Minister for MNRF Attends BWA 21st Quarterly Networking Event: a Big Hit with 90 Attendees!

When you take the true clustering model the BWA delivers by including stakeholders like Conestoga College’s Ontario Woodworking Centre, combined with manufacturing members sharing best practices as the key speakers, supply chain members adding expertise, and a networking venue to make industry connections to help grow your business, the magic happens!

The event kicked off with introductions of everybody in the room, so you know whom you want to talk to on the networking breaks. A true metric of engagement is who you see out at these events. This was followed by an update of BWA activities, projects, and membership by BWA Executive Director, Mike Baker. New BWA members Carocell Interiors, New Image Kitchens, Performance Abrasives, and Freeport Technologies were welcomed! The BWA is now at 95 member companies and growing! 

Next the Hon. Minister of Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Kathryn McGarry, spoke to the crowd about her concerns for the industry, both primary and secondary in Ontario, and their endorsement and support for the BWA cluster model. The BWA was honoured to have the Hon. Minister present at our event to see what a truly powerful cluster of companies we have become in Ontario. We look forward to having her out to future events to learn more about the needs of our member companies in the secondary manufacturing wood products industry in Ontario!

Next up: a dynamic collaborative presentation by three BWA manufacturing members who are custom CNC houses: Loren Burns of Precision Woodcraft, Ethan Vos of Cutting Edge CNC, and Grant Nicholson of Upper Canada Stretchers/Nicholson Design. Each of these creative individuals shared their perspectives on what CNC is and its potential for what it can do. Many BWA members will never get a CNC in house, and will always need to outsource this expertise. Others are on the edge of making a CNC purchase, and have multiple things to consider. Other have been using them for years. There was something for everyone as they covered all aspects from software to tooling to vacuum  and maintenance. From pushing the envelope for the production of complex designs, to volumes of repetitive or complex router patterns, or attractive and inspiring art pieces, all angles were discussed.  Stay tuned for future talks from these folks, as they just scratched the surface and have more expertise to share.

Next, David Blackler, Finishing Technologist with Conestoga College, Woodworking Centre of Ontario provided a presentation on finishing that included considerations for surface spraying variation for wood species and mdf products, and how can you maximize coverage and minimize passes (cost reduction). This was followed by addressing choices of laquer and nuances for wood and mdf, and considerations for training employees in house.

Dave finished off with a short demo of the spray simulator used for training. There were a few brave folks from the audience that gave it a whirl to test their accuracy!

The finale was a tour of the Ontario Woodworking Centre. Conestoga College has the largest post secondary woodworking training centre in Ontario, and members were able to tour the shop and see all of the new equipment and capabilities that are in use.

This was all followed by a social gathering for food and beverage at a local establishment, where the networking continued into the evening for many members (often the best part!)

Whew! What an afternoon!

If you want more information on the BWA membership and its activities, contact BWA Executive Director Mike Baker at manager@bluewaterwoodalliance.com

From left: BWA Executive Director Mike Baker, BWA President/Chair Dennis McGlynn, MNRF Hon. Minister Kathryn McGarry, Executive Dean for the School of Engineering/IT and Trades Julia Biedermann, Conestoga College President John Tibbits

Grant Nicholson shares his vision of CNC capabilities.

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