2013 Cabinets & Closets Conference Speakers


The following professionals were among the scheduled presenters for the 2013 Cabinets & Closets Conference. Our thanks to each of them. Sorry if you missed it. Plan to attend the 2015 edition, April 14-16 in Chicagoland.


Sean Benetin Millwork & MoreSean Benetin

President and Founder of Millwork & More LLC

Sean Benetin, founder and President of Millwork & More LLC, runs a custom cabinet and millwork company serving a high-end residential and historic restoration market in the New Jersey/New York metro area. He contracts with designers, builders and architects as well as other shops. Over the last 10 years, Sean has focused on refining his business operation to run without him. Sean is a past president of the Cabinet Makers Association and is a frequent presenter at industry events.


Rick+Burnes%2C+Hub+SpotRick Burnes

Product Marketing Director, Hub Spot

Rick Burnes is director of product marketing at HubSpot, a company that builds marketing software for medium-sized businesses. In his current role, Rick leads the team bringing HubSpot's all-in-one marketing software platform to market. Previously at HubSpot, Rick served as community manager and as blog editor, building its blog and developing free marketing software applications including websitegrader.com. Prior to HubSpot, Rick was co-founder of Faneuil Media, a startup that provided inbound marketing solutions for local businesses. From 2001-2004 Rick worked at NYTimes.com, where he managed the launch of new sections, including search and theater. He started at The Times two months before 9/11 and spent his first year working on the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Nation Challenged section. He has also worked at Google, The Moscow Times and The New Bedford Standard Times.


Mike Carson

Founder, Closet Works

Mike Carson founded Closet Works in his two-car garage in 1987. The company grew to become the largest Chicago-area-based manufacturer of closet and home storage solutions, before the Great Recession employing more than 100 people with sales of more than $11 million. Closet Works’ growth record earned it a place in Wood & Wood Products’ prestigious annual WOOD 100 list of fast-growing wood products companies on multiple occasions.

In 1999, Carson organized and served as the first chairman of the National Closet Group (NCG), comprised of more than 40 independent closet companies located throughout the U.S. The NCG led to the birth of the Association of Closet and Storage Professionals (ACSP) in 2005; Carson was elected as the frist ACSP president. Carson also was a frequent presenter at the annual Closets Conference & Expo and authored a regular column in CLOSETS about running a closet company for several years.

For his vision, dedication and many contributions to helping propel the closet and storage industry forward, Carson was awarded the ACSP’s first-ever Pioneer Award at the 2008 Closets & Home Organization Conference & Expo in West Palm, FL. Among other industry recognitions, Carson was lauded as a Wood industry Market Leader by Wood & Wood Products in 2009.


Rich Christianson

Associate Publisher, Woodworking Network

Rich Christianson is Associate Publisher and Editor at Large of Woodworking Network and ClosetsDaily. During his 25 covering the wood products industry, Rich has toured hundreds of manufacturing plants throughout North America, Europe and Asia. His reporting has covered everything from the state of the industry and impact of wood imports to technology and environmental issues. In his current capacity he is responsible for editing the daily Woodworking Network Update newsletter and coordinating events including the Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo and Canada’s biennial Woodworking Machinery & Supply Expo. 


 Laurel Didier

Vice President / Group Publisher, Woodworking Network

Laurel Didier is Vice President / Group Publisher of Vance Publishing Corp.’s Woodworking Network division. Laurel has been with Vance’s Wood Interiors division for more than 25 years. She oversees leading magazines and websites in the wood products and home organization industries -- Wood & Wood Products, Custom Woodworking Business and CLOSETS. These magazines reach more than 65,000 readers, including custom woodworkers, wood product manufacturers and closet and storage professionals.


Kevin+DohertyKevin Doherty

Partner, Greenwald Doherty

Kevin Doherty is a partner at Greenwald Doherty, having practiced at the firm and fostered its growth since its inception. He has substantial trial experience, having litigated countless labor and employment matters before federal and state courts. In addition, Mr. Doherty represents clients in labor negotiations and arbitrations and defends clients before the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and various other federal, state and local agencies. His long experience managing overtime and other wage and hour claims, discrimination and retaliation complaints, unfair labor practice claims, union grievances and government audits frequently allows him to effect favorable resolutions for his clients. Mr. Doherty has significant background in traditional labor relations, and assists clients in fighting union organizing campaigns, negotiating collective bargaining agreements and managing strike and lockout situations. He also drafts and negotiates a broad spectrum of contracts, including commercial, employment, non-competition, commission and licensing agreements. Mr. Doherty routinely counsels management on trade secret protection and human resources issues, including discrimination and harassment claims and investigations, terminations and layoffs, hiring practices, leave law concerns, and issues that arise under the FLSA and state wage laws. In addition to working closely with corporate clients, Mr. Doherty represents and advises employers in the public and not-for-profit sectors. Mr. Doherty speaks and writes regularly on a variety of labor and employment law topics.


Dave Grulke Cabinet Makers Association Dave Grulke

Executive Director, Cabinet Makers Association | Owner, Big Dave's Service

Dave Grulke, owner of Big Dave's Service in West Allis, WI, has more than 20 years of experience in advertising sales and sales management in print, direct mail and broadcast media. During that time, he rehabbed dozens of residential properties and opened his residential general contracting business in 2002. Having learned site-build cabinetry and finish carpentry installations as college summer jobs over 30 years ago, he developed his business to specialize in turn-key custom kitchens, baths and home offices. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Cabinet Makers Association. 


Joe+Knobbe%2C+Exclusive+WoodworkJoe Knobbe

Senior Project Manager, Excusive Woodworking

Joe Knobbe began his woodworking career in the 1970s apprenticing under a master cabinetmaker. After becoming a journeyman he grew through the ranks to become Senior Project Manager for Exclusive Woodworking of Waukeegan, IL, a large residential architectural woodworking firm. He has helped keep the company on the cutting edge of technology and been instrumental in helping broaden its reach in the design community. Joe has long served on the Cabinet Makers Association Board of Directors was CMA President for 2011 and 2012. He has helped shaped the formation of the new Certified Cabinet Maker education track.


Robert Reiss, CEO ShowRobert Reiss

Host of The CEO Show with Robert Reiss

During the past 5 seasons, Cabinets & Closets Conference keynote presenter Robert Reiss has interviewed in-depth over 250 CEOs on The CEO Show with Robert Reiss. The program is a weekly nationally syndicated radio show. He has recently added its abridged version The CEO Show Minute which airs over 3,000 times a week as a daily show from 85 markets. The program has more than 600,000 weekly listeners.

The CEO Show is expanded in Reiss’ monthly column with Forbes.com.  The CEO Show also is publisher of The CEO Forum, a quarterly magazine that features 10 CEO interviews per quarter and is received exclusively by the top 10,000 CEOs in America. His work with CEOs was featured on Squawk Box and in the Harvard Business Review, where Reiss was cited as an “expert in executive communications”.

Reiss recently launched, The CEO TV Show, pioneering a pan-internet/mobile/tablet format using an affiliate distribution model, where Reiss interviews the most innovative CEOs. Reiss is also Host of The GE Ecomagination CEO Series.

A frequent presenter, over the past two decades Reiss has given over 300 speeches. He is the Chairman and emcee of The Conference Board’s Senior Marketing Executive Conference, which was awarded the #4 top global C-Suite venue (and # 1 in marketing) in 2009.

His not-for-profit work includes being a Trustee for Kingsbrook Medical Center and a Director at Griffin Health Services Corporation (Fortune Magazine's # 4 best company to work for in America, 2006) and a director at Planetree. Reiss was recipient of The United Hospital Fund’s Distinguished Trustee Award, 2008.

Reiss is co-author of The Transformative CEO, published in June 2012 by McGraw-Hill.


RIck Thaler, OGB Architectural MillworkRick Thaler

Owner, OGB Architectural Woodworking


Rick Thaler was a college dropout and former hippie carpenter who fell in love with the woodworking industry 35 years ago and stayed in it. He had his own one man shop for five or six years and then went to work in a commercial architectural woodworking business called OG Bradbury of Albuquerque, NM. He moved from there to another shop, and then to a third, and after six years returned to OG Bradbury where he worked 10 more years as an estimator and project manager. Rick bought the company in 2000 has since built the business into the largest and finest architectural woodworking company in New Mexico. He looks forward to sharing his estimating knowledge and experience in the commercial field.



Kevin Ward A. Ward DesignKevin Ward

President, A. Ward Design

Kevin Ward is president of A. Ward Design in Winter Haven, FL. He has been in the woodworking, construction and electrical industries for more than 30 years. Kevin's company was featured on the cover of the February 2010 issue of Custom Woodworking Business and was honored by Southern Living for his work in the 2009 Southern Living Cottages of the Year. Kevin’s company also has appeared several times in Wood & Wood Products magazine’s WOOD 100. He is a regular speaker for the Cabinet Makers Association's regional events.



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