The panel processing industry converged on the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado in October for another successful Material Technology & Design Symposium. Held at the beautiful Grand Hyatt located downtown, the event was highlighted by a powerhouse panel featuring some of the largest furniture manufacturers in the world discussing what they are seeing in the industry in the coming years. The stage was set for panelists Kevin Sauder president of Sauder Woodworking; Michael Pitman, senior VP of sales at Ashley Furniture; Mike Evans, president & CEO of Bush Industries; and Arash Fasihi, founder of Cymax and CEO of Growthpipe Ventures, who discussed education on the future. 

Other top speakers included Missy O’Daniel, president of Web-Don, who talked about the value that distribution brings to the channel and how suppliers can work with distributors to showcase product. Bruce Alumm, director of sales at 2020 Spaces, gave a presentation on understanding design and production software for composite based products. Joseph Wheeler, co-director & professor at Virginia Tech, spoke about a project called FutureHaus. This modular house will become the future of homebuilding and how composite panels and decorative surfaces can play a part.

Another fantastic panel included Bert Clothier, president and founder of Laminate Works; Todd Wegman, president of Stevens Industries; and Larry Gaskey, president of MJB Wood. The three represent some of the largest component providers in North America. They discussed trends in the industry and how component production has changed over the years.

Last, Natasha Mnat, branding strategy & design manager at Bauformat USA, showcased European design trends, how Bauformat brings their product to North America, and what they are looking for in design influences in their kitchen business.

Overall, the event was a success as attendees were treated with great educational opportunities, a vibrant exhibit hall to see the latest in technology, and first-class venue accommodations. “The networking opportunities are what make this event one not to miss,” said John Aufderhaar, publisher of Surface & Panel magazine.

Each year the goal is to create the best event possible for any CEO, fabricator, component supplier, distributor, designer and furniture manufacturer to attend. It’s hard hitting and collaborative, and each year it gets better and better. Thank you to all our attendees who came, sponsors who supported it, and staff who made it possible. Looking forward to another great event in 2020!