Building the Capacity of MN’s Wood Products Industry Conference 2006
Over 80 people gathered at The Lodge at Giants Ridge near Biwabik to discuss how to harness Minnesota’s unique forest resources, cutting-edge design and innovations to open access to new and expanded markets. It is evident from the completed conference evaluations that the participants appreciated the conference as a time and place to network, learn and invigorate their businesses.
Attendees were motivated to come to the conference because of the high-caliber presenters, especially Jim Brandenburg, David Salmela, and Todd Siler, and the opportunity to network with colleagues. Several panel discussions provided information on topics including the adaptation of design traditions from other regions, best practices in the industry, and how to work more effectively with gatekeepers including specifiers and architects.
Another highlight of the conference was the presentation of the 2006 Wood Products Manufacturing Industry Achievement Awards. Besides gaining valuable business contacts, participants noted they learned important insights into practices and applications of innovation, the value of ideation and brainstorming, and connecting good design to added value.
Finally, several participants communicated their hope that the conference be carried forward next year, despite the Blandin Foundation’s announcement that they would be stepping back from taking an active role in organizing future Wood Products Manufacturing Industry conferences.