A bi-monthly news publication for AWI Manufacturing & Supplier Members March 6, 2008
Professional Development

AWI Spring Professional Development Program Features Sales/Marketing Celebrity

Mark your calendar for May 8-9, 2008 for the next round of AWI Professional Development Seminars.  An intense course on sales and marketing led by radio personality and sales training specialist, Jack Warkenthien, will be one of the compelling reasons to attend the event in Falls Church, VA.

Jack is the founder of NextStep Solutions, sales training specialists. For almost a dozen years, Jack and NextStep Solutions (www.nextstep-solutions.com) have been delivering personalized Sales, Marketing, Service and Leadership training to firms all over the world—with quantifiable and measurable results. 

During the AWI Sales and Marketing Seminar on May 9, Jack will focus on the hallmarks of personal success: relationship building and communication skills. Don’t miss this outstanding communicator who delivers the formula for successful sales and marketing strategies developed from a solid reputation as a “closer” at IBM.

The Spring 2008 AWI Professional Development Seminar program will also include a comprehensive day-long session on Financial Management for the Non-financial Manager.

Registration opens soon at www.awinet.org.  Click on “Education Programs” and sign up early. 
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Association News

2008 AWI CODB Survey to Launch April 1, 2008

The 2008 AWI Cost of Doing Business Survey, one of AWI’s tools for business health for AWI Manufacturing Members, will launch on April 1, 2008.

All AWI Manufacturing Members will receive an e-mail link to the annual survey that provides unique financial management results exclusively for the architectural woodwork industry.  Participation is a wise investment of time for special financial management tools and a comprehensive report not available from any other source.

If you haven’t participated before, do it in 2008. Now, more than ever, you need to fine-tune your operating costs to navigate your business through rough economic waters.


 
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Industry News

Authors and Editors Still Needed for Skill Standards Project

Authors and editors are still needed for the Woodwork Career Alliance Skill Standards effort under development and sponsored by the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, AWI, other national association partners, and a growing number of AWI chapters.

Click here to learn more about the writing groups.  Contact AWI Director of Training & Member Services Greg Heuer at gheuer@awinet.org if you are interested in exploring this effort.  WCA is seeking volunteers who are willing to share their knowledge, experience and expertise to help advance this important project.  The Skill Standards will have far-reaching implications for educating and training tomorrow’s wood industry workforce.
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Business Opportunities – Projects in the Planning Stages

Florida and California each have 10 large construction projects in the planning stages.  Discover potential new business opportunities.

From shopping centers, hotels, office buildings, educational institutions, libraries to museums, new constructions and renovations in these two states could become lucrative business for AWI architectural woodworkers.  Check out the list published by Reed Construction eWire
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In the Chapters

Chapter News

AWI chapters are on the move.  Much is happening in a number of chapters around the country who are connecting with AWI National Chapter Liaisons Greg Bednar and Debby Heidler.  Learn more about progress being made, such as new web sites, successful programs, elections, and other chapter news.

Support for SkillsUSA
On April 4, the AWI Texas Chapter will sponsor and conduct the Texas SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking Contest for the 10th consecutive year.  The chapter’s board has also approved awarding a $1500 travel voucher for the 1st place winner to participate at the SillsUSA national competitions. TAWI also will award three college scholarships: $1500 for 1st place, $1000 for 2nd place and $500 for 3rd place.  Chapter members will donate over $1500 in attendance prizes to all of the contestants.  The competition will take place in Corpus Christi, TX.  For more details contact TAWI Cabinetmaking Contest Chairman Jim Kollaja at jkollaja@imperialmill.com.

Chapter Reorganization
On February 27, Stiles Machinery, in High Point, NC, hosted a reorganization meeting for the AWI Virginia Chapter in conjunction with its Solid Wood Technologies Expo. Virginia Chapter manufacturers eagerly crossed the state line to take in the vital information provided through Stiles’ generous offering.  Presenter Scott Armstrong from the Wurth Wood Group in Charlotte, NC, spoke about “green” products and LEED®. His presentation explored the issues of sustainability and forest product certification. Also, David Kenealy of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center discussed the Southside Forest Products Competitiveness Initiative. For more information on this fascinating program, please visit www.woodscience.vt.edu/svfpi/.  The Virginia Chapter plans several more meetings in 2008, including AWI Design Pro presentations to regional architecture firms. The chapter thanks Owen McGee of Stiles Machinery for his generous support of AWI.
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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 Wisconsin, Heart-of-America, Missouri-Illinois, New England, Central Pennsylvania, and Chicago Chapters are planning.

AWI Wisconsin Chapter
Co-Sponsor – CSI Milwaukee Chapter
When: March 11, 2008
What: “Be Lean, Green & Seen” Partnered Industry Event & Mini Trade Fair
Presenters: Margaret Fisher, Saunders Wood Specialties; Jay Hollingsworth, Woodmill Products; Karl Arps, PE; Rick Goodson; Tom Ziech, WI Manufacturing Extension Partnership; and Gregory M. Bednar, CSI, CDT, GMB Associates, LLC and AWI National – Chapter Development Services liaison.
Where: Southeastern Carpentry Training Center, Pewaukee, WI
Information: Click here for program details.
Registration: Click here for fees and registration form.
Questions: Greg Bednar at gbednar@awinet.org or call 414.659-2462

AWI Heart of America Chapter
When: March 13, 2008
What: Microvellum Production Software Presentation, Social Hour, Dinner, Chapter Business Meeting
Presenter: Shawn Mayberry, Microvellum
Were: Best Western Sundome, Hutchinson, KS
Questions: Jay Allen, Chapter President, at jay@allenmillworkco.com

AWI Missouri-Illinois Chapter
When: March 19, 2008
What: LEED / Green Sustainable Program
Presenter: Margaret Fisher, Saunders Wood Specialties
Information: Karen Duree, AMSL, at 314.524.0602

AWI New England Chapter
When: March 26, 2008 (11:30 am – 3:15 pm)
What: “Hardwood + LEED® = Sustainability Success” Program, Networking Reception & Associate Displays, and Table Top Exhibitors Presentation
Presenter: Margaret Fisher, Saunders Wood Specialties
Registration: $35 per person; pre-registration required
Information: Click here

AWI Central Pennsylvania Chapter
When: May 1, 2008 (2:00 - 4:00 pm)
What: “Hardwood = LEED® = Sustainability Success” program and Table top Displays
Presenter: Margaret Fisher, Saunders Wood Specialties
Registration: $30 Chapter/AWI Members; $50 Non-chapter/non AWI members
Information: Click here
Questions: Garry Astles, President Central PA Chapter, gastles@northwayind.com

AWI Chicago Chapter
When: May 14, 2008
What: Plant Tour of Cain Millwork
Where: Rochelle, IL
Information: Call Homer Lathrop or Don Lupa at 815.561.9700
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Legislative News

2008 Economic Stimulus Act Provides Tax Benefits to Businesses 

In addition to providing stimulus payments to individuals, the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 provides incentives to businesses. These incentives include a special 50% depreciation allowance for 2008 purchases and an increase in the small business expensing limitation for tax years beginning in 2008.

For more details, see the IRS press release at irs.gov.
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Illegal Immigrants: Stiffer Fines & New Employee Verification System Proposed

In two separate developments, the federal government is on the move again to crack down on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

On February 22, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey announced that stiffer fines (25% increase) will be imposed on employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens.  The fines, which were published February 26 in the Federal Register, take effect on March 27.   Meanwhile, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced that additional immigration rules, which will be released in the future, will require federal contractors to participate in E-Verify, an online identity and work authorization verification system.  The proposed new rule is due this month.

In a separate action, legislation has been introduced that would create a new mandatory employer verification system for all future employees.  H.R. 5515, the New Employee Verification Act (NEVA), would require employment authorization though a system operated by the Social Security Administration.  The bill would protect employers by preventing their prosecution by the federal government which would have to prove that the employer “knew” that an employee was illegal.

Stay tuned for developments down the road.
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Member News

Biesse Announces First U.S. One2One Event of 2008

As part of an ongoing effort to keep customers, partners and prospects abreast of the latest high-tech woodworking solutions, Biesse America has announced its first major U.S. One2One of the year, a two-day event being held at its Charlotte, NC headquarters Thursday, April 10 and Friday, April 11, 2008. Program details follow.

The One2One events offer an opportunity to get up to speed on the latest developments in the industry with a variety of workshops and presentations.  Topics such as Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing will be discussed in seminars designed to help participants adopt proven strategies for improving efficiency and profitability.  In addition, Will Sampson, Editor-in-Chief of Cabinet Maker, will lead seminars on business issues typically faced by small- to mid-sized shops, such as how to price accurately, negotiate with clients and improve costing. Small shops in particular will benefit from insights into how industry standards can be used to measure, analyze and improve their businesses.

A complete schedule of 2008 One2One events is available at www.biesseamerica.com.

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Over 1,000 Woodworking Businesses Attend BIESSEiNSIDE

BIESSEiNSIDE, held in Pesaro, Italy at the headquarters of parent company Biesse S.p.A. February 28 – March 1, drew representatives from more than 1,000 businesses around the world.

While open to all, the event was geared primarily to clients of Biesse’s Systems Division, who are engaged in construction, institutional casework and store fixtures, as well as window, door and furniture manufacturing.  Attendees saw a variety of advanced woodworking technologies and processes in action. State-of-the-art Biesse machines were displayed in Biesse’s brand new 32,000-square-foot Tech Center, where 32 different machines are in constant operation. More than 100 demonstrations were held on the entire Biesse line.

During the event, Biesse presented a number of innovations – among them a new production line, based on the Kaizen “Lean Manufacturing” model used by Toyota.

Biesse has been an AWI Supplier Member since 1995.
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Safety Matters

Safety Tip Challenge: Prizes Offered for Best Job Safety Tips 

Seeking safety tips from AWI Manufacturing Members, including employees of AWI member firms...enter your tips in the Safety Tip Challenge.  Encourage your employees to submit safety tips – get them involved!

How it works:  Each quarter, the AWI Safety Committee reviews and selects the best submittals to date. Each submittal remains in the competition for the entire year, so all entries have an equal opportunity for review each quarter. (Quarterly winners are excluded from future consideration). The AWI Safety Committee reviews and judges all entries and selects the winners; all judging decisions are final.

Prizes:  Each winner receives a beautiful Starrett Model S909Z combination square valued at almost $300, compliments of the AWI Safety Committee and our partner in risk management, CNA Insurance.

Click here to enter the Safety Tip Challenge.

AWI Manufacturing Members are encouraged to post in their shops the attached “Safety Tip Challenge” flyer.  Invite employees to participate; they could win a prize, and tips submitted could help you maximize safety on the job AND limit your insurance costs.  Safety pays!
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Reminder to Employers about Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is currently investigating a major accident involving combustible dust. The agency reminds all employers that combustible dust can present a dangerous workplace hazard, and encourages employers with such hazards to reference OSHA's Safety and Health Information Bulletin on this topic.

In October 2007, OSHA launched its National Emphasis Program on Combustible Dust to ensure compliance with existing standards, educate the industry on the hazard and methods of abatement, and to collect data for analysis. For more information, visit OSHA's new Combustible Dust Safety and Health Topics page.

A combustible dust explosion hazard may exist in a variety of industries, including wood, paper, pulp, furniture, and many others, according to OSHA.
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Next Issue of E-briefs

The next issue of AWI e-briefs will be published March 20, 2008. 

 
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