Kicking off in 2013, the annual breakfast meeting has always been sponsored by TimberTrader News.
It was conceived and promoted as a chance for an industry, that doesn’t offer professionals too many other networking opportunities, a forum to mix, socialise and learn – all before 9 am, on one working day a year.
This breakfast was again hosted, for the third and final time, by TimberTrader News Founding Publisher Greg King, who welcomed those in attendance before introducing the outgoing president David Aikins.
David commented that it was great to see so many people enjoying the breakfast and catching up with friends, colleagues and, of course, rivals.
He added that it was occasions like this breakfast, and the occasional other WFA events, that have helped to bring the industry closer together for the betterment of their professional standards.
David then, with a great deal of pleasure, introduced the new president of the Wood Flooring Association (WFA) Peter Van Den Berge. He offered a hearty welcome and encouraged those in attendance to actively become involved in the Association, and to also make the effort to introduce a new member before the next member breakfast, to be held in three months’ time.
The format of the ‘A Big Breakfast’ included displays by the six sponsors of the event including Timbermate Products, Woodcrete, Loba, Floor Sanding Supplies, Bona and TimberTrader News.
Each stand was well patronised and principals reported plenty of interest, with some companies quietly optimistic there were sales of machines and product coming out of these exhibits.
A feature of the breakfast since the first event has been the quality of the speakers who have given their valuable time to address the WFA membership.
Year one saw an informative and rousing presentation by industry consultant and columnist for this publication, Ray Brice. Last year attracted the dedication of industry consultant Maurie Anglin and the Forest and Wood Products Association (FWPA) representative Alistair Woodard.
The quality of this year’s speakers was up to the same high standards with Emma Watt joining Boris Iskra as a top shelf speaker. Together they entertained and informed the gathered flooring professionals.
Emma Watt, who is a columnist for this magazine and is known as ‘the business un-tangler’, spoke on the topic ‘Preparing for Departure: Managing Employee Dismissal’.
As an independent industrial relations consultant, Emma advises employers on their employment rights and their obligations. She has been working in the timber industry since 1998 and has postgraduate qualifications in industrial and employee relations with clients including the WFA, the Timber Merchants Association (TMA), the Frame and Truss Manafacturers Association (FTMA) and the Cabinet Makers and Designers Association.
She was an authoritative and informative speaker and the WFA reminds members that, as part of their membership fees, they have the chance via a brief telephone consultation, to discuss any industrial issues they may be facing. It seemed, by the questions following the breakfast, that Emma’s presentation certainly struck a chord.
The other presenter was Boris Iskra, who has more than 27 years’ experience in the Australian forest and wood products industry.
Boris is a consultant with WoodSolutions and helps co-ordinate national technical activities that assist the use of timber products. He covers areas such as structural building elements, acoustic and thermal performance, fire related issues through to slip resistance performance.
He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Structural) degree and a Graduate Diploma in Building Fire Safety and Risk Engineering, and his topic for the morning was ‘Know the Standard: Meet the Standard’. He addressed the issues of recent standard changes and what flooring professionals need to know to keep up to date.
Judging by the spirited question and answer session after Boris’ presentation, there is plenty of interest in this topic, including how the new requirements for slip resistance for P3 (internal floors) and P4 (external usage) will affect the industry.
The special door prizes were drawn, with a total of eight lucky winners walking away with products such as 100m2 of either MS260 adhesive or PU280 moisture barrier from Loba, a $200 Village Gold Class movie voucher from Floor Sanding Supplies, 3×15 kg tubs of Mapei 990 Adhesive from Woodcrete, $250 worth of abrasive belts from Bona, the obligitary 20 kg tub of Timbermate and three wine packs from TimberTrader News.
‘A Big Breakfast’ number four is expected to be held on 24 March 2016, so place the date in your planners – it is sure to be another special event.