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Volunteers build excellence

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AWMAC by Michelle Morrell
Michelle Morrell is the National Executive Director of the Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada. She can be reached at:
In 2019, AWMAC celebrates 50 years of being a strong and stable voice for the promotion of quality woodworking. As we look forward to another year, I feel it is important to shine a light on our many volunteers whose efforts have helped build a better industry.
AWMAC’s members give their time to sit on our board and committees – and we have no shortage of those, with nine boards in total (eight chapter boards and one national) and more than 30 committees. In addition to having more than 60 directors across the country, AWMAC benefits greatly from the work of more than 
80 volunteers, many of whom sit on a board or multiple committees.
AWMAC National President Larry White said he first began volunteering with the organization because he wanted to be an active participant in the woodworking industry. “The real benefit is the learning and sharing of ideas from the people I have met and have worked along side with over the years. The interaction with other manufacturing and distribution professionals was invaluable,” he explained.
“Helping AWMAC by volunteering helps the entire industry succeed.”
AWMAC volunteers provide industry representation across Canada through their work with educational institutions, affiliated organizations, and industry professionals. They spread the word about AWMAC at many tradeshows and industry conventions and promote woodworking as a career to youth.
Our volunteers are also responsible for creating and improving our programs and services for the betterment of the industry. Great examples include the North American Architectural Woodwork Standards (NAAWS) and Guarantee and Inspection Service (GIS).
GIS is a national program designed to ensure that project owners get value and quality for their investment, through the verification of architectural woodwork at all stages.
NAAWS was published jointly by both AWMAC and the Woodwork Institute effective July 1, 2017. It is a living document updated periodically, providing industry professionals with the industry’s best practices to promote the manufacturing and installation of quality architectural woodwork.

The benefits of volunteering
Volunteering of any kind, anywhere, benefits many parties. It helps those whose lives see improvement through the selfless efforts of others, first and foremost. However, many volunteers will tell you that volunteering also improves their own lives. In the words of Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we do. We make a life by what we give.”
Said simply, for many volunteers, it feels good to be altruistic.
Making a difference helps volunteers feel like they are being proactive members of society, either professionally or personally. It reflects good character, dedication and commitment. It also gives them the chance to be a good influence in the world, inspiring other colleagues or, better yet, their own family members to volunteer too!
Another benefit of volunteering is professional development.
Volunteering helps you develop new, transferrable and marketable skills, including: interpersonal skills, customer service, people and time management skills, delegation, listening, and analytics. It is also one of the most effective ways to gain experience in a leadership role.
In addition, volunteering looks good on your resume and enhances your career options, as many hiring companies and recruiters look for professional experience.
Another benefit of volunteering is making important career connections.
Volunteering offers the best kind of networking. You are working on real-life projects with fellow colleagues, solving problems together and creating noteworthy solutions.
In the process, you are building a powerful sense of community. This can be especially important to volunteers who are either new to the industry or who have just recently made a move to another town, city or province.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of volunteering is building a sense of accomplishment.
Associations like AWMAC make a difference, not only in their industries, but also in the lives of those served by their industry. AWMAC volunteers do what they do because they want to contribute to AWMAC’s vision to be the architectural woodwork industry authority in Canada, and play a vital role in something bigger 
than themselves.
“My belief is that everyone should contribute to an organization that they join,” said Rudy Bardeck, AWMAC B.C. chapter director and AWMAC national vice president. “The old saying is that you only get out of something if you put something into it is very true. You can be part of the organization, help it grow and learn from your experiences or just a bystander and wonder why nothing comes your way.”
AWMAC has nine incredible governing boards of directors across Canada made up of woodwork manufacturing leaders, major industry suppliers, and more. Volunteers get direct access to these people and work with them side by side, developing positive professional relationships that can lead to new opportunities.
“Individuals should get involved to let their voices be heard,” added Rudy. “Many ideas float around but are never considered as they are not passed forward to the right people or committees. One needs only to become involved at the committee level. Where that takes you is only dependent on the individual.”
As AWMAC continues to build trust, innovation and an assurance of excellence with those the industry serves, it is the work of our volunteers – people like you – that help us reach our goals.
Are you interested in being one of our new, great volunteers? Get involved by calling or emailing your local chapter. 
You can also send an email to

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