CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The doors opened in the exhibit hall in the Charlotte Convention Center at Wood Pro Expo in Charlotte Thursday, Feb. 15, but attendees were able to see educational sessions starting the previous day.

Wood Pro Expo Charlotte will play host to woodworking machinery, supplies and educational sessions Feb. 15 and 16.

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.

The event kicked off February 14 with a keynote address by George Frey, president of Lignum Consulting on 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.

Lean manufacturing is always a popular subject and Mike Roth advised attendees how to jump start their lean journey. He also outlined the eight steps of Value Stream Management. In a separate presentation, he spoke about the need for lean leadership in a company. Roth provides strategic leadership and "on site" mentoring for the Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based Go-Lean-Six deployment team.

Also speaking was Greg Pilotti, who brought his own perspective to the issue of finding and retaining good employees. He has been running a successful custom furniture and casegood business in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania, for his entire career, and he’s only 28. He was a winner of the 2017 Wood Industry 40 Under 40 program, which honors the next generation of people likely make an impact on the wood products manufacturing industry in North America.

Pilotti's award recognized his successful entrepreneurship in launching a successful custom furniture and cabinetry business that he built from the ground up. His vision of running his own furniture shop, creating timeless pieces of furniture using the finest techniques has been successful.

Sanding is not as simple a task as most people would think, said Adam West, abrasives specialist for SurfPrep, another Wood Pro Expo speaker. Every part of the sanding process must work together to accomplish a few simple tasks. West got into the nitty-gritty of sanding in his presentation, "How to Eliminate Waste and Improve Your Sanding Operation."

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