A bi-monthly news publication for AWI Manufacturing & Supplier Members January 7, 2010
AWI News

Welcome to 2010 Sponsors and Thanks

Welcome back to the Annual AWI Sponsors whose support will help to fund AWI activities all year long: Stiles Machinery, Inc., CNA, M. Böhlke Veneer Corporation, M. L. Campbell Company, Gemini Coatings, E-Template Systems, and SCM Group North America. For 2010, AWI also welcomes two new annual corporate sponsors – Lamin-Art and Chemcraft.

Click on the logos of all of the sponsors at right for access to their Web sites. Consider supporting them the next time a need arises for their products and services. Their annual sponsorships help to fund association programs and services that benefit all AWI members.

The list at right includes confirmed sponsors as of December 31, 2009.  Update – as of January 7, 2010, Veneer-Tech, Delmac Machinery, Sherwin-Williams and Valspar have also committed to be 2010 Annual Sponsors.
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You Did It! The AWI Group on LinkedIn Reaches 500

The growing online forum of AWI members who have signed up as an AWI LinkedIn participant reached the year-end goal of 500 on December 30, 2009.

But you don’t have to stop now...new participants are always welcome! The Woodworking Solutions forum on LinkedIn managed by AWI offers opportunities for savvy members to ask and answer questions. Check out the forum, join (for FREE) today, and share with your woodworking colleagues. Go here to see more.

Also, don’t forget to become a "friend" of AWI on its new Facebook page by clicking here. Be a fan.
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Chapter Leadership and Development Council Update

AWI Chapter Leadership Training and the Development Council meeting will be held in Louisville, KY on May 13-15, 2010. 

This is a change from the original date of April 29th planned during the Spring Professional Development Seminars.

Please update your calendars and travel arrangements. Watch your e-mail for more information.
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Learning Forum

Registration Opens Soon for AWI Professional Development Seminars

AWI is respected for its education programs that help members excel in the business of woodworking. The upcoming series of sessions, April 29 through May 1, 2010, in Marina Del Rey, CA, offer "Powerful Programs for Profitable Results."

Check the AWI Web site, www.awinet.org, for information about the sessions. Registration will open this month for these business-building AWI programs. And, watch your mailbox for delivery of the January issue of AWI NewsBriefs next week. You’ll find insightful articles by seminar presenters on:

1.  "Risk Transfer through Contract Language" by Michael Davis, Esq. of the Construction Group of Chamberlain Hrdlicka

2.  "Do Your Woodwork Projects Need to be Managed?" and "Project Management Skill Sets" by Jeff Stück of Stück Wood Works, Inc.

A series of articles through March in AWI NewsBriefs, the association’s monthly print newsletter, will provide valuable tips and information on the wide variety of business topics on the program at the AWI Spring Professional Development Seminars.
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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. AWI members receive a discount on registration.

A unique series of exclusive briefings designed for company decision makers, the 2010 EBC will provide information you can use today and tomorrow. 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. Finally, plant tours include visits to Continental Cabinets (automated rough mill processing line) and Shioleno Industries (high volume laminating press).

On Sunday, February 28, an optional tour of the new Dallas Cowboy’s stadium is on the agenda along with networking opportunities and Art Turock’s opening keynote address.

For program details and online registration, visit www.stilesmachinery.com/ebc. See the attached flyer also. The 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. AWI members receive a $50 discount off the registration fee. Enter "AWI" in the promo code box when you register.

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

                       


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What is the Skinny on Lean?

Stay competitive by driving out waste. This economy allows for ZERO mistakes. Make your thin margins work for you. AWI is in the planning stages of a LEAN workshop dedicated to solutions for custom woodworkers. If YOU have a success story about LEAN in your plant, tell it to Greg Heuer.

This two-day, interactive workshop is scheduled to have two objectives:

1. To help attendees decide if implementing LEAN principles is right for their custom woodworking operation.
2. To give those who decide to implement LEAN for Woodworkers a checklist of steps they can use the following Monday to begin the process.

Most of us have been to LEAN seminars. We come away understanding that we need to "drive out waste" in our operations, but the examples given at the seminar were often unrelated to the custom woodworking world. This workshop is designed by LEAN woodworkers and presented by active LEAN woodworking professionals currently implementing LEAN principles. The two days will have a laser-like focus on the steps a woodworking firm needs to take to get LEAN.

This program is NOT an introduction to LEAN manufacturing. A pre-seminar reading list will be prepared for attendees who need a primer on LEAN. At the seminar we will dive in the deep end of the pool and start swimming for the Gold Medal in the first hour.

To get LEAN, mark your calendar for April 30-May 1, 2010. Watch for announcements about the AWI Professional Development Seminars in Marina Del Rey, CA.
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Profit from Knowing the Ups and Downs of the Business Cycle

The 2009-2010 webinar series hosted by the American Subcontractors Association (ASA) includes a session on January 12, 2010 entitled "Boom or Bust?  Predicting Your Business's Future." 

Brad Dawson, LTV Dynamics, Catharpin, VA, will conduct the presentation. He has 28 years of management consulting experience and is a frequent speaker at construction meetings. 

Participation fees are: $199 for ASA members; $279 for nonmembers.  For more details and to participate, call ASA at 703.684.3450, ext 1304. The number of people who may participate at your location is not limited.

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Business Tools

Annual AWI Cost of Doing Business Survey to Launch February 1, 2010

Coming soon in the February issue of AWI NewsBriefs... AWI Manufacturing Member Marc Sanderson of Wilkie Sanderson speaks out about the value of the annual CODB survey and report to architectural woodworkers. The 2010 AWI survey will launch on February 1, 2010. For businesses that are currently profitable and/or want to be more profitable during these challenging economic times, the AWI CODB Report is a MUST HAVE management tool.

Sanderson uses the AWI metrics at every employee meeting to compare his firm’s performance with industry averages throughout the year. That way, they stay on target monitoring and responding to trends to remain profitable according to their strategic plan. Watch for the February issue of AWI NewsBriefs for his insights about the value of the CODBS to EVERY AWI Manufacturing Member regardless of business size.

AWI members are reminded that only participating AWI Manufacturing Members will receive a complimentary copy of the full report in 2010. Non-participants will receive an Executive Summary only and the opportunity to purchase the report.
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AWI “Award of Excellence” Program: The Marketing Edge

Gain honors and get noticed in the quarterly AWI "Award of Excellence" program. Submissions for the spring AOE honors program are being accepted until February 1, 2010. The deadline is approaching rapidly.

Use an AOE award to market your excellence and gain a competitive advantage during these challenging times when others are seeking entry into your markets. All Manufacturing Members are eligible to participate. Gain exposure among the outstanding projects of AWI Manufacturing Members who are featured in Design Solutions Magazine, AWI’s official quarterly journal.

Visit awinet.org for submission forms. The deadline for submissions for the next quarterly (spring) AOE honors program is February 1, 2010. Benefits to AOE honorees include exposure in the online issue of the journal which is open for business 24/7, plus distribution to more than 25,000 industry professionals.

Pictured is one of the award-winning AWI Manufacturing Member projects featured in the summer AWI "Award of Excellence" quarterly competition. Low Country Case & Millwork, Inc. of Ladson, SC, fabricated the millwork in the executive office and conference room of retired executive Mike Long in Beaufort, SC. The rich Sapele wall paneling and built-in book cases add elegance to the environment. Other views of this project can be seen in the summer issue of Design Solutions.

Photo Credit: Pamela Brooks, Mt. Pleasant, SC
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Standards

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 communities. 

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 ongoing discussion or technical point, according to AWI Chief 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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Understanding & Marketing AWS: Upcoming Presentations

With the release of the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS), members of the AWI Speakers Bureau, AWI chapters, staff and others are/will be making presentations to architectural woodworkers, architects, designers and the contractors about the differences between the AWI Quality Standards Illustrated and AWS. Watch for news of special presentations in your area.

AWI & CSI Central PA Chapters
When: March 17, 2010
What: AWS & AWI Quality Certification Program
Presenter: Craig Elias, AWI Quality Certification Corporation Director
Where: Raddison Penn Harris, Camp Hill, PA
Information: Garry Astles, gastles@northwayind.com, 717.503.6295 (p)

The AWS is jointly produced by AWI, the Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada (AWMAC) and the Woodwork Institute.
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AWI Speakers Bureau Calls for Creators: What’s Your Specialty?

AWI is calling for creators to help it develop strong presentations on each of the 12 sections of the Architectural Woodwork Standards. Leverage your knowledge.

All of AWI’s Design Pro Presentations for architects must be revised to reflect the AWS. AWI is developing several two-four member task force groups, each of which will review one section of the AWS and identify teaching points from that section.

What’s your specialty? Help AWI develop strong presentations on each AWS section. As a presentation creator, you will gain first-hand knowledge about the AWS to leverage your company with prospective customers. And, your expertise will be helpful to the entire architectural woodwork industry, thereby helping to promote the professionalism of the woodworkers.

No travel is required to participate in a task force. All the work will be accomplished online and with conference calls. Greg Heuer, AWI’s Chief Learning Officer, will guide each task force through the project. Please contact Greg at gheuer@awinet.org.

For more information, see the January issue of AWI NewsBriefs coming to your mailbox next week. Watch the "Speakers Bureau" column both in NewsBriefs and here in AWI e-briefs for new and update presentation tools and other resources coming your way.
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Workforce

WCA Announces New Supplier Contributor

The holiday season brought a nice surprise for the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America (WCA) . Stiles Machinery of Grand Rapids, MI, donated $2,500 to the Skill Standards work.

Mr. Peter Kleinschmidt writes: "We made our decision to provide these funds because of our belief that skill standards are important to the advancement of our industry. We know the value of having a qualified workforce and that these standards will provide direction to employers, employees, and educational programs."

Stiles has the distinction of being the FIRST individual woodworking industry supplier to make a donation to the Skill Standards initiative. All those who are participating in making this dream come true are grateful to Stiles Machinery for their gracious and generous donation.

The Woodwork Manufacturing Skill Standards has an impressive track record during its two years of work. Observable, measurable skills for over 30 machines have been completed, and more than 30 more are in progress.

To learn more, and to find out how YOU can benefit, visit the Woodwork Career Alliance Web site, www.woodworkcareer.org.
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Industry News

November Construction Falls 9%

At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $405.0 billion, new construction starts in November dropped 9% from the previous month, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. 

Nonresidential building retreated after October’s elevated activity; while residential building in November held steady with its October pace.  Through the first eleven months of 2009, total construction on an unadjusted basis came in at $381.0 billion, down 28% from the same period a year ago, McGraw-Hill reported.

The November statistics lowered the Dodge Index to 86 (2000=100), after the 95 reported for October, which was the highest reading for the Index so far in 2009.  "During the spring, the construction start statistics made the transition from steady decline to more of an up-and-down pattern, and November’s pullback following the strong gain in October is a continuation of that pattern," stated Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction.  "Accordingly, even with the November decline, the evidence of recent months suggests that overall construction activity has at least stabilized at a low level.  Single family housing is no longer exerting a downward pull, and the federal stimulus act to this point has supported greater construction of highways, bridges, river/harbor development, and courthouses.  At the same time, the negatives of weak employment, tight bank lending, and diminished state fiscal health continue to depress most of the nonresidential building structure types as well as multifamily housing," Murray said.

Nonresidential building in November fell 18% to $146.1 billion (annual rate).  The commercial sector in November revealed further weakness for these structure types – stores, down 17%; warehouses, down 22%; and hotels, down 34%.  The office category in November was able to register a 3% gain, lifted by the $747 million renovation of the United Nations Secretariat Building in New York, NY.  Without this very large project, the office category in November would have fallen 44% from its October amount, which featured groundbreaking for three office projects valued each in excess of $100 million.

The institutional sector in November was dampened by reduced activity for healthcare facilities, down 20%; dormitories, down 41%; and amusement-related projects, down 57%.  While losing momentum, the healthcare facilities category in November did include the start of several large projects.  On the plus side, the institutional sector in November showed a 6% increase for educational buildings, helped by a $132 million community college complex in New Haven CT.  The public buildings category in November edged up 1%, supported by groundbreaking for a $117 million courthouse in Staten Island, NY.  Also showing November gains were churches, up 3%; and transportation terminals, up 21%.

McGraw Hill also reported that for the first eleven months of 2009, nonresidential building was down 34% from the same period a year ago.  The commercial sector fell 48%, as the result of these year-to-date declines – offices, down 39%; stores, down 44%; warehouses, down 63%; and hotels, down 66%.  The manufacturing plant category in the January-November period plummeted 67%.  The institutional sector showed a comparatively mild 16% downturn in this year’s first eleven months, with weaker activity for educational buildings, down 19%; and healthcare facilities, down 34%.  Two institutional structure types were able to register year-to-date gains – public buildings, up 14%; and transportation terminals, up 38%.

Residential building in November came in at $127.6 billion (annual rate), essentially unchanged from October.  Single family housing edged up 1% after slipping 2% in October, as it regained the very gradual upward trend that’s been present since April.  The November pace for single family housing was still 11% below the monthly average for 2008.  Multifamily housing in November dropped 6%, falling back after a brief upturn in October.  The November pace for multifamily housing was 52% below its monthly average for 2008, according to McGraw Hill.
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Architecture Billings Index – Up, Down, Up, Down

Following its highest mark since August 2008, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dropped more than three points in November, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced.

The AIA reported the November ABI rating was 42.8, down from 46.1 in October. This score 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, the same mark as in October.

"There continues to be a lot of uncertainty in the construction industry that likely will delay new projects in the near future," said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. "Perhaps the President’s plan calling for loans for small business, funding for infrastructure projects and rebates for homeowners making energy efficient improvements will help speed a recovery in the construction industry."

Key November ABI highlights:

* Regional averages: south (46.4), northeast (45.0), midwest (43.7), west (41.1);
* Sector index breakdown: institutional (47.0), multi-family residential (45.8), mixed practice (42.8), commercial / industrial (40.7); and
* Project inquiries index: 58.5.

The Architecture Billings Index is derived from a monthly "Work-on-the-Boards" survey and produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group. Based on a comparison of data compiled since the survey’s inception in 1995 with figures from the Department of Commerce on Construction Put in Place, the findings amount to a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction activity.
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Hampton Roads Building Products Show Set for February 9

The Tidewater Virginia Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) will present the Hampton Roads Building Products Show 2010 on February 9, 2010. The event features an exhibition and more seminars in 2010.

Commitments for exhibit space and sponsorships are due January 15, 2010. See attached for more details.
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Federal Scene

IRS Issues Proposed Regulations Adjusting Use of Some Taxpayer Information 

On December 30, 2009, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued proposed and temporary regulations and related revenue rulings addressing the use or disclosure of tax return information by tax return preparers.

The regulations and related revenue rulings enable tax return preparers to more effectively provide a range of services that taxpayers would ordinarily expect from tax return preparers. Generally, these services benefit taxpayers, increase voluntary compliance, and improve tax administration.

The proposed and temporary regulations enable tax return preparers to use or disclose tax return information without explicit taxpayer consent in certain limited circumstances. Tax preparers can contact their clients regarding tax law developments that may affect the clients. They can also disclose information in connection with the potential sale or purchase of a tax return preparer’s business and during the process of conducting client conflict-of-interest checks.

Before these proposed regulations are adopted as final regulations, consideration will be given to any written (a signed original and eight copies) or electronic comments that are submitted timely to the IRS. The IRS and the Treasury Department request comments on the clarity of the proposed rules, how they can be made easier to understand and the administrability of the rules in the proposed regulations.

See Revenue Ruling 2010-04 and Revenue Ruling 2010-05 for details.
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House Passes Jobs Bill with Infrastructure Investment

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Jobs for Main Street Act (HR 2847) on December 16, 2009, by a vote of 217-212 yeas-nays). In addition to key infrastructure investments, the bill contains a six-month extension of the Recovery Act COBRA subsidy to help unemployed individuals maintain health insurance, the American Subcontractors Association (ASA) reported.

The bill also designates $354 million to continue two Small Business Administration temporary loan guarantee programs through September 30, 2010. The U.S. Senate is expected to take up this measure in January, according to ASA.
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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 Chicago Chapter
When: January 13, 2010
What: EDGEBANDERfest "Tolerating Edgebander Tolerances!"
Presenter: Ed "Edge" Moran, NA Product Manager, Biesse
Where: West Chicago, IL
Information: Click here
Questions: Skip McFarland, skip.mcfarland@fmail.

AWI Ohio Valley Chapter
When: February 12, 2010
What: "High Performance Quoting – Koetter Woodworking Tour"
Where: Borden, IN
Information: Chapter President Greg Hublar, hublar@flexwood.com

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 January 21, 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.

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