Tuesday, May 12, 2020
The first-ever Virtual World of Wood Convention held from April 1-3 was a major success, the International Wood Products Association (IWPA) announced today. In response to the growing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, IWPA reimagined its annual convention to allow attendees, which include importers, U.S. manufacturers, wholesalers, offshore suppliers, and service providers to the global wood products industry, to participate from the safety of their home or office. Participants joined via web-conferencing for three full days of interactive events to receive the latest responses from the federal government to the pandemic and gain insight from convention presenters on the latest market developments and trends. IWPA recorded the Virtual World of Wood sessions and will make them available via the IWPA E-Training portal.
“Transitioning to a virtual conference was a difficult decision, but the safety and well-being of attendees and our community had to be our number one priority,” IWPA President Kenny MacMaster of Argo Fine Imports said. “The ability to give COVID updates and learn about the latest supply chains impact in real time was invaluable to our attendees. We are very pleased with what turned out to be a seamless shift to this alternative event. The feedback we received from attendees was very positive as our industry did its part to flatten the COVID curve.”
The impact of COVID-19 on the international wood products industry was a central focus of the meeting. IWPA staff led a discussion on the latest updates from Washington related to government response, stimulus and other developments. Keynote Speaker Don Cooper, The Sales HereticTM, one of Forbes “Top 30 Social Salespeople in the World,” led a keynote address on “Selling in the Time of COVID.” Sessions on the global woods market, forestry trends, trade policy developments, port operations, and industry compliance also took place over the three-day event. Each day concluded with a World of Wood recap and happy hour during which attendees came together virtually and shared time together discussing the day’s panels and how their companies are dealing with emerging challenges.
“While we missed getting to see our friends and colleagues in Savannah, our Virtual World of Wood allowed us to share critical information and even do a bit of networking from the safety of home,” IWPA Executive Director Cindy Squires said. “Attendees experienced the great value of connecting remotely to receive important industry intelligence and the critical updates. We will continue to serve our members and our industry using all the tools at our disposal, and we can’t wait to see everyone in-person next year in San Diego.”
Established in 1956, the International Wood Products Association is one the leading international trade association for the North American imported wood products industry, representing 220 companies and trade associations engaged in the import of hardwoods and softwoods from sustainably managed forests.