A bi-monthly news publication for AWI Manufacturing & Supplier Members August 2, 2007
Association News

AWI CODBS Report Opens Window to Architectural Woodwork Business Management

What are the profit margins your firm needs to achieve for its size and scope in order to be ranked among “high profit” manufacturing firms?  Are the prospects for business good, bad, or about the same for the upcoming six months?

They are “good” as you learn in the August issue of AWI NewsBriefs coming to your mailbox around August 10. Of the 139 participants in the 2007 AWI Cost of Doing Business Survey, the average firm has 9.4 employees per $1 million in revenue and 4.23% operation profit margin.

Put your 2007 AWI Cost of Doing Business Survey and Compensation Study Report to work right away.  All AWI Manufacturing Members were sent a copy of the final report on July 2. 

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AWI Receives Official Corporation Status for “Woodwork Career Alliance”

The major initiative to develop Woodwork Skill Standards, Evaluation and Credentials will occur under the banner of the Woodwork Career Alliance.  The new 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable and educational foundation was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia as of July 17, 2007.

As Secretariat of the initiative, AWI is still seeking volunteers for the writing teams whose members will develop the actual Skill Standards and, once they are in place, the Evaluation Criteria.  The two-year project will be overseen by a Board of Directors.

Those interested in participating on one of the writing teams should contact the project’s manager, Greg Heuer, at 571-323-3636.
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Professional Development

A Successful Business Is about Contracts, Estimating, Project Management, and More

AWI Lifelong Learning programs, like the upcoming sessions September 13-15, 2007 in Seattle, WA, are aimed at helping new employees and veterans capture the fundamentals of basic business functions and add to that foundation new ideas, approaches, perspectives.  If you miss the fall AWI sessions on Contracts and Fundamental and Advanced Estimating and Project Management, you’ll have to wait six months for the next seminars in February 2008.

Register early – seating is limited to allow for maximum interaction between faculty and attendees and among participants. Click here for more information about the programs, faculty, registration fees and more.  To register now, click here. The registration deadline is August 31, 2007.  For more information, contact Ilaria Fekeza at 571.323.3614
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AWI Organizes Successful SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking Competition and Workshop

The 2007 SkillsUSA Championships, June 27-28 in Kansas City, drew members of the AWI SkillsUSA Committee, Contributing AWI Supplier Members, and over 5,000 students who competed in 87 separate events spread over 787,482 sq. ft. – the equivalent of more than 16 football fields. The annual Cabinetmaking Contest was one of the competitions.  

How Did AWI Participate?

The AWI SkillsUSA Committee began planning the Cabinetmaking Championship and education and sponsorship components of the annual event in January 2007.  Their work came to fruition at the Kansas City Convention Center where AWI SkillsUSA Committee Chairman Kent Gilchrist (President of Freemont Interiors) helped to set up the competition floor with other volunteers and advisors from woodworking and cabinetmaking programs across the country. 

Duane Griffiths (Director of Education for Stiles Machinery) and Mr. Gilchrist presented an interactive and educational workshop for over 100 students, parents and advisors. They gave a hands-on presentation, discussed architectural woodwork technology, and offered the students encouragement about careers in woodworking.

 

 AWI SkillsUSA Committee members were on hand for a final review of the cabinetmaking project (a frame & beaded inset nightstand with bed and base mouldings). The committee established the judging criteria.  The model cabinet (shown here) was built by Salina Planing Mill.

Who are the top three winners in each cabinetmaking contest?

Secondary Level
Gold – Brandon W. Carpenter, Galax, VA, Carroll County High School
Silver – Kevin Pattermann, Oswego, IL, Oswego High School
Bronze – Christy N. Williams, Mt. Sterling, KY, Montgomery County Area Technology Center

Post Secondary Level
Gold – Kyle Wegman, Lancaster, PA, Stevens College of Technology
Silver – Jake Harder, Hugo, MN, Saint Paul College
Bronze – Oswaldo Castro, Jerome, ID, College of Southern Idaho

 

Shown here is the Cabinetmaking contest. There were more than 5,000 student contestants vying for honors in 87 categories.  Total in-kind industry and education contributions for the entire SkillsUSA event amounted to more than $30 million in donated time, equipment and material.

Thanks to the AWI SkillsUSA Committee members who served as the judging panel for the 2007 Cabinetmaking Championships: Kent Gilchrist, Fremont Interiors, Inc., Carmel, IN; Jerry Allen, Allen Millwork Company, Wichita, KS; Noah Cohen, Cohen Architectural Woodworking, St. James, MO; and Charlie Zizumbo, Salina Planing Milling, Inc., Salina, KS. 

Thanks also go to Contributing AWI Supplier Members:

Blum Inc.
Columbia Forest Products Inc.
Flexible Materials, Inc.
Stiles Machinery, Inc.

“What We Know! There are still good woodworking and cabinetmaking programs out there and they need our help.  And there are talented students coming out of those programs.  I would encourage anyone who is looking for an apprentice or semi-skilled craftsperson to contact the schools and their advisors in your area,” Mr. Gilchrist said. 

For details about AWI’s SkillsUSA efforts, contact Ilaria Fekeza at ilariafekeza@awinet.org.  She can give you insight into AWI’s career development programs or direct you to AWI education committee members who can also provide more details.
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Students Not Headed for College; Where Will They Go?

An article in the San Jose Mercury News discussed the prospect for jobs in certain trades and the value of public and private partnerships in supporting career paths in the trades.  The author offers ideas about how to expose students to career and technical education opportunities.

For the full story, click here.  Search for “Schools Should Support Students Not Headed for College.”  The article written by Dominic Caserta was launched on July 8, 2007. 

For details about AWI’s efforts to promote architectural woodwork as a career path, contact Ilaria Fekeza at ifekeza@awinet.org
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Industry News

AWFS® Attracts over 30,000 Industry Professionals

The Golden Anniversary edition of the AWFS®Fair, held at the Las Vegas Convention Center July 18 – 22, 2007 attracted over 30,000 industry professionals, drawn from 66 countries from around the world. 

With 910 exhibiting companies, the most of any previous show, occupying 475,875 net sq. ft., an increase of 14% from 2005, AWFS announced that AWFS®Vegas 2007 was the largest and most successful Woodworking Machinery and Supply Fair® to date. 

Over 15 new Manufacturing and Supplier Members joined AWI at the show and many more learned more about all the programs AWI offers. The AWI seminar, "Scheduling the Custom Woodworking Shop" was a complete success. The workshop was presented by AWI members Jeff Stück, Stück Woodworks, and Matt Lundahl, Meyer & Lundahl.

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Architecture Billings Index Reaches Highest Level of Year

Following an almost three-point spike in May, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) zoomed up more than four points in June reaching its highest mark of the year, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA). For architectural woodworkers, the activity bodes well for construction and potential woodwork projects.

As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI shows an approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The AIA reported that the June ABI rating was 59.3 (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings), and inquiries for new projects was 62.6.

 “After seasonal adjustments, we are in a stretch of 30 consecutive months of growth in architectural billings – the second longest streak in the history of the survey that began in 1995,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA.

Key June ABI highlights:

• Regional averages: Northeast (62.9), South (58.0), West (57.1), Midwest (53.6)
• Sector index breakdown: institutional (61.6), mixed practice (58.1), residential (57.8), commercial / industrial (55.8)
• Billings inquiries index: 62.6.

For more details, click here.
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Sustainable Forestry Initiative Names President/CEO

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc. (SFI, Inc.) has named Kathy Abusow as its new President and Chief Executive Officer.

SFI, Inc. is the fully independent organization responsible for the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® Program. The SFI® program is a comprehensive and rigorous sustainable forestry certification system that encompasses more than 133 million certified acres across the U.S. and Canada and includes over 200 program participants.

Ms. Abusow becomes only the second person to hold the presidency of North America's leading forest certification program. She has expertise as both a technical expert on certification standards and on related marketplace issues such as procurement policy design and green building rating tools acceptance of wood and certified products. Ms. Abusow replaces William H. Banzhaf, who led SFI, Inc. and its predecessor organization from 2002 until his retirement on June 30, 2007.
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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. Tap into your local AWI chapter for vital information that can help your business grow and put you in touch with fellow AWI architectural woodworkers and suppliers.  See what the AWI Ohio Valley Chapter is planning.

AWI Ohio Valley Chapter
When:
August 23-24, 2007
What: Train the Trainer Workshop – Deliver Presentations with Knowledge & Style
Presenters: AWI National Director of Training & Member Services Greg Heuer; Linda Heuer
Where: Adams Mark Hotel, Indianapolis, IN
More Information: Click here
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Regulatory Issues

IRS Says Victims of 2005 Hurricanes Get Additional Year to Sell Vacant Land

The Internal Revenue Service is extending for an additional year the time limit within which victims of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma have to sell vacant land that they had owned and used as part of their principal residence that was destroyed as a result of the hurricanes.

Federal tax rules state that individuals have two years within which to sell the vacant land to be able to take advantage of the exclusion on gain from the sale of a principal residence.

Given that the two-year anniversary is approaching for victims of the 2005 hurricanes, the IRS has decided to provide additional time to take advantage of the exclusion. The IRS is granting relief by declaring that these victims now have three years after the destruction of their principal residence as a result of the hurricanes to sell their vacant land that they had owned and used as part of the principal residence.

IRS.gov has specific information  on this provision for disaster victims. IRS.gov also has more information on the tax relief extended to victims of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.
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Safety Matters

Study Shows Benefits of Occupational Safety and Health Programs

Ritrama Invests in Safety and Improves Its Bottom Line is a case study illustrating how workers' compensation savings, productivity and quality increase as a result of a comprehensive safety and health program.  While the study applies to a company in the graphic arts industry, many components are applicable across a broad range of companies seeking to improve the safety of their workers.

Click here for the full case study.  Ritrama, a signatory of the OSHA and Graphic Arts Coalition alliance, designed and implemented a program to educate employees, managers and supervisors about safe work practices and company-specific procedures at its manufacturing plant in Minneapolis, MN.
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Free Safety and Health Evaluations for Your Small Business

Visit OSHA's “On-site Consultation Program” Web page to get valuable information on how this program helps you to provide a safe working environment for your employees. The service is provided only at your request and is delivered by OSHA at no cost. Employers who use the service to develop and operate an exemplary safety and health management system may also qualify to participate in the OSHA Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). For additional information, visit the OSHA Web site at http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/index.html.

Reminder to AWI members...Join the AWI leadership and fellow members at the 55th Annual AWI Convention, Oct. 3-6, 2007 in Louisville, KY, where AWI Manufacturing Members will be honored for their safety programs.  AWI, and its safety insurance partner CNA, will recognize 37 AWI Manufacturing Members who will receive one of three 2007 AWI/CNA Safety Awards in the association's annual program.
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Next Issue of E-briefs

The next issue of AWI e-briefs will be published August 16, 2007. 
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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:
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Wood Week 2007
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