The International Woodworking Fair, NorthAmerica’s largest woodworking industry trade show, is running this week until August 23 at theWorld Congress Center in Atlanta. As of Aug. 15, a few days before the show, there were 987 exhibitors and more than 10,000 pre-registered attendees. With the show underway, some have estimated solid growth in attendance over the last show in 2012.
Visitors can still register on site for $35. Several special deals are in effect, including one free session for buyers of one symposium, and buying one session and getting the second for 50 percent off.
The 2014 exhibition will have moreexhibitors in a larger floor space to help woodworking businesses takeadvantage of improving economic indicators to build business and explore newmarkets and manufacturing methods.
In addition, there is an extensive rangeof education offerings. Cutting-edge new products will be spotlighted andhonored. Top furniture and cabinet design students will display their work andcompete for prizes. And there are plenty of exciting attractions in the Atlantaarea to entertain you and your family.
CabinetMaker+FDM asked IWF 2014 chairmanRick Hannigan, director of marketing and communications for Weinig USA andHolz-Her U.S. Inc., about the show this year.
“The show has shown a significant increasein machinery, supplies, materials and software,” Hannigan said. Attendees willsee a wealth of new innovation and technology as suppliers to the industry havebeen developing and introducing some great new products. Many exhibitors thathave skipped the last couple of IWFs are coming back.”
Hannigan said that IWF is expecting moreexhibitors, and many are contracting for more floor space compared to 2012. Therewill also be more machines, more technology, more innovative design, moreeducation, and more industry networking.
New features for the show include IWFAmericas Night, a new IWF App, new educational sessions, Technology and Design theatres,a Countertop Pavilion, and more machinery applications in addition to justwoodworking. Also new for 2014 are IWF Meet-up Night, IWF After-Hours Program, andIWF Atlanta Hospitality Program. There are also many first-time exhibitors fromthe U.S. and foreign countries.
IWF isWednesday, August 20 to Saturday, August 23, 2014. Show hours are 8:30 a.m. to5 p.m. the first three days, and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, at theGeorgia World Congress Center.
The GeorgiaWorld Congress Center is located in downtown Atlanta at 285 Andrew YoungInternational Blvd. It is within walking distance of downtown hotels, and canbe reached via cab or MARTA, Atlanta’s rapid transit system. Shuttle buses willtake attendees from many of the downtown hotels to the GWCC. Shuttle buses willalso connect many Midtown hotels, about three miles away. Additional hotels areavailable around the airport, south of downtown, and the Buckhead area, aboutseven miles north of the GWCC.
One of the best reasons to attend IWF inAtlanta is the incredible range of educational sessions available, but if youdon’t plan ahead, you’ll miss out.
The first thing to understand is thateducation sessions at IWF come in three basic flavors. Regular educationsessions offered Wednesday, Thursday and Friday involve one or more expertpresenters and typically last an hour to an hour and a half. Then there are thesymposiums that offer a full day of education on Tuesday before the showofficially opens. And third, you can take advantage of product presentations inthe Technology Theater on Thursday and Friday.
Education Sessions. To get the most fromthese seminars, study the schedule well in advance and plan your days. Seminarsare grouped in business tracks for New Business, Business Management,Manufacturing, Marketing& Business Development, Furniture and Upholstery,and Countertops. Both the Cabinet Makers Association and the InternationalSurface Fabricators Association are offering certification courses.
Symposiums. The symposium modelhas lots of advantages. You can travel to Atlanta a day early and avoid therush. You can settle into a daylong educational experience without having toworry about appointments on the show floor. Planned topics this year includeFinishing, Doors and Windows, Closets, Remodeling, Wood Bioenergy, Design, andCountertops.
Technology Theater. Successful when it wasintroduced at the 2012 show, the Technology Theater is a showcase formanufacturers to present information about innovative new products in a quietersetting off the show floor. Although the schedule can change, earlyparticipating companies include TigerStop, Northern Apex, SCM Group USA, BiesseAmerica, Info Trends, and Next Wave Automation.
Seminar basics. Once you’ve scheduled asession, do some homework to get the most from the time. Check out the topicsand speakers and come prepared with questions. The more you get involved in thesession, the more you will get out of it. Let colleagues in your business knowwhat sessions you plan to attend and collect questions to ask from those whocan’t make it. Many sessions have handouts and contact information, so you canbring home material to continue the education.
Certification opportunities. If you are alreadyinvolved in a certification program or just thinking about getting started, IWFis a great place to get involved. The CMA program at IWF includes 15 sessionstargeted at small to medium-size cabinet shops. Topics include businessmanagement, lean manufacturing, pricing, marketing, and sales. ISFA is offeringfour AIA-approved continuing education sessions related to surfacing products.
You can find out more by clicking on theEducation tab at www.iwfatlanta.com.
Thecompanies involved in the IWF Challengers Award are always worth a look andrepresent important innovations in woodworking technology. You can learn aboutthe finalists before arriving at the show, and see the actual winners.
Twenty finalists for the 2014competition have been announced by the IWF Challenges Award judges. More and 60new products were submitted for the 2014 Challengers Award.
The Design Emphasis Showcase at IWF is a"must see" at the International Woodworking Fair. Furniture piecesdesigned and built by students from colleges and universities throughout theUnited States are on display at IWF.
DesignEmphasis is widely acclaimed as the foremost furniture design competition forstudents and offers design students a unique opportunity to demonstrate theirtalent and originality before a judging panel of furniture industry designers,manufacturing and retail executives, and members of the trade press who havedesign-oriented backgrounds. It also provides a unique chance to experience aninternational industry trade show, make important career contacts and exchangeideas with other students from around the nation. The competition recognizesand rewards these advanced level designs in five categories: Seating, CaseGoods, Commercial/Office/Hospitality Furniture, Accent Furniture/Accent Tables,and Design Creativity. A prize is also given for the Best of Show.
TheWoodwork Career Alliance of North America (WCA) is offering Accredited SkillEvaluator training during IWF in Atlanta. Training will be available all fourdays of IWF August 20-23, 2014.
ScottNelson, WCA president, told CabinetMaker+FDM that WCA evaluator training willbe offered in seven four-hour sessions, mornings and afternoons of the firstthree days, and in the morning of the last day. Visit the Woodwork CareerAlliance at Booth 7912 at IWF 2014.
Peopleinterested in getting the evaluator training during IWF should do three thingsin advance. They must 1) Enroll in WCA to obtain a WCA Passport if they don'talready have one, 2) Apply to be an Accredited Skill Evaluator, and 3) Answer afew questions online. Once that is done, they can register for a time fortraining at the show.
IWF isgiving each candidate a $100 scholarship toward their training fee. Evaluatortraining tuition during IWF is reduced to $150, a 40 percent discount. Anyonecan get more information by going to the website, http://woodworkcareer.org/.
A mustfor woodworkers
“There’s no other woodworking industryevent that can compare,” said Rick Hannigan. “If you have a challenge or need asolution, you will find it at IWF. If the product exists you will find it atIWF. If you said, ‘I really need this’ and couldn’t find it....you willdiscover it at IWF. Where else over four days can you meet with experts,network with peers, compare products and make sound business decisions?
“What we always hear from visitors andexhibitors is that IWF is a "must attend" event. The take-away isthat IWF is well worth the average two-day stay. One visit will immediatelyimprove a company’s business.
“Get ready, it’s going to impact theentire industry. Like many IWF shows, you will see the InternationalWoodworking Fair in Atlanta propel new growth in a rapidly changing industry.”
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.