Welcome New Members & Sponsors!

The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America is pleased to welcome 20 new EDUcation™ member schools, three new MANufacturing™ members, two new sponsors, and 17 renewing INDustry™ Sponsors.

Thank you for your membership and support!

New EDUcation™ Members
Appleton East High School – Appleton, WI
Black River High School – Black River Falls, WI
Cumberland County High School – Burkesville, KY
DeSoto High School – DeSoto, WI
East Henderson High School – East Flat Rock, NC
Florence High School – Florence, CO
Holmen High School – Holmen, WI
Lincoln Jr/Sr High School – Alma Center, WI
Mauston High School – Mauston, WI
Melrose Mindoro High School – Melrose, WI
Necedah High School – Necedah, WI
New Lisbon High School – New Lisbon, WI
North Carolina School for the Deaf – Morganton, NC
Onalaska High School – Onalaska, WI
Orangeville District Secondary School – Orangeville, ON – Canada
River Falls High School – River Falls, WI
Seventy First High School – Fayetteville, NC
TC Robertson High School – Tryon, NC
West Salem High School – West Salem, WI
Western Technical College (Tomah) – Tomah, WI

Find WCA EDUcation™ woodworking programs in your area.

New MANufacturing™ Members
Burke Architectural Millwork – Livonia, MI
Busby Cabinets – Alachua, FL
Millwork By Design – Tucson, AZ

INDustry™ Gold Sponsor Renewals
Atlantic Plywood – Woburn, MA
Daniels-Metro Hardwoods – Sioux Falls, SD
KCD Software – Cataumet, MA
Kreg Tool Company – Huxley, IA
M.L. Campbell – The Woodlands, TX
NBMDA – Chicago, IL
Newman Machine Company – Browns Summit, NC
Stiles Machinery/Homag – Kentwood, MI
Thermwood Corp. – Dale, IN
Wood-Ed Table by Mimbus – Chicago, IL
Wurth Group NA
– Vernon Hills, IL

New INDustry™ Silver Sponsors
Daubert Chemical
– Chicago, IL
Gemini Coatings – El Reno, OK

INDustry™ Silver Sponsor Renewals
Aiken Controls
– Lenoir, NC
Bessey Tools of North America – Cambridge, ON
Brookhuis America – Suwanee, GA
C.R. Onsrud Inc. – Troutman, NC
Sorrelli Woodwork Consultants – Delray Beach, FL
Weima America – Fort Mill, SC


View all WCA INDustry™ Sponsors & Supporters.

Learn more about the benefits of becoming a WCA sponsor.

Zooming in on the Virtual 2021 SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking Championships

The technical chair of the AWI SkillsUSA Committee discusses the challenges and ultimate satisfaction of pulling off this year’s national competition remotely.


The annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference is the most anticipated event for students of high school and postsecondary career and technical education programs across the nation. Loaded with pageantry and energy, the nearly week-long event is often likened to the Olympics of CTE, with Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals being awarded to the top finishers.

In normal times, SkillsUSA occupies a space equivalent to 31 football fields. In 2019, the national championships fielded more than 6,500 contestants in 106 separate events, including one devoted to cabinetmaking.

Max Soares, the winner of the 2021 SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking competition, is flanked by his high school advisor Joseph Arruda, left, and Mike McNulty, 2019 AWI president, who served as his proctor.

But these are not normal times. Even though the coronavirus pandemic is now largely on the wane in the United States, a decision was made many months before to hold this year’s competition as a virtual event rather than at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta as had been planned during the week of June 14.

As disappointing as that decision might seem, it’s not nearly as bad as the one that had to be made last year when the fast-spreading virus caused SkillsUSA to be canceled altogether.

Cheers to the Winners
Six students, three each in the separate high school and college competitions were honored in this year’s SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking Championships.\

High school student winners included:

  • Gold: Max Soares, Greater New Bedford RVTHS, New Bedford, MA
  • Silver: Hayden Clarke, College Station High School, College Station, TX
  • Bronze: Cole Murray, Green River High School, Green River, WY

College student winners included:

  • Gold: Christopher Midgley, Indian Capital Technology Center-Sallisaw, Sallisaw, OK
  • Silver: Chris Todd, Wayne State College, Wayne, NE
  • Bronze: Ryan Faust, Saint Paul College, Saint Paul, MN

AWI Takes the Lead on Cabinetmaking Championships
The cabinetmaking competition was organized by the Architectural Woodwork Institute’s SkillsUSA Committee, chaired by Kristine Cox of Rowland Woodworking. Kent Gilchrist, treasurer of the Woodwork Career Alliance and chair of the AWI Education Foundation, serves as SkillsUSA cabinetmaking technical chair.

Gilchrist carved out some time to answer questions about this year’s most unique SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking Championships.

Rich Christianson: I assume staging this year’s SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking competition virtually wasn’t easy. What were some of the key challenges you had to overcome?

Kent Gilchrist: This was a lot more work. We’ve spent years perfecting our live competition and we had to do this one from scratch.

The first challenge was crowning the individual state champions to compete in the national competition. Most states ran virtual competitions, but some actually met in person because they didn’t have restrictions. Then there were other states that did not allow any equipment to be used. For example, in North Carolina, they could have a competition but they couldn’t use any equipment.

Christianson: Did the patchwork quilt of state rules negatively impact the number of students who competed in nationals?

Gilchrist: Yes, unfortunately, they did. Typically, we have 65 to 70 competitors. This year we only had 26 competitors. This includes five who registered from postsecondary and 21 from secondary schools. I believe we had one scratch at each level.

Christianson: So, even with far less than half the qualifying competitors, as usual, you pushed forward. What were the basic mechanics of conducting the high school and college cabinetmaking championships virtually?

Gilchrist: Each of the students completed a technical assessment, which we borrowed from the WCA. We used the WCA’s Green credential assessment consisting of 40 multiple choice questions to test their woodworking knowledge. We also had them create a cut list from a past SkillsUSA national cabinetmaking competition project. This is something they would normally do at an in-person competition.

In addition to these two components, they had to take a professional development test which is mandatory by SkillsUSA and they had to turn in a resume. Finally. we had what we called the “build project.” On their specified build day, they competed from their own classroom in front of a stationary camera. Each of the student competitors was joined by their advisor, usually their woodworking instructor, and a proctor.

This wooden tea box, the build project for the 2021 SkillsUSA cabinetmaking competition, proved more challenging than expected for many of the contestants.

Christianson: I get the advisors being present. What more can you tell me about the proctors? What was their job?

Gilchrist: One of the jobs of the proctors was to use a roving camera to take different angles of the student working on his or her project as requested by the judges.

Here’s the fun part. The first challenge we had was finding proctors. We went through our AWI network and industry connections. We reached out to as many people as we could in a short period of time because we didn’t know who the competitors were until three to four weeks before the national competition. Once we figured out who each competitor was and where they were located, we tried to establish where we could get a proctor in that location.

Our goal was to have industry-related proctors at each of our sites. But we probably ended up being able to pull only about 60 percent from the industry. They were a mix of supplier members, AWI members, and wood products manufacturing members. Some were retired members of AWI who stepped up to help.

Christianson: If the main job of the proctor was to operate the roving camera, why was it desirable to find people with industry experience?

Gilchrist: A couple of reasons. One, the proctor was someone who was also kind of keeping tabs on the honesty level of what was going on there. We needed to find someone to observe the student working who was not biased in any way. The other reason that we wanted to have proctors there from industry was so that we could introduce the industry to the schools. When SkillsUSA first announced they wanted to do this virtually, we saw it as an opportunity to build relationships between industry and education. It actually worked out well. We had some proctors who had an epiphany that we actually have schools with high-quality woodworking programs that are well-equipped.

In cases where we could not find a proctor, the school’s advisor found a trustworthy assistant to serve as a proctor.

Christianson: Which online platform was used for the competition? How did it work out?

Gilchrist: This was all done by Zoom and it overall worked out great.

On the Monday of the competition week, we held a two-hour-long orientation. We gave the competitors the scope of the contest and briefly showed them the project plans of the tea box that they were going to build. We also discussed the different aspects of the competition.

We broke the project build days into three groups, Eastern time zone, Central time zone, and Mountain and Pacific time zones. Each day we sent out a specific link to the schools that were competing that day. We probably had 30 hours of Zoom calls over four days, including the orientation and the three competition days. The competitors had six hours to build their project.

During the competition, we would communicate either through voice or through chat with the students, proctors, and advisors. For example, we would instruct them to adjust their camera or to zoom their camera in on the project or task. We could also signal the competitor to ask a question and they could ask us a question as well.

I think using Zoom for the competition turned out better than we had expected. It had its challenges, but I think the schools were used to the formats having used them. They had already been doing this for a year for remote learning during the pandemic so to have another event run through Zoom was not really that much of a transition for them.

Christianson: In normal times, when the national competition is held live in a host city like Louisville in 2019, each of the contestants uses the same equipment and materials. Obviously, that was not the case this year. I guess the upside is that students ran equipment they were used to working with but on the other hand some of them might have had newer or better equipment. Did this put some of the competitors at a disadvantage?

Gilchrist: That and the six-hour time limit were important factors that we considered when we developed the plans for this year’s build project. We knew the project had to be fairly simple, at least as far as the tools they were going to use because we did not know what kind of equipment each contestant had in their classroom. Their primary equipment included a table saw, a miter saw, and a few little hand tools, such as a block plane, a sanding block, and then either a pin nailer or some finished nails. We kept the project simple because we did not know what kind of equipment each contestant had in their classroom.

Interestingly, when we previewed the project during the orientation Zoom call, I could see this look of surprise on many of the competitors and their advisors. I believe they thought this was a very simple project. Many were probably thinking, “Wow, that’s all that there is? We’re just going to build a box.”

Much to their surprise, the project offered some interesting challenges they may not have considered. The box was a hexagon and if they cut the top or bottom wrong, the project was wrong. If they didn’t get their miters just right, then it was absolutely wrong. We gave them the dimensions and told them the parts were 30-degree angles. But we didn’t tell them they had to bisect the angles. There were some mistakes with either a wrong size part or angles cut on the wrong side of the line. There were some under-sized boxes, which is typical. Mistakes happen when a contestant is nervous during a competition. We see that at nationals all of the time.

Ryan Faust, a student at St. Paul College, won the bronze medal in the post-secondary SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking Championship.

Christianson: How were the judges able to accurately gauge if a part’s tolerance was off by just a fraction of an inch?

Gilchrist: That was another role of the proctor. At the end of the competition, the proctor’s job was to give us six photographs of different views based on guidelines and sample pictures we gave them. They would just match those pictures and give us the same image with the student’s project.

Christianson: It’s a bummer that the students didn’t get the normal SkillsUSA national championships experience. They didn’t have the opportunity to travel and represent their state or to meet their fellow competitors. Yet, considering the competition was entirely canceled last year, how do you feel about what was accomplished this year?

Gilchrist: I think it was the right choice to do it virtually and I think the students who competed were satisfied with what they were able to do. Even though it wasn’t in-person, the students were still able to take a lot away from it.

It was interesting watching the awards ceremony on Zoom. All of the medalists were encouraged to have watch parties with their families and friends. It was great to hear people cheer when each of their names was called. That was exciting. I knew all of that work was worthwhile.

President’s Message: Lots to Talk About and It’s All Good

2021 continues to be a record year for the WCA!  Since our last Pathways newsletter, we have added 20 new EDUcation members, three new MANufacturing members, and two new INDustry Silver Sponsors.

I want to thank The Sherwin-Williams Company for their very gracious cash donation of $5,000!  WCA will use this money to help increase our resources for helping our EDUcation & MANufacturing members train the woodworking industry’s future workforce.

WCA was pleased to partner with the Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers (AWFS) and Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) to produce a six-minute video promoting careers in the wood manufacturing industry. This video will be available to help educate parents and the general public about the vast opportunities available for students and future employees.

WCA has also partnered with Woodworking Network on a workforce development benchmarking study that we hope will lead to finding solutions to alleviate the challenges most wood product companies face hiring, retaining, and training qualified production employees. I hope you will find 10 minutes to weigh in on this very important study. Take the survey.

Mimbus will once again be joining us in our booth #1979 at the AWFS Fair, July 20-23 in Las Vegas. Please stop by and put your finishing skills to the test using their VR Spray Simulator.

Finally, be sure to check out the silent auction taking place at booth #3419 of the AWFS Fair, featuring more than 80 bid items including autographed collectibles, fun get-a-ways, framed artwork, and jewelry. Net proceeds will benefit the WCA. Thanks to AWFS and Expo Auctions for organizing this fun fundraiser. Early online bidding is open now.

Hope to see you at our booth #1979 at the AWFS Fair.

Scott Nelson
Woodwork Career Alliance of North America


Columbia High School Bucks the Trend

Five of the first six students ever to earn Sawblade certificates at Columbia Early College Prep High School pose with their awards.

While high school woodshops are disappearing at an alarming rate nationally, this small school located in rural North Carolina is looking to expand its new woodworking program.

It’s said that when the bandsaw leaves the building, it’s never coming back and neither is the woodshop program it was used in.

Sadly, this adage has proven applicable time and time again at high schools across America where woodworking programs have been axed because of budget cuts, classroom space reallocations, the difficulty to find qualified instructors, or other reasons.

That’s why against the backdrop of this disturbing national trend, it’s worth celebrating what’s happening at Columbia Early College High School in Columbia, NC. Just two years ago, the high school hired Ben O’Kelley to help launch a woodworking program. This spring, O’Kelley helped six of his students earn their Woodwork Career Alliance (WCA) Sawblade certificates.

Starting Up a Woodworking Program
Columbia High School is located in a remote rural area about an hour from the Atlantic Ocean is the only high school within the Tyrell County Schools. According to USA Today, student enrollment was 172 during the 2018-19 academic year. Ninety-eight percent of those students were considered “economically disadvantaged” and qualified for free lunches. But despite their financial challenges, 95 percent of Columbia’s students graduated, slightly higher than the state’s average, according to USA Today.

Columbia High student tries out the bench chair he is working on.

O’Kelley said he was hired because the district’s school board saw an opportunity for students not planning to attend college to learn skills that would allow them to pursue a career in the trades. “There are a lot of manufacturing companies in our area looking for skilled help,” O’Kelley said. “Our hands-on program prepares them to enter the job market.”

Prior to coming on board at Columbia, O’Kelley taught woodworking for 10 years at John A. Holmes High School in Edenton, NC. “I grew up using my hands. I took woodshop and construction, built stuff around the house, and worked on cars,” O’Kelley says. “I went to school to get a degree in architectural design but realized I wasn’t content to sit at a desk. So, I became a woodworking instructor instead.”

During his stint at Holmes High School, O’Kelley learned about the WCA. He liked the fact that the WCA’s skill standards have been vetted by the woodworking industry. He successfully trained to become a WCA accredited skill evaluator during a summer in-service program focused on career technical education for North Carolina teachers.

O’Kelley said his experience teaching woodworking courses structured around the WCA’s skill standards is one of the reasons he got the Columbia job. In getting Columbia’s woodworking program up and running, O’Kelley recommended that the new program become an EDUcation member of the WCA.

Columbia currently offers students two levels of woodworking as an elective. Each course meets five days a week for one semester. The courses are open to students of all grade levels with the caveat that they must first pass Woods 1 to take Woods 2.

A student cuts shelf supports.

In Woods 1, students get an overview of basic woodworking machinery along with a strong emphasis on safety. Their projects are all assigned by O’Kelley such as a bandsaw box and a small bookshelf. Students can also earn the OSHA-10 Construction certificate, which includes training on job-site hazards, hand and power tool safety, and more.

In Woods 2, students learn to read plans and tackle more complex projects, including building a nightstand. They are also given more freedom to choose projects that they can use such as gaming tables and surfboards. “I just kind of guide them,” O’Kelley says.

In addition, Woods 2 students work toward earning their WCA Sawblade certificates. That requires passing an online test of fundamental woodworking knowledge and measuring skills, plus passing hands-on evaluations for setting up and operating standard woodworking machines including a table saw and jointer.

O’Kelley’s course description posted on Columbia’s website, notes, “My goal is to keep the ‘book work’ to a minimum as (the) majority of the topics and skills can be learned through the hands-on activities. However, student behavior, safety, and equipment will dictate when and how often projects will be used.”

Overcoming Challenges
O’Kelley said he has overall enjoyed the challenges of creating a new woodworking program from scratch. The biggest exception of course was the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We had about 30 students for the year split between Woods 1 and Woods 2,” O’Kelley says. “The fall 2020 semester was all remote, live-streamed on Google Classrooms. I wasn’t able to offer the Sawblade certification then because they couldn’t come to school and they didn’t have the tools needed at home. It was a struggle.

“The spring semester was a hybrid schedule. Students would come to school some days and those that chose to stay home could come in after hours,” O’Kelley continues. “The six kids who got Sawblade certificates this spring included one student who studied remote and would come and see me after hours to work on his projects. Those were the first six students in our program to get their certificates,” O’Kelley says.

Another challenge that O’Kelley confronted early on came after the district purchased new woodworking equipment but then ran out of funds to build a classroom to house it. As a result, the new equipment was placed in storage and O’Kelley’s woodworking classes shared space and older model equipment with the school’s agricultural program.

That’s about to change, though, because of a partnership with the nearby Pocosin Art School of Fine Craft. Pocosin was awarded grant money to renovate its building, including adding new space for a woodshop that will be used by Columbia students during on weekdays and for adult programs on weeknights and weekends.

This Mother’s Day jewelry rack is a project that woodworking instructor Ben O’Kelley has everyone make.

O’Kelley said he was able to provide input for the new woodshop, including interacting with the architects of the project. The machinery that was purchased for the Columbia woodworking program will be moved from storage to Pocosin. O’Kelley said students should have access to the new facility sometime this fall.

“The center is within walking distance of school — about two or three blocks,” O’Kelley said. “Pocosin is putting in dust collection and the school district is providing the woodworking equipment that’s been waiting to be used for the past two years.”

O’Kelley says it was great to return to some sense of normalcy this past spring. “Students were only in class a couple of days a week and they were wearing masks, but most importantly they were able to be here and make things.

“I’m really looking forward to giving the kids bigger, more in-depth projects this fall,” O’Kelly adds. “We’ll have a lot more space when the Pocosin woodshop opens. I know that many of the students are looking forward to that as well.”

A trio of corner cabinets made by Columbia High woodworking students in Woods 2,

WCA partners with Woodworking Network on crucial workforce study

Survey results to be presented at 2021 Executive Briefing Conference.

Woodworking Network and the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America (WCA) have joined forces to conduct a ground-breaking survey exploring the woodworking industry’s top workforce development issues.

The main objectives of this benchmark study are three-fold:

  1. To assess the U.S. and Canadian woodworking industries’ challenge to find skilled production employees now and in the short-term future.
  2. To gain insights into how woodworking companies currently train their production employees.
  3. To determine what resources and programs the WCA might provide to help woodworking companies better recruit, train and retain skilled production employees.

“The challenge to hire workers and develop their skills is anything but new,” said Harry Urban, publisher of Woodworking Network. “We hope this study will not only help us better understand the extent of the woodworking industry’s skills gap but even more importantly, shed light on what types of things individual companies and the industry at large might do to close that gap.”

“We greatly appreciate the opportunity to partner with Woodworking Network on this very important research project,” said Scott Nelson, president of the WCA. “We developed woodworking skill standards and a credentialing program to provide pathways for people to pursue and grow woodworking careers. The responses to this survey will help WCA finetune current programs and develop new ones that will better suit the needs of the North American woodworking industry.”

Highlights of the study’s results will be presented by Patrick Molzahn, director of the cabinetmaking program of Madison Area Technical College during the Executive Briefing Conference, Sept. 8-10, at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. The results will also be published in FDMC magazine and online at WoodworkingNetwork.com and WoodworkCareer.org.

The organizers strongly encourage all owners and managers of secondary wood product manufacturing companies to invest 10 minutes of their time to take the survey. All respondents will qualify for either or both of these discounts:

Take the Survey


Mimbus to Participate at AWFS Fair with WCA

CHICAGO — Mimbus Inc., a creator and distributor of immersive simulators for manual skills training, announced its planned participation at the AWFS Fair in Las Vegas, taking place July 20-23.

Mimbus Inc. will showcase its immersive solutions 100% dedicated to training for the woodworking industry at booth #1979.

Visitors to the WCA booth will experience live demonstrations of the Virtual Reality solution SimSpray for wood painting, get exclusive insight into the latest features of the Wood Ed products for carpentry training, and learn how the software Vulcan by Mimbus can analyze in real-time the assessments of professional training to better control the training experience and ensure trainee skill achievement.

“We very much look forward to participating in the AWFS Fair 2021 in Las Vegas. It will be the first trade show this year where our team will participate onsite again,” explains Sebastien Bru, head of Mimbus Inc. “We will be present thanks to the support of the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America, a trustful partner for several years now, committed to improving skilled trade training development, like us.”

Members of the Woodwork Career Alliance will be on hand to discuss how woodworking companies can incorporate the WCA Skill Standards and Passport credentialing program to strengthen their training programs.

“We greatly appreciate our ongoing partnership with Mimbus,” said Scott Nelson, President of the WCA. “Virtual reality is a tremendous tool for instructing students and new employees on the safe operation of equipment used in our industry. I encourage educators and woodworkers attending the show to stop by the booth and see the potential of these systems first-hand.”

The AWFS Fair brings together the entire home and commercial furnishings industry, including manufacturers and distributors of machinery, hardware, plastics, lumber, construction materials, and other suppliers to the furniture, cabinet manufacturers, and custom woodworkers.

Additional information about the AWFS Fair 2021 is available at awfsfair.org.

About Mimbus Inc.
Founded in 2011, Mimbus revolutionizes vocational training, by providing the instructors with innovative tools allowing to train their students faster, in a totally safe way, and with lower costs. Specialized in the learning of manual skills, Mimbus offers a range of nearly 15 virtual training solutions covering the learning of about 20 manual trades, all of them connected to VULCAN, the unique platform that tracks, controls, and adapts the student learning path for more efficient training. Mimbus is a French company with a subsidiary based in Chicago, Illinois. mimbus.com

About the Woodwork Career Alliance
Founded in 2007, the mission of the Woodwork Career Alliance (WCA) is to support workforce development for the woodworking industry, which includes certification and training of new and existing woodworking professionals as well as students at both the high school and post-secondary levels. Woodworking students and professionals can earn an industry-approved and recognized credential based on observable, measurable standards and evaluations. Every participant in the program starts by purchasing a Passport that will record their achievements as they move through the process. woodworkcareer.org

The AWI Education Foundation Receives $2 Million for Architectural Woodwork Scholarships & Institutional Grants

Potomac Falls, VA — The Architectural Woodwork Institute Education Foundation (AWIEF) recently received a donation of $2 million from the Quality Certification Corporation with $1 million designated for Randolph Estabrook Educational Scholarships for individuals and $1 million earmarked for grants of accredited secondary and post-secondary architectural woodwork programs.

The donation was made to the AWIEF on the occasion of the retirement of Randolph Estabrook as the long-standing Executive Director of the AWI Quality Certification Corporation.

According to the terms of the donation to AWIEF, each year the Education Foundation will award approximately $50,000 for legacy Randolph Estabrook Scholarships and distribute $100,000 in grants in support of eligible architectural woodwork academic programs. The grant program is an exciting new endeavor for the AWI Education Foundation.

“This generous donation allows AWIEF to reach out to a greater number of education institutions in support of their architectural woodwork programs and also enables the Education Foundation to provide more scholarships to qualified students,” says AWIEF President Kent Gilchrist. Presently, AWIEF awards scholarships to eligible students who aspire to careers in the architectural woodwork industry as recommended by faculty of secondary and post-secondary institutions.

Former AWIEF President Robert Stout of RLS Commercial Interiors adds, “We hope to entice schools to apply for grants to strengthen their woodworking programs in order to support a future workforce that meets the needs of the architectural woodwork industry.”  Secondary schools in particular are in need of infrastructure, software, equipment, and a myriad of other components to buttress their woodshop programs. Retired Pennsylvania College of Technology Assistant Professor and AWIEF Vice President William Geyer confirmed that “institutions are budget-strapped to enhance their architectural woodwork programs.”

Over the next several months, the seven-member AWIEF Board of Directors will meet periodically to identify eligibility criteria and devise an application process for academic grants.

About the AWI Education Foundation

The mission of the Architectural Woodwork Institute Education Foundation (AWIEF) is to identify, cultivate and deliver resources that provide opportunities for education and professional development in the architectural woodwork industry.  The AWIEF, which was founded in 2008 with a generous endowment from the Architectural Woodwork Institute, is a 501(c)(3) public charity, a non-profit foundation. www.awinet.org/about/education-foundation

AWFS®Fair Auction Supports Woodworking Skills Development

Net proceeds from the special event will help fund credentialing programs offered by the Woodwork Career Alliance to students and professionals.

The AWFS®Fair will host a silent auction with net proceeds benefitting the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America. The WCA is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing and growing a skilled woodworking workforce.

The auction will feature a wide variety of more than 80 bid items including autographed collectibles, fun get-a-ways, framed artwork and jewelry.

The special event is being presented through the collaboration of Expo Auctions of Sugar Hill, GA, and the Association of Woodworking & Furnishing Suppliers® (AWFS®), the organizer of the biennial woodworking fair.

Separate silent auctions will take place on each of the four days of AWFSFair, Tuesday, July 20 through Friday, July 23. Show attendees and exhibitors will be able to view most of the auction items displayed on tables located at booth 3419 in the West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Auction items will be available for preview and early bidding online beginning July 10.

Expo Auctions’ mobile bidding platform allows bidders to participate from anywhere in the world using their smartphones. Individuals who are unable to attend this year’s show can bid on items and support a good cause.

Items that will be on the auction block include:

  • Jimmy Buffett signed guitar;
  • 7mm white freshwater pearl necklace (85-inch length);
  • Drive Your Dream Car on a Racetrack with a three-night stay at a 4-Star Las Vegas Strip hotel for two;
  • Two-night stay in Albuquerque, NM, with Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride for two;
  • Signed sports items by Rocket Ismail, Notre Dame; Calvin Johnson, Georgia-Tech; Amari Cooper, Alabama; Emmitt Smith, Florida; and many more.
  • Framed collages of Harry Potter book series, Pink Floyd, the Beatles, and more.

As Easy as 1, 2, 3
To participate in the silent auction and review all auction items:

  1. Visit the official auction website bidhere.expobid.co beginning July 10 or text BidHere to 56651.
  2. Register your mobile phone number, email, and name.
  3. Submit your bid on the item or items of your choice.

Bidding opens at 9:00 a.m. and closes at 3:30 p.m. PT on July 20, 21 and 22. Bidding hours are 9:00 a.m. to noon on Friday, July 23.

Text notifications will be sent to bid winners at the close of each day’s auction communicating payment options. All winning bids include free shipping within the continental U.S.

“We look forward to AWFSFair attendees and exhibitors engaging with this silent auction to support the Woodwork Career Alliance,” said Adria Salvatore, assistant executive director/education. “WCA and the work that it does is critical to our industry and ensuring a strong workforce. The funds from this auction will be used to expand school programs, allow more students and professionals to earn their skill credentials, and provide more resources for teachers to connect with our industry.”

“AWFS has been a fantastic supporter of the Woodwork Career Alliance over the years,” said Scott Nelson, WCA president. “We deeply appreciate that the WCA has been designated to receive the net proceeds of this fun fundraising program. As a not-for-profit organization, we can use all of the financial support we can get to help us connect with more schools and woodworking companies to develop the next generation of skilled woodworkers.”

Learn more about the WCA and its skill standards and credentialing programs at AWFS booth 1979 or visit woodworkcareer.org.

About AWFS®
The full-scale international AWFS® Fair, scheduled for Tuesday-Friday, July 20-23, 2021 in Las Vegas, has become a critical hub for international commerce in the woodworking industry. The AWFS® Fair brings together the entire home and commercial furnishings industry, including manufacturers and distributors of machinery, hardware, plastics, lumber, construction materials, and other suppliers to the furniture, cabinet manufacturers, and custom woodworkers. For more information on the AWFS® Fair, visit AWFSFair.org.

About the Woodwork Career Alliance
The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America was founded in 2007 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and is governed by a volunteer board of directors. The WCA’s mission is to develop and administer a unified set of Skill Standards for the wood products industry. Since 2011, WCA has developed observable and measurable performance standards and assessments for more than 300 woodworking machine operations. In addition, WCA has issued over 3,500 Passport credentials, a portable, personal permanent record documenting each holder’s record of woodworking skill achievements. More than 140 high schools and post-secondary schools throughout North America are WCA EDUcation™ members and a growing number of woodworking companies have joined the WCA as MANufacturing™ members. To learn more about the WCA and how to get involved with its programs, including sponsorship opportunities, visit WoodworkCareer.org.

WCA, AWFS and AWI produce video promoting woodworking careers

Three woodworking organizations partnered to produce a six-minute video that is airing on public television stations nationwide to create awareness of career opportunities in the wood products industry.

The video, produced by “In Depth with Laurence Fishburne,” an award-winning educational television series highlighting the evolution of education, medicine, science, technology, and industry through inspiring stories. It was funded by the Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers (AWFS), Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI), and Woodwork Career Alliance of North America (WCA). In addition, a one-minute commercial version of the video (below) was produced. It will air on Fox Business Network and other cable networks.

The program showcases the operations of Hollywood Woodwork, a high-end commercial architectural woodworking firm in Hollywood, Fla. It introduces the audience to potential careers in a modern woodworking facility using advanced machinery in a safe and clean environment.

Those interviewed in the video discuss skills needed for wood industry careers, education and training opportunities, and various career pathways available.

Sebastien DesMarais, president of Hollywood Woodwork and current AWI Board president, is prominently featured in the video. Others included are Brian Joyce, vice president of sales, Blum Inc. and AWFS executive board member; Doug Hague, AWI executive vice president; Scott Nelson, WCA president; and Jennifer Glender, senior project Manager, Hollywood Woodwork.

“We are so excited to partner with In Depth on this video project,” said AWFS Executive Vice President Angelo Gangone. “This is a fantastic way to reach a new audience through In Depth’s distribution channels. By collaborating with AWI and WCA, we could access the fantastic manufacturing facility at Hollywood Woodwork, add more voices to the story, and ensure that our industry’s skill standards are included in the conversation.”

“This video project was a lot of fun,” said Hague. “Video is an ideal way to reach a universal audience, including young people and those who influence their career-making decisions like parents, educators, and school counselors. We feel this video will make a positive impact on shifting the perception of wood industry careers. We are extremely grateful to Hollywood Woodwork for opening their doors to serve as an example of today’s wood products manufacturing facility.”

“This was a unique opportunity, and it was important that WCA could participate in it,” Nelson said. “We are very satisfied with the end-product and hope this can be an asset that our industry can continue to use to introduce wood manufacturing to our future workforce and the general public.”

Trio of WCA Affiliates Receive 40 Under 40 Honors

Three members of the wood products industry with close ties to the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America were among those honored in this year’s 40 Under 40 awards program presented by Woodworking Network.

They include:

The WCA joins in celebrating the achievements of these and the other deserving members of Woodworking Network’s 40 Under 40 class of 2021.

The 2021 honorees will be celebrated at Woodworking Network’s Leadership Reception on July 19 during the AWFS Fair in Las Vegas. They will be profiled in the October 2021 issue of FDMC magazine.

Learn more.




NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa – Honorees of the 2021 Wood Industry 40 Under 40 have been announced by Woodworking Network. This year marks the sixth annual awarding of the 40 Under 40, which celebrates the next generation of industry professionals who are making an impact on wood products manufacturing in North America.

Those selected have been recognized by their peers for their achievements and innovations in the categories of: productivity, profitability, social good, ingenuity, peer inspiration, product development, organizational leadership, or another area. A total of 151 submissions were received and evaluated by a team of Woodworking Network editors.

“It’s always hard to narrow down the list to 40 honorees and 2021’s entries were no exception.  Among the entrants are highly successful entrepreneurs, marketing specialists, extraordinary woodworkers, educators and almost-rookie team members,” said Harry Urban, FDMC publisher. “While dealing with COVID personally and professionally, this year’s nominees have successfully navigated supply chain volatility, led and motivated team members and contributed to their communities.  Cheers for the Class of 2021!”

“It is our distinct pleasure to again recognize some of the best and brightest contributors to wood products manufacturing in North America with our sixth annual class of 40 Under 40 honorees. This year’s inductees join the 200 alums from prior years, forming a group of enterprising individuals destined to advance our industry to meet the everchanging challenges of the future,” said Tim Fixmer, CEO of CCI Media, the parent of Woodworking Network.

“Please join us in congratulating each of them and celebrating their commitment to excellence. We also hope that many of you will take the opportunity to meet some of this stellar group at the Executive Briefing Conference in September at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs,” he added.

This year marks Woodworking Network’s sixth annual awarding of the 40 Under 40, which celebrates industry professionals who are making an impact at their jobs, in the community, and on the North American wood products manufacturing industry. Through innovation, motivation or inspiration, honorees are contributing in the areas of productivity, profitability, social good (locally or globally), ingenuity, innovation, peer inspiration, product development, organizational leadership, or another facet.

Entries were solicited in print, email and online at WoodworkingNetwork.com, with a total of 151 nominations submitted in 2021. The candidates were judged by a team of editors, and the votes tallied.

The 2021 honorees will be profiled on WoodworkingNetwork.com and in the October issue of FDMC magazine. They will also be recognized at industry events including the Leadership Reception, July 19, the day prior to the AWFS Fair, and a reception at the Executive Briefing Conference, Sept. 8-10, at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado; 2021 honorees also will receive a complimentary registration to EBC.