A bi-monthly news publication for AWI Manufacturing & Supplier Members July 1, 2010
Green Scene

Reminder: Certified Wood Standard in Fourth Comment Period until July 4

Over 1,100 responses from the third round of comments on the LEED® Certified Wood Standard credits prompted the U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to launch another comment period on the much-talked-about Benchmark language. Interested AWI members can learn what is being proposed now and submit comments by July 4 at 5:00 pm PDT.

The LEED Steering Committee, Materials & Resources Technical Advisory Group and the USGBC staff have drafted recommended changes to the Forest Certification Benchmark and are seeking comments only on certain revisions to the standard during this fourth public comment period.

To view those changes and the elements of the Benchmark, visit www.usgbc.org. The fourth comment period will close on July 4 at 5:00 pm PDT.
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SFI Again Urges USGBC to Open LEED Standard

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) has continued to press the U.S. Green Building Council about the Wood Benchmark that "still discriminates against North American wood," SFI says. Interested AWI members may submit comments to the USGBC by July 4 at 5:00 pm PDT.

SFI said that there is little difference between this round of draft language and the third as written and may result in continued exclusion of independent forest certification standards in widespread use in North America, including the world’s largest certification standard, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). "The bottom line is that three quarters of the certified fiber in North America may not be recognized by LEED’s® certified wood credit," SFI said. 

SFI notes that overwhelming support for recognition of multiple forest certification standards includes nine U.S. governors who have written letters and more than 6,100 forestry experts, architects and builders who have signed a petition

SFI’s full press statement can be viewed by clicking here.   For more information from SFI, including a short video about green building and forest certification, visit http://sfiprogram.org/leed.

To view the latest certified wood Benchmark language and to submit comments to USGBC, visit www.usgbc.org. Remember that the deadline for comments is July 4 at 5:00 pm PDT.

Voting on the Benchmarks:

Anyone can comment on the fourth round of benchmarks, but in order to vote for the final benchmarks, you must be a USGBC member. If you are a USGBC member and want to vote on the final benchmarks, you must "opt in" to the consensus body before July 21 through the USGBC Web site, www.usgbc.org. If you opted in during the March opt-in period, you do not need to opt in again. If you wish to vote, information on how you can join the USGBC is available here. The cost of membership depends on the type of organization. A complete list of membership categories is available on the USGBC Web site.

If you have any questions, SFI provides the following names and e-mail addresses: Jason Metnick at jason.metnick@sfiprogram.org or Nadine Block at nadine.block@sfiprogram.org.
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U.S. Conference of Mayors Embrace a Green Building Policy Agenda

The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and its membership recently announced they are embracing a green building policy agenda, including the adoption of five resolutions that benefit the built environment.

The resolutions passed unanimously at the USCM annual meeting during the week of June 14th include:

  • Financing Mechanisms to Pay for Energy Retrofits of Existing Buildings
  • Greening of School Districts
  • Sustainable Development in Cities
  • Green Affordable Housing and Financing
  • Calling on U.S. Cities to Adopt Green Building Codes and the International Green Construction Code.

Click here to view all of the USCM resolutions.

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Learning Forum

AWI National / Empire State Chapter Summer Seminars Coming to Your Area

The next round of AWI Professional Development Seminars will take place in the Albany, NY area, July 30-31, 2010. The AWI Empire State Chapter will host sessions for estimators and project managers in the area. Register today if you haven’t already!

What’s on the agenda? Click here for more details about the "Fundamentals of Estimating" and "Fundamentals of Project Management" sessions. What could be more vital to the success of your business than these fundamental tasks?

Send your new employees to learn the basics; send novice managers to fine-tune fundamental knowledge and skills. Participants will be certain to improve their skills, increase efficiency, refresh their minds and recharge their batteries. Building your foundation with knowledge can increase your firm’s ability to compete in the crowded marketplace.

Intimate delivery for immediate need – the sessions are designed to be small and interactive. Take away useful knowledge and tools for improving operations immediately.  Register today!

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AWI Convention Brochure Is on Its Way -- Sign Up Early and Save!

Find out how you can Refresh, Recharge, Reconnect at the AWI Convention, October 27-29, 2010 in Denver, CO. The 2010 AWI Convention Brochure is on its way.

The 2010 AWI Convention Brochure is on its way. . .
Find it in your mailbox with July’s NewsBriefs

The AWI Convention Planning Committee has produced an outstanding program with enlightening education sessions packed with information you can use for business and professional growth, AWI President Doug Carney announced. These are tough economic times and the program addresses today’s realities that are challenging so many members. Don’t miss this important event; it’s a wise investment in your business.

Check out the full program coming to your mailbox soon. And, watch for management and other news about programs that impact the business of woodworking in the July, August and September issues of AWI’s monthly print newsletter, NewsBriefs. AWI E-briefs will also deliver news about content beginning in July through August.

Meanwhile, check the impressive listing of events on the AWI Web site. Sign up at awinet.org. Early bird registration ends September 3.
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Be Aware, Be Prepared: A New Customer is Coming!

With the current leadership of the forest products industry dominated by Baby Boomers, it is difficult for many of us to understand or relate to the interests of upcoming generations of buyers who will control the future marketplace. Find out how they will shape the course of business in the near- and long-terms.

"Baby Boomers (46 to 62 or older) will soon be past their consuming prime, and the next two generations of customers have different interests and cultures," Dr. Jeff Howe, founder and President of Dovetail Partners told AWI e-briefs. "Baby boomers are getting older, and their purchasing power as a group is diminishing for the first time in 30 years, as two new generations begin to dictate market trends," Dr. Howe said.

The next generation of 28 to 45 year-old buyers (Generation X-ers) is smaller, but the following group (Millennials – age 27 and younger) includes nearly 70 million consumers. "That market is huge," Dr. Howe said, "they are concerned about social and environmental issues. They are likely to be the largest generation in history; they are first home buyers, first car purchasers, and first families."

"The world is changing dramatically, particularly in the United States," Dr. Howe said. "Steep declines are occurring in the retiring baby boomer market and the follow-up group of Generation X-ers is making relatively fewer purchases. The Millennials are the growth market," he said.

Dr. Howe explained the fundamental differences between the markets as it relates to green. Baby boomers conceptually support green; however, generally they will not devote time or money to it. For the Generation "X" the focus is on energy efficiency. For the subsequent generation of customers, green needs to be a way of life.

Dr. Howe advises woodworkers, whose businesses are small and specialized, to continue pursuing the baby boomers. But if you are starting a new business or looking to grow significantly, he advises appealing to first timers in the market (the Millennials) where you’ll find volume. He shared other practical advice. "If your firm specializes in fabricating store fixtures, then remember that your customers are likely to be store owners who are providing products to the new groups of buyers. You must ultimately appeal to that younger group, not the group of baby boomers with whom you are accustomed."

Architectural woodworkers are challenged to leverage wood as a green product. "Most people believe wood is green; however, they don’t purchase wood, they purchase more complex wood products, and their perceptions of wood products and trees can be quite different," Dr. Howe cautioned.

That’s part of the challenge of marketing wood a as a "green" product. "The other is that our industry is accustomed to speaking about attributes, yet people make purchases because of the benefits derived from the attributes. So what must be done? Translate the attributes of wood and wood products into benefits," said Dr. Howe.

He will conduct two dynamic seminar sessions about marketing wood products successfully in these changing times when "green" is not a buzzword but a commitment of future generations. He will help attendees understand the demographics of the new buyers.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

10:30 – 11:30 am
"Value Added Selling:
Environmental Benefits of Wood"

3:30 – 4:30 pm
"New Customers, New Business:
Business to Business & Green Marketing"

Visit www.awinet.org for more details and to register! 

Dr. Jeff Howe is the founder and Chairman of Dovetail Partners, an internationally recognized not-for-profit organization recognized as the premier "think tank" focused on developing creative solutions to topical strategic issues critical to the forestry and forest products sector.  Dr. Howe is also co-author of the extremely popular Planning Guide for Small and Medium Size Wood Products Companies. He has over 40 years of successful experience in the forest products industry including time as the President and COO of Colonial Craft, a large specialty wood products manufacturer, and more recently as CEO of Fullerton Companies. Dr. Howe has a B.S. degree in Biology from Bates College, a M.S. degree in Forest Products Marketing from the University of Maine, and a PhD in Marketing from the University of Minnesota.

Please note the AWI caution disclaimer in right-hand column.

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Business Tools

Cross Training Offers Solutions to Employers

From Administaff

Not surprisingly, today’s economy has motivated many employers to look for ways to maximize productivity with fewer employees. Cross training workers is a way to help achieve that goal, while also providing other advantages. But it is frequently overlooked because training in general tends to be viewed as a dispensable luxury when business conditions are weak.

Simply stated, the cross-training concept teaches an employee who was hired to perform one job function the skills needed to handle other functions. Among the benefits: it improves staff versatility and customer service. Cross training also encourages team building, and helps employees by making them more valuable members of the workforce.

Take a closer look:

Minimal costs. Cross-training programs generally do not require big expenditures since supervisors and co-workers can train each other. However, it is critical to ensure that productivity in other areas does not falter during the training process.

Motivates employees. Cross training can help engage workers, keeping them interested by adding diversity to their daily routines and instilling them with pride.

Increases productivity. Cross training can help improve efficiencies and impact the bottom line. Business can be conducted as usual with minimal interruptions when employees are absent through the help of another trained employee. It also allows innovative ideas to surface.

Improves morale and retention. Organizations that invest in training are showing employees they are supportive and care about their future. Morale is also improved when employees better understand the role each of them plays in the organization’s success.

Encourages team building. Training a co-worker can give an employee a clearer idea of the steps and processes that are involved to perform their own job. It enables workers to learn more about different aspects of the organization and helps them understand each group and individual’s responsibilities.

Cross training may not be the right initiative for everyone, such as employees who feel overworked or are not motivated by extra responsibility. However, groups functioning with fewer workers might achieve greater results. Also, top performers seeking more responsibility are probably better candidates.

Employers cannot afford to overlook the potential benefits of cross training. When organizations align the training with specific company goals, the possibilities are endless.

Article provided by Administaff (NYSE:  ASF), the nation's leading professional employer organization (PEO), serving as a full-service human resources department that provides small and medium-sized businesses with administrative relief, big-company benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity. The company operates 51 sales offices in 24 major markets.  For more information about Administaff, call 800.465.3800 or visit www.administaff.com 

Please note AWI cautionary disclaimer in the right-hand column.
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Leverage New Business with an AWI “Award of Excellence”

Looking for potential new customers? Need a reason to stay in touch with your past and present customers. Tell them you earned an AWI "Award of Excellence." How do you start the process?

Submit your application for the next "Award of Excellence" (AOE) honors program – fall 2010.

Use an AOE award to market your excellence and gain a competitive edge 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 (fall) AOE honors program is August 1, 2010. Benefits to AOE honorees include exposure in the online issue of Design Solutions Magazine 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 a recent AWI "Award of Excellence" quarterly competition. Corporate meeting space at the H Hotel and H.H. Dow Leadership Academy in Midland, MI features woodwork by Mod Interior, Inc. of Ira Township, MI. The firm used high-end finishes obtained from around the world: quartered figured Makore that was book matched and center balanced in sequenced sets, plain sliced Walnut and Maple, fumed rift White Oak and lacquered Poplar. Other views of this project can be seen in the spring issue of Design Solutions.

Photo Credit: Neil Tyson, Troy, MI

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AWI News

Latest AWI LinkedIn Discussion: Impeders Can Put a Company Out of Business

Do you agree? What do you think?

Learn, Share, Connect! Join in. Do you have any solutions to suggest? Do you recognize the characteristics of an impeder?

Click into the forums anytime to find out what’s important among architectural woodworkers. Click into the latest discussion about this topic here. You can also see the comments of others. Get LinkedIn and receive notices of new discussions.

If you’re not yet registered with LinkedIn, do it when you check out the article. It’s free and it’s a useful networking tool among AWI members.
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AWI Welcomes New Members

AWI is pleased to welcome 12 new members. See who they are and learn how to contact them.

Anderson Cabinet & Millwork, Rigby, ID, www.andersoncabinet.net/ 
Bearwood Concepts, Inc., Tulsa, OK, www.bearwoodconcepts.com 
CIF Lab Casework Solutions, Inc., Concord, ON, Canada, www.cifsolutions.com 
Crawson Corporation, Fort Smith, AR, www.crawsoncorp.com 
Custom Millcraft, Fairfield, OH, www.custommillcraft.com 
Distinctive Kitchens & Bath, Inc., DBA distinctive Millwork, Boca Raton, FL, www.distinctivemw.com 
Heartland Casework, Inc., Tulsa, OK
Herrick & O'Herron, Inc., Las Vegas, NV, www.herrickandoherron.com
Lignimago, Inc., Ogden, UT, www.lignimago.com
Sherwood Cabinetmaker, Cockeysville, MD
Wagner Woodwork, Inc., Sussex, WI , www.wagnerwoodwork.com
Wm. Hermann & Son, Indianapolis, IN, www.wmhermann.com

Use the online Directory of AWI Manufacturing and Supplier Members at www.awinet.org for contact information and access to the Web sites of these and other AWI members. The resource is open 24/7 for use in seeking manufacturers and suppliers of architectural woodwork. Web sites are listed for those new members whose membership applications listed the information.
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Industry News

Architecture Billings Index Falls Back after Three Months of Improving Conditions

After three straight months of improving conditions, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) fell nearly three points, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported. "Lack of available credit continues to plague design industry," AIA said.

AIA reported that the May ABI rating was 45.8, down substantially from a reading of 48.4 the previous month. This score reflects a continued decline in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings), and comes on the heels of the highest score since January 2008 when revenue at architecture firms headed into recession. The new projects inquiry index was 55.5.

"This dip is somewhat of a surprise since it appeared that conditions were pointing towards a recovery," said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. "The overriding issue affecting the entire real estate sector is unusual caution on the part of lending institutions to provide credit for construction projects that apparently would be successful in this economic environment."

He added, "An amendment has passed the House that would help lenders and borrowers as they attempt to work out their loans under terms that are mutually acceptable, avoid large numbers of commercial foreclosures, and free up credit that can be used more constructively. If this passes the in Senate then some much needed relief will available for the struggling design and construction industry."

Key May ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: northeast (50.6), midwest (48.5), south (45.9), west (42.9);
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (51.3), multi-family residential (46.9), mixed practice (46.8), institutional (43.4);
  • Project inquiries index: 55.5.

  • About the AIA Architecture Billings Index
    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 Architecture Billings Index is derived from a monthly "Work-on-the-Boards" survey and produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group.

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    Save on Registration Fees for IWF

    Discounted registration fees are in effect for IWF 2010, August 25-28, 2010 in Atlanta, but after July 23 the fees go up.

    General Registration
    If you register before July 23, 2010, the cost is $20 per badge and the badge is good for all four days of the show. AWI members, however, receive a bigger discount – an additional $5 discount off the price. Click here to take advantage of this offer.

    After the July 23, 2010 early registration deadline, the cost is $25 per badge.

    AWI Reception at IWF
    Mark your calendar for Thursday, August 26 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm when AWI will host a reception for members attending IWF. The reception will take place in room A404/05 at the Georgia World Congress Center. Share your discoveries and thoughts about the show and the industry with current and prospective AWI members.

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    Safety Matters

    OSHA’s Severe Violators Enforcement Program Became Effective June 18

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Severe Violators Enforcement Program (SVEP) directive became effective June 18, 2010.

    The agency announced in April that it was implementing the program to focus enforcement efforts on employers who willfully and repeatedly endanger workers by exposing them to serious hazards. The directive establishes procedures and enforcement actions, including increased inspections and mandatory follow-up inspections for work sites where a company has a pattern of violations at other sites.

    To learn more about the SVEP directive, click here.
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    More Funding for Women in Apprenticeship Programs

    More women are needed in apprenticeship programs, and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is working to make this happen. Through these projects, women will be trained for careers in fields such as construction and manufacturing.

    During the week of June 14th, organizations in California, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania shared $2 million in grant funds as part of the Women in Apprenticeship and Non-traditional Occupations Grants program.

    Funding will support partnerships between the grantees and existing Registered Apprenticeship programs to ensure that more women enter non-traditional occupations in growing sectors of the economy.

    For more details, read the news release. To learn more about Registered Apprenticeship Programs, click here.
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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 New England Chapter
    When: July 8, 2010 (2:00 – 6:00 pm)
    What: AutoCAD Training, Session One (The AutoCAD Interface and AutoCAD Settings)
    Presenter: Joe Fiorello, Author of CAD for Interiors Basics and CAD for Interiors beyond the Basics
    Where: Porter and Chester Institute, Canton, MW
    Registration: $50; tye.waller@neawi.org
    Questions: Jfiorello@fadstudios.com 

    AWI Heart of America Chapter
    When: July 15, 2010
    What: Chapter Meeting
    Hosted by: Technique Manufacturing
    Where: Hutchinson, KS
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

    AWI Ohio Valley Chapter
    When: July 16, 2010 (8:00 am) 
    What: Golf Outing
    Where: Legendary Run Golf Course, Cincinnati, OH
    Information & Registration:  See attached
    Questions: Contact Chapter Officers  

    AWI Carolinas Chapter
    When: July 16, 2010 (9:30 am)
    What: Tour of Sherwin-Williams Greensboro, NC facility
    Host: Sherwin-Williams
    Where: 113 Stage Coach Trail, Greensboro, NC
    Information & RSVP: Contact Kristine Cox at 336.887.0700 x24 (p)

    AWI New England Chapter
    When: July 22, 2010 (2:00 – 6:00 pm)
    What: AutoCAD Training, Session Two (Creating and Inserting Blocks; Orthogonal Drawing; Creating a Millwork Detail; Layout Space & Plotting)
    Presenter: Joe Fiorello, Author of CAD for Interiors Basics and CAD for Interiors beyond the Basics
    Where: Porter and Chester Institute, Canton, MW
    Registration: $50; tye.waller@neawi.org
    Questions: Jfiorello@fadstudios.com

    AWI Georgia Chapter
    When: July 23, 2010
    What: Chapter Meeting with Sherwin-Williams & LEED® Finishes
    Special Guest: AWI National President-Elect Robert Stout, RLS Commercial Interiors, Inc.
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

    AWI Iowa-Nebraska Chapter
    When: July 23, 2010
    What: Chapter Meeting & Summer Social
    Where: Honey Creek / Sailing Social
    Special Guest: AWI National President Doug Carney, R&S Casework, Inc.
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers  

    AWI New England Chapter
    When: July 26, 2010
    What: Annual NEAWI Summer Outijng — Golf & Fishing, Reception & Dinner
    Where: Wentworth by the Sea & Fishing, Newburyport, MA
    Information: See attached
    Questions: Tye Waller at tye.waller@neawi.org

    AWI Empire State Chapter
    When: July 30-31, 2010
    What: 2010 Summer AWI Professional Development Seminars
    Program Host: AWI Empire State Chapter
    Where: Albany, NY area
    Information: See attached 
    Registration: Click here (deadline is July 23, 2010)
    Questions: Ilaria Buffalo at ibuffalo@awinet.org
    ; 571.323.3614 (p) 

    AWI Great Lakes Chapter
    When: August 19-21, 2010
    What: Summer Event (Opening reception, plant tours - Strata Design and Thomas & Milliken, wine tasting, boat cruise)
    Program Sponsors: AWI National, AWI Great Lakes Chapter, Strata Design, JB Cutting
    Where: Park Place Hotel, Traverse City, MI
    Information: Click here
    Questions: Debra Behring at dbehring@jbcutting.com
    ; 586.468.4765 (p) 

    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. Contact Greg Bednar, AWI Chapter Development Services at gbednar@awinet.org

    Members are encouraged to check chapter event listings in the most recent issue of AWI e-briefs, as well as with chapter officers and chapter Web sites for program changes. As plans become finalized, dates and presentations may change for chapter programs previously listed. This issue of AWI e-briefs contains the most current information available to AWI National.

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    Next Issue of E-briefs

    The next issue of AWI e-briefs will be published July 15, 2010

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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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    Cautionary Disclaimer

    The Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) makes every effort to ensure that published information is accurate and current. Neither AWI, nor any content contributor, officer, or employee of AWI warrants the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information published in AWI News-Briefs and/or AWI e-briefs, nor endorses any products, services or other information resources linked from AWI’s editorial content and shall not be held liable for any losses caused by reliance on the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of such information. Portions of the information may be incorrect or not current. Any person or entity that relies on any information obtained from this system does so at their own risk.