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AWFS education program addresses new topics

The Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers announced the opening of its leading educational program, the College of Woodworking Knowledge, which will take place July 19-22 during the 2017 AWFS fair at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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.

College of Woodworking Knowledge educational track highlights

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. Participate in the two part “kick-ass lean” session with Brad Cairns and his team from the Center for Lean Learning to begin your lean journey or take it to the next level. Daniel Moshe of Tech Guru will help get your business back on track with “meaningful numbers” scorecards and the Six Key Components of successful businesses.

Workforce Development: New in 2017, participate in three free sessions about critical efforts to strengthen our industry’s workforce through the Woodwork Career Alliance and the Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab. Also, Bobby Lewis, a successful millennial entrepreneur, shares his insight into maximizing the energy and potential of the “next generational employee” for your business.

Cabinet/Millwork: Learn from AWI experts about the Architectural Woodwork Standards Version 2, how to increase sales through collaboration and how to improve efficiency with installation. Hear from TigerStop founder Spencer Dick on how you can reduce your hardwood costs by as much as 20-45 percent.

Furniture: Seasoned refinishing pro Mitch Kohanek shares some of his best tips in “Touch-Up Repair to Damaged Wood and Coatings.” In two separate sessions, award-winning 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: Small-shop owners can choose from sessions on intellectual property, choosing the right spray equipment and dust collection management. Paul Downs, author of “Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business,” returns with his well-received session from 2015 where he shares candid insights into how he runs his shop. Interested in 3-D printing, but don’t know where to start? Hear from experts from Make magazine and Autodesk’s Pier 9 makerspace on what you need to know to incorporate 3-D printing into your woodworking business.

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 our industry and what you can do to prepare and incorporate Industry 4.0 concepts into your operation. Don’t miss opportunities to hear from expert panels, including wood products manufacturers of various sizes who are already adopting Industry 4.0.

Software & Technology: How do you approach your software purchasing process? 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 decision for your business.

Techniques & Applications: Three sessions on plastics fabrication will be offered. One panel discussion will address the different materials on the market and their applications. RadTech, the association for UV&EB technology, presents a half-day conference on UV Finishing Technology including experts from IKEA, Superfici and more.

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” devoted to both small and large shops as well as “Developing an Effective Machine Guarding Program”.

Teacher Track: Teachers can learn how to implement the Woodwork Career Alliance standards from peers who are conducting evaluations with their students. Learn about the STEM Guitar Building program and the valuable curriculum site An instructor who successfully promotes his program to the community and industry shares how he does it and you can also participate in sessions to master the grant process and shop safety.

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