POUGHKEEPSIE, New York -- James L. Taylor Mfg. welcomed distributors and four other woodworking equipment manufacturers to its new location in Poughkeepsie, New York, for a special combined training event.

In addition to Taylor, the event included Unique Machine & Tool Co., Safety Speed Mfg., Original Saw Co., and Williams and Hussey Machine Co. Inc. All five companies had machines under power at the Taylor location for demonstrations and training.

James L. Taylor has been manufacturing clamp carriers and other products in Poughkeepsie at another location for more than 100 years. In 2014, they moved to a new location in another part of town, expanding space from 37,000 to 100,000 square feet.

It its larger space, the company can make all three of its product lines, JLT Clamps, James L. Taylor Mfg. and Cameron Automation, in the same location. And it can host events like this.

The five manufacturers had previously seen each other at open houses held by distributors, so they decided to join forces at their own manufacturer event, sharing the costs between the five companies and attracting more people.

Jake Greenfield has been with the company for 20 years, and was named the new company president earlier this year. Craig Caldwell is the executive vice president and plant manager, and Chris Hacker is sales manager for southeast territory. Both Caldwell and Hacker have 25 years with the New York company.

“For this U.S. manufacturers co-op event, we had a number of WMMA members who talked about a joint training session,” Hacker said. “We have product lines that don’t compete, but they’re similar in price, and type of shops (customers), so we have a good amount of synergy.”

The focus for this event was on distributors.

“We have live demonstrations of our equipment. We can provide hands-on training for our distributors who market and sell our equipment,” Hacker said. “We have people here from 23 states and Canada, from as far away as Las Vegas and Phoenix.

“The industry is growing again, and distributors are finding new young talent, hiring new salespeople. It’s an opportunity to give these individuals hands-on training that they would not be able to get otherwise.”

This event was for distributors. Taylor has done events for end users in the past, but these have a different focus. Jamison Scott of Air Handling Systems was to speak on combustible dust safety and dust collection components at this event.

Cameron Automation will show a new machine at IWF. “We’re focusing our efforts on Cameron Automation, including a new machine we’ll be introducing at IWF,” Hacker said.

“Cameron is a growing line and important for the distributors. It encompasses rip optimization, chop optimization, defecting and scanning. (It can be used) for flooring, providing an automated sorting and bundling flooring nester, and is a great labor-saving machine in an industry that is struggling to find people to do that work.”

Distributors gathered product knowledge, learning what is new, and there was also a networking component. Dealers can talk about what is working and not working in their territories. Each of the five companies provided a three-and-a-half hour training session at the event.

The IWF show floor is too busy for this kind of training. “This gives veteran distributors a refresher on new equipment and new features we’re offering,” Hacker said. “For the new salespeople, it gives them a nice overview of five companies that cover this industry. It helps the distributor walk in with five lines to sell.”

Timing related to IWF is actually good because they can learn about something before the show. “We like to create that product knowledge before the show, so they can walk into the show and be ready to sell. This is our learning experience, so we can hit the ground running at IWF.”

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