The Stairway Manufacturers' Association (SMA) reports that attendance at its 2011 Annual Conference and Business Meeting was only better in 2006 and was equal to 2007 in San Diego, CA. Attendance was up by more than 20% over last years event held in St. Louis. Not only attendance was affected but sponsorships and exhibitors increased by more than 30%. The SMA is a national organization holding two conferences each year at venues that rotate geographically across the country. "Although generally the membership is reporting some increased activity, some parts of the country are still treading water. The reason for the increase is unrelated to the economy but due to the introduction of growth strategies to provide more value for SMA members through education opportunities and making them affordable. In 2009 when most trade associations were cutting back or canceling events the SMA introduced a second conference held in the Fall to focus on technical topics and member certification", the spokesman for the organization stated. This year the third Fall Education conference will be held in Indianapolis November 11- 13, 2011 and will continue to accredit stair industry professionals in what it takes to provide safe, beautiful, stairways. Next year the 2012 SMA Annual Conference will return to the western states and be held in Reno, NV. SMA conference attendees earn learning units toward Stair Design, Stair Code, Architect Educator, and Stair Safety Educator Certifications. Coupled with emphasis on growing SMA publications and programs these strategies are building national focus on the value of SMA professionals and the organization's long legacy of providing for stair safety research and stair code development."
The 2012 conference allowed the opportunity for the Board of Directors to present their Strategic Plan for the organization and the new mission statement: "To be the greatest resource of knowledge and tools contributing to the success of our members and the stair industry." was ratified by the membership. The SMA is currently reviewing its advertising and display policy to determine if a less restrictions would be beneficial to its mission and will incorporate an industry wide survey to best understand the effects. If you have not received an invitation by May 9th please go to http://smai.roundtablelive.org/Default.aspx?pageId=905428 and click subscribe to be invited.

The highlight of the SMA Awards banquet was the SMA StairCraft Awards. Member's entries are judged and selected by their peers. Their is no greater honor in the stair industry. The rigorous process requires that a majority must select an entry for it to be awarded. Entries this year were in six categories but only three were awarded. Congratulations to the 2011 SMA StairCraft Award winners: "Best Curved Stairway" and "Best Stair Part" were awarded to Arcways of Neenah, WI; "Best Straight Stairway" was awarded to Seattle Stair and Design of Seattle, WA. StairCraft Award Winners are chosen on the basis of Aesthetic Value, Stair Safety, Quality, and Technical Challenge.

Join Us at the SMA Fall Education Conference in Indianapolis, Nov. 11-13

SOURCE: Stair Manufacturers Assn.

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