If you’ve ever been to a World Millwork Alliance convention, then chances are you’re familiar with the event’s ability to pack rooms with the sounds of networking. (In 2019, the event’s keynote session was wall-to-wall with standing room only.) These days, those connections will take place remotely, and the industry alliance will proceed in October—despite COVID-19—through a robust lineup of virtual seminars. Though there will be no virtual trade show (with products), the event includes 15 remote presentations, including an overview of future WMA events, as the Alliance looks forward to rejoining through in-person gatherings.

“It has been a year of considerable change,” writes WMA president and CEO Rosalie Leone. “And while we miss seeing you, we look forward to spending some time with you via this new event platform.”

Held October 5-7, the convention begins at 10:10 a.m., with a welcoming message from WMA chairperson Tim Hicks. Peppered with references to COVID-19, the event takes aim at the effects of the pandemic square on, with presentations such as “Navigating Through the Pandemic: What Does the New Norm Really Mean?” by Michael Marks of Indian River Consulting Group.

“The coronavirus accelerated a number of changes in the nature of work in distribution—from daily operations to sales, to talent management—that were already underway, including new evaluation criteria for job candidates and an expanded view of work-from-home productivity,” says Tom Gale, CEO for Modern Distribution Management, who will headline one of the event’s sessions. “Organizations are quickly shifting from traditional hierarchical structures to much more agile and digitally-supported teams,” he adds. For this reason, Gale says he intends to cue in on how to rethink roles, skills and organizational design in order to “put the right people in the right seats.” He’ll close out by explaining how to stay relevant in disruptive markets going forward.

As businesses increasingly find themselves under pressure to advance technologies that enable social distancing and remote work, additional topics, such as “Practical Steps for Taking Your ‘Old School’ Business Digital” and “Cyber Security 2020 Style,” will guide distributors through those and other challenges. On the sales side, attendees will learn how to pivot to techniques that are “recession-proof.”

While attendees will have to settle for face-to-face meetings over virtual conferencing, the event’s usual lineup of roundtable sessions will proceed—including the annual Women in Millwork Roundtable.

Topics specific to doors and windows include presentations by several of the event sponsors, such as Plastpro and ODL Inc., and a first look at a new door product and technology by Masonite.

To plan for attendance, watch for a full schedule in [DWM]’s newsletter later this week.

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