IWF 2016 Show Chairman Tom Onsrud
IWF 2016 Show Chairman Tom Onsrud

Woodworking Network gets the scoop on the latest news and highlights at IWF from 2016 Show Chairman Tom Onsrud, president and CEO of C.R. Onsrud.

North America's largest woodworking show for production and custom woodworkers involved in manufacturing furniture, cabinets, architectural millwork, components, closets and more, IWF 2016 takes place Aug. 24-27 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Why should woodworkers attend IWF?

If they have a design or manufacturing challenge they need to be at IWF. Where else in the Americas can you see, compare, test and meet with industry experts – all at one place? Only at IWF, the premier event for the woodworking industry in the Americas.

The North American wood products industry continues to show signs of improvement. How does this impact IWF 2016?

We will have over 1,000 exhibitors, which is double-digit growth in exhibitor and exhibit space compared to 2014. There will also be more than 200 new exhibitors displaying at IWF this year. The show is bigger, stronger and will impact the entire Americas with the robust introduction of new products.

More than 23,000 wood manufacturing professionals attended IWF in 2014, including 14,400 verified buyers.  What are projections for the 2016 attendance?

We expect to see continued growth for IWF and hope to have over 25,000 industry professionals attend the show. And of the pre-registrants, over 50 percent are top managers.

Pre-registration for attendees is up more than 25% compared to the 2014 show. To what do you attribute this increase?

This can be attributed to economic growth and stability, along with a pent up demand and need for new products. People come to IWF also for new ideas and the opportunity to network with their peers and the supplier network.

With that in mind, how does this year’s show compare to past IWF shows?

There are more exhibitors, more education programs and more new products. More is the word.
    
What are some of the top features attendees can expect to see at IWF 2016?

Some of the new features include the addition of new pavilions: wood flooring and cabinets and closets. We’ll also have an expanded education program (iwfatlanta.com/Education), with over 60 sessions tracked to: Business Management, Furniture & Upholstery; Manufacturing; Marketing & Business Development; and New Business Sectors.

There will also be six all-day symposiums taking place the day prior to IWF, on Aug. 23: Closets, Exploring Countertop Options, Finishing, Veneering, Wood Composites and Wood Flooring.

IWF also has: the IWF365 app, which puts us in the connection point for attendees and suppliers 365 days a year; this year the app will also include Beacon Technology, which sends from the participating exhibitors’ booths on some of the special highlights and must-see technology. There’s also a job board, forum, video uploads, a buyers guide, and an IWF network user group.
    
This year’s Challengers Award program commemorates 50 years of technology. What can we anticipate from this year’s crop Challengers Award entries?

As it does every year, the Challengers Award will highlight new products and new processes that will enhance and further the industry.

IWF is owned and sponsored by the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America and the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association. From WMMA’s and WMIA’s standpoint, what are the goals for IWF in 2016?

The goals for IWF are always about providing an opportunity for exhibitors and industry professionals to engage in a meaningful discussion about how to make their businesses, and the industry as a whole, better.

What would you say to someone who has never been to IWF? 

If you have never been to IWF, you need to go in order to experience the wealth of knowledge from industry experts and peers, and to see the vast amounts of new products, new technology, new materials and new opportunities to grow your business. In North America you can only do this in one place and at one time, and that is at IWF.