WILMINGTON, N.C. –  A logistics conference targeted for manufacturers, retailers, furniture carriers and logistics companies is slated for June 17-19 in Wilmington, North Carolina. The conference, "Charting a New Course,” is presented by the American Home Furnishings Alliance in partnership with the Specialized Furniture Carriers and the Furniture Shippers Association.

Held at the Embassy Suites Wilmington Riverfront, the program aligns with the key issues facing logistics professionals in today’s residential furniture industry. From tariffs and anti-dumping orders to driver shortages and e-commerce growth, the agenda covers the forces that are shaping both the economy and the supply chain. 

The opening keynote on June 18, however, sets logistics aside for one session and provides an opportunity for career and leadership development. Presented by decorated Navy SEAL Thom Shea, this presentation takes combat lessons and correlates them to the business world. Shea’s leadership, team-building and training guidance fosters rapid growth in both individuals and companies.

Rob Pisani, a nationally known trade attorney who has provided over 300 trade-related seminars, will bring attendees the latest on the impact of tariffs, recent anti-dumping actions and customs activities. Pisani has more than 35 years of international trade experience, including as senior attorney at U.S. Customs headquarters in Washington.

A special presentation from Hans Bean, vice president of trade development for the Port of Wilmington, will be a highlight of the program, along with a tour of the port on the afternoon of June 18. Bean has been a member of the North Carolina Ports team since 2016 and has played an integral role in the port’s record-breaking growth over the last several years. The Port of Wilmington is a premier conference sponsor.

Following the port tour, a panel of manufacturing executives will discuss top transportation issues. Participants include AHFA’s 2019 Chair Gat Caperton of Gat Creek Furniture; Lauri Cryan, CEO of Lea Unlimited; Kevin Walker, Accentrics Home; and Michael Delgatti, president of Hooker Furniture.

The June 18 business program concludes with an industry overview presented by Alan Cole, a 30-year furniture industry veteran who was president of Hooker Furniture from 2011 to 2013. Prior to joining Hooker in 2007 to head Bradington-Young and Sam Moore, Cole was president and CEO of Schnadig and before that was president of Berkline and Lifestyle Furnishings International, the former furniture division of Masco.

Closing the day is an evening event at the Embassy Suites Cloud 9 rooftop lounge with live music, hors d’oeuvres and spectacular views of Wilmington’s downtown and riverfront. 

The Wednesday, June 19, agenda opens with Veronica Schnitzius, president of American Leather, who will present a manufacturer’s perspective on today’s logistics challenges in the home furnishings industry. Schnitzius began her American Leather career as an engineer, learning the business from the ground up with roles in manufacturing, product development, sales, marketing, operations and logistics. Last year, American Leather added 100,000 square feet of additional manufacturing capacity to its 250,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art factory in Dallas.

A retail panel also is planned for day two of the business program, along with an update on the state of the trucking industry from Sherri Garner Brumbaugh, president and CEO of Garner Transportation and second vice chairman of American Trucking Associations.

Registration is $179 per person and includes a 6 p.m. opening reception on June 17 and lunch and the evening event on June 18. An optional golf outing at Wilmington’s Compass Pointe Golf Club is planned for 9 a.m. on June 17. Register online at ahfa.us/events, where you will also find a link to the Embassy Suites for hotel accommodations. Reservations are available at a discounted group rate through May 24.

The American Home Furnishings Alliance represents more than 230 leading furniture manufacturers and distributors, plus nearly 150 suppliers to the furniture industry worldwide. Among AHFA’s supplier members are 30 transportation and logistics companies specializing in home furnishings. These companies comprise the Specialized Furniture Carriers.

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