As you’ve probably seen, next year’s Woodworking Industry Conference (WIC) will be held May 1-4, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Maui, Hawaii. It’s hard to believe it’s just a little more than six months away now!!
Whether you’ve been a WMIA member for years and never attended a WIC, or you’ve recently joined, you may be wondering what this WIC thing is all about, and why you should consider attending.
While next year’s Hawaii location is certainly appealing, you may be wondering (or your boss may be wondering) if WIC is just one giant vacation. The fact is, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s honestly no better place to spend a few days networking and building connections with many of the industry’s importers, distributors, manufacturers, and suppliers, as well as members of industry media and educators, than WIC.
You don’t have that luxury at a trade show, where you may have a few minutes to talk to someone before your phone rings, another customer walks up to your booth, or you have a meeting. At WIC you can have collegial conversations with competitors without having to worry if a prospective customer will walk by and you’ll both need to shift into sales mode. At WIC you can hear about the issues affecting the entire woodworking industry, from importers to distributors, manufacturers to suppliers.
Perhaps most importantly, the environment at WIC gives you multiple opportunities to develop new business relationships (or renew current or past ones), and identify new potential distributors, manufacturers, suppliers, and/or importers. Beyond the more formalized contact tables sessions, where you can arrange for face-to-face meetings with the companies you know you want to talk to, there is plenty of networking time for you to meet with companies you might not have known much about.
Some WMIA members have said through the years that WIC is one of the most valuable business development opportunities out there right now.
In addition to the networking and business development opportunities, you’ll get an outlook on what the economy may have in store, hear from speakers with specialization in sales and marketing, learn about the latest technology trends that may already be impacting your business, and learn about the issues affecting manufacturing executives.
We recognize that being away from home for a long period of time may be difficult, so at WIC, you’re encouraged to bring spouses, guests, and even children. (In fact, a number of WMIA and WMMA members have reflected on the years they attended WIC as children, and now bring their own children to WIC!) There are activities for spouses, and one night there’s even a “Camp Hyatt” for children ages 5-12. And of course, in case you’re worried about all work and no play, there is some time for leisure—Tuesday afternoon features golf and volleyball tournaments, and a tour of the Maui Tropical Plantation, while Friday morning features the ever-popular 5K Run/Walk.
WIC will always hold a special place in my heart, as I started working at WMIA just three weeks before WIC 2015. Even though I felt overwhelmed at that point, I recognized what an amazingly valuable member benefit WIC is, and each year WMIA and WMMA work to create an even-more memorable and valuable event.
We hope you’ll join us in Hawaii next May. Whether it will be your first WIC or your 21st, we know you’ll get a tremendous amount out of attending.
Larry H. Hoffer
- 1.WMIA News – August 2017
- 2.Member Profile: Atlantic Machinery (October/November 2017)
- 3.Member Spotlight: Riccardo Azzoni, Atlantic Machinery (October/November 2017)
- 4.President’s Message: October/November 2017
- 5.WMIA News: October/November 2017