A bi-monthly news publication for AWI Manufacturing & Supplier Members September 20, 2007
Association News

Call for Submissions for AWI “Award of Excellence” Program

The winning projects of AWI “Award of Excellence” honorees are seen by nearly 25,000 architect and design professional subscribers to Design Solutions. Be one of the honorees!

Like other auspicious honorees featured in the summer 2007 edition of Design Solutions, AWI’s quarterly journal, JSM Woodworks Inc. of West Fargo, ND (featured below) enjoyed the media exposure that inclusion in the journal brings.  

Don’t miss the deadline for submissions for the winter AWI “Award of Excellence” Program on December 1, 2007.  You too can have your outstanding project showcased to architects and design professionals who may be searching for your kind of expertise and creativity. All  AWI Manufacturing Manufacturers are eligible to submit projects for the program.   Click here for details and submission forms.

Pictured here is one of the winning AWI Manufacturing Member projects in the AWI “Award of Excellence” competition – the North Dakota State University’s football offices whose woodwork was fabricated by JSM Woodworks, Inc. of West Fargo.  Sequenced and book matched, plain sliced Cheery veneer, and plain sawn solid Cheery was used for the project. 

Photo Credit: William Kloube, Heliostudio
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Woodwork Career Alliance Board Elects Officers, Votes on Administrative Issues

Necessary administrative tasks to advance the skill standards development project took place on September 10.  The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America is up and running and its Secretary, Greg Heuer, is currently meeting with the industry’s Canadian counterparts in Niagara, Ontario.

During the Alliance’s meeting, its Board of Directors elected officers, unanimously approved the organization’s bylaws, and established various record-keeping procedures.

The following officers were elected:

Scott Nelson, President
Duane Griffiths, Vice President
Greg Heuer, Secretary
Paul Winistorfer, Treasurer

In addition to the newly elected officers, board members also include: Jerry Finch, Joe Galluzzo, Bill Geyer, Patrick Molzahn, Glenn Wirgau, and Mark Smith (ex officio).

AWI serves as the Secretariat of the project which is funded by a $75,000 matching grant from the USDA Forest Service. To keep apprised of the project, visit the AWI Web site and click on “Woodwork Career Alliance of North America.” 

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Professional Development

Wood Products Industry Workshops Lead Way on Change Management

Managing and Leading Change Workshop

The Sloan Foundation Forest Industries Center and the USDA Forest Service Wood Education and Resource Center are presenting “Managing and Leading Change,” a workshop on October 15-16, 2007 at Virginia Tech’s campus in Princeton, WV. 

In today’s global market, managers and business owners in the forest and wood products industries have more opportunities than ever to drive growth. However, overseas competition, the privatization of land, a changing customer base, a changing labor market, and technological innovations present many challenges to companies in the forest and wood products industries.

To manage these changes effectively and take advantage of the opportunities in the global marketplace, business leaders and managers must make significant changes to traditional ways of doing business. Leading experts in the field of change management will be present to discuss topics such as the keys to success in leading and managing organizational change, developing the strategic agility needed to respond to external change, and how to create an entrepreneurial culture that encourages innovation throughout your organization.

For more details about the workshop, click here.  To register for the workshop, click here.

Managing and Understanding the Hispanic Workforce

Employers and managers in the forest industries (including primary producers and secondary manufacturers) may want to explore another workshop at Virginia Tech, “Managing and Understanding the Hispanic Workforce,” on September 24-25, 2007. There is still time to register for this diversity workshop for improving your management skills in working with the growing Hispanic workforce.

The workshop is co-sponsored by the same two centers.  Click here for information on the workshop objectives, faculty, and agenda. For registration details, click here.
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Careers in Construction Week Slated for October 15-19, 2007

The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) is promoting its nationwide “Careers in Construction Week,” October 15-19, 2007, to increase public awareness of the contributions that dedicated professionals make in the industry. 

Although NCCER is not yet involved with carpentry or woodworking in any way, the components of the program at their careers Web site may offer ideas for AWI members working with local vocational schools.  The NCCER Web site also contains resources about career building and more.

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WoodLINKS USA Challenged to Match $25K Grant Funds

WoodLINKS USA is seeking matching funds from the industry to qualify for a $25,000 grant from the Woodwork Machinery Industry Association (WMIA). 

Interested parties should contact WoodLINKS USA’s Mark Smith at woodlinksusa@netcare-il.com or call him at 217.253.3239 (p).  For information about WoodLINKS, visit www.woodlinks.com.
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Regulatory Issues

Federal Restraining Order Delayed Sept. 14th Effective Date of DHS Rule on Employment Verification Changes

On Aug. 31, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from sending guidance letters to employers on complying with its new “no-match” rule.  Instead of taking effect on Sept. 14 as initially announced the restraining order results in a delay until at least after an Oct. 1 hearing.  The delay resulted from a lawsuit filed by the AFL-CIO, the American Civil Liberties Union, and other organizations that claimed the rule would cause hardships to employees.

The DHS announcement included a revised process for dealing with Social Security Administration "no match" letters generated by the W-2 process, as well as increased civil fines for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.  To review the final revised rule, visit the DHS Web site.

Compliance Procedures

The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) has produced a special compliance document to assist employers with meeting the step-by-step process that employers must take to reduce their liability upon receipt of a “no-match letter” or an “error correction request.”  No-match letters are triggered when an employer's W-2 earnings report contains information that does not match Social Security Administration records.  In lieu of taking the steps, employers will face increased potential liability for “knowingly employing an unauthorized worker,” ASA reported.

A copy of the ASA report is available for download at asaonline.com.
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Federal Reserve Cuts Interest Rates to 4.75%

In an unexpected move that cut interest rates for the first time in four years and much more than was speculated by economists, the Federal Reserve took action on September 18 to lessen turmoil in financial markets and insulate the overall U.S. economy from further damage.

Businesses as well as consumers are expected to benefit from lower borrowing costs that will result from the Fed’s action.  Although it normally takes about a year for lower interest rates to stimulate the economy, the psychological impact of the huge cut could be immediate, according to some economists, The Washington Post reported.  For details about the markets, click here. (free subscription)

The Fed’s action in August to ease the credit crunch alleviated some of the turmoil in the financial and credit markets; however, the construction industry is still expected to sustain some negative impact, according to Dodge/McGraw Hill Construction.  They reported that the housing market will continue to experience financial stress, while the commercial market will be affected to a lesser degree.  Institutional and public works markets will suffer muted effects, according to the Dodge projections.

For more insight into the forecasts for these sectors and the construction market as a whole, click here.  The bottom line is that the construction industry could experience a 3% decline in starts in 2008.  Stay tuned for more information in the coming months.  The Fed’s latest action could stimulate the economy more quickly than previous projections indicated.
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Industry News

Architecture Billings Index Returns to More Modest Growth Level

After three months of substantial growth, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) in August receded to a figure more in line with the scores seen throughout the spring, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

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.  AIA reported that the August ABI rating was 53.9, down significantly from the near record 60.0 in July (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings), and inquiries for new projects was 60.5. This is the biggest drop since September 2006 when the Index dropped from 59.4 to 52.1.

Key August ABI highlights:

• Regional averages: Northeast (61.2), West (58.8), South (56.0), Midwest (52.2)
• Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (65.0), institutional (51.6), mixed practice (58.2), multi-family residential (48.7)
• Billings inquiries index: 60.5.

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Turning Sawdust and Wood Waste into Good Use

A recent article in Pallet Enterprise discusses the many ways that sawdust and scrap wood are being turned into good use and in some cases, profits. 

Find out more about the by-products and other benefits of recycling at the PE Web site.

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Member News

Lange Bros. Woodwork Co. Inc. Celebrates its 75th Anniversary

Lange Bros. Woodwork Co. Inc. was founded in 1932 in Milwaukee by two brothers, John M. Lange and Rudolph G. Lange, whose goal was to provide the same quality and custom woodworking they had learned from their father in Germany. When the founders retired, the family tradition continued as their sons, John M. Lange Jr. and Rudolph G. Lange III, took over the company.  In 1995, Lori B. Poull and Randolph J. Lange, third generation family members, assumed ownership. Through the dedication of many skilled and talented team members, Lange Bros. has grown to over 50 team members, in two locations, with sales throughout the United States. As Lange Bros. Woodwork Co. Inc. celebrates its 75th anniversary, the company is enjoying its highest backlog on record.

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Stiles Education Achieves IACET Recertification

Stiles Machinery Inc. has announced that Stiles Education has again successfully been recertified as an International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET) Authorized Provider.

Stiles Education continues to be only training program in the industry certified by IACET. The Authorized Provider is the highest level of certification that IACET awards and recognizes the exemplary level of training provided by Stiles Education. The recertification process included an extensive written application to document in-depth topics from course content to the quality of personnel and facilities. The next step was an extensive site visit that included interviews with Stiles Education staff and faculty.

This year Stiles Education has trained more than 2,200 students for a grand total of more than 18,000 students since the program began in 1990.
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Biesse Division, Intermac America, Signs Distribution Agreement

Intermac America, the stone and glass division of Biesse S.p.A., recently signed a distribution agreement with Advanced Industrial Machinery, Inc. (AIM), making Intermac and its agents the exclusive dealer of AIM cutting machinery in the U.S. and Canada.  Under the new agreement, Intermac America will serve as the distribution channel for AIM’s MasterCut saw and MasterJetSaw combination CNC waterjet/saw line of stone cutting systems, as well as AIM’s Waterjet line, including the Masterjet series, all aimed primarily at the countertop market.  AIM will continue to handle sales, delivery and installation. AIM will also be responsible for customer service, technical support and training at its Hickory, NC, facility for all of the machines it manufactures.  Biesse America, Inc. is an AWI Supplier Member since 1989.
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In the Chapters

NJ Chapter Loses Longtime Friend, Supporter and Officer

The AWI New Jersey Chapter recently lost a longtime friend and AWI supporter, John Hogan, 77. John held the office of chapter president for two consecutive terms. He then settled in performing the duties of secretary and treasurer for the New Jersey Chapter for over 30 years. John spent the majority of this career as an architectural woodwork estimator with Schroeder Brothers of Warren, NJ. After retiring with many years of experience, John became a freelance estimator for several other woodworking companies in NJ. His guidance, knowledge of woodworking and friendship will be missed.  The New Jersey Chapter will make a contribution to the William Winter Scholarship Fund in memory of John.

 
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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 Great Lakes and Central Pennsylvania Chapters are planning.

AWI Great Lakes Chapter
When:
Thursday, November 8, 2007
What: Three Seminars:  1) QS 8005 Veneer Solution; 2) QS 8006 Finishing; 3) Woodworking Contributions to “Green” Building Projects
Presenters: Matt Gaglio, Mod Interiors; Frank Moceri, Madiera Woodworking, Inc.; Chuck Cady, Strata Design, Inc. – all chapter leaders
Where:  Midwest Expo, DeVos Place, Grand Rapids, MI
More Information:  Programs are targeted to architects, design professionals, contractors and woodworkers.  Click here for more details.

AWI Central Pennsylvania Chapter
When:
Thursday, November 15, 2007 (all day)
What:  Lean Manufacturing Program (with PowerPoint presentations, discussion, and interaction on the implementation of Lean manufacturing with area woodworking companies); Tabletop exhibits featuring Supplier Members
Presenter: Mike Rothmeier, Simple Solutions
Where: Wildwood Conference Center, Harrisburg, PA
Registration:  $75 for members; nonmembers invited from around the nation
More Information: For more details and to exhibit, contact Garry Astles at gastles@northwayind.com

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Legislative News

Mandatory Reporting of Federal Subcontract Award Data

A new rule has established a pilot program for the reporting of comprehensive data on subcontracts paid for with federal funds.

The rule amends the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to require contractors receiving federal contracts of $500 million or more to report all first-tier subcontract awards exceeding $1 million to the database at www.esrs.gov within 30 days after the end of March, June, September and December through 2008. The new rule was published in the Federal Register on September 6, 2007. 

“The pilot program is the precursor to a permanent program establishing a searchable Web site that will provide public access to information about all transactions of $25,000 or more involving federal funds,” the American Subcontractors Association (ASA) reported.

The results of the pilot program will not be disclosed to the public and it will terminate no later than Jan. 1, 2009. “When the permanent program is established, the councils will issue requirements accounting for transactions of $25,000 or more as required by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-282),” ASA said.
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Legal Matters

Court Rules Against Top Lumber Manufacturers

U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania refused to dismiss a large antitrust lawsuit that accused the country’s top lumber manufacturers of price fixing of “oriented strand board” (OSB), an engineered wood product.

Refusing to dismiss the case, the judge certified two classes of plaintiffs.  Nine companies named in the suit collectively control 95% of the OSB market in North America.

For details about the allegations, click here.

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Next Issue of E-briefs

The next issue of AWI e-briefs will be published October 4, 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.

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AWI Annual Convention/
Executive Conference
Oct. 3-6, 2007
Louisville, KY

AWI Workshop at
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”Wood & Its Correct Use
in Interiors”
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November 14, 2007
Boston, MA
4:00 – 5:30 PM
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AWI - AIA Form B 2007