Volume 47, Issue 8 - October 2008

A World
of Millwork Opportunities

The 44th Annual AMD Convention Aims to Attract Young Professionals to the Millwork Business Some attendees of the Association of Millwork Distributors’ (AMD) 44th Annual Convention might look a little younger this year. “That’s because AMD is very aware of the need to get younger members involved in the industry,” says Jeff Johnson, incoming AMD president and president of Western Pacific Building Materials in Portland, Ore.

Johnson says that this year you will see several new approaches to get young people to the annual convention where they can come in contact with older individuals in the industry.

“This year, young professionals from the age of 21 to 35 (and a member of AMD) will be offered free admission to the annual convention, and there will be a lunch focused on younger members,” he says. “This is a new approach and I hope it will be successful in exposing young professionals to the great attributes of the millwork industry and the value of the AMD Annual Convention.”

Whether you are a young professional or an industry veteran, the AMD Convention has a lot to offer in the way of educational opportunities, networking, exhibitor products and more. Read on to find out what this year’s convention has in store for you.

The Speakers Line-Up
“What’s at Stake, Election 2008!”—that’s the name of the opening session keynote speech which Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and Republican Congressman for the Sixth District of Georgia, will deliver Monday, October 13 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Gingrich isn’t just known in the political arena; he has also authored a number of best-selling books, including Real Change. In his speech, Gingrich will share his unique insight on a wide range of topics and his view of the issues at stake in the upcoming Presidential Election and the future of the country after the election takes place.

Ross Shafer, author of the book Nobody Moved Your Cheese!, will be the awards breakfast keynote speaker on Wednesday, October 15 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. At the breakfast, Shafer will share his story of “Failed Pet Shop Manager turned Network TV Host.” In this humorous and motivational program, Shafer will demonstrate why he doesn’t think your “cheese,” a fuel that nourishes your passion, can be moved. Shafer is a fierce proponent of taking responsibility for what happens in your life and being accountable for the outcome. In his speech, he will use examples from his career in show business, as a human resources training film producer and as a corporate speaker to prove how believing in and using their unique talents will encourage people to stop making excuses for their failures and start celebrating their successes.

AMD acknowledges exhibitors for their commitment and efforts in displaying
their products at the show at its traditional Awards Breakfast. A ticket is required for this event. The Exhibit Hall Committee will present to a select number of exhibitors a special award for their booth displays in the categories of best use of theme, most original, best display of products and best of show. The incoming AMD president, Jeff Johnson of Western Pacific Building Materials (learn more about Johnson on page 26) will officially take office and be presented the gavel during this event.

Going Back to School
If you attended the AMD educational sessions last year, you know how valuable attendees thought the sessions were—they were packed. Russell Taylor, president of R.E. Taylor & Associates International Wood Markets Group Inc. will kick off this year’s educational sessions on Sunday, October 12 from 7:45 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Taylor’s presentation, “Moulding & Millwork Trends: Around the World and When/How will the U.S. Market Rebound?”, will provide a review of the major producing regions and markets; shed light on where market opportunities may lie for exporters and where the wall of supply is coming from on the import side; provide a review of the Southern Hemisphere, China and other regions; outline the competitive nature of the business, including hints of which region is the low cost supplier to the U.S. market; and summarize many of the dynamics facing importers, distributors and producers in these turbulent times with an outlook to 2009 and 2010.

If you would like to obtain more information on green building, then the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) National Green Building Program director Donald Carr’s presentation is one not to miss. The session, “Green Building: Review of the NAHB Green Home Building Guidelines and Standard and Certification Program,” is Sunday, October 12 from 9:25 a.m. to 10:25 a.m., and it will include the following topics: a definition of the NAHB Green Building Program; how green homes provide buyers with lower energy costs and higher value; general construction requirements that make up NAHB Green; and an overview of the NAHB Green Verification process.

Have you experienced an increase in your health care costs recently? Did many of your other costs go up accordingly? Did you receive a wider margin from your manufacturers to cover these costs? Did your price adjustments cover these costs? Or did these increases keep you from reaching a successful profit?

If these sound like familiar questions, then the session by Dr. Don Rice, professor emeritus for Texas A&M University’s industrial distribution department, is one you must attend. Rice’s session, “Are You Making 30 Percent on Your Money?”, on Sunday, October 12 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., will share with attendees how his clients continue to have success in making a significant return on their investments. Attend this session and gain insight on: making a 30 percent annual return on your net asset investment; making the goal easier to accomplish by focusing on critical areas; applying successfully these simple methods to your business; and adapting this theory immediately to your profit line.

All of you know your ABCs as in the alphabet, but the ABC’s as in Activity Based Costing may be a new concept for you and one worth learning. D. Bruce Merrifield Jr., president of Merrifield Consulting Group Inc., will be presenting “The Unrealized Potential of ‘Activity Based Costing,’” on Sunday, October 12 from 2:45 p.m. to 3:55 p.m. Activity Based Costing (ABC) is a cost modeling methodology that has existed as an articulated, management tool and process since 1987. Its adoption by distribution companies has remained, however, low, and many who have experimented with it too often discover startling results and often lack the conviction to change their business strategy accordingly.

The insights and objective discipline that can result from effective use of ABC can put any distributor on the path to sustainable, high performance.

From this presentation, Merrifield will provide a brief history and description of  ABC; explain how every distributor can start with simple ABC models for different strategic applications and then continuously improve the models as desired; and identify the main strategic applications for ABC within a distribution environment and the related sub-set programs that can be pursued.

Most everyone in the building industry is interested in knowing what the homebuilding outlook is for the future. Dr. Eric S. Belsky, executive director for the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, will present “The Long and Short of the Housing Outlook” on Sunday, October 12 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Belsky will explain what drives housing cycles and how the homebuilding industry is likely to change in the short and long run as a result of the recent downturn. This session will also examine the underlying fundamentals of remodeling and new home demand while providing projections of expected future activity. In addition Belsky will: compare the present housing cycle to previous housing cycles; discuss how builders are responding to soft markets and how it impacts their suppliers and distributors; explain how the experience of the recent housing downturn could alter builder sourcing strategies and building practices during the next upswing; look past the current downturn at what long-run homebuilding and remodeling demand will look like; and will discuss how to watch for leading indicators.

New on the Block: A New Registration Category
GenerationNext is a new registration category offered exclusively to AMD’s young industry professional members between the ages of 21 and 35, at no cost. GenerationNext registration entitles young professionals to a full day of education, access to the exhibit hall and all convention program events which are included with a full registration. GenerationNext attendees will be required to validate their registration category by providing a valid driver’s license, a printed professional business card, and they must be a guest at the Gaylord Palms Resort during the AMD Convention. This new event is designed to bring to young industry professionals the opportunity to network with their peers and meet AMD’s leaders. In an effort to educate, challenge and inform, they will learn from the marketing mastermind behind Starbucks and Whole Foods John Moore.

GenerationNext attendees can go to the exclusive GenerationNext Luncheon on Sunday, October 12 from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. At the lunch, Moore will present “Starbucks TRIBAL KNOWLEDGE: Business Wisdom Brewed from the Grounds of Starbucks Corporate Culture.”

For a company that has accomplished so much, it’s surprising how little the business world really knows about how Starbucks found prosperity from selling a commodity. That’s because much of this company’s advice exists solely in the hearts and minds of long-time Starbucks partners (employees). The tribal knowledge that Moore shares during this presentation is a collection of tribal wisdom—a handbook of the truths that, added together, express the learnings and traditions of Starbucks.

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