HIGH POINT, N.C.–The American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) will hold its 2011 Manufacturing Summit March 8-9 at the Franklin Furniture Institute on the campus of Mississippi State University.
The Summit will bring together industry leaders dedicated to sharing strategies, experiences and best practices for becoming more competitive in today’s global market. The 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. program is $89 for AHFA members and $139 for non-members.
Among the program highlights will be a legislative and regulatory update offered by Bill Simmons, managing principal at Dutko Worldwide, AHFA’s government affairs management firm.
In conjunction with Dutko, AHFA’s Government Affairs Committee has revitalized the industry’s presence in Washington. Committee members participated in multiple Capital Hill visits in 2010 to meet face-to-face with legislators on a wide range of issues impacting residential furniture manufacturers. Simmons will bring attendees up to date on top issues and describe their potential impacts on our industry.
The Summit also will include an industry overview and economic analysis from Howard Armistead, one of the founders and a managing director of Mann, Armistead & Epperson. Armistead has over 30 years experience assisting corporations and shareholders in a wide variety of transactions focusing on the transfer and transition of corporate ownership.
Providing a manufacturing overview will be Donald Meurer, director for product sourcing and development for Flexsteel’s commercial seating division. He conducts all import sourcing and negotiation of pricing from suppliers in Europe, Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Thailand and India. He also functions as the on-site manager for the EFEC environmental management program in the commercial seating division and will be spotlighting the company’s EFEC efforts in his presentation. Prior to joining Flexsteel, Meurer was employed by La-Z-Boy Inc. for 14 years in positions ranging from product development in Monroe, Mich., to plant superintendent in Leland, Miss.
Mary Jean Gates of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is on the Summit agenda to discuss the MDEQ enHance environmental stewardship program. MDEQ recently entered a partnership with AHFA and the Franklin Furniture Institute to promote AHFA’s EFEC environmental management system as a “fast track” to entering Mississippi’s enHance stewardship program.
Representing another state agency will be Wanda Land, workforce specialist at the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA). She will address pertinent labor and workforce issues impacting the Mississippi manufacturing sector and discuss ways various state agencies and community colleges are supporting manufacturing in the state.
Finally, Summit attendees will welcome special guest Dan Mullen, head football coach for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Mullen was widely regarded as one of the top young minds in college football when he arrived at MSU in 2008. With him he brought an impressive offensive resume and a list of NFL-developed quarterbacks, as well as energy and passion for the college game.
Summit attendees requiring overnight accommodations can take advantage of a special group rate at the Hilton Garden Inn in Starkville, Miss. Rooms are available for $109 a night until February 23. Reservations are available by calling 662/615-9664, or click on the hotel link provided on the AHFA Events page at www.ahfa.us.
The Franklin Furniture Institute is supported by Mississippi State’s colleges of business, forest resources, engineering and architecture. It has a long history of providing wood product research, technical assistance and continuing education for the state and the region.
Summit registration is available online at www.ahfa.us under events. The registration fee includes a light breakfast (beginning at 8:30 a.m.), lunch and coffee breaks. In addition, an opening reception will be held from 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, March 8, at the Hilton Garden Inn. Complete registration details are available at www.ahfa.us on the events page.