A Traders Market to Remember: 2023 Event Recap

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A Traders Market to Remember: 2023 Event Recap 1

This past November, the North American Wholesale Lumber Association (NAWLA) welcomed forest products industry professionals to Columbus, Ohio, for its 2023 Traders Market event. Featuring top-notch education, unparalleled networking opportunities and a tradeshow like no other, the three-day annual event was one for the books.

Officially kicking off on Wednesday, Nov. 8, NAWLA members were able to take part in in-person committee meetings and member-exclusive 10-Group meetups throughout the day. Once wrapped, all conference attendees were invited to an opening reception in which they could toast to the start of the event and network with one another.

On the second day of the conference, attendees were able to take part in a new birds of a feather networking event.

Set up as informal discussions designed to promote community growth and safe spaces for industry professionals of all levels and backgrounds, participants were able to converse on common topics such as leadership and mentoring, people management, recruiting and onboarding the next generation, customer relationships, industry promotion, sustainability and more.

Following the first networking opportunity of the day, attendees were then able to hear from Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, on the current and future outlook of the lumber construction economy and how this outlook may impact their businesses.

During the keynote luncheon, former National Football League (NFL) journalist and sports media trailblazer Ashley Fox shared stories from her time as an on-air NFL analyst at ESPN and tips for extracting peak performance through motivation. Attendees also learned how to not only lead by example but also how to inspire through incentives, delegate to empower, communicate to engender trust and prioritize the minutiae.

After a morning and early afternoon of learning, attendees were then able to explore the tradeshow floor and connect with 222 exhibitors, as well as take part in a meet-and-greet with two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin before rounding out the day with a networking reception.

The third and final day of the conference was dedicated to networking with exhibitors on the tradeshow floor, in which attendees were able to have brunch with representatives from various companies as well as one another before heading home. This day was also the day NAWLA welcomed Columbus-area high school students to the convention center to learn about careers in the lumber industry and experience the tradeshow floor firsthand.

In total, NAWLA welcomed over 1,300 national and international industry professionals to Columbus for another great event. “This year’s Traders Market event was a great success for NAWLA,” says Judy Haney, NAWLA Traders Market Committee chair. “NAWLA was able to provide an inclusive space for professionals across all areas of the industry — wholesale, manufacturing and service — to connect with one another, build lasting relationships and partnerships, and learn about the latest best practices for their businesses.”

Be sure to mark your calendars to join NAWLA next fall for the 2024 Traders Market, taking place Nov. 13-15, 2024, in Phoenix, Arizona. Attendees, as well as prospective exhibitors and sponsors, are encouraged to watch the NAWLA website (nawla.org/events/tradersmarket) for details about next year’s exhibitions, education sessions and networking opportunities.

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