BWA Quarterly Networking Event in Burlington Extends Reach!

As the BWA continues to attract new members from across southwestern Ontario, it is important to extend the reach of our events. When the BWA first started in 2010 with 7 companies at the table in Grey/Bruce, in 2011 they incorporated as a not-for profit and officially launched as a cluster organization based on the cluster model in Upper Austria.  At that time, the quarterly events were held in Walkerton, Ontario.

As time progressed and the BWA began to boost their activity to include plant tours and training, manufacturers began to flock to the BWA as a resource for the wood industry. Soon companies from Kitchener, the GTA, Niagara,  and Chatham-Kent, and many points in between, were reaching out to the BWA to join the ranks of manufacturers in the cluster. The same is said for associate members in the supply chain that also add expertise and support the manufacturers. It became necessary to rotate our networking events to locations reflecting the greater cluster region of SWO. For this we leveraged our stakeholder relationships with post secondary institutions who support our workforce development. Now, the June quarterly event remains in Walkerton (our roots!), September is hosted by Conestoga College in Kitchener, March is hosted by Humber College in the GTA. That left our November event an opportunity to reach closer to our southern member communities toward Niagara, hence our Nov 22 event held in Burlington recently! This event was attended by approximately 50 people representing the value-added wood industry in SWO. Companies new to the BWA in the region who wanted to learn more didn’t have to travel far!

The event started with a BWA update of current projects, upcoming events and initiatives. This was followed by a presentation on Management Liability and Risk by BWA member Chris Cameron of Magnes. This included topics such as cyber risk, and wrongful dismissal. Lots of Q&A and good information for the members. This was followed by a presentation on Ownership Thinking by Marc Lacoursier of The Achievement Group. Since most members struggle with employee engagement and retention, this was a topic well received with good discussion. Incentive programs and other strategies to enhance employee engagement continue to elude most companies. The BWA will engage this topic again in the future. Finally, last but not least, SRED (Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credit) continues to raise itself as a topic for many companies who are new to the process and opprtunity it presents. Since the BWA continues to attract new members, it makes sense that this is a topic that needs to be revisited on a regular basis. Ryan Scodeller of Xurbo provided an informative review of the opportunity and the method of capturing information to develop a claim. Xurbo is now a preferred provider of SRED for the BWA members. For those members wanting more information on SRED, please contact the BWA.

Lots going on right now with the BWA! Watch for updates soon on our plant tours and training events scheduled for January and February! If you are not a member of the BWA but would like to learn more, please contact BWA Executive Director Mike Baker: manager@bluewaterwoodalliance.com

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