Everyone's a Winner at AWFS Vegas
August 15, 2011 | 2:04 am UTC

From the suppliers who have a chance to display their newest wares to thousands of potential customers at once, to the thousands of woodworkers who can view all the latest in technology and trends in one compact venue — everyone’s a winner who attends the upcoming AWFS Fair in Las Vegas, July 18-21. It is the year’s largest trade show for the industry, with more than 30,000 attendees expected to visit about 850 exhibitors, showing products that will cover more than 470,000 square feet of space. For anyone interested in keeping up with the newest trends, it is the place to be.

“We are confident in saying that AWFS Vegas 2007 will be the largest show in the association’s history,” says Skip Hem, president of AWFS and vice president of Royal Plywood.

“As this exhibition also marks AWFS’ 50th anniversary, our board and association personnel are doing their utmost to make sure this world-class event continues to set new standards for the show — while creating new business opportunities for members and all exhibitors,” he adds.

As in previous years, show management is predicting 2007 attendees will represent all segments of the industry, including: residential and commercial cabinetry, furniture, windows and doors, store fixtures, architectural millwork, flooring, moulding and millwork, and component manufacturing.

AWFS Vegas Fair at a Glance

Dates: July 18-21

Exhibit Hours: Wednesday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Location: Las Vegas Convention Center, North & Central Halls

Transportation: Shuttle service will be available to and from the LVCC from the following hotels: Alexis Park, Aladdin, Bally’s, Caesars Palace, Fairfield Inn, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Hilton Grand Vacation, New York New York, Paris, Sahara, Westin and Wynn. Hours for the buses are: Wednesday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Exhibitors: More than 800 domestic and international manufacturers and distributors of woodworking equipment and supplies.

Seminars: Seven education tracks covering a wide range of topics: Business Management, Cabinet/Millwork, Software/Technology, Techniques/Applications, Hand-Crafted Furniture, Safety & Environment and Teacher Track. The 52 seminars include all-day workshops, 1-1/2-, 2-, 3- and 4-hour programs and SMART (Special Machinery and Relevant Technology) sessions. The seminars will take place on the second floor of the North Hall, rooms N253-N264. SMART sessions will be at specific booths in the exhibit hall and begin at 7:30 a.m., prior to the show’s opening. Until June 25, prices are $55 for the 1-1/2- and 2-hour sessions, $75 for the 3- and 4-hour sessions and $150 for the all-day sessions. There is no charge for the SMART sessions, though reservations are required.

Awards Ceremony: Presentations will be made at a special Awards Dinner on Thursday, July 19, to the winners of the Sequoia New Product Awards, the “Fresh Wood” Student Competition and to those companies in the Wood & Wood Products 2007 WOOD 100. The event will be hosted by Richard Karn, best known as Al Borland on TV’s Home Improvement.

Show Sponsor: Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers
Information: Visit www.awfsfair.org or phone AWFS at (800) 946-2937.

“I cannot offer any predictions, but I will tell you that pre-registration is running ahead for both exhibitors and attendees over our recordbreaking 2005 show, where we broke 30,000 registered participants for the first time in the show’s history,” says Angelo Gangone, AWFS vice president, trade shows.

The 2005 show was the first time the event was held in Las Vegas, after having been in California for several years previously. The move was considered a resounding success.

According to show management, the 2005 AWFS Vegas Fair also saw an increase in attendance from 49 out of 50 states, with 44 states increasing by 100 percent or more. International attendance also rose significantly, by 134 percent. The show has continued to market itself aggressively to international, as well as national attendee prospects. So expectations are high for a similarly strong showing this year.

A Showcase for New Products

With two exhibit halls full of displays, there is plenty of ground to cover during the four-day event. To help attendees hone their sights on the newest products, there will be designated areas showcasing recent introductions, as well as the products of first-time exhibitors. The two showcases will be located at the main entry point by registration.

The First-Time Exhibitors Showcase will feature the products and services of more than 200 companies. The New Products Showcase features new-to-market machinery and supplies, which are organized into the following categories: large machinery, small machinery, power tools, hardware, components, tooling, software and upholstery. These items also are eligible to compete for Sequoia Awards, with separate awards available in the categories of environmental achievement, ergonomics, safety, innovative technology and productivity.

The Sequoia Awards originally only were given for Environmental Achievement. The program was expanded in 2005 to include additional categories of Ergonomics/Safety, Product Innovation and Productivity. The winners will be announced during a gala awards dinner that will be held Thursday night, July 19, at the Las Vegas Hilton hotel. Tickets are available for $100 and can be purchased online at www.awfsfair.org. This year, the host for the festivities is Richard Karn, best known as Al Borland, Tim “The Toolman” Taylor’s sidekick on Home Improvement — sure to add a festive touch to the evening.

The Thursday night gala also serves as the culmination for the biannual AWFS “Fresh Wood” student design competition, which recognizes outstanding furniture designs from students at the high school and post-secondary school levels. Many students work all year long to prepare their entries, which can range from whimsical contemporary designs to traditional styles. (See article on page 52 for more information.)

Also recognized during the dinner will be representatives from Wood & Wood Products magazine’s WOOD 100 companies. W&WP launched the WOOD 100 in 1990 to pay homage to fast-growing North American woodworking companies. The slogan, “Not the biggest, the best,” underscores the fact that the WOOD 100 is open to companies of all sizes, from $100,000 in annual sales on up.

Educational Opportunities Abound

Education seminars always have been a hallmark of the AWFS shows, and this year is no exception. The College of Woodworking Knowledge (CWWK) will roll out a roster of 52 programs with a wide selection of topics and seminar lengths, providing attendees with numerous options for on-site education.

Two all-day workshops are featured on the program: Lean Manufacturing Production Simulation and a 10-Hour OSHA Safety Training. The Lean workshop is an innovative and interactive hands-on simulation. Attendees participate as “competing companies” working on a manufacturing floor, utilizing Lean tools such as Takt Time, Kanban, cellular manufacturing and more. Over the course of the day’s program, the process shifts from traditional to Lean manufacturing, providing attendees with a comprehensive insight into the Lean process. The workshop runs on the pre-show day, Tuesday, July 17, and will repeat on Saturday, July 21.

The OSHA Safety Program has never before been offered in conjunction with the show. Attendees will receive the OSHA “Standards for General Industry” manual and an OSHA Certificate of Completion. The course is scheduled over two days, July 17 and 18, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. each day. Attendees must be present all 10 hours to receive the certificate.

Another “don’t miss” session, dealing with one of today’s hottest topics, is a panel discussion about four distinct environmental programs. “Got Sustainability? Get the Facts on Industry Programs” combines representatives from the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association, Composite Panel Association, Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association and the U.S. Green Building Council, who will share information on their sustainable practice programs and how they impact the industry. It offers a good opportunity to learn what’s already in place in the industry.

The general CWWK slate is broken into various tracks, according to topic. This year, the popular Business Management track has doubled its selection of course offerings to address more issues of primary concern to businesses. In addition to the all-day simulation seminar, other Lean manufacturing topics are included, as well as courses for first-time supervisors, writing contracts, analyzing financials, business growth and the Internet.

In addition to the Business Management track, the full program offers tracks in Cabinet/Millwork, Software & Technology, Techniques & Applications, Safety & Environment, Hand-Crafted Furniture and a new track designed specifically for educators who attend the show, the Teacher Track. (A list of the complete seminar schedule starts on page 42.)

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available for all of the education programs. Attendees can receive certificates for any individual CWWK seminar on-site, customized with their name and the credit hours for the seminar.

Everything from high-tech equipment under power to the latest laminate colors and patterns are displayed on the AWFS Vegas show floor.

The CWWK Committee worked with 15 participating industry associations, education institutions and trade magazines to develop the lineup for the 2007 show. “Working with these industry partners to expand our program demonstrates our commitment to providing a truly qualitative program for our trade show attendees,” says Philip Martin of Hafele America Co., chair of the committee. “We drew on expertise from across the industry on topic selection and identified those individuals best qualified to address the topics.”

Several key topics in the lineup will be addressed in both a classroom seminar and a “SMART” technical seminar to “double” the learning experience. SMART (Special Machinery and Relevant Technology) sessions are held prior to show hours on the exhibit floor. Topics presented with this two-pronged approach include tooling, fixturing and electrical troubleshooting.

“This is an experiment that combines presenting information in a lecture format with a visual and tactile SMART session on the exhibit floor,” says Nancy Fister, Education Director for AWFS. “We’ll see how it is received by attendees to determine if we expand this format in 2009.”

Just for Fun

While Las Vegas offers many diversions, perhaps the most unique event in the city, from a woodworking industry perspective, will take place on the show floor Friday afternoon, when the first annual World Championship for Belt Sander Racers will be held. The event is sponsored by Accuride International and the AWFS Fair trade show committee, in cooperation with the Belt Sander Racing Assn. (BSRA). The BSRA is a new organization formed by Accuride to bring together enthusiasts of this sport.

Based on interest already generated, “We believe that it is going to become a major AWFS Fair attraction for years to come,” says Jamie Goodwin, western regional manager for Accuride and the member of the AWFS Trade Show Committee who first suggested the idea.

For general AWFS Vegas show information visit the show’s Web site, www.awfsfair.org.

Woodworkers will be able to view products from close to 850 exhibiting companies at the 2007 AWFS Fair Vegas. The New Products Showcase, located in the main entry point near registration, shows the most recently introduced products.


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