Dear WCMA Members,
This is a special year for WCMA. Associations have had their issues, especially in recent times with travel restricted during the pandemic. It has been 6 years since our last European tour. This June will be one to remember, and I’m very excited. I believe this will be our best plant tour event ever! SCM and Friulmac are hosting our Italian tour where we will see awesome sites, machinery, and factories. It’s undisputed – the experiences we take away from our tour events always pay dividends. Please make this event one to remember and join us in Milan on June 11, 2023!
If I may, please allow me to share an early memory. It was in the late 70’s when I attended my first ever Business Conference, which just happened to be in Bermuda. HDMA – for the Hardwood Dimension Manufacturers Association – was the acronym back then. I believe John Council, from Watauga Wood Products, was serving as President. He was an icon to me and old enough to be my father, wise beyond belief. The Southampton Princess Hotel was the conference venue…known today as The Fairmont Princess.
On the first morning I was off to get breakfast when I ran into Jacqueline Bisset in the elevator. Being the nerdy woodworker, all I could say was “good morning” trying not to stare. My embarrassment was real and apparent as she parted the box to say, “have a nice day”. I collected myself after being star struck and proceeded to join John for breakfast.
In southern tradition the term “yeah boy” was common to affirm one’s decision or response to a server offering up water or coffee. The Princess, as it was known in Bermuda, was quite fancy, 5 stars if not higher. Where a Barista would be known to serve the coffee or water, that morning John was offered coffee by a young man wearing white gloves dressed in a black suit (Barista). John replied, “yeah boy”, which stopped the young man in his tracks. He abruptly walked away, highly insulted, and mumbling something about he wasn’t his boy. John was perplexed and clueless to what had just happened.
I’ll never forget that morning. It was iconic for this young, sheltered woodworker in a foreign place. A beginning for me of many memories to come while attending our association meetings. The Bermuda meeting is where Steve Lawser began his tenure with the WCMA, then known as HDMA.
That was about 46 years ago, when we crosscut and ripped everything on a straight-line ripsaw. A good day was if the rip saws could produce 2000 pieces or 2000’. Change is inevitable! Without it we won’t survive.
I am proud to say the WCMA has a new website which is up and running. It’s interactive…we can share information, offer shorts to our friends, list machinery we’re not using. It’s a great day to know we can better communicate with our association.
It’s a fantastic group of people and companies who make up the WCMA. Our strength comes from their willingness to share and support each other. Somewhat unusual but very family-like.