At the International Woodworking Fair (IWF) in August, ISFA had a sizable presence, offering a number of opportunities for association members and attendees to make connections and gather information.
The ISFA booth attracted visitors who could talk to association board members, and staff, to find out more about ISFA’s offerings and ask questions. “It was great to talk to members, as well as those interested in joining, about how ISFA can help with their businesses,” said Membership Director Sandy Milroy. “We are here for the industry everyday, but seeing and talking to them face-to-face really helps to solidify the connection and gives us a chance to remind them that we are ready to assist wherever we can.”
In addition to a booth at the show, ISFA hosted two events, a day-long symposium and a shop tour.
Full-Day Cabinets to Countertops Symposium
On the first day of IWF, ISFA conducted a full-day “Cabinets to Countertops” seminar, in which a panel of distinguished speakers gave presentations on a variety of subjects. Woodworkers from around the country had a chance to hear from some of the top fabricators and experts. The line-up included Evan Kruger, of Solid Tops LLC and president of ISFA, Russ Berry of A.S.S.T., , Grant Garcia, of Sterling Surfaces, Russ Lee, ISFA executive director, and Kevin Cole, communications director of ISFA. The symposium covered such topics as cutting edge materials, new applications, gearing up for fabrication, outsourcing versus in-house fabrication, countertop trends and statistics, working with architects, designers and other specifiers, and how ISFA works with the industry.
The focus of the event, “Turning Opportunity into Profit,” allowed attendees, whether they were cabinetmakers or already had a presence in the countertop industry, to get valuable information on what it takes to be a countertop fabricator, what resources are available, where we are as an industry, and where we are headed, with tips on how to get there.
An informal lunch at the event allowed attendees and presenters to mingle and discuss their particular situations, ask questions and share experiences. The presentation also included plenty of audience interaction so attendees got the most out of the seminar. The event scored high marks on attendee surveys and plans are already in the works for another symposium at the 2012 IWF event.
“Teaming up with IWF and hosting this event really gave ISFA a good opportunity to reach out, not only to its members, but also those interested in the countertop and decorative surfacing industry,” said Kruger. “We brought a lot of people together and were able to provide them with some insight into the industry, as well as connect them with others to share their knowledge and experience.”
Oldcastle Surfaces Shop Tour and Fabricator Meeting
IWF attendees from the countertop world, or just those investigating the possibilities of decorative surfacing, were treated to a shop tour and fabricator meeting at the world class fabrication facility of Oldcastle Surfaces Inc. in Atlanta.
Put on by ISFA, sponsored by Cosentino USA and graciously hosted by Oldcastle Surfaces, approximately 85 attendees were given a tour of 150,000 sq. ft. facility, which housed a newly remodeled showroom, Oldcastle’s corporate headquarters, a huge solid surface shop and a highly technical and automated stone shop. Along the way presentations were given by John Womer of CH Briggs, who showed fabricators the proper techniques for wet wall solid surface installation, and Bryan Stannard of ITW Plexus, who demonstrated hard surface repair using UV-curing technology. Representatives of a variety of manufacturers and suppliers were also in attendance, including Cosentino, LG Hausys, Colonial Saw, Park Industries, Laser Products, SL Laser, MeldUSA, Chemical Concepts, Schultz Forming, CMS/Brembana, Specialtytools.com, and others.
Afterwards, Oldcastle treated the visitors to barbeque and drinks as attendees mingled in the facility’s showroom to network. Discussions ran from the early days of ISFA to modern materials, technologies and techniques, as members of the group got a chance to connect with their peers. ISFA presented information on its current programs and educational offerings, answered questions and offered advice in an informal setting. “Oldcastle Surfaces was the perfect place for an event like this,” said Lee. “It is a very impressive operation, and we were honored that they would open their doors to ISFA members and fabricators from around the world.”
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.