Almost 170 wood industry machinery and supply firm registrants gathered in Delray Beach, FL May 2-4 to network, celebrate and honor industry achievement.

Wood Industry Conference members are doing better and doing good, and the team from Woodworking Network - publisher Laurel Didier, sales and marketing manager Renee Stritar, and yours truly - were thrilled to join in the activities at WIC 2012.

Also at WIC were popular Woodworking Network bloggists and columnists Dave Grulke - on hand as executive director of the Cabinet Makers Association - and Rick Hill, in his role as WoodLINKS USA executive director.

WoodLINKS USA, the woodworking industry educational initiative, scored big during WIC 2012, with two events sponsored by Woodworking Network. A Wednesday evening "silent" auction turned rowdy and vocal, driven by the balmy ocean weather, and bidding was loud and competitive under the deft calls of Black Brothers' Frank Kolbisek and WoodLINKS Rick Hill. By the time the sand settled more than $1,500 had been raised on the sale of custom wood items.

That was just a warm up: Friday morning WoodLINKS scored again with a 5K Walk-Run fundraiser, this co-sponsored by Woodworking Network, C.R. Onsrud, Weinig Holz-Her, My HR Director, and AIA Limousine. This win-win saw 37 pledging participants up at dawn for the beach run. By the time they reached the runners' breakfast stand more than $3,000 had been raise for WoodLINKS USA. The good folks at WIC 2012 rounded the numbers from the two events to an even $5,000 contribution to WoodLINKS. Good going!

Following its first two days of committee meetings, WIC 2012 kicked into high gear on opening day Thursday, with business sessions and awards events.

Laurel Didier moderated a free-wheeling Distributor Forum that morning, featuring Joe Strouse from Hermance Machine Co., Jim Scarlett from Scarlett Machinery, Paul Vella of Atlantic Plywood, and Bill Delaney of Distributor Service, Inc.

Thursday afternoon Woodworking Network joined the social media landscape as your author, Bill Esler moderated a Skype virtual wood plant tour with (clockwise from upper right in photo):

• Bonner Adams of Mackenzie Dow Furniture, Huntington, WV

• Stuart Elfland of Metropolitan Cabient Distributors, Norwood, MA

• Alex Ward of Northland Forest Products, Shakopee, MN

• Bill Esler, Editorial Director, Woodworking Network

• Micah Goldstein, COO and CFO Stanley Furniture

The Skype tour was really a cool demonstration of technology, and how it can be used to show and tell customers. Alex Ward took us behind the scenes with his wireless laptop connection to show off a water jet cutter for profile knives and Millvision applications, among other interesting technology.

WIC 2012 was a very special occasion for Woodworking Network, umbrella media brand for Wood & Wood Products, Custom Woodworking Business, CLOSETS, Redbook, and Closetsdaily.com. Our parent Vance celebrates 75 years in the wood industry, were we got started in publishing. Our team of long-time editorial pros includes Karen Koenig, Rich Christianson, Michaelle Bradford, Jo-Ann Kaiser, with nearly a century of experience among them tracking this industry.

WIC 2012 is also the first public occasion for Vance to share its new story with the wood industry:

Now in 15 markets from product, to protein, agricultural commodities and salon markets, Vance has the scale to leverage sophisticated media media platforms to deliver news and marketing communications for the wood manufacturing business.

We have, like the forward thinking businesses that attended WIC, used the slow-down to strip our publishing operations down to the studs, and rebuild it with what we think is the most powerful and sophisticated communications  capabilities in the wood industry.

We have lots to offer – live wood industry events - SIBO, WMS, Cabinet & Closets conference and expo - plus video presentations, webcasts, social media, integrated digital and print publications spanning the marketplace. And if Vance doesn't already have what you need, we can build it for you at WoodworkingNetwork.com, closetsdaily.com and redbook.com.

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