Thinking through wood industry challenges with smarts, and inspiration
June 27, 2017 | 12:35 pm CDT

Data driven manufacturing linked to consumer shopping via visualization software, are among the technology trends

Regular readers may have noticed a cast in my most recent reporting - a good deal of it is about a single day this summer: July 18.

That's when the day-long Woodworking Network Leadership Forum will take place, at the Las Vegas Convention Center - the same place the AWFS Fair takes place in four days that follow. While the show has plenty of compelling attractions for any woodworking business, there was no forum to look at what lies ahead in business, and how it will look when we get there.

I have been working on just such a program that will distill some of the most interesting trends happening in the wood manufacturing industries - trends in technology, business management, and materials. Designed as a TEDx-style program, this  for the wood manufacturing industry, this top-level conference is aimed at executives from North America’s 300 largest woodworking companies, the Leadership Forum will examine business, technology, and material trends that will impact the design and production of cabinetry, furniture and interior millwork over the next decade.

How do we know these are interesting trends? Because they are based on the site traffic at Woodworking On any given day thousands of visitors swarm through the articles at the website, drawn by bookmarks, driven by the Daly Brief newsletter, or guided by links found in online - mostly Google - searches. 

So in putting together a conference program that would would be most interesting, we built the proceedings with a strong dose of information hat has been proven popular online. This includes:

1. Getting people to work in wood manufacturing

2. Making those workers more productive

3. Creating solution-specific new technology 

4. Digitally imaged panel and Flame-finished lumber

5. Integrated, modular room manufacture and Wooden Skyscrapers

The program includes several briefings detailing joint technology developments between suppliers and manufacturers in creating new materials and equipment. And of course, there will be yours truly, moderating the program, and connecting the dots. It will be your chance to see that one thing that won't be coming along - my mustache. This will be my first Las Vegas event since shedding that white swirl that had clearly outlived its usefulness. 
We'll have lunch together, and afterwards you are invited to the Leadership Reception, at which the 2017 Wood Industry 40 Under 40 Awards will be presented.  The event runs Tuesday, July 18, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Pricing is $299 before June 30, this Friday; and $350 afterward.


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About the author
Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.