June 20-24, 2006, hosted by the Architectural Woodwork Institute of Life-long Learning (AWILL) have been steadily increasing, particularly for AWI’s long-standing and highly regarded training programs.  But it’s not too late to sign up your specialists to fine-tune their skills and expand their knowledge of essential operational areas of architectural woodworking. 

There is still room for additional attendees in the following sessions:

  • AutoCAD Level 1 (Two day course)
  • Managing for Quality
  • Fundamental of Estimating (One day course)
  • Fundamentals of Project Management (One day course)
  • QSI & QCP Workshop
  • Advanced Estimating (Two day course)
  • Advanced Project Management (Two day course)
  • Plus, the AWI Plant Tours

Don’t delay – register today.  Sign up while there space is available in these courses which are limited in size for maximum interaction among attendees.  Visit the AWILL CATE web site  for full details about each course and register online by clicking here.  Contact Kimberly Haynes about these sessions as well as the ever popular AWI Plant Tours. 

Meanwhile, several highly technical custom courses have been withdrawn from Summer CATE: AWFI Finishing Training Certification: Finish Repair and Touch-up Laboratory, Polyester Coatings Laboratory, Color matching & UV Laboratory, Sanding for Finish Preparation, Motion in the Workplace.

Summer CATE Week is focused on the shop side of the architectural woodwork business.  The sessions, June 20-24, will be held at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, PA.  Hotel accommodations are available at reasonable rates at several nearby properties.

Summer CATE offers an excellent opportunity for attendees to learn from authorities in the field and to swap tips and techniques from others attending the sessions.
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Industry News

AIA Reports 19 Consecutive Months of Healthy Billings for Architects

Apparently, there’s a whole lot of building going on for architects, which is good news for architectural woodworkers.  The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), a leading economic indicator of nonresidential construction activity, was positive again in April. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the April ABI rating was 54.2 (any score above 50 indicates an increase), up significantly from the 50.5 mark in March.

“The protracted period of positive billings at architecture firms is more positive news for the nonresidential construction industry that should amount to sustained activity well into 2007,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “The increasing costs and decreasing availability of building materials continues to be a difficult issue, however, and was noted as a problem by more than seventy percent of surveyed architecture firms.”

Key March ABI highlights

• Regional averages: Northeast (53.9), South (52.8), West (52.8), Midwest (50.4)
• Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (57.1), mixed (51.2), institutional (50.3
• Billings inquiries index: 62.0, up from the 59.4 score in March

For more details, visit the AIA web site.
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Hurricane Season Looms, Southeast Bracing for Storms

“For the 2006 north Atlantic hurricane season, the NOAA National Hurricane Center is predicting 13-16 named storms, with eight to 10 becoming hurricanes, of which four to six could become ‘major’ hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher,” said retired Navy Vice admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.  

NOAA is not forecasting a repeat of last year’s season, but says “the potential for hurricanes striking the U.S. is high.”  NOAA is cautioning residents in hurricane prone areas to get ready in advance of the hurricane season.

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Regulatory Issues

You Deserve a Break Today from the IRS

It’s rare that your costs of doing business decrease, but some relief is in sight coming from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The agency announced on May 25 that it will stop collecting the federal excise tax on long-distance telephone service. 

The tax on telephone services was first imposed in 1898. The current rate is 3% of the charges billed for these services. The IRS announcement follows decisions in five federal appeals courts holding that the tax does not apply to long-distance service as it is billed today.

Taxpayers will be eligible to file for refunds of all excise tax they have paid on long-distance service billed to them after Feb. 28, 2003. Interest will be paid on these refunds.

Taxpayers will claim this refund on their 2006 tax returns. In order to minimize burden, the IRS expects to announce soon a simplified method that individuals may use.  “So taxpayers won’t have to spend time digging through old telephone bills, we’re designing a straightforward process that taxpayers may use when they file their tax returns next year,” said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. “Claiming a refund will be simple and fair.”   

The IRS announcement does not affect the federal excise tax on local telephone service, which remains in effect. Likewise, various state and local taxes and fees paid by telephone customers are also unaffected.

More information can be found in IRS Notice 2006-50 , posted on IRS.gov. It will also be published in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2006-25, dated June, 19, 2006.
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More Tax Relief from the IRS - For Subcontractors

Today, on June 1 a new tax regulation takes effect that could increase the tax deduction subcontractors can take for domestic production activities, reports the American Subcontractors Association (ASA). The regulation, implementing part of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, is more favorable to subcontractors than earlier, proposed versions of the regulation.

The essentials:  provisions in the 2004 law allow a deduction of 3 percent (increasing to 6 percent in 2007 and 9 percent in 2010) of a taxpayer's qualified production activities income (QPAI), which is defined as a taxpayer's domestic production gross receipts (DPGR) minus cost of goods sold and other related expenses, according to ASA. 

“An earlier draft of the regulation would have required subcontractors to exclude receipts attributable to materials and equipment from their DPGR," ASA said.

The final regulation allows subcontractors to include both receipts from materials and receipts from services in their DPGR, increasing the deduction for taxpayers who can take it.

Be sure to check with your tax professional about the deduction for income attributable to domestic production activities and how the new regulation might improve your bottom line.  Visit The Treasury Department’s web site to review the regulation online.
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In the Chapters

Chapter Events Ahead

What’s happening in local architectural woodwork communities?  Check out the informative AWI chapter programs sponsored in your area... Texas, Florida, Central Pennsylvania, Northeast Ohio, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, and Wisconsin.

AWI Texas Chapter
When: June 2, 2006
What: Presentations on LEED and AWI Quality Certification Program
Presenters: AWILL Ambassador Rob Ziegelmeier and AWI’s Randy Estabrook
Where: Houston, TX
Contact: David Pena of WoodArts Systems, Inc., David@woodartsystems.com

AWI Florida Chapter
When: June 9 -10, 2006
What: Business Seminar, “Human Resource Practices for Success” & Forklift
Where: Punta Gorda, FL
More Information: www.awiflnet.org

AWI Central Pennsylvania Chapter & AWI National
June 22, 2006 – 5:45 pm – 7:45 pm, (during AWILL Career & Technology Education Week)
What: Quality Standards Illustrated/Quality Certification Program Workshop
Where: Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport, PA
More Information: Audience? Design Professionals and Woodworkers; Two Learning Units for AIA National Members; Limited to 60 seats
Registration: Free of charge, Click here

AWI Northeast Ohio Chapter
When: June 22, 2006
What: 15th Annual Golf Scramble
Where: Fowler’s Mill Golf Course, Chesterland, OH
Contact: Frank Zorman, (P) 216.831.0303

AWI Great Lakes Chapter
When: June 23, 2006
What: "Lean Manufacturing Symposium – Learn for Profit”
Presenter: Brian Brashaw, Natural Resources Research Institute
Where: Traverse City, MI
Contact: Pamela Howell, (P) 586.497.7522

AWI Ohio Valley Chapter
When: July 22, 2006, 8:00 AM
Format: Four Person, Best Ball Scramble
Where: Legendary Run Golf Course, Cincinnati, OH
More Information: www.awiohiovalley.org

AWI Wisconsin Chapter
When: August 1, 2006, 11:30 am til
What: 2006 Wood Industry Golf Outing
Format: Golf, dinner, prizes and camaraderie
Where: Broadlands Gold Club, North Prairie, WI
More Information: Portion of registration fees will be donated to new scholarship fund for Woodtechnics students at Fox Valley Technical Institute (See attached)
Contact: Jim Reiter, (P) 800.236.6324
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Next Issue of AWI e-briefs

The next edition of AWI e-briefs will be published on June 15, 2006.
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Founded in 1953, AWI is a nonprofit organization representing over 3,500 manufacturers, suppliers, and design professionals in the architectural woodwork industry.

AWI Mission:
The authoritative resource for excellence in architectural woodwork.

Copyright Architectural Woodwork Institute www.awinet.org

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AWILL Summer Career & Technology Education Week
Jun. 20-24, 2006
Williamsport, PA 
Register Here 

International Woodworking
Machinery & Furniture
Supply Fair-USA®
Aug. 23-26, 2006
Atlanta, GA
AWI Discounts for Hotel Accommodations
AWI/IWF Registration
Register Early!

AWI 54th Annual Convention & Meeting
Oct. 4-7, 2006
New Orleans, LA
Save the Date!