CMA: Dedicated to Professionalism & Success

CMA associate members regularly treat CMA members to product presentations and demonstrations.
Dave Grulke

As the Cabinet Makers Association enters its 13th year, we can say we’ve come a long way from our humble beginnings. Our founding group of small shop owners met in a hotel room in Chicago, determined to create an organization that would be THE place where small to mid-sized shop owners could meet and exchange ideas and information to help each other grow their individual businesses. And that very basic premise is still what we practice today. The CMA is a beacon of information that is freely shared among its more than 340 general and associate member companies and is dedicated to help each other grow.

There are several ways we’ve developed to act as conduits to share with each other. Our monthly e-newsletter and quarterly PROfiles magazine are places where CMA events, activities and news are featured. Nearly every issue of these publications includes articles submitted by our members that focus on technical or business management topics. In addition, each issue of PROfiles includes feature articles about our members’ businesses. Most of the profiled members use copies of the magazine in which they were featured within their sales and marketing materials, helping separate themselves from their competition in their customers’ eyes. You’ll also find a number of CMA members as contributing authors, regular columnists and bloggers in the trade press beyond the titles we publish.

Each year the CMA honors the top
designs of its members in various
categories. Countertop Cabinetry
took first place honors in the
Architectural Millwork category
for projects of 25,000 square feet
or larger.

Live Networking Opportunities
Regional meetings and events also are part of the mix. Each year we have several members volunteer the use of their shops as a one -day meeting space, where CMA members, their guests and other interested professionals can gather to learn and network. A typical regional event inlcudes an educational component, like a speaker from the CMA Speakers Bureau, covering any number of woodworking business and technical topics. For instance, regional events this fall in different areas of the country had themes and experts from within our ranks that included “Lean Manufacturing and Theory of Constraints,” “Automating Your Shop…What Comes First?,” and “Traditional Advertising and Marketing that Creates Leads and Sales.”

Dozens of other topics have been thoroughly covered at past events, not in theory, but in practice, teaching what others have done to meet whatever challenges they faced. Plus, at most of our events, CMA Associate Members sponsoring the event demonstrate their latest and greatest products and services as well as provide informative seminars and workshops of interest to our member shops and guests.

In addition, at the big shows, like The Custom Cabinet Conference/Closet Conference (See page 48), AWFS and IWF, our Speakers Bureau is very active in providing many seminars and workshops. Odds are, if you’ve been to a seminar or workshop at one of these national shows, you’ve probably learned from a CMA member who speaks from experience. In fact, the CMA provides more speakers for more events reaching more woodworkers than any other organization. In addition, we normally hold our annual banquet and bus tour at the summer shows, where members get some face to face time with others from across the continent.

CMA Membership

The CMA is a non-profit trade association
incorporated in 1998 whose mission is
“to uphold the highest level of professionalism
in the industry by providing its members with
networking opportunities, continuing education
and ongoing professional development.” The
association is owned and governed by its
members and an annually elected Board of
Directors from within its active membership.

General membership in the Cabinet Makers
Association is open to all custom cabinet and
woodworking businesses and professionals.
Associate memberships are limited to firms
and professionals that supply general members
with tools, machinery, materials, supplies or
Learn more at
Online Information Exchange

The main way we keep in touch with each other on a day-to-day basis is in our Members-Only online forum. Often described as a ”forum on steroids,” the CMA Members forum is where we all use our real names, ask real questions and provide real answers to fellow member professionals. The depth and breadth of knowledge exhibited there is nothing short of amazing. Decades of collective knowledge are available at the CMA forum 24/7/365 from people who do what you do every day.

Often within hours of when a member posts a problem or situation where they are seeking advice, several answers (any of which would work) are posted from fellow members across North America who’ve already solved that particular problem and want to share their answer. There is no need to spend time and money to reinvent the wheel at the CMA. Someone’s already done that, and is willing to share what they learned. The best part is that follow up questions and answers are just a phone call or an e-mail away. We even have a live chat feature within the forums, and are experimenting with live video chats. There’s nothing like knowing everything, but for those of us who don’t, having a source of reliable information and answers available at the precise time when you need it is an invaluable benefit of CMA membership.

New CMA Design Contest
In early 2010, we announced yet another benefit for our members. The CMA held its first annual design and project awards contest. We had dozens of entries from fellow members across North America and named over a dozen of the entries as “best of the best”. Winners were awarded plaques (we make stuff out of wood, so one of our members made all the award plaques) and individual press releases were crafted for each winner and distributed to media outlets in their local markets, acknowledging their accomplishments. With the press coverage alone, several winners reported many congratulations and some new business resulted as a direct result of this awards program and their winning entries. We will announce our 2011 awards contest shortly after the first of the year. All CMA members are welcome to participate, and possibly gain the notoriety of winning an international award from a jury of their peers.

New Members Welcome
If you join the CMA and if you get involved, you’ll never look back with regrets. About the only regret some of our active members have ever expressed is not joining sooner. Here’s your chance to catapult your business forward, and maybe give back a little to others. The CMA is a place where you can find others who share your dreams and can help move you to the next level. There are dozens and dozens of candidates for your inner circle of trusted business advisors here. Who better to have in your inner circle than a professional who thoroughly understands the business challenges and opportunities you face every day?

It all starts with you. The future is bright for those who grasp opportunity when they find it. If you think a membership in the CMA might be your next smart move, we’d love to explore the possibilities with you. Check us out at or contact me at the CMA office in Milwaukee, WI, for more information.

I can be reached at (414) 377-1340 or [email protected].


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