Let’s face it, most of us have a love-hate relationship with the big trade shows. We love what we can get out of the big shows, but we don’t look forward to all the travel hassles and just being away from
home base for all that time.
I can certainly relate to the woodworking business owners who bypass the show because they feel they can’t afford
to lose all that time away from the shop. They worry that
they will miss out on important customer contacts and that
perhaps work won’t go so smoothly in the shop if they aren’t
there. Or, if they are a solo operation, no shop work at all will
transpire while they are gone.
I get all that, but here’s a little tough love for you. If you
can’t be away from your business for just a few days, there are
likely some serious issues with your business. I’ll bet you could
see and learn things at the show that would more than make
up for a few days of “lost time” in the shop.
Think about it. If you are shopping for more machinery
to make you more efficient, what better, more efficient way
to shop than at the show where you can see so many vendors
in one place on your terms and on your schedule? That likely
will save you more than a couple
of days all by itself.
What about learning about
new techniques, new markets,
new ways of running your business? That will save you time and
make you money, too.
Then there’s my favorite,
networking. Where else can you
meet people that likely have
faced the same issues you face
and can help you move forward.
Going to the show isn’t lost
time. It’s time and money saved. ✚
It’s graduation time, and the student you’ve been work- ing with in high school, technical school or college is ready to join your company as a new employee. Wait…you don’t have a graduate coming to your
company? What should you do then?
We asked Mark Smith, Industrial Technology Teacher at
Reed-Custer High School in Braidwood, Illinois, for some ideas
on how a company could start a relationship with local students.
• Participate in the career and college day event at local
• Host internships.
• Give online virtual tours of your business using facebook
live or other software.
• Give online webinars or discussions.
• Help award Woodwork Career Alliance Saw Blade Certificates and Passports.
• Provide financial assistance for student trade show attendance and start a mentoring relationship.
• Participate on the wood programs advisory council.
• Make a presentation to the school board about opportunities at your business.
• Give career counseling for
• Write letters of support for
the local teacher and their
program to the school’s administration.
• Start a Teacher of the Year
award for area teachers.
If you want to deal with the
skills shortage in your community and help your own company,
you’ll have to get involved. Then
you can look forward to the next
graduation day. ✚
by William Sampson
by Karl D. Forth
Show, tell, save
Learn, shop, and network.
✚ Follow Will
Karl online at