AWI e-briefs
A semimonthly news publication for Manufacturing & Supplier Members of the
Architectural Woodwork Institute
July 11, 2013
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AWI CODBS Reveals Improved Operating Margins; What Are They?

The results are in from the 2013 AWI Cost of Doing Business Survey and 132 AWI Manufacturing Members are on their way to improving their financial positions by using the CODBS results.  The online databases of all participants have been updated with their unique – and fully confidential – financial data for comparison with industry average and high-profit firms.  The figures contain clues to operational areas that may need work to improve their bottom lines. 

“There is some good news in the top-line figures which show that conditions are improving as the economy slowly gains positive momentum,” said AWI Financial Management Committee Chair Sebastien DesMarais.

The Executive Summary of the Cost of Doing Business Survey and Compensation Study Report is available to all members in the password-protected “Members Only” area of the AWI Web site,  Non-participating AWI members can check out the top-line results that reveal that the operating margin of the average high profit firm is 14.05% (up from 9.87%).  What about your operating margin?  Is it more like the industry average?.  Find out in the Executive Summary and in the July edition of AWI NewsBriefs.

In addition to their own individual database of historical and current company financials and CODBS results, participating AWI Manufacturing Members also received a printed copy of the final report.  Thanks go out to all participants.

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Free Webinar—A Foundation for Joint Ventures: The ConsensusDocs Teaming Agreement

Before submitting your bid, it is imperative to have the proper team in place, and that you have determined key issues before formalizing the teaming arrangement.  Two leading industry attorneys will use the ConsensusDocs Teaming Agreement to guide you through the critical terms and conditions that should be included in every teaming agreement, as well as issues that should be considered on a team-by-team and project-by-project basis.

Register for this free webinar extended to AWI members by ConsensusDocs.

August 20, 2013

  2:00 – 3:00 pm ET

FREE to all AWI Members (Use Discount Code “TEAMFREE”); $49 General Public


“With the industry’s increase in joint ventures and design-build construction, there is an increased need for a standard preliminary teaming agreement.  ConsensusDocs provides an excellent contractual foundation for all parties desiring to form a teaming arrangement prior to forming a joint venture,” said Kory D. George, partner at Woods & Aitken LLP and chair of the ConsensusDocs teaming working group. 

Critical issues for discussion during the webinar include:
  • Team Members and Team Leadership
  • Confidentiality
  • Document Ownership
  • Withdrawal from the Team
  • Post-award Considerations

Kory D. George, Esq., Partner, Woods & Aitken LLP and Kerry L. Kester, Esq., Partner, Woods & Aitken LLP

ConsensusDocs are the only standard contracts written and endorsed by 39 leading design and construction industry associations, including AWI.  The coalition’s newest member is the American Institute of Constructors (AIC), a non-profit organization that serves as the national qualifying body of professional constructors.

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Ten More Words of Wisdom about Business Success … from Robert Stevenson

AWI 2012 Convention Speaker Robert Stevenson shares words of wisdom about business and success on Twitter.  Here are ten more Success Tweets.

1. Humor is a fantastic way to cut tension, create unity, reduce burn-out and turn-over. Great bosses find a way to put laughter in their day!

2. Success does not come to the timid or meek. In fact, success does not come to anyone; you must go out and get it.  The key word is “YOU.”

3. Every record is meant to be broken by those who are willing to stretch themselves. Your success is just a stretch away.

4. When an employee fails...the first thought of a great leader is – What have I done to cause them to fail?

5. If you never try to do something beyond what you already know how to do, you will never get any better.

6.  I never met anyone who didn’t like receiving or would turn down a compliment – so why do we give out so few?

7. I find people who have to BACK-TRACK on what they said, really meant what they said the first time; they just didn’t like the consequences.

8. Think before you act.  But, if you only think and never act, you’ve accomplished nothing.  Success comes to those willing to take action.

9. Have a WHY meeting; everyone comes to the meeting with one WHY DO WE DO THIS QUESTION.  If you can’t answer the Why, you’ve identified a problem.

10. Always remember that “a problem identified is a blessing” because you can’t fix what you don’t know about.  Reward people who identify problems.

Robert Stevenson spoke about “Manufacturing at the Speed of Change” at the 2012 AWI Annual Convention. He is the author of the best-selling books: How to Soar Like an Eagle in a World Full of Turkeys and 52 Essential Habits for Success.  Mr. Stevenson is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and a former All-American athlete. He started his first business at 24 and has owned several companies.  Mr. Stevenson has international sales experience dealing in over 20 countries and his client list reads like a Who's Who in Business.  You can follow him on Twitter at Mr. Stevenson’s books are available for sale at Amazon or on his Web site at

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Green Scene

USGBC’s LEED® v4 Passes Ballot and Will Launch This Fall

On July 2, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that its membership has voted to adopt LEED v4, the next update to USGBC’s green building rating system.

The final overall vote was 86% in favor of adopting LEED v4, USGBC reported. This includes 90% approval from the user category of the voting body, 77% approval from the general interest category and 89% approval from the producer category. The minimum overall percentage of votes needed for a passing vote was 66.7%.  There are 46 countries and territories around the world and all 50 U.S. states (and the District of Columbia) were represented in the voting pool for LEED v4. 

“This update of LEED builds on the past while offering new requirements, preparing all LEED projects to achieve higher levels of building performance and positive environmental outcomes,” said Scot Horst, senior vice president of LEED, USGBC.

Starting this summer, USGBC will offer education on LEED v4 in the form of webinar suites, and the full program, along with reference guides, which will be unveiled at this year's Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, November 18-23, 2013. Currently, there are more than 100 projects pursuing certification through the LEED v4 beta program. With projects currently in the review phase, some will certify as early as this summer. Enrollment for the beta program is still open. Download the LEED v4 User Guide for details.

The AWI Sustainable Resources Committee has begun a thorough analysis of LEED v4, starting first with definitions of terms, new terminology and phrases.  Watch for the August edition of AWI NewsBriefs for the beginning of the committee’s long-term and ongoing analysis of the changes in LEED v4.  “There are major changes to the Materials & Resources section,” said Rob Ziegelmeier, AWI Sustainable Resources Committee Chair.

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Mayors Renew Commitment to Green Building and Sustainability

The slate of sustainability resolutions by the U.S. Conference of Mayors at their recent annual meeting reflects their work around the country to spur economic savings and create jobs through green building, clean energy and infrastructure investment.

The 10 measures include the support of resilient communities, stronger building energy codes, Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants and improving infrastructure.  According to the U.S. Green Building Council , “The resolutions represent a powerful endorsement of support for implementing a sound sustainability agenda and were strongly supported and encouraged by the American Institute of Architects and USGBC, which are working together to advance local green building policy as part of their six-year strategic alliance.”

See all the resolutions here.  These 10 resolutions passed unanimously in Las Vegas the week of June 17 at the 81st USCM Annual Meeting, which sets the national agenda for U.S. mayors.

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Level® Certified Furniture Products to Contribute towards LEED® Points in Pilot Credit

Architects, designers, facility managers, and business leaders pursuing LEED certification may now be able to earn credit for specifying level® certified furniture products under the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) new Pilot Credit 80: Environmentally Preferable Interior Finishes and Furnishings – a credit that specifically recognizes products that have been third-party certified to the ANSI/BIFMA e3 Furniture Sustainability Standard.

USGBC officials made the announcement at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA).

About Pilot Credit 80

The purpose of LEED Pilot Credit 80 is to increase the use of interior finishes and furnishings with validated multi-attribute environmental and social profiles. While the furniture sustainability standard is presently the only product standard named, the USGBC is seeking input on other third-party certified products to include.

The LEED Pilot is a rating system development tool designed to test new and revised LEED credit language, alternative compliance paths, and new or innovative green building technologies and concepts. The Pilot Credit offers a feedback loop for both testing and comments. USGBC collects, organizes and integrates feedback to evolve and refine pilot credits during their testing period, with a goal of adding successful credits to the USGBC member balloted LEED rating system.

How it Works

As part of Pilot Credit 80, all level certified furniture products may contribute to LEED certification credits based on a sliding percentage scale for level 1, 2, or 3 product conformance tiers. A project must include at least five different third-party certified products that account for at least 50% of the total interior finishes and furnishing materials by cost (Source: USGBC Pilot Credit 80). Pilot Credit 80 was posted in the LEED Pilot Credit Library on June 10.

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Convergence in Standards; Forestry Labeling Battles

According to an article at (paid subscription), “Forestry Labeling War Turns Ugly as Greenpeace Bungles Logging Industry Attack” referenced a United Nations joint commission that concluded that the differences have blurred between the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® and the Forest Stewardship Council certification systems. 

The article mentioned past history as well as “war” in Canada revolving around the acceptance of both SFI and FSC certification programs.  Read about how Greenpeace stirred the pot.

Thoughts?  Join the discussion about the article posted by David Cooper at AWI LinkedIn.

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FSC Opens Public Consultation on Advice Notes Concerning Controlled Wood

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is seeking input on some amendments to the existing Controlled Wood company standard and related standards “to ensure a more consistent and rigorous implementation of current requirements. As the current Controlled Wood standards will remain valid for a longer period than initially anticipated the draft advice notes are planned to be implemented to address some of the most urgent stakeholder concerns about Controlled Wood standards,” FSC said.

The four Advice Notes related to Controlled Wood (CW) are based on the recommendations from the FSC Controlled Wood Technical Committee (CWTC), the Working Group guiding the revision process.

The public comment period for stakeholders is open until July 23, 2013.  Click here to view the four Advice Notes, including one on Chain of Custody requirements, and to comment.
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Timber Tower Research Projects Uses Wood as Main Structural Material

Architect SOM (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP) is conducting a research project called the Timber Tower.  The goal of the project was to develop a structural system for tall buildings that uses mass timber as the main structural material and minimizes the embodied carbon footprint of the building. The structural system research was applied to a prototypical building based on an existing concrete benchmark for comparison.

See the news of preliminary results at the SOM Web site here

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Mississippi Endorses Inclusive Approach to Forest Certification

It is now law in Mississippi “that rating systems used in green building projects funded by the state government ‘shall not exclude certificate credits for forest products certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc.® (SFI®), Forest Stewardship Council or the American Tree Farm System,’ “ according to a report by the SFI. The new law positively positions Mississippi wood products in green building projects while providing a market incentive for landowners to adopt or maintain sustainable forest practices.

“LEED® as currently worded does not meet the criteria of Mississippi's new law,” said Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of SFI. 

Mississippi has 3.5 million acres certified to the SFI or ATFS standards.  Mississippi joins Georgia and Maine in blocking the use of green building rating systems that do not give equal credit to all forest certification standards, and Oregon in promoting wood products grown and manufactured in the state. 

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Comment Period on AWS Edition 2 Widens to Entire Woodworking & Design Industries

AWI thanks all AWI members who have taken time to review and comment on the Architectural Woodwork Standards, Edition 2 (AWS).

We are now opening up the comment period to the entire woodworking and design industries for comment until Friday, August 2, 2013.  If anyone wishes to comment on the AWS, please contact Ashley Goodin, AWI Technical Services Manager, at for access and instructions on reviewing and commenting on the AWS.

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AWI Convention Watch

Study Two Outstanding Success Stories & How the Companies Excell

Behind the Scenes: Structure for Success

Your business is as sound and successful as its structure.  Join AWI members on a journey behind the scenes to explore effective strategies for growth.  Discover new secrets for success through case studies, customers, and technology experts.

Registration is open at!

  •  “The Business Behind the Magic Tour” – This 3-hour tour features the five core principles taught by Disney Institute and shows how they come to life each day at the Walt Disney World® Resort. Explore Disney’s success by gaining an  inside look at application of time-tested best practices, sound methodologies and real life business lessons that have sustained the global success of Disney. Details about the tour on October 11 from 1:00 – 5:00 pm are available in the July issue of AWI NewsBriefs.

  • "DeWALT Power Tools™: The Inside Story" – Learn the remarkable lessons from the re-branding case history about one of the biggest turnarounds recorded in marketplace history. The power of the session is in the application of the case to your business.  Join Marc Sanderson, President, Wilkie Sanderson who will facilitate the forum on October 9 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm. More details about session requirements and registration are available at and in the July issue of AWI NewsBriefs.

Reserve your accommodations early to gain the special AWI group rate. The hotel cut-off date is September 17, 2013.  Bring the family and enjoy the ride to magical experiences.  Online registration at is open.  There is an additional fee for these two events, and space is limited.

The AWI 61st Annual Convention, October 9-11, 2013 will take place at the Hilton Orlando, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, minutes away from abundant dining, shopping and entertainment options and renowned theme parks.

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AWI Learning Forum

Do You Love Teaching?

The Chairman of the AWI Education Committee, John Leininger, calls for members who “love” to teach Estimating to their colleagues.

For years AWI members have given back to their industry through sharing. Volunteers will be members of the AWI Fundamentals and Advanced Estimating Teams for 2014-2016.

Share your knowledge and expertise with others.  Help others elevate their professionalism

For more information and to get involved, e-mail John Leininger at

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AWI News

Who Are AWI‘s Newest Members?

Asmar Custom Cabinets, Inc., Dallas, TX ,


Heppner Hardwoods, Inc., Azusa, CA,

Huntwood Custom Cabinets, Liberty Lake, WA,
JS Benson Woodworking & Design, LLC, Middlebury, VT,

Index-d, Bridgeport, CT,

NPF Consultants, Ellicott City, MD             

* These new members joined AWI in June 2013.

Use the online Directory of AWI Manufacturing and Supplier Members at 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.

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AWI Education Outreach

Regional Education Offerings: Three AWI Chapters Host Learning Forums

August 1-2, 2013
“Advanced Estimating”

Host: AWI Empire State Chapter

Speakers: Joshua Browning, Genbrook Millwork, Inc.; John Leininger, Leininger Cabinet & Woodworking, Inc.; Bill Oberschulte, Montbleau & Associates, Inc.

This course is for those who already have a practical understanding of fundamental estimating and are looking for a way to improve their skills by learning how more involved and complicated project elements are estimated. It is designed to guide estimators in developing true anticipated costs, rather than overhead, pricing, profits, or job costing. Participants are introduced to the new AWI eCostBook and are shown how it can be used for estimating difficult projects. In addition, they will work through several challenging and complex examples created to enhance their knowledge of estimating.

Location: DoubleTree at the Carrier Center, Syracuse, NY

More Information & Costs: Click here

Register Here.  Hurry, space is limited!

Questions? Contact Ilaria Buffalo,


September 19, 2013
“Fundamentals of Project Management”

Host: Heart of America Chapter

Speaker: Nathan Durr, Wood Systems, Inc. and  Rick Thaler, OBG Architectural Millwork

As the principal organizational specialist on the woodwork team, the project manager is confronted with tight schedules, change orders, resource availability, equipment glitches, conflicts and communication, and more, while assuring that the job proceeds according to the specifications and the contract. It’s a challenge! This intense one-day program will help NEW PMs build a solid foundation for a successful career. You can immediately put to work the best practices, skills and techniques gained in this course. Start using the handout materials – forms, templates, and tracking mechanisms – when you get back to the job. Interact with participants to form a network of PM consultants who share – and successfully meet – the same challenges.

Location: Courtyard Wichita at Old Town, Wichita, KS

More information and Costs: 
Click here

Register Here.

Questions? Contact

October 24-25, 2013

“Advanced Project Management”

Host: AWI Great Lakes Chapter

A project manager guides the team and assures that tasks are completed on time, in budget, and with profit. Elevate your skills and techniques to manage your customers and your woodwork team to control the myriad of details and changes from project initiation to completion. Improve your skills at identifying risks and defining risk strategies, controlling the change management process, implementing a quality management plan, and closing the project. Improve the flow of the job from start to successful punch out with confidence and less stress.

Location: TBD

Questions? Contact Ilaria Buffalo,

AWI Chapters are encouraged to tap into the AWI Education Outreach Program to host quality education programs for their members and guests.  Questions about the program may be directed to Ilaria Buffalo at

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Industry Forums

Visit Us at the AWFS® Fair!

Each of the following booths will be a hub of activity with information about their products, programs and publications at the AWFS Fair, July 24-27, 2013 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.

Architectural Woodwork Institute

Booth #9756

AWI/Quality Certification Program

Booth #9754

Woodwork Career Alliance

Booth #9657

Housing and Registration for AWFS at  Register now and save $25. 

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AWI Members To Receive Discount on 2013 AWFS® Fair Education Programs

All members of AWI will be eligible to receive a 10% discount on any of the College of Woodworking Knowledge (CWWK) educational seminars for which they register. (Discount applies to seminars only, not the show floor registration.)

To take advantage of the discount when registering online, members must fill in their association name and Code Number.  The Code Number for AWI is AW2682. 

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Safety Matters

New Report Says Construction Safety Programs Are Yielding Business Benefits

Contractors are reporting business benefits from instituting strong safety programs, according to a new report by McGraw Hill Construction on safety management in the construction industry. In particular, construction companies report the following benefits due to the implementation of safety management practices:

  • 51% report increases in project ROI; with a fifth of those reporting increases of greater than 5%.
  • 43% report faster project schedules, with half reporting schedule improvements of a week or more.
  • 39% report a decrease in project budget from a safety program, with a quarter reporting decreases of 5% or more. Only 15% reported that safety programs cost firms more—debunking the myth that safety has to negatively affect a firm’s bottom line.
  • 82% report an improved reputation.
  • 71% report lower injury rates.
  • 66% report they have a greater ability to contract new work.
  • 66% report better project quality.

“Safety programs are not only creating safer places for their workers, but they are also improving firms’ bottom lines,” said Michele A. Russo, director of research communications, McGraw Hill Construction. “Overall, construction companies—large and small—are reporting positive financial impacts from safety programs—and the size of those benefits increase as the depth of the program increases. In an industry that operates on low margins, this is a powerful finding.”

The study also found that 92% of large contractors (firms with over 500 employees) and 48% of smaller firms have instituted fully inclusive and widely observed safety programs, meaning that larger firms are capitalizing more on these business benefits as compared to smaller contractors and subcontractors.

Firms are reporting that onsite safety training and education programs are currently most widely adopted (reported by 95% of firms) and considered most valued to jobsite workers (82% find it valuable). Online training programs are still an emerging trend, though the increase in mobile tools onsite will likely influence that.

Key industry trends—such as the increased use of mobile tools on construction sites, building information modeling and prefabrication/modular construction practices—are also helping to improve safety outcomes for firms, indicating the improved safety expectations that will be placed on construction companies moving forward. Notably, the 43% of the industry report BIM is having a positive impact on project safety and 49% report the same positive impact from prefabrication/modular construction. Mobile tools, such as Smartphones, iPads and iPhones also are reporting safety as reported by 82%, 81% and 78% of contractors, respectively.

The study’s premier partners include CPWR—The Center for Construction Research and Training, ClickSafety, United Rentals, and the National Institute of Building Sciences, its association partner.

To download a copy of the Safety Management in the Construction Industry SmartMarket Report, click here.

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Construction Industry

Are Your Customers among the Top 300 Architecture Firms?

Gensler is at the top of the list, but who are the other 299 architecture firms?  Find out in Architectural Record: Weekly WebInsider (subscription required) published July 3.  The firms are ranked by companies according to architectural revenue in the prior year – 2012.

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American Subcontractors Association Names Richard Bright Chief Operating Officer

Richard Bright, founder and president of the sales and marketing consulting firm Bright Concepts, Inc., Elkridge, MD, has been named chief operating officer of the American Subcontractors Association (ASA), effective July 1, 2013. As chief operating officer, Bright will manage all non-advocacy-related aspects of ASA, including membership development, chapter relations, communications, and operations/administration.

Bright has served as ASA’s chapter liaison for several years, working with ASA chapters on association management issues and implementing strategic membership recruitment and retention initiatives. He has served as interim chief operating officer since April 1, 2013.

In her role as ASA’s chief advocacy officer, E. Colette Nelson focuses on further strengthening ASA’s government and industry advocacy efforts on behalf of construction subcontractors, specialty trade contractors, and suppliers. She has served in this role since April 1, 2013. Nelson has nearly 40 years of experience in government and industry advocacy. She has long represented ASA on key subcontractor issues, including prompt payment, retainage, and risk allocation. She also has been deeply involved in representing ASA and subcontractor interests within the construction industry, including as a leading advocate for the development and establishment of ConsensusDocs.

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Chapter News

Upcoming Chapter Events—Don’t Forget Local Programs

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. To reach any of the chapter officers for more information, click here.

AWI Heart of America Chapter
When: July 18, 2013
What: Chapter Meeting
Host: Technique, Hutchinson, KS

AWI Washington Chapter
When: July 18, 2013 (6:00 pm)
What: Plant Tour and Sustainable Northwest Presentation
Presentation: “FSC Chain of Custody for Less Cost and MORE Benefits”
Where: Custom Source Woodworking, Olympia, WA
Registration: Click here

AWI New England Chapter

When: July 21, 2013 (7:00 am – 5:00 pm EDT)
What: NEAWI Annual Flat Water Fishing Outing and Pre Fishing Party, evening of July 20
Where: Captain’s Fishing Charters, Newburyport, MA
Registration: $65 per person; click here

AWI New England Chapter
When: July 22, 2013
What: NEAWI Annual Golf Outing with Lunch and Cocktail Hour
Where: Blackstone National Golf Club, Sutton, MA
Registration: Click here
Information: (p) 617-855-9024,

AWI Iowa / Nebraska Chapter
When: August 2-3, 2013
What: Summer Social
Where: Omaha, NE
Sponsor: Cohoon Machinery
Questions: Michael Paul, (p) 515-432-8126

AWI Wisconsin Chapter
When: August 8, 2013
What: Golf Outing & Annual Meeting
Where: Kettle Moraine Golf Club, Dousman, WI
Information & Registration: Click here
Accommodations: Click here

AWI Great Lakes Chapter
When: August 22-23, 2013
What: Great Lakes Summer event
Where: Traverse City

AWI Central PA Chapter

When: September 4, 2013 (6:00 – 8:00 pm)
What: Free Plant Tour of Classic Rock Fabrication
Where: Harrisburg, PA
Information & Registration: Click Here
Questions: Garry A Astles,; (p) 717-503-6295

AWI Carolinas Chapter
When: September 13, 2013
What: Chapter Membership Meeting
Where: Myrtle Beach, SC

AWI New England Chapter
When: September 18, 2013
What: General Contractor’s Roundtable

AWI Heart of America Chapter
When: September 20, 2013
What: Annual Golf Outing
Host: Wend-Wood, Inc., Wichita, KA

AWI Iowa / Nebraska Chapter
When: September 20, 2013
What: Chapter Meeting
Sponsor: Dupont
Questions: Michael Paul, (p) 515-432-8126

AWI Texas Chapter

When: September 24-25, 2013
What: General Meeting
Where: Waco, TX

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

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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Coming Up

AWI e-briefs Schedule

The next issue of AWI e-briefs will be published August 8, 2013. Depend on e-briefs to bring you news of AWI publications and programs and other pertinent information that impacts your architectural woodwork business.

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Upcoming Education
August 1-2, 2013

AWI Education Outreach Program

“Advanced Estimating”

Host: AWI Empire State Chapter

Register Here 
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