Crowds gather as Wood Pro Expo begins
February 14, 2018 | 12:55 pm CST
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Crowds gathered for Wood Pro Expo, North Carolina's robust furniture, cabinet, and wood products industry, which show opened February 14.
The Charlotte Convention Center will play host to the event through February 16 - featuring woodworking machinery, supplies, educational sessions and plant tours. 50 companies will begin exhibiting on the show floor Thursday, February 15, and over 850 attendees are pre-registered.
"We are pleased to be bringing Wood Pro Expo to Charlotte because North Carolina is truly the heart of the woodworking industry," said Tim Fixmer President and CEO of CCI Media, which owns and operates the event.
According to the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the state boasts 600 lumber wood product manufacturing establishments and a workforce of 17,600, which makes it the fifth-largest wood product manufacturing industry in the U.S. And with 35,000+ employees, North Carolina has the largest furniture manufacturing workforce in the U.S.
The event kicked off February 14 with a keynote address by George Frey, president of Lignum Consulting.  In his presentation titled, “How Industry 4.0 Can Optimize Any Size Plant,” Frey simplified the process by which woodworkers can take advantage of new technology and improve their productivity, regardless of the size of their companies. According to Frey, Industry 4.0 is a high tech strategy but the time is ripe for shops of any size to adopt it.
A dozen conference sessions are planned, forming a core part of the appeal for Wood Pro Expo Charlotte. Other industry personalities keynoting the show include FDMC editor Will Sampson; and Gene Wengert, aka "The Wood Dr."
Sixty attendees got a firsthand look at commercial cabinet manufacturer, CABTEQ Solutions. Located in Rock Hill, S.C., CABTEQ offers design, manufacturing and installation services and serves a variety of commercial markets, including the dental and overall medical markets.  The tour was sponsored by Wurth Wood Group.
Attendees were also able to tour Blum in nearby Stanley, North Carolina. Attendees learned about the company’s award-winning apprenticeship program as well as Blum’s $16 million expansion that includes $7 million for equipment upgrades for its fully automated warehouse as well as $6 million for new manufacturing technology. 
Another highlight of Wood Pro Expo Charlotte will be a reception that acknowledges the Top 5 vote-getters of the Young Woodworking Professionals competition.  The winner of the competition will be announced at the Woodworking Network booth on Feb. 15 at 4:00 p.m.
Woodworkers are also encouraged to bring their real live shop production questions and challenges for the experts on hand.

Wood Pro Expo is the regional show that brings education, equipment, and supplies close to cabinetmakers and custom woodworking businesses around the country. It includes a strong educational program on best practices for shop production, and as well as an expo oriented to equipment and supplies geared to the small- and medium-size shops, including CNC basics, employee recruitment, finishing, lean manufacturing, business management, software, and shop safety.

Launched in 2014 in Baltimore, the show moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania last year, and returns to Lancaster in October 2018. To learn more, go to

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About the author
Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at [email protected].