Wood & Panel

Amanda Conger

 Monday, January 31, 2022

Amanda Conger, Executive Director of Cabinet Makers Association shares her insight on cabinet industry, industry 4.0, their success story of 20 years and ofcourse IWF preparations. Explore.

Tell us a little about your association.

Amanda Conger: The Cabinet Makers Association, or CMA, was formed in 1998 by a group of custom cabinet makers who saw a need for a professional organization to serve small- to medium-sized woodworking shops. Nearly all CMA member operations are composed of twenty or fewer employees, with the majority of businesses employing 1-5 individuals.

Cabinet Makers Association is celebration 20 years. Congratulations. How has been the journey so far?

Amanda Conger: That’s correct, this year marks our 20th anniversary, and we commemorated the occasion by holding our first-ever national conference in Denver, Colorado in March. One of the panel discussions during the conference included four of the “founding fathers” who talked about the initial vision for the association, how we’ve progressed over the years, and where they see the CMA heading in the future. They explained that in the early days it was a struggle to get members. They also shared the value of networking and, as a result, the lasting friendships they’ve made through the CMA. Almost 200 members attended the conference, and 25 percent of the attendees were new members – so we continue to grow.

With more and more DIY options coming up, how do see the current phase of cabinet making industry?

Amanda Conger: Since our members primarily work on high-end, custom projects, they really don’t see DIY options as a threat to their business. If anything, the fact that more people are expressing interest in the craft is a positive trend. Our industry needs more awareness to gain the attention of the general public, students, and prospective workers.

Being a cabinet maker, what would be my advantages in joining Cabinet Makers Association?

Amanda Conger: Success in the woodworking trade requires a combination of practical skill, creative thinking, and professional development. Membership in the CMA helps develop all three, offering ongoing opportunities for career growth through online forums, member events, seminars, and industry publications. At its core, the CMA helps cabinetmakers and woodworkers come together to share their hard earned knowledge and experience to help one another. We believe that collaboration, not competition, is the best way to improve our own individual companies as well as the industry as a whole.

As a homeowner, how would this association help me?

Amanda Conger: Truth be told, the CMA ultimately exists for homeowners. The CMA connectscabinetmakers with other like-minded professionals which ultimately helps them become better business people. In the online discussion forum, our members openly sharetheir successes and failures with each other. These topics include pricing strategies, design tips, assembly methods, and construction techniques. All of these conversations help produce a better product for the end user: the homeowner.

We also provide resources on our website for homeowners to find a quality cabinetmaker. The winners of our annual awards program are featured on our website, for anyone to review and assess their work. In addition, we have a Shop Finder map to locate a cabinet shop near them. Homeowners can rest assured that by choosing a CMA member to do their project, they will be extremely satisfied not only with the end result, but also with the entire process.

How do you impart or share the knowledge required for young cabinetmakers? Do you provide any short term tutorials for them?

Amanda Conger:We offer students the same membership benefits as our professional cabinetmakers, at a bargain rate of $50 annually. This gives them the exposure to the industry and also connects them to our nationwide directory of professionals.

In addition, we offer a mentoring program for our members. We pair new members with members who have been in the business for some time so the new professionals can learn from someone who has been there, done that, and succeeded.

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