In an effort to provide companies with an overview of the wood technology industry, Charlie Phillips, associate professor in architectural manufacturing management and technology (AMMT), along with the Wood Technology Industry Institute (WTII), hosted a week-long boot camp with a focus on supply-side companies in the industry.
According to the official WTII website (wtii.net), the boot camp took place from Jan. 10 through Jan. 14 on the Pittsburg State University campus. Participants in the workshop were provided with a five-night hotel stay, food, WTII apparel and more. Some of the topics covered during the workshop included wood science, primary processing, tool technology, and millwork.
“I believe this was our tenth workshop we’ve held,” Phillips said. “We hosted the first one back in 2016. It’s designed to give an overview of our industry to sales professionals within the wood industry, so people who have no background in the wood industry, or very little background, who are now in the position of selling wood-working equipment, to give them a broad overview of our industry.”
The original concept for the bootcamp was developed as a way to give back to companies that provide support and equipment to the AMMT program at PSU. According to the WTII website, the bootcamp has received praise from the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association (WMIA), who once awarded an instructor for the workshop their prestigious Educator of the Year award.
“(The workshop) was developed back in 2015,” Phillips said. “Companies who donate equipment to our facilities said ‘we need a place, some type of training so that when we hire new sales associates we can send them somewhere for training, because either we don’t have the means to do it, we don’t have the time to do it, whatever it may be, so how can you help us create some type of training so (the sales associates) can get this information and be better versed on wood-working, things of that nature. That’s what the program is designed for. We’ve condensed the four-year program into five days, doing things at a very basic level. We’re covering lots of stuff, but not very deep, over those five days.”
While the workshop itself wasn’t geared towards PSU students, the AMMT department is helping host an event later this semester meant to help students make connections with area companies.
“We have an event towards the end of February, what we call our Company Days,” Phillips said. “We invite companies to come in on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25. Last year was a virtual event, this year we’ll be back in person. (Company Days) is usually a very big event. We hope to have anywhere from between 20 and 30 companies here specifically for our majors, and they’ll be interviewing for both internships and full-time positions. That is our big spring event.”
More information on WTII can be found on their website (wtii.net), and more information on the AMMT program at PSU can be found either through the program’s page on PSU’s website (pittstate.edu), or by visiting the Kansas Technology Center.