Larry Hoffer recently began his new position as executive vice president of the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association and will now be responsible for running daily operations, implementing programs along with the board of directors and planning for the trade group’s future growth.
Though he’s new to the woodworking industry, Hoffer brings extensive experience in upper-level management. For the last 15 years he has held senior leadership positions in several industry and professional organizations, most recently as chief of staff for the Association of Science-Technology Centers in Washington, D.C. He says he was fascinated with the WMIA when he saw the job description listed.
“The WMIA seems interesting to me. I had worked at the Industrial Designers Society of America, an association of product designers, so I have some very adjunct experience there. The opportunity to take a position like this in an industry that had a little bit of overlap was exciting for me,” Hoffer says.
“I think it’s a great industry and it’s one like a lot of industries that until you really understand the scope of it and how broad it is, you don’t understand what a vibrant industry it is until you’re involved in it.”
His first order of business is to relocate the association from Milford, Conn., to Washington, D.C. He currently works and resides in Virginia and has been commuting back and forth to Connecticut while negotiating new office space. The idea for the move was part of the executive committee’s plans when they initiated a search.
“The move dovetails nicely with one of the goals I have, which is to offer more benefits and services to our members in all three member categories we have, the importers, distributers and associate members. That’s going to be a comprehensive effort where I’ll be working with our board and committee leaders to ascertain what our members’ current level of satisfaction is with our membership and figuring out what more we can do to provide greater value to our membership.”
The WMIA has about 120 member companies. Hoffer will also work on boosting that number.
He also wants to get members more engaged in association activities, which he says is the best way to ensure a deep pool of future leaders for the association. That effort started at the Woodworking Industry Conference, which was held April 21-24 in San Antonio.
“WIC works. It’s one of the strongest benefits we offer by helping members make business connections and learn,” Hoffer says. “We want to figure out how to make it better and more valuable to those who attend and also ask those who didn’t attend what might have encouraged them. We already have plans lined up for WIC 2016, which will be April 12-16 in Cancun at the CasaMagna Marriott Resort.”
Hoffer officially began his position on March 30 and succeeds Riccardo Azzoni, who served as executive vice president from 2011-2014.
Contact: WMIA, 27 Main St., Suite 1, New Milford, CT 06776. Tel: 860-350-9642. www.wmia.org
This article originally appeared in the June 2015 issue.