WIC 2019 Speakers

Alan Beaulieu

With a reputation as an accurate, straightforward economist, Dr. Alan Beaulieu has been delivering award-winning workshops and economic analysis seminars in countries across the world to thousands of business owners and executives for the last 25 years. He is considered one of the country’s most informed economists.

He is co-author of Prosperity in the Age of Decline, a powerful look at how to make the most of the US and global trends over the next 20 years. Alan also coauthored Make Your Move, a practical and insightful guide on increasing profits through business cycle changes, and noted by one reviewer as “simple, yet awesome.”

As the chief economist for numerous US and European trade associations, it has been remarked that Alan’s “insight into our business, a track record of accurate forecasting, and unparalleled knowledge of global markets has earned him the respect and appreciation of key business leaders in our industry.”

Shifting Gears and Looking Ahead

The US economy, and the global economy, are not what they were last year. Changes that we will be discussing include:

    • Policy pressures/benefits on business
    • Consumer behavior
    • Business spending
    • Labor market
    • Commodity prices
    • Interest rates

We will look at numerous leading indicators that will clearly tell us what WIC attendees can expect, when to expect it, and what to do about it.  Attendees will be prepared for the rest of 2019 and will have the confidence to effect tactical changes that will enhance profitability through 2020.


Industry Trends Panel

Tom Dobbins, CAE
President, American Composites Manufacturers Association

Tom Dobbins has been the President and CEO of the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) since 2006.

ACMA represents about 3000 companies that employ about 280,000 people in mostly rural areas.  They are primarily small and midsized businesses generating almost $50 billion in revenues annually.  They manufacture products used to enhance infrastructure, make transportation more energy efficient, protect our troops, and generate energy with less impact on the environment.

In addition, the organization represents suppliers, academic institutions, and others who support the industry.  ACMA was very active in the establishment of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing and Innovation (IACMI) an advanced manufacturing institute instituted by the Department of Energy.

Prior to joining ACMA, Mr. Dobbins served in the Executive and Legislative branches of the US government, as well as in two other associations.  He has also worked in the private sector doing government relations and public relations work.

Brett Miller
Vice President of Education & Certification, National Wood Flooring Association

Brett Miller is the Vice President of Education & Certification at the National Wood Flooring Association where he is responsible for the development, coordination, implementation and presentation of the NWFA’s technical publications and Guidelines, training schools, workshops, and on-line training, as well as the NWFA’s certification programs. Miller is also the Technical Editor for Hardwood Floors Magazine where he is responsible for writing and editing technical articles. Miller has more than 28 years of experience in the hardwood flooring industry where his passion began as an installer and finisher of wood floors, then progressed to being a successful business owner, wood floor inspector, commercial and residential project manager, regional manager for a large finish manufacturer, technical standards writer, and as an instructor.

Leland Thomasset
Founder, Taghkanic Woodworking LLC / President, Cabinet Makers Association

Leland Thomasset is an entrepreneur, business leader and craftsman with several decades of experience in the woodworking industry.

He has run profitable cabinet and closet manufacturing businesses for 30 years and is an internationally recognized automation consultant and educator. Thomasset has also created highly regarded training programs that incorporate industrial design and manufacturing software.

He began his professional career at Bedford Woodworks in 1979. From 1983 to 1985, Thomasset studied and honed his furniture design and manufacturing skills at the Wendell Castle School. During winter and summer breaks, he continued to work at Bedford Woodworks.

Thomasset graduated in 1985, working for Bedford Woodworks until 1989. During this period, he worked on several private commissions (primarily furniture) and did one- and two-person shows at Ten Arrow Street Gallery in Cambridge, MA, and at the Fedrick Gallery in Washington, DC. These and other shows produced enough work that Thomasset started his own cabinet business, Fine Line Design, in June 1989.

Starting out in his garage in Cortlandt Manor, NY, he produced both custom cabinetry and custom furniture for residential markets in the CT, NY and NJ metro areas. The following spring, he moved from his garage to a 4,000-square-foot shop in Verplanck, NY.

In October 2004, Thomasset partnered with M. Benko Construction and formed Taghkanic Woodworking LLC in Pawling, NY. His clientele has diversified to include both residential and commercial clients, and he also provides CNC outsourcing for customers.

In May 2008, Thomasset joined the Cabinet Makers Association (CMA), becoming active with the organization’s speakers’ bureau and sharing tips and information with fellow members via the CMA’s online forums. In 2018, following several years serving on the CMA board of directors, he was elected president.

In 2017, Thomasset participated in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business certificate program, spending one day every week for four months doing coursework and collaborating with fellow participants. The program gave him a new level of expertise in accounting, growth forecasting and creating dashboard metrics – knowledge that he has shared with his employees.

Thomasset has been a speaker at AWFS and IWF, sharing his expertise about a variety of topics, including automation for the small cabinet shop; CAD, CAM, and CNC for custom furniture makers; and diversification strategies for cabinet shops. He has hosted several CMA events, including day-long seminars covering CNC automation, outsourcing and CAD/CAM software use.

Thomasset and his wife Gina have two children who are college students. He enjoys spending time in the garden, camping on his property on a lake in upstate NY and playing a bad golf game (he’s a beginner).


Trends in Product Liability

James Dartlin “Dart” Meadows

James Dartlin “Dart” Meadows is a trial lawyer and a civil litigator with 31 years of experience of successfully resolving a wide variety of civil disputes. He has tried dozens of cases in state and federal court in Georgia, and in other states. Dart is named to The Best Lawyers in America, Georgia’s list of “Super Lawyers,” and has received the highest AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

Dart practiced with Powell, Goldstein’s litigation department from 1983 until February 1992 when Meadows, Ichter & Bowers was formed. Meadows, Ichter & Bowers merged with Balch & Bingham LLP on June 1, 2003.

Dart has developed a national practice representing woodworking machinery manufacturers, distributors, and dealers in product liability litigation throughout the United States. He has served as national counsel for three of the world’s largest manufacturers and distributors of industrial woodworking machinery. He has served as co-chair of the Power Tool Product Liability Section of the DRI, chair of the Product Liability Section, State Bar of Georgia and is currently Chair of the Product Liability Committee of the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association. Dart serves on the Metro Atlanta Chamber Board, the GDLA Board, the USTA Georgia Board, and serves on the BBVA Compass Board of Advisors.

Dart was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Peachtree Christian Hospice and served on the board of the Atlanta City Unit of the American Cancer Society. Dart was President of the Peach State Chapter of the West Virginia University Alumni Association. He founded the “Party with a Purpose,” one of the American Cancer Society’s largest single event fundraisers in Atlanta. He is married with five children and lives in Atlanta.


Joint Technology Session

Are you constantly hearing all the buzz about how Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality are going to change manufacturing forever but you feel like that is a distant future? Come to the WMIA/WMMA Joint Technology Committee’s session on Demystifying Tech in VR/AR and AI/ML to learn more about the current state of these technologies and how they are being used today, along with their limitations, for a current-state, real-world view of these emerging technologies.