Volume 47, Issue 3 - April 2008

SMA's Annual Conference Turns 20
With Age Comes Educational Wisdom
by Drew Vass assistant editor of Shelter magazine.

This year marks the 20th anniversary for the Stairway Manufacturers’ Association’s (SMA) annual conference. And it’s growing with age. For the first time in its history, SMA has expanded this event to include an industry-specific educational conference. Industry members will have an opportunity to learn and grow with the advice of respected experts May 1-3, at the Sutton Place Hotel in Chicago. And SMA’s event isn’t exclusive, so members from other industries are welcome to participate and discover what the association is all about.

What better place to hold a stair manufacturers’ event than Chicago? Not only does this city boast an incredible list of attractions and nightlife, it also is home to many industry-specific sites. Chicago offers world-famous stairway and architectural designs, including those of: Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham and Louis Comfort Tiffany. During the conference, Walk Chicago Tours will present a unique opportunity for attendees to partake in a specially designed tour: “Chicago’s Loop Architecture: Stairways and Architecture by American Legends of Design.”

Terry Sullivan, one of the city’s most notable guides, will guide visitors through Chicago’s diverse school of architectural design, the city’s cultural history and urban lore. The tour will be held Thursday, May 1, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will include a glance at groundbreaking designs through lobbies and staircases. The SMA will provide transportation from the event’s headquarters to the cultural center approximately 15 minutes before the tour’s start.

The annual meeting will kick off on a fun and relaxing note with an optional SMA golf tournament, for an additional fee, Thursday, May 1, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. For those who aren’t golfers, there also will be an optional tour of Oakley Steel Products Co., 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Then, when the day winds down, all will gather for additional fun and networking at an SMA-sponsored welcoming reception from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Following dinner, introductions will take place, along with the SMA’s Stair Safety Program and golf awards.

This year’s keynote address will be provided by Patricia Wardwell from the Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership. Wardwell has more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing and the custom millwork industries.

For a detailed look at this year’s educational lineup or to register, visit www.stairways.org

The Sutton Place Hotel
Centrally located in the heart of Chicago’s exclusive Gold Coast neighborhood, the Sutton Place Hotel is a four-star, four-diamond property. It is just steps away from Michigan Avenue and the exclusive boutiques on Oak Street, as well as Chicago’s fine dining and nightlife district.

Indulge yourself, as each of the 246 guestrooms and suites at The Sutton Place Hotel is appointed with contemporary, custom-made furnishings and is equipped with flat-screen televisions, CD/DVD players, a great selection of compact discs and wireless Internet access throughout the hotel.

Thursday, May 1, 2008 
7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. SMA Golf Tournament (optional/additional fee)
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Oakley Steel Products Co. Tour (optional)
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Welcoming Reception (sponsored by the SMA)
6:30 p.m. Dinner
8:15 p.m. Introductions/SMA Stair Safety Program/Golf Awards

Friday, May 2, 2008
6:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Registration
7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Morning Networking Conclave/Continental Breakfast
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Welcome and Keynote Address
9:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. SMA Educational Program
Noon – 1:15 p.m. Lunch
1:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. SMA Educational Program
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Reception (sponsored by the SMA)
7:30 p.m. Dinner and Presentations

Saturday, May 3, 2008
7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Morning Networking Conclave/Continental Breakfast
8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. SMA Officers’ Reports and Elections
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. SMA: “Envisioning the Next 20 Years”
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Promoting and Using the New SMA Quality Standards
11:00 a.m. – Noon Future Careers in the Stair Industry – Wood Links
Noon – 12:30 p.m. Final Address and Adjournment

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