The Executive Briefing Conference (EBC) draws executives from across the spectrum of the woodworking industry, including market leaders, industry associations, and others from residential and office furniture, cabinetry, architectural millwork firms, home organization, and key industry suppliers.
Last year, one of the biggest headlines in the woodworking industry was the announcement that Quebec’s Groupe Miralis would be investing $45 million to launch two highly automated manufacturing plants. The company’s CEO, Daniel Drapeau, will be one of the featured presenters at this year’s Executive Briefing Conference in Colorado Springs, Sept. 26-28.
The company ranked 170 on the FDMC 300, already has a 125,000-square-foot facility in Saint-Anaclet-de-Lessard, Quebec, and will soon have a 15,000-square-foot operation in Quebec City to transform sintered stone into countertops and a 70,000-square-foot facility in Rimouski to produce custom-engineered cabinets. The projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
In his presentation titled, “Taking The Plunge In Advanced Automation,” Drapeau will reflect on the steps he took over the past decade that led to his ambitious undertaking. He said Miralis is moving closer to Industry 4.0 status, reaching a level of automation superior to anything else in kitchen cabinets and high-volume countertop production in North America.
Eventually, the project will allow the company to monitor its operational data in real-time. Drapeau said he will address the importance of seeking innovation and partnerships to drive business growth in his presentation.
Drapeau said that in his younger years, he knew very little about the kitchen cabinet industry. He was a track and field athlete and completed a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics before working in the telecom industry for Telus Canada for more than 10 years. While facing complex business challenges, Drapeau gained extensive and valuable experience as a manager. But, he said, deep down he knew he was meant to be an entrepreneur.
In 2007, a cabinet company was coming up for sale in his hometown, and hiring a general manager. He learned the ropes by day and took cabinetmaking classes at night and on weekends to make sure he knew the industry through and through. In 2009, he became the owner.
In recognition of his efforts on behalf of the company, the industry, and his community, Drapeau was named a Wood Industry Market Leader in 2022.
Drapeau is one of several industry leaders to present at EBC 2023. Others include Betsy Natz, CEO of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association, Ron Montbleau, CEO of Montbleau & Associates, Randy Tallman, executive vice president, of The Stow Company, and Marc Sanderson, president, Wilkie-Sanderson.