Volume 47, Issue 6 - July/August 2008

Stair News

20th Annual Conference a Great Success

The 20th Anniversary of the Annual Conference of the Stairway Manufacturers’ Association (SMA) took place May 1-3 in Chicago. More than 70 attendees took advantage of the educational seminars and networking events.

The first day began with optional activities for the attendees. Golfers headed to Cog Hill golf course, while other attendees were led on a plant tour of Oakley Steel. Architect Terry Sullivan led a third group on a walking tour focusing on Chicago’s architectural gems—including staircases.

Attendees spent day two attending the educational offerings. Track one, led by Patricia Wardwell of the Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership, focused on “Lean Manufacturing” and provided managers and employees alike with an overview of the basics needed to create a program of continuous improvement. The second track focused on the development of practical skills and knowledge essential to turning the gears of everyday operations. This included sessions on wreath handrailing, curved stair design and lumber grading and quality control. 

Receptions and dinners on both Thursday and Friday nights afforded members the opportunity to network and socialize. Golf awards were presented during Thursday’s dinner, while the first annual Staircraft Awards were awarded the next evening. Shelley Fleming of Brandywine Balustrades also gave attendees an overview of the new SMA Stair Safety Program and introduced its mascot, “Stacey the Safety Squirrel.”

Saturday morning’s session began with officers’ reports and was followed by a visionary session led by SMA president Jim Trice. Attendees voiced suggestions for future SMA endeavors during this session. The conference concluded with a presentation by Mark Smith of WoodLINKS USA, aimed at encouraging attendees to look for future stair builders today through effective marketing techniques. 

Attendees Had Great Things to Say
SMA conference attendees have positive feedback about this year’s conference.

Shawn Christman of Seattle Stair & Design says he is glad that he joined the association and attended the conference.

“I met a number of other stair builders and designers and derived much knowledge from interacting with them at the conference,” Christman says. “I have no doubt now that joining was a smart step and that we will continue to participate in and benefit from the ongoing work of the association.”

Phil Roster of Eastern Stair Builders agrees with Christman. 

“I’d like to congratulate all involved in creating the show in Chicago. Although I have only been attending for three years, I can say for certain the programming and quality of the presentations was the best in my experience,” Roster says.

The 2009 SMA Annual Conference will be held May 3-5, 2009, at the Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach, Fla. This pristine waterfront resort boasts numerous amenities including a private beachfront, a day spa and daily activities for kids, so the association invites you to bring the entire family and experience first-hand all the wonderful things the SMA conference has to offer. www.stairways.org 

2008 SMA Golf Tournament Scores Big
The annual Stairway Manufacturers’ Association (SMA) golf tournament took place Thursday, May 1, 2008, at the Cog Hill Golf Club in Lemont, Ill. Led by SMA treasurer Tom Stilp, the golfers partook in the annual tournament contests, including the longest drive with the SMA’s customized newel driver. 

The following members were presented with awards during dinner that evening: 
• Closest to the hole—Steeve Carrier of Menuiserox Inc. of Beauceville, Quebec; 
• Longest regular drive—William Thomas of Thomas Fine Stairs Inc. of Brookfield, Ill.; 
• Longest regular putt—Brad Silven of StairVision Inc. of Smithfield, R.I.; 
• Lowest best ball score—Gary Becker of Stair Parts Direct, Chas Wiebe of Builders Stair Supply, William Thomas of Thomas Fine Stairs Inc. and Brad Silven of StairVision Inc.; and
 • Longest newel drive—Tom Stilp of Arcways Inc. of Neenah, Wis.Prizes given to the winners included a putter, a driver, a driver cover, golf balls and $25 gift cards.

© Copyright 2008 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.