LAS VEGAS - The Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers has announced the opening of its educational program, the College of Woodworking Knowledge (CWWK), which will take place at the AWFS Fair, July 19-22, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The 54 sessions will span topics to enhance business management acumen, improve skill sets, and increase knowledge of the latest technologies as well as provide the latest in safety, workforce development, and legislative updates.

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CWWK Educational Track Highlights include:

Business Management: Trying to master digital marketing techniques? Don’t miss the best practices panel session, including Marc Spagnuolo (“The Wood Whisperer”) and Kyle Toth, and learn how to strengthen your online and social media presence. Participate in the two part “Kick-ass Lean” session with Brad Cairns and his team from the Center for Lean Learning to begin your lean journey or take it to the next level. Daniel Moshe of Tech Guru will help get your business back on track with “meaningful numbers” scorecards and the Six Key Components of successful businesses.

Cenetr for Lean Learning's Brad Cairns

Workforce Development: New in 2017, participate in three free sessions about critical efforts to strengthen our industry’s workforce through the Woodwork Career Alliance (WCA) and the Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab (MiLL). Also, Bobby Lewis, a successful millennial entrepreneur, shares his insight into maximizing the energy and potential of the “next generational employee” for your business.

Cabinet/Millwork: Learn from AWI experts about the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS) version 2, how to increase sales through collaboration, and how to improve efficiency with installation. Hear from Spencer Dick, founder of TigerStop on how you can reduce your hardwood costs by as much as 20-45 percent.

Furniture:  Refinishing pro Mitch Kohanek shares some of his best tips in “Touch-up Repair to Damaged Wood and Coatings.” In two separate sessions, award-winning woodworker Scott Grove will address cold metal casting and “Curved Joinery, Edges and Inlays.” Jonathan Benson, author of Woodworker’s Guide to Veneering and Inlay will cover “Matching Fine Veneers”, and furniture design professionals from ASFD will share their insight on design and branding for furniture makers.

Small Shops Ten and Under: Small shop owners can choose from sessions on intellectual property, choosing the right spray equipment and dust collection management. Paul Downs, author of Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business returns with his well-received session from 2015 where he shares insights into how he runs his shop. Interested in 3D printing but don’t know where to start? Hear from experts from MAKE magazine and Autodesk’s Pier 9 makerspace on what you need to know to incorporate 3D printing into your woodworking business.

Industry 4.0: Also new in 2017, machinery manufacturers and software experts share their knowledge on this newest phase of the manufacturing economy, how it will impact your business and our industry, and what you can do to prepare and incorporate Industry 4.0 concepts into your operation. 

Software & Technology:  How do you approach your software purchasing process? Two sessions will address software from different perspectives, CAM and CAD, what questions you need to ask yourself and how to prepare and ask the right questions of software sales representatives to make the right buying decision for your business.

Techniques & Applications: Three sessions, including two SMARTs, on plastics fabrication will be offered. One panel discussion will address the different materials on the market and their applications. RadTech, the association for UV& EB technology, presents a half-day conference on UV Finishing Technology including experts from IKEA, Superfici, and more.

Safety & Environment: This track offers two free sessions to all attendees. “Legislation Affecting the Industry” is a panel of guest speakers from EPA and AF&PA, to address combustible dust and formaldehyde emissions.  “Developing a Written Workplace Safety Program” is an OSHA-compliant safety plan that can be applied to any size shop. There will also be programs on “Dust Collection” devoted to both small and large shops as well as “Developing an Effective Machine Guarding Program.”

Teacher Track: Teachers can learn how to implement the WCA standards from peers who are conducting evaluations with their students. Learn about the STEM Guitar Building program and the valuable curriculum site CTEOnline.org. An instructor who successfully promotes his program to the community and industry shares how he does it, and participate in sessions to master the grant process and shop safety.

SMART sessions: Seven SMART sessions will be offered in 2017, including two addressing plastics fabrication and three on Industry 4.0 concepts. These sessions take place on the show floor in exhibitor booths and before the show opens, from 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Seating is limited, and registration is capped at 25 per session.


Wood Whisperer Mark Spagnuolo is on The Stage at AWFS Fair

Sessions in Spanish: Also new, three sessions will be offered entirely in Spanish, by industry professionals who are fluent native Spanish speakers. Topics include shop management, finishing, and lean management. Go to http://awfsfair.org/espanol.

Don’t miss the 2017 AWFS Fair Keynote presentation with film and television personality John Ratzenberger (he played mail carrier Cliff Clavin on Cheers), at 8 a.m. on Thursday, July 20. This special event is free to all registered AWFS Fair attendees and exhibitors. Learn how Ratzenberger is supporting skilled trades and manufacturing in America.

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Woodworking Network Symposia: New in 2017, Woodworking Network presents three full-day symposia on Tuesday, July 18 which will complement the CWWK programming with current topics and an impressive lineup of speakers:

  • Celebrity closet designer Lisa Adams headlines the Closets and Home Storage Symposium; 
  • Take the opportunity to query experts from AWFI, Centre from Advanced Wood Processing, and multiple manufacturers in the Wood Finishing Symposium;
  • Hear about Virginia Tech’s FutureHAUS and current trends and technology from leading woodworking companies in the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum. Registration for the day-long events includes lunch, and entry to the Leadership Reception, the venue for the 2017 Wood Industry 40 Under 40 Awards.
Lisa Adams of LA Closet Design

AWFS Fair Stage Offers More Events: Events on the show floor stage, booth #5527, include live interviews with John Ratzenberger, acclaimed furniture artist Sarah Marriage, and woodworkers Kyle Toth and Marc Spagnuolo (“The Wood Whisperer”). Attend the “Education Town Hall” on Saturday morning to learn about the post-secondary woodworking programs that are training our future workforce.
The full program is accessible at http://AWFSFair.org/education.

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