Submitted by on Fri, 05/14/2021 - 15:32
Industry News Update (Spring Conference Wrap-up) April 28, 2021

The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association is committed to bringing you the most up-to-date information in the industry. Here’s a recap of the 2021 KCMA Spring Leadership Conference:

PVI Fountain

KCMA Held its 65th Annual Spring Leadership Conference at the Ponte Vedra Inn, Florida

We thank all of our members and their guests who were able to attend - we had a huge turn-out (including a record number of first-time attendees) for what may unofficially be the world's first post-pandemic in-person conference!

Attendees were treated to water-front rooms, a tremendous speaker line-up, fantastic recreational activities, and plenty of meaningful networking and good times at the receptions and dinners. Plus, KCMA CEO, Betsy Natz, was declared "awesome". Read more.

KCMA would like also thank our sponsors - we couldn't do it without your support.




Back Row (L-R): Edwin Underwood, Marsh Furniture Company; Max Caldas, Canyon Creek Cabinet Company;  Perry Fails, Dura Supreme;  David Peek, WF Cabinetry; James Bray, AkzoNobel; Jeff Gulledge, Bishop Cabinets (Treasurer); Angela Bouma, Crystal Cabinets Works; Bill Allen, Showplace Cabinetry (Immediate Past President)

Front Row (L-R):  John Geraghty, Wurth Group; Perry Miller, Kountry Wood Products, LLC (Vice President); Casey Bell, Bellmont Cabinet Company;  John Gahm, Kitchen Kompact, Inc.,
Stephen Wellborn, Wellborn Cabinets

Pictured Below:  Todd SabineAmerican Woodmark Corp(President)Gay McMichael, MasterBrand Cabinets;  Tom Samanic, Cabinetworks Group



Marks    Luke

Post-Covid & the Biden Administration
Gene Marks 

Gene Marks owns and operates the Marks Group PC, a highly successful ten-person firm that provides technology and consulting services to small and medium-sized businesses. Prior to starting the Mark Group PC, Gene spent nine years in the entrepreneurial services arm of the international consulting firm KPMG in Philadelphia where he was a Senior Manager.

Gene's presentation outlined:

  • Actions to Take Against Inflation: Lock in supply and employee agreements, financing, and lease arrangements; Buy property, raw materials, and inventory; Revisit all pricing
  • Supply Chain Actions: Invest in technology; Demand planning, Maximize warehouse; Inventory maintenance; Supplier and customer transparency
  • Labor Cost Actions: Invest in technology; Budget for salary increases; Re-assess overtime; Pay for a safety review
  • Tax Actions: Utilize tax credits; Invest in capital equipment, leverage stimulus credits
  • Chocolate milk does not come from brown cows

International Trade & Customs Issues Update
Luke Meisner
Luke A. Meisner is a partner at Schagrin Associates, a boutique law firm specializing in international trade litigation and policy. Mr. Meisner has litigated numerous complex antidumping and countervailing duty cases in proceedings before the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. International Trade Commission, the Court of International Trade, and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. 

Luke's trade insights included:

  • After decades of surging, Chinese imports excited the market
  • $1.1 billion of benefit in 2020 U.S. imports
  • KCMA Member monthly YOY sales increased from down over 20% in April 2020 to up 10% in January 2021
  • KCMA & Schagrin Associates anti-evasion efforts are focused on companies in Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia

ELC        ELC2  

Emerging Leaders' Perspective on Industry Challenges

Casey Bell, CEO, Operations, Bellmont Cabinet Company
Jaime Foster, VP of Business Development, Woodmont Cabinetry
Jeremy Rentschler, Sales Manager, Indiana Dimension
Jeremy Seykora, Director of Marketing, Showplace Cabinetry 

The Emerging Leaders Council panel provided alternate/unique viewpoints on current and emerging issues related to: 

  • Investing in New Technology: Tools, Inventory systems, and HR software
  • Focusing on What You Do: Outsource HR, Payroll, Accounting, etc.
  • Retaining and Developing Employees: Pre-screen new hires; Set clear career paths and steps/timelines to obtain them; Incentivize mid-level managers to retain their direct reports
  • Digitization: Augmented reality,  Amazon-esque delivery management; digital marketing

OBRION     Dietz

Becoming the #1 Choice in a Crowded Market
Gerry O'Brion

Gerry O’Brion is a marketing keynote speaker and author who translates big brand strategies into knowledge that any business can use to win in the marketplace. He worked with Procter & Gamble on brands such as Crisco, Tide, Mr. Clean, and Spic & Span. At Coors Brewing Company he managed Coors Light, a $2 billion business. He was then VP of Marketing for the $1.5 billion Quiznos restaurant chain. Gerry was most recently VP of Marketing for Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, a $1 billion brand.

Gerry delved into marketing philosophies, including:

  • What problem does your customer want to solve
  • Nobody buys anything; they choose between options
  • Netflix vs. Blockbuster: Give your customers more of what they want & less of what they don't
  • You should buy from us because...

Housing/Marketing Economics
Robert Dietz

To close the speaker sessions, Dr. Dietz of the National Association for Home Builders returned to the KCMA conference for a presentation on the housing industry. He revealed statistical insights on the industry including:

  • The economic recovery is accelerating with GDP growth forecasted at 6.0% in 2021 and 4.7% in 2022
  • Personal disposable income rose sharply while consumption expenditures dropped dramatically
  • More than four millions individuals were unemployed for more than six months, but unemployment rates should be lower in the coming year
  • Inflation pressures are building as the economy recovers
  • Non-China cabinet imports up 35% year over year
  • Texas and the Southeast dominate the Top Ten largest single-family markets

Get the presentations



2021 KCMA Fall Management Conference & Plant Tours
Omni Viking Lakes Hotel - Eagan, Minnesota
October 26 - 29