I’ve got my plane ticket and hotel reserved for the AWFS fair, which runs July 19-22 in Las Vegas. How about you? If you’re still on the fence about attending, consider the wealth of learning opportunities both on and off the show floor.
The show features a tremendous education program, called the College of Woodworking Knowledge, designed to meet the current needs of the show audience demographics. The 54 sessions will include topics to enhance business management acumen, improve skill sets and increase knowledge of the latest technologies as well as provide the latest in safety, workforce development and legislative updates.
Here are some of the offerings from the 10 tracks:
• Business Management: Trying to master digital marketing techniques? Don’t miss the best-practices panel session, including Marc Spagnuolo (“The Wood Whisperer”) and Kyle Toth, and learn how to strengthen your online and social media presence.
• Workforce Development: There will be three free sessions about critical efforts to strengthen the industry’s workforce through the Woodwork Career Alliance and the Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab.
• Cabinet/Millwork: Learn from Architectural Woodwork Institute experts about the Architectural Woodwork Standards Version 2, how to increase sales through collaboration and how to improve efficiency with installation. TigerStop founder Spencer Dick will also speak on how to reduce hardwood costs by as much as 20-45 percent.
• Furniture: Refinishing pro Mitch Kohanek shares some of his best tips in “Touch-Up Repair to Damaged Wood and Coatings.” In two separate sessions, woodworker Scott Grove will address cold-metal casting and “Curved Joinery, Edges and Inlays.” Jonathan Benson, author of “Woodworker’s Guide to Veneering and Inlay,” will cover “Matching Fine Veneers,” and furniture design professionals from the American Society of Furniture Designers will share their insight on design and branding for furniture makers.
• Small Shops Ten & Under: There will be sessions on intellectual property, choosing the right spray equipment, dust collection management, and 3-D printing.
• Industry 4.0: New in 2017, machinery manufacturers and software experts share their knowledge on this newest phase of the manufacturing economy, how it will impact your business and the industry, and what you can do to prepare and incorporate Industry 4.0 concepts into your operation.
• Software & Technology: Two sessions will address software from different perspectives, CAM and CAD, what questions you need to ask yourself and how to prepare and ask the right questions of software sales representatives to make the right buying decisions.
• Techniques & Applications: Three sessions on plastics fabrication will be offered, plus a half-day conference on UV finishing technology.
• Safety & Environment: This track offers two free sessions to all attendees. “Legislation Affecting the Industry” is a panel of guest speakers from the EPA and American Forest and Paper Association to address combustible dust and formaldehyde emissions. “Developing a Written Workplace Safety Program” is an OSHA-compliant safety plan that can be applied to any sized shop. There will also be programs on dust collection and developing an effective machine guarding program.
• Teaching: Teachers can learn how to implement the Woodwork Career Alliance standards from peers who are conducting evaluations with their students.
This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue.