One of the best reasons to attend IWF in Atlanta is theincredible range of educational sessions available, but if you don’t planahead, you’ll miss out.

The first thing to understand is that education sessions atIWF come in three basic flavors. Regular education sessions offered Wednesday,Thursday and Friday involve one or more expert presenters and typically last anhour to an hour and a half. Then there are the symposiums that offer a full dayof education on Tuesday before the show officially opens. And third, you cantake advantage of product presentations in the Technology Theater on Thursdayand Friday.

Education Sessions. To get the most from these seminars, studythe schedule well in advance and plan your days. Seminars are grouped inbusiness tracks for New Business, Business Management, Manufacturing, Marketing& Business Development, Furniture and Upholstery, and Countertops. Both theCabinet Makers Association and the International Surface FabricatorsAssociation are offering certification courses.

Symposiums. The symposium model has lots of advantages. Youcan travel to Atlanta a day early and avoid the rush. You can settle into adaylong educational experience without having to worry about appointments onthe show floor. Topics this year include Finishing, Doors and Windows, Closets,Veneering, Remodeling, Wood Bioenergy, Design, and Countertops.

Technology Theater. Successful when it was introduced at the2012 show, the Technology Theater is a showcase for manufacturers to presentinformation about innovative new products in a quieter setting off the showfloor. Although the schedule can change, early participating companies includeTigerStop, Northern Apex, SCM Group USA, Biesse America, Info Trends, and Next WaveAutomation.

Seminar basics. Once you’ve scheduled for a session, do somehomework to get the most from the time. Check out the topics and speakers andcome prepared with questions. The more you get involved in the session, themore you will get out of it. Let colleagues in your business know what sessionsyou plan to attend and collect questions to ask from those who can’t make it.Many sessions have handouts and contact information, so you can bring homematerial to continue the education.

Certification opportunities. If you are already involved ina certification program or just thinking about getting started, IWF is a greatplace to get involved. The CMA program at IWF includes 15 sessions targeted atsmall to medium-size cabinet shops. Topics include business management, leanmanufacturing, pricing, marketing, and sales. ISFA is offering four AIA-approvedcontinuing education sessions related to surfacing products.

You can find out more by clicking on the Education tab

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.