While increased attendance, good floor activity, and optimistic exhibitor outlook helped propel the success of the 2013 AWFS Fair in Las Vegas, you can also measure the show in all the awards that were announced as part of it.

Visionary Awards

Certainly the biggest focus of the show is on new technology in the industry, so it was appropriate that much attention was focused on the Visionary New Product Awards. Seven exhibiting companies were given a Visionary New Product Award by AWFS for product innovation and leadership in the woodworking industry. The Visionary awards recognize creativity and innovation as well as leadership in green/environmental product development. Entries are evaluated on quality, production impact, practicality, innovation and user-friendliness.
This year's awards were chosen by a panel of judges representing various areas of the industry, including professional end-users, woodworkers and company owners.

Winners and categories were: Product Innovation, Bioformix, Inc. - Nexabond 2500 wood adhesive; Machinery over $50,000, Biesse America - AirForce hot air edgebanding technology; Machinery under $50,000: SNX Technologies - Vitap Eclipse automated contour edgebander; Power Tools: Senco - Duraspin auto feed screw systems; Software, Mozaik Software - Mozaik CNC complete software; Green/Environmental Leadership in Finishing, Kremlin-Rexson-Exel North America - EOS Pump; and Green/Environmental, Graco Inc. - PD2K.

Fresh Wood

Boding well for the future of the industry, the Fresh Wood competition honored the best in student design and craftsmanship. Mollie Ferguson, a student at College of the Redwoods in Fort Bragg, Calif., won the Best of Show Award from among 40 finalists from 21 different high schools and colleges in the U.S. and Canada.
Ferguson was awarded a wood sculpture designed by the late wood artist Sam Maloof, for her chair, "dulcius ex asperis." She received $1,200 and a Rikon 14-inch bandsaw for winning the award, sponsored by Rikon. She also received First Place in the Post Secondary Chairs category of the competition, which included another $1,025 prize and a Certificate of Merit.

AWFS attendees voted on the People's Choice Award, sponsored by Wagner Meters, awarding a $600 prize to Kristoffer Edlund from Brighton High School for his "Wrapped Walnut Table."

First place winners in each category and at each school level received a $1,025 prize, second place winners received $625 and honorable mention winners received $425. For a complete list of winners, go to www.cabinetmakerfdm.com/89801.html.

WorldSkills competition

Another competition at AWFS that focused on students was the WorldSkills Cabinetmaking Qualifying Trial, in which three top-scoring national SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking students competed for the chance to represent the U.S. at WorldSkills 2015 in Sao Paolo, Brazil. The three worked through the AWFS Fair on the floor on the Las Vegas Convention Center at the WorldSkills Booth. Jacob Wozniak was named winner. Wozniak, of Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES in Springville, N.Y., was SkillsUSA National 2012 Gold Medalist for high school cabinetmaking.

The other finalists were Caleb Floyd of Warner Robins High School in Kathleen, Ga., a SkillsUSA 2012 Silver Medalist in high school cabinetmaking, and Brett Sidesinger of Washburn Technical Institute in Topeka, Kans., a SkillsUSA National 2013 Champion, post-secondary cabinetmaking. Taking part in the recognition was Tommy MacDonald of the television series Rough Cut--Woodworking with Tommy Mac.

WorldSkills is an international career technical education training organization. Students from countries around the world compete for gold medals and recognition in the field of training. Supporters of the program include Felder USA, Blum, Kreg, Wurth, AWFS, AWI, AutoDesk, Delta, Irwin, SawStop, Interstate Batteries and Louis and Co.

CMA Wood Diamond Awards

But students weren’t the only ones winning design awards. The Cabinet Makers Association took time out during the show to present some 52 awards to active professionals in a variety of categories covering architectural millwork, kitchens and baths, closets, entertainment centers, furniture, and more.

"We're delighted to recognize these outstanding projects and the people behind them," said Yarborough. "This peer judged contest awards honors to the best of the best." 

Dave Grulke, CMA Executive Director said, "I'm always astonished at the quality and beauty of the projects submitted for Wood Diamond judging. It's both inspiring and humbling to see these outstanding works from our very talented members."

For a complete listing of the winners and categories, go to www.cabinetmakerfdm.com/89724.html.

Another kind of competition

A regular feature of the AWFS Fair is the Belt Sander Racing Association championships, presented by Accuride. This year’s event featured not only the usual competition of stock and modified sanders racing side-by-side down a 75-foot track, but also there were new events for destruction derby style competition. Hey, sometimes it’s more about the fun than the awards! 

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