Show goers browse the show floor at last year’s NWFA Convention in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (Photo courtesy NWFA)

The National Wood Flooring Association’s upcoming 24th annual Wood Flooring Expo and Education Conference will be a milestone for the trade group. The late April gathering set for Long Beach, Calif. will be the first major event for NWFA since it consolidated its efforts with the 100 year-old wood flooring manufacturers’ group NOFMA.

Show goers network during last year’s show. The NWFA said this year’s show will also offer plenty of chances to network with colleagues and peers. (Photo courtesy NWFA)

The deal announced late last year means NWFA will oversee NOFMA’s well respected certification and grading program. It also stands to increase NWFA’s influence in legislative matters related to hardwood flooring while giving the St. Louis-based group added clout to work on behalf of its more than 4,000 members. At the time of the deal, Ed Korczak, NWFA’s executive director/CEO called it “an historic occasion” for his members who would gain from NOFMA’s reputation and expertise.

While the addition of NOFMA is expected to be a major topic of discussion during the meeting, the No.1 issue will be the challenging economy, said Connie Bodi, NWFA’s conference manager. She said the focus will be “information on how to survive out there and make improvements in a challenging market. People will hopefully take away some new ideas.”

Economic concerns will dominate the show’s agenda. Business consultant George Hedley (author of The Business Success Blueprint series)  will give a keynote titled Getting Your Business to Work for You, on April 29. Seminars scheduled will also zero in on the economy, including Making More Profits with Current Sales and How to Capitalize on a Reviving Market.

The environment is also expected to be a key issue. Included will be seminars on NWFA’s new Responsible Procurement Program, which offers hardwood makers three different levels of certification depending on where their wood was sourced. Also, changes in the Lacey Act that have implications for the hardwood industry will be discussed. “We want our members to understand how these new programs work, how they’re going to make a difference and how they’re going to help them make money,” Korczak said.  (For more information, see Ed Korczak’s guest column: New Laws Protect Our Forests … And Our Livelihood,  Jan. 2009NFT,pg. 48.)

A highlight of the show is expected to be the 19th annual Wood Floor of the Year Awards, which honors outstanding and distinctive installations. Memorable installations honored in previous years include a floor installed in a lighthouse as well as a herringbone pattern that continues from the floor up the wall and on to the ceiling.

Korczak said he hopes attendees take away two things from the upcoming show: “We want our members to realize the sky is not falling. And we them to get ready so they can take advantage when the economy changes,” he noted.

The National Wood Flooring Association’s 24th annual Wood Flooring Expo and Education Conference

WHEN:  April 28-May 1, 2009

WHERE:  Long Beach Convention Center; Long Beach, Calif.

HIGHLIGHTS:500 exhibitors, on-site demonstrations, educational seminars, Wood Floor of the Year (judging and awards)

GENERAL SESSIONS:Getting Your Business to Work For You (April 29); How to Capitalize on a Reviving Market, (April 30); and Advertising and Marketing (May 1)

INFORMATION:(800) 422-4556 or e-mail