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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Andy Hamilton - Staircraft Ltd.

Andy is a member of the SMA, a member of the British Woodworking Federation, (BWF) and the founder and technical chair of the UK Timber Stair Association.  His company, Staircraft Ltd, is the largest manufacturer of timber stairs in the UK producing 550+ stairways per week.  Andy sees the unique way SMA members interact and share, as a huge advantage in addressing industry wide issues.


Andy Chatman - Crown Heritage

Andy has been actively involved in the development of SMA education programs including "Residential Balustrade Design Using Common Stair Parts" the SMA-102 continuing education course for design professionals that he will present during the design symposium. 

David Cooper - SMA Code Development Representative

With 45 years in the stair industry David has had the opportunity to work with the finest people in our industry many of them are part of the SMA.  Along the way he has learned from them a little bit about how to build stairs, companies, product lines, production, quality, brands, and even regulations and has only discovered there is much left to learn.  He would like to pass on a little of he's learned at this conference helping others to better understand the building code issues related to our industry, and how the SMA has become a significant influence in building the regulations that govern the design and fabrication of stairways.

Michael Ritter, Assistant Director, USDA Forest Service, 

Forest Products Laboratory

Michael Ritter is the Assistant Director for Wood Products Research at the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, in Madison, Wisconsin.  In this position, Mike provides program leadership and oversight for several units conducting research in the areas of wood anatomy, wood engineering and properties, biodeterioration of wood, protection from decay, fire engineering, building sciences, statistics and the evaluation of life cycle assessments and the economics of wood utilization.  Mike attended California Polytechnic State University, the University of Alaska and the University of Wisconsin, and is a registered Professional Engineer in the states of Alaska and Wisconsin.


Innovations In Wood Products Research (Ritter, Senalik, Ross)
From Sky Scraping high rise structures to CLT technology to structural elements such as Stairs, Handrails and Guards (Balustrades) wood shines as a resilient, low cost, low carbon footprint, structural material outperforming steel concrete and glass in new and innovative solutions for our built environment.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Christopher Ramey - Affluent Insights

Chris Ramey specializes in helping retailers, manufacturers and service providers penetrate affluent shelter/design markets.  Ramey‘s consultancy is Affluent Insights and he is president of The Home Trust International, a digital design center for home brands that serve affluent consumers.    


Ramey’s passion is helping independent businesses compete more effectively.  His speaking engagements on selling, serving and marketing to best prospects have taken him to South America, Europe and throughout North America.  His current clients have a presence in over 15 countries.

Mr. Ramey will be participating throughout our conference to draw first hand parallels with a real time focus on our attendees and industry.  He will provide both opening and closing Keynotes invoking  strategies to differentiate and to employ the customers perspective.  His high energy, fast paced closing will wrap up the richness of the entire conference experience, leaving you excited to use new tools, apply all you have learned, and ready for success.


‘Creating Long Term Success by Differentiating Your Firm’

Success in business depends upon being distinct.  Without differentiation, every sale is about price.  We’ll explore different marketing and selling strategies, case studies and forum to ensure you elevate and separate yourself from competitors. 

SMA Research and Testing at  FPL & MSU Presented by:

Dr Rubin Shmulsky, Head,  Sustainable Bio Products

Mississippi State University

Rubin Shmulsky is professor and head of the Department of Sustainable Bioproducts (formerly Forest Products) at Mississippi State University. In that role he provides leadership for the department’s comprehensive teaching, research, and Extension/outreach mission. His research and teaching program focuses on production methods and applications for wood products. Of particular consequence to the SMA is his interest in the structural performance of the materials used and the products manufactured by the Stair Industry. Prior to working at MSU, he served on the graduate faculty at the University of Minnesota, Department of Wood and Paper Science. He earned his degrees at University of Massachusetts, Amherst and MSU.

Design Values for Domestic Wood Species Used in Stairway Construction—A Cooperative Research Effort by Mississippi State University, Forest Products Laboratory, and Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association (Shmulsky, Seale, Lim, Franca).

A building inspectors jump and bump evaluation of how a stairway or guard complies with code is loosing favor. Technology and litigation is pushing building officials to require a better understanding of how stairs, handrails, grab bars, and guards comply with the structural requirements of the building code.  Wood is the most popular and economical structural material used in these applications but design values only exist for lower grade materials that are typically not used for interior applications.  A review of this study underway at MSU will be provided.

Saturday, April 28, 2018


The issue of Fall Safety was first brought to the attention of our members back in 2011 at the Fall Education workshop held in Indianapolis.  The construction industry has been dancing with OSHA for several years over how to educate, implement, and regulate the issues related ultimately to compliance.  Well its here now and the question of non-compliance is being answered by imposed fines.

Three of the TOP TEN non-compliance issues cited by OSHA

 are relate to FALL SAFETY!

How will your procedures be sized up by OSHA.  In this breakout we will learn what is expected, methods used to comply in the shop, in the field, valuable solutions relevant to the stair industry, and related resources that will be shared and discussed.

Presented by Jeff Davis - Industrial Products

Jeff Davis has 25 years of experience in the climbing equipment, access equipment, safety, and fall protection industries.  He has worked extensively with companies such as Werner Ladder, Werner Fall Protection, Little Giant Ladder Systems, Miller Fall Protection, and various manufacturers of guardrail and other passive fall protection solutions. 

Jeff has several training designations, including Fall Protection Competent Person and Aerial Work Platform Train the Trainer.  For the past seven years, Jeff has worked for Industrial Products & The Stairway Shop.  Industrial Products is a division of the company that focuses on a contractor, commercial, and industrial customer base, addressing their requirements for access equipment and fall protection as well as safety training. 

Jeff lives in Toledo, Ohio, and is married with three children.


What can the Game of Baseball and the concept of a Pipeline teach us about Sales Growth in 2017?


In this Breakout session, we will talk about the Buyer Journey or Buyer Process in 2017.... In a world where information is available at everyone's fingertips but where artistry and relationships still matter.  In this session we will apply what you already know about Baseball to help you build a Sales process that leads to accurate forecasts of work and revenue.  We will look at how visual pipeline tools as easy as paper and pen or Post it notes on a whiteboard or as advanced as a visual computer screen pipeline can keep the deals flowing for you.  As a minor aside, we will talk about how Top Employee recruiting is also a Sales activity and how you can use the Pipeline to hire top trade and sales talent as well.


Wayne's clients say that he applies good common sense to sales growth vs. dressed up techniques and clever word tracks that most people do not wish to execute or attempt.


Most selling comes down to good old fashioned service and hard work combined with an awareness and a willingness to get Clarity so that everyone knows what will happen next and so that everyone gets to the part where a contract is signed and money is exchanged feeling excited and respected.

Presented by Wayne Herring – Herring Coach LLC

Wayne Herring is a Business Coach, Consultant and Trainer who specializes in helping small to medium size businesses who sell to other businesses to Grow Sales.  Wayne has been a Civil Engineer, a specialty Subcontractor and a VP of Sales in a family business.  He combines these experiences to help his clients Grow.  Wayne helps companies to develop Business to Business Sales Plans and to then execute on those plans.  When a company is ready to hire Salespeople, Wayne helps the Owner to make the transition from salesperson to Sales Manager. 


The Internet has changed selling dramatically and has also created tremendous opportunities and has leveled the playing field for all businesses.  This is both good and bad.  There are many companies and services promising "Silver Bullets" and "Golden Arrows" to help you capture market share, and it is easy to be lured in by systems that are not designed for you and what you need right now.  Wayne loves modern computer tools but believes they need to be selected intentionally as part of your overall sales plan.  Wayne teaches good old blue collar hard work and smart work to Build Sales and Sales teams.


Solve your hiring dilemmas by tapping into America's most educated workforce ever. Discover the nearly universal doubt young people have about their future and the power you have to solve it. 

Learn the one thing you must always do when hiring and discover this tried and true secret weapon for hiring and breathing new life into your business and the future: Getting College Grads to fall in love with dust and noise and thank you for the privilege!

Presented by Shawn Christman - SMA Board Member

Shawn founded Seattle Stair & Design in 1978, has been a SMA member for 11 years, and has won six SMA StairCraft awards. He sold his business in 2013 and is now a stair design consultant and SMA board member. His projects can be found from Disney World to the Northwest, to Hawaii and as far away as Japan.

His company was often commended for the caliber of its employees, many of them college graduates. 


Christopher Ramey - Affluent Insights

‘Commandments to Build a Customer Centric Business’

This presentation will address the intangibles that clients' value, and how they relate to your stair and architectural businesses. We’ll discuss how matching values trumps matching price, how to leverage intangibles and how to create messages that resonate.  Our case study will demonstrate how you can grow your margins, share of market and revenue by rethinking who you are, what you do and what you sell.      

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