A bi-monthly news publication for AWI Manufacturing & Supplier Members December 3, 2009

AWI Earns “Official Sponsor” Designation for 2010 from SkillsUSA

The in-kind donations by AWI to the SkillsUSA National Leadership & Skills Conference has earned it the status of official sponsorship. As the organizer and developer of the national SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking Competition, AWI plays an impressive role in the entire contest process.

"AWI continues to be the ambassador for our architectural woodwork community to SkillsUSA," Kent Gilchrist, chair of the AWI SkillsUSA Committee said. "This designation as an "Official Sponsor" will give our industry excellent exposure as we work to meet our future workforce needs," Gilchrist said.

"Our committee spends in excess of 700 hours preparing for and running the national SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking Competition. Our involvement and that of AWI chapters in SkillsUSA presents us with an opportunity to foster interest in the architectural woodwork industry as a career path for competitors on the local, regional and national levels of the competitions," Gilchrist added.

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Test Drive New Skill Standards

The Skill Standards industry Pilot Program for November 2009 offers select Manufacturing Members the opportunity to try out the new Skill Standards. The evaluation takes about 20 minutes per tool.

Members are being asked to evaluate four tools or more, if they wish. The Woodwork Career Alliance (WCA) has written Skill Standards for OVER 30 different tools and machines. Those interested in trying out the new Skill Standards, should contact WCA Secretary and AWI Flexible Learning Officer Greg Heuer at 571.323.3623 or at gheuer@umich.edu.
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AWI News

Welcome New Members

As a benefit of their membership in AWI, Web site addresses are provided for those members that reported them on their membership application. All AWI members may be accessed via the online AWI Member Directory at www.awinet.org or by calling the association’s headquarters offices at 571.323.3636. AWI welcomes the following Manufacturing and Supplier Members to the AWI community.

Advantage Moulding & Millworks, Citronelle, AL
American Millwork Company, Reno, NV
Artisan Millwork, LLC, Pawtucket, RI, www.artisanri.com
Brightbill Industries, Inc., Harrisburg, PA
Cabinet Tech, LLC, Yakima, WA, www.cabinettech.com
Classic Caseworks, LLC, Kennesaw, GA
Corry Cabinet Company, Inc., Havana, FL, www.corrycabinets.com
Cosmos Woodwork, LLC, Houston, TX, www.cosmoswoodwork.com
CourtHouse Manufacturing, LLC, dba Chappell Door Company, Washington Courthouse, OH, www.chappelldoor.net
Craftsman Cabinetry Kitchen and Bath, Inc., Ste Genevieve, MO, www.craftsmancabinetryinc.com
DBI, Inc., Bessemer, AL, www.dbi-inc.com
Desert Cove Woodworks, Phoenix, AZ, www.desertcovewoodworks.com
Domenick Bambino Construction, Jerome, PA
Douglas Cabinet Company, Inc., Ruston, LA, www.douglascabinets.com
E.H. Fortner Woodworking, Inc., Washington, ME, www.ehfortner.com
Fish Construction, Inc., Stafford, TX, www.fishconstruction.com
General Casework, Inc., Denver, CO, www.generalcasework.com
Grupo Kinetica SA de CV, Santa Catarina NL, Mexico, www.kinetica.com.mx
Hopewell Craft Company, Inc., Hopewell, VA, www.hopewellcraft.com
J. Brooks Mitchell Cabinets & Millwork, Roanoke, TX
Jackson Woodworks, Inc., Brainardsville, NY
LAMAR, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, www.alfanar.com
Living Laminates, Elgin, IL
Millwork Management Solutions, Inc., Jasper, IN, www.millworkmanagement.com
MJR Woodworks, LLC, Apopka, FL, www.mjrwoodworks.com
Pechal Cabinets, Temple, TX
Pinnacle Woodwork, Inc., Germantown, WI, www.pinnaclewoodworkinc.com
Prism Cabinets and Construction, Inc., Everett, WA, www.prismcabinets.com
RLN Corporation, dba RLN Industries, Inc., Webster, TX
SECO Cabinet Division, Indianapolis, IN, www.seco-ec.com
Talbert Arc Paneling and Doors, La Habra, CA, www.talbertusa.com
Yoders Building Services, Fair Play, SC, www.goyoders.com

Bruce Matson Company, Inc., Honolulu, HI, www.brucematsonco.com
J Borinstein, Inc., Indianapolis, IN
Osborne Wood Products, Inc., Toccoa, GA, www.osbornewood.com
SCI Architectural Woodwork Installation, Pompano Beach, FL, www.sciwoodwork.com
Veritas, Kent, OH, www.veritasideas.com
White River Hardwoods-Woodworks, Inc.®, Fayetteville, AR, www.whiteriver.com
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AWI’s Growing Online Forum Sets Goal of 500

It’s growing again. The AWI LinkedIn support and discussion forum has hit the 400 member mark.

The Woodworking Solutions forum on LinkedIn managed by AWI offers opportunities for savvy members to ask and answer questions.  

LinkedIn Check out the forum, join (for FREE) today, and share with your woodworking colleagues. Go here to see more. 

AWI Flexible Learning Officer Greg Heuer has challenged AWI members who are LinkedIn to be part of the "101 Club." Recruit just one colleague in the woodworking industry to join the AWI LinkedIn Forum. The goal is 500 by the end of the year.
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Reminder: AWI Remittance Address Changes

AWI 2010 membership dues invoices are coming in December.  Don’t let your 2010 membership dues remittances or other payments to AWI become delayed. A new remittance address became effective in October.

Mail payments to:

Architectural Woodwork Institute
Attn: Accounts Receivable
46179 Westlake Drive, Suite 120
Potomac Falls, VA 20165

The old remittance address in NC is no longer open. See attached for more details. Questions should be directed AWI Office Manager Angie Fuller at afuller@awinet.org.
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Business Tools

Federal Government Approves Use of ConsensusDOCS Template Contracts for Use in Construction Projects

The federal government has joined a growing list of groups that allow for the use of template construction contract documents prepared by a coalition of building, owner and surety groups known as ConsensusDOCS.

The decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utility Service opens the way for key template documents to be used in water construction projects worth up to $20 billion each year.

"It just got much easier for federal officials to write smart, effective contracts that help keep the work on time and on budget," said Brian Perlberg, Executive Director of the ConsensusDOCS coalition.

Perlberg noted that the federal government is the latest in a series of large-scale project owners to embrace the ConsensusDOCS contracts. He noted that states such as South Dakota, Michigan and North Carolina allow the use of the coalition’s documents. He added that Habitat for Humanity now routinely uses ConsensusDOCS contracts on a number of its key projects.

Offering a comprehensive catalog of more than 90 contract documents covering all project delivery methods, ConsensusDOCS contracts are the first and only industry standard contracts written and endorsed by 23 leading construction organizations. For more information, visit www.ConsensusDOCS.org.
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10 Ways to Reward Employees without Breaking the Bank

"With the holiday season fast approaching and economic issues still lingering, many business owners may feel like ‘Bah, humbug!’ this year when it comes to giving a little extra to the staff. However, bypassing rewards will do little to motivate loyal workers who may have endured pay freezes, salary reductions or benefits cuts," according to Administaff, AWI’s affinity partner.

In fact, according to research by the Human Capital Institute, the Forum for People Performance Management and Measurement, and the Incentive Research Foundation, there is a high correlation between recognition and improved employee engagement, which in turn improves job performance and captures business value.

According to Administaff, "employee recognition does not require employers to pull out all the stops. During this tight economy, workers know better than to expect lavish bonuses, extravagant holiday parties or expensive gifts. Research also suggests that non-monetary recognition is just as valued and appreciated by employees. There are many ways companies can reward their staff on a smaller scale without breaking the bank." Click here for 10 ideas.

For more information about Administaff, call 800.465.3800 or visit www.administaff.com.  
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Standards Presentations Are Well Received

The AWI Florida Chapter’s AWS program in Orlando on November 13th attracted 36 Manufacturing and Supplier Members in addition to one local architect.

During the six hour program attendees were educated about the AWS by Mike Bell of Kentucky Millwork, Jeff Vaida of JFV Design and John Tavaglione of Häfele America. For more details about the insightful presentation format, see the new column, "Speaker’s Bureau" that will debut in the January issue of AWI NewsBriefs.
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Discover & Participate in Online Standards Discussions

The discussions surrounding the new Architectural Woodwork Standards are heating up. While it's an imperfect solution, AWI has started a set of Wiki pages to capture these discussions, share ideas, and offer support to both the construction and design community. 

The pages have a "notify me" tab which allows users to set certain pages or the whole Wiki to broadcast an e-mail anytime there is a change made. It's a useful way to stay up to date about an on-going discussion or technical point, according to AWI Flexible Learning Officer Greg Heuer.

The Wiki also includes a hot link to an online area to submit suggestions for improvement to the Architectural Woodwork Standards directly to the AWI Technical Committee.

To be part of this virtual office, go to this URL: http://tinyurl.com/AWstandards.
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AWI Mod Squad Accepting Members

We have seen a surge of demand for presentations on the new Architectural Woodwork Standards. To fill demand, Greg Heuer, your Flexible Learning Officer at AWI, has formed the New Mod Squad, people who will help create these learning programs.

Creative writers and presenters – Join the New Mod Squad! 

What’s it all about?
Its mission is to leverage the wisdom and talent of the AWI community. How? By brainstorming ideas, writing content, and sharing compelling images; by creating visually interesting and mentally stimulating modules about the new AWS; and by helping speakers take the AWI message out to the construction industry.

Want to help? Visit the Wiki, sign-in, give 20 minutes a week back to your association and your profession. Click here to learn more or e-mail Greg Heuer at gheuer@awinet.org
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Green Scene

New Study: Green Building to Support Nearly 8 Million U.S. Jobs Over Next 4 Years

Despite a challenging economic outlook, green building will support 7.9 million U.S. jobs and pump $554 billion into the American economy – including $396 billion in wages – over the next four years (2009-2013), according to a new study from the U.S. Green Building Council and Booz Allen Hamilton. The study also determined that green construction spending currently supports more than 2 million American jobs and generates more than $100 billion in gross domestic product and wages.

The economic impact of the total green construction market from 2000 to 2008, the study found, contributed $178 billion to U.S. gross domestic product; created or saved 2.4 million direct, indirect and induced jobs; and generated $123 billion in wages.

The study also assessed the U.S. Green Building Council’s 19,000-plus member organizations and found that they generate $2.6 trillion in annual revenue, employ approximately 14 million people, come from 29 industry sectors and include 46 Fortune 100 companies.

The study was released at the USGBC’s annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo.

The study considered the total value of green buildings and the results include workers from the architects who design them to the construction laborers who pour their foundations to the truck drivers who deliver the materials, in recognition of the how extensive the impact of green building is.

The full report can be downloaded at usgbc.org, where one can also find other research, resources, tools and information about green building and its role in the economic recoveries of professionals, businesses and the nation.
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AWI's LEED Podcasts Are Slated for Updating: Tell Us What You Need!

With over 5,000 visitors to the AWI series of 12 podcasts since their production in December 2007 featuring Margaret Fisher, AWI members are learning about the fundamentals of LEED® (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™ of the U.S. Green Building Council. With the recent release of LEED Version 3, the time is ideal for AWI to review each podcast, update information that may be outdated, and expand upon the series now that many AWI members are involved in LEED projects and are confronted with questions.

Your input is critical for AWI to meet your needs as you wade through the complex process of LEED projects or are attempting to decide if you want to get involved in such projects. AWI members need to seize opportunities in the green movement, because "Wood IS Green™" and because industry forecasts point to continued growth of the green movement.

Fundamental questions for AWI to begin the review and revamp of the podcasts are:
1. What do you think is rock solid about the podcasts?
2. What should NOT be changed in the series?
3. What improvements should be made to the series? 

Contact AWI Flexible Learning Office Greg Heuer at gheuer@awinet.org with answers to these questions. He and AWI Sustainable Resources Representative Rob Ziegelmeier will take the next steps to follow-up to your input.

If you have experience with LEED projects and would like to volunteer for a Task Force on the LEED podcast project, offer your help via e-mail at gheuer@awinet.org.
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How “Green” Are You?

As a service to members, AWI will publish information about members’ environmental sensitivity and energy saving practices as well as their various "green" certification credentials.

Send your information to AWI Director of Marketing Katie Allen at kallen@awinet.org.

NOTE: The information presented in the "Green Scene" section of AWI e-briefs should not be construed as legal or other professional advice or to represent the opinion of AWI and is presented for informational purposes only to represent balanced reporting of differing views as a service to members and subscribers.  AWI does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of this material from industry and other sources. 
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Member News

Dare, Dream, Discover at Executive Briefing Conference

Stiles Machinery and AWI challenge AWI members to "Dare to Discover" at the 8th Executive Briefing Conference (EBC) in Dallas, TX, February 28 to March 2, 2010. A unique series of exclusive briefings designed for company decision makers, the 2010 EBC will provide information you can use today and tomorrow. Save over 15% with early bird registration which ends December 31, 2009.

The EBC will address pending regulations
(i.e., dust, OSHA); social media and its impact on our industry; cost savings through sustainability; and automation and software developments. Case studies will offer keen insight into business challenges and best practices. The EBC will look at Custom Cupboards: RFID and software integration and JB Cutting: an EPP Downstream licensed facility. Plant tours include visits to Continental Cabinets (automated rough mill processing line) and Shioleno Industries (high volume laminating press).

On Sunday, February 28, take an optional tour of the new Dallas Cowboy’s stadium, enjoying networking with fellow attendees, and hear Art Turock’s opening keynote address.

Early Bird RegistrationSave over 15%. Early bird registration fees are in effect up to December 31, 2009. The $995 registration fee includes shuttle service between the Omni hotel and the airport, hotel accommodations for Sunday and Monday night, keynote dinner and reception, all other meals, presentations, and plant tours.

The EBC will take place at the Omni Park West Hotel, located 10 minutes from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

For program details and online registration, visit www.stilesmachinery.com/ebcSee the attached flyer also.

CabinetMakerFDM is another industry partner of Stiles and AWI presenting the Executive Business Conference.
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Industry News

Architecture Billings Index Sending Most Positive Signals in Over a Year

Amidst a continued high level of inquiries for possible new projects, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reached its highest mark since August 2008, just before the serious credit problems emerged in our economy, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The AIA reported the October ABI rating was 46.1, up sharply from 43.1 in September. This score, however, indicates a continued decline in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry score was 58.5, following the 59.1 mark in September.

"This news could prove to be an early signal towards a recovery for the design and construction industry," said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. "On the other hand, because we continue to get reports of architecture firms struggling in a competitive marketplace with a continued decline in commercial property values, it is far too early to think we are out of the woods."

Key October ABI highlights:
* Regional averages: South (46.1), Northeast (44.3), Midwest (43.0), West (42.8);
* Sector index breakdown: institutional (48.7), multi-family residential (45.4), commercial / industrial (41.7), mixed practice (39.1);
* Project inquiries index: 58.5.
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October Construction Jumps 12%

The value of new construction starts climbed 12% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $447.6 billion, according to a report by McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies.  The upward push came from double-digit gains for nonresidential building and nonbuilding construction (public works and electric utilities). 

At the same time, residential building in October was unchanged from its September pace.  Through the first ten months of 2009, total construction on an unadjusted basis came in at $350.1 billion, down 29% from the same period a year ago, McGraw-Hill reported.

The October statistics lifted the Dodge Index to 95 (2000=100), up from 84 in September, and the highest level so far in 2009.  The Dodge Index had fallen to 80 in February 2009, and since then has registered improvement, although the October reading was still 19% below the full year 2008 average for the Index at 117.  "After bottoming out in early 2009, there’s been an up-and-down pattern for construction starts, with a gradual upward trend beginning to emerge," stated Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction.  "Single family housing is no longer pulling down the overall level of construction activity, and transportation-related public works has strengthened, helped by the federal stimulus funding.  For nonresidential building, much of 2009 has been characterized by a steep loss of momentum, so October’s gain represents a departure from recent experience.  It suggests that nonresidential building is beginning to make the transition from steady decline to a more varied pattern, which signifies the trend is shifting to a slower rate of descent going into 2010.  On a cautionary note, the nonresidential building market is still looking at several major constraints going forward – rising vacancies, tight bank lending standards, and the weakened fiscal health of state and local governments."

McGraw Hill reported the following: nonresidential building in October climbed 19% to $177.9 billion (annual rate), with stronger rates of contracting being reported for many structure types following a weak September.  On the institutional side, the educational building category grew 5%.  Healthcare facilities also showed moderate growth from the prior month, rising 6%.  For the smaller institutional categories, amusement-related projects soared 93% in October.  The public buildings category advanced 56%, due largely to the start of a project funded by the federal stimulus bill.  Dormitory construction increased 53%.  Of the institutional categories, only church construction posted a decline in October, sliding 9%. For commercial building in October, office construction climbed 24% after a very weak September, as several large office projects reached groundbreaking.  Hotel construction jumped 101% in October.   Store construction edged up 4% in October. 
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Federal Scene

Most Businesses May Take Advantage of Expanded Loss Carryback Option under New IRS Procedure 

Most businesses may use losses incurred during the economic downturn to reduce income from prior tax years, under a revenue procedure issued on November 20 by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

"The relief provided under the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 differs from similar relief issued earlier this year in that the previous relief was limited to small businesses. The current relief is applicable to any taxpayer with business losses, except those that received payments under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The relief also applies to a loss from operations of a life insurance company," the IRS reported.

Taxpayers under the procedure may elect to carry back a net operating loss (NOL) for a period of three, four or five years, or a loss from operations for four or five years, to offset taxable income in those preceding taxable years. An NOL or loss from operations carried back five years may offset no more than 50 percent of a taxpayer's taxable income in that fifth preceding year.  This limitation does not apply to the fourth or third preceding year, according to the IRS.

The IRS stated that the procedure applies to taxpayers that incurred an NOL or a loss from operations for a taxable year ending after December 31, 2007, and beginning before January 1, 2010.
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State Scene

CARB Releases Composite Wood Products Regulation Advisory

On November 12, the California Air Resources Board issued a Regulatory Advisory extending the sell-through dates for pre-phase 1 composite wood products, pre-phase 1 finished goods, and phase 1 hardwood plywood with veneer core.

CARB said that "The purpose of this advisory is to address the problem of excess inventories in California of pre-Phase 1 composite wood product panels and finished goods made with pre-Phase 1 panels. This problem has been created by the economic recession and the slowdown in the housing industry. This advisory also addresses an anticipated inventory bottleneck as businesses transition from Phase 1 hardwood plywood to Phase 2.

The CARB advisory announces a delay through December 31, 2010, in the enforcement of the sell-through dates that apply to:
1) distributors and retailers of pre-Phase 1 composite wood product panels;
2) distributors, importers, fabricators, and retailers of finished goods made with pre-Phase 1 composite wood products; and
3) distributors of Phase 1 compliant hardwood plywood with veneer core.

By "pre-Phase 1 products, CARB says it means "composite wood product panels manufactured before January 1, 2009, that do not comply with the Phase 1 emission standards specified in ARB’s Airborne Toxic Control Measure To Reduce Formaldehyde Emissions From Composite Wood Products (the "Regulation"). By "pre-Phase 1 finished goods," CARB says it means "finished goods made with pre-Phase 1 composite wood products."

"The delay in enforcement means that CARB will not enforce the sell-through dates for pre-Phase 1 composite wood product panels, finished goods made with pre-Phase 1 panels, or for Phase 1 compliant hardwood plywood with veneer core through December 31, 2010. During this enforcement grace period, CARB regulatory staff will not refer these products for penalties or take other enforcement action against distributors, importers, fabricators, and retailers regarding the affected sell-through dates," the advisory states.

For full details and a copy of the entire advisory, click here.
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ASA Report Shows Overall Improvement in Policy Environment for Subcontractors in “Great Recession”

In one of the most challenging economic environments in decades, construction subcontractors continue to secure major public policy victories at the state level, according to The ASA Report: The Policy Environment in the States, released by the American Subcontractors Association (ASA).

"This year’s report shows that three states – Kansas, California and New York – made strides significant enough to earn a ‘D’ or better and join New Mexico as the only states with passing grades for supporting/protecting subcontractor rights," ASA reported.

"ASA urges construction subcontractors to use the results of The ASA Report to help policymakers understand why reforms are needed to implement positive change for the construction industry."

ASA’s report scores and grades each state in seven policy areas and uses the results to calculate an overall score, grade and rank for each state. Taking into account both laws and judicial decisions, the report scores: (1) Prompt payment protections; (2) Treatment of pay-if-paid clauses; (3) Mechanic’s lien protections; (4) Payment bond protections; (5) Retainage limitations; (6) Anti-indemnity protections, including limits on "additional insured" endorsements; and (7) Anti-"bid shopping" measures. In this year’s report, ASA added an "extra credit" course that evaluates how well states regulate CIPs.

The ASA Report: The Policy Environment in the States is available on the ASA Web site, www.asaonline.com.  Consult the report for a state-by-state breakdown by law.
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Chapter News

Upcoming Chapter Events

What’s happening in your local AWI chapters and 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.

AWI Ohio Valley Chapter
When: December 4, 2009 (7:00 am – 3:00 pm)
What: Business Meeting, Tour of Cummins Diesel Plant & Discussion of their Code of Business Conduct, Program about BIM, IPD, LEED, and USGBC.
Presenter: Stewart Whitcomb, architect
Where: Holiday Inn, Columbus, IN
Information: Program/Registration; Directions to Hotel

AWI New Jersey & Central Pennsylvania Chapters
When: February 25, 2010 (12:00 noon – 3:30 pm)
What "Strategies for Success in Our Changing Economy"
Presenter: Stephan W. Waltman, VP of Strategic Sales & Marketing, Stiles Machinery
Where: Radisson Hotel Valley Forge, King of Prussia, PA
Information: See attached
Questions: Garry Astles, President, Central PA Chapter; gastles@northwayind.com; John Gehman, President, New Jersey Chapter, jgehman1@verizon.net 

AWI Central Pennsylvania Chapter
When: May 20, 2010
What: "Growing Your Own: Investing in Your Most Valuable Asset," including an update on the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America, National Skill Standards, and WoodLINKS USA.
Presenter: L. Duane Griffiths, Professor, Author, Manager of Educational Services, Stiles Machinery
Where: Wildwood Conference Center, Harrisburg, PA
Information: Program/Registration
Questions: Garry Astles, President, Central PA Chapter; gastles@northwayind.com 

All chapters are encouraged to plan their events early to allow for ample promotion of your activities in this section of AWI e-briefs as well as through other avenues. Also, if your chapter is involved in local and regional SkillsUSA competitions, advise AWI. Contact Greg Bednar, AWI Chapter Development Services at gbednar@awinet.org.
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Next Issue of E-briefs

The next issue of AWI e-briefs will be published December 17, 2009.

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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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