Ron Wanek to offer welcoming remarks at HPU for the inaugural Next Gen Day at High Point Market

Roseville CA—Next Generation-NOW (Next Gen, Next Gen NOW), North American Home Furnishings Association’s (NAHFA) young professionals group has put together an impressive list of panelists and discussions for their inaugural Next Gen Day (NGN Day) at High Point Market. Registration is still open for this FREE day of education.

Scheduled for Monday, October 21, High Point University (HPU) motor coaches will depart market at 8:30 a.m. from the Green Street entrance of the IHFC building and shuttle NGN day participants to the campus where, along with students, they will interact with industry professionals to gain career insights and discuss opportunities for a successful future in the home furnishings industry. Ron Wanek, Chairman, Ashley Furniture Industries will offer a brief welcome to students as the morning begins.

“We are so excited that the furniture industry is willing to step up to educate our students on potential careers in the furniture industry,” said Jim Wehrley, Ph.D., Dean of the Phillips School of Business at High Point University. “This opportunity could be the catalyst that sends a student in a direction that could lead to a lifelong satisfying and rewarding career.”

On the selection of panelists for the day, Next Gen NOW Advisory Board member Lael Thompson (Broyhill Home Collections) commented: “We knew we had to involve icons in the industry at both sessions. Our goal is to provide as much knowledge, know-how and insight as possible—the ‘in the trenches’ information that these panelists have will be invaluable to the audience of students and young professionals.”

High Point University, “Fashioning a Career in the Home furnishings Industry” panelists:
Kerry Lebensburger, President of Sales, Ashley Furniture Industries
Jason Goldman, Marketing Specialist and HPU Alumnus, Ashley Furniture Industries
Seth Goldberg, Vice President of Business Development, Raymour & Flanigan Furniture
Stuart Curtis, Vice President of Operations, Best Home Furnishings
Ron Gordon, Vice President of Technology, MicroD, Inc.
Hayley Leocha, Product Manager, MicroD, Inc.

HPU shuttles bring attendees and students back to market for an 11:30 a.m. luncheon panel and job-shadowing afternoon. Held in the 11th floor ballroom of the IHFC Green Wing, the luncheon panel session, facilitated by Ray Allegrezza, Editor-in-Chief, Furniture|Today, features prominent personalities in the industry.

“3 Guys and a Mic – Insights and Anecdotes with Industry Icons” luncheon panelists:
W.W. “Jerry” Epperson, Analyst & Managing Director, Mann, Armistead & Epperson, LTD.
Pedro Capo, Senior Vice President, El Dorado Furniture
Steve Hodges, Free-lance designer & President, Steve Hodges Associates, Inc.
Rick Schroeder, Vice President of Design, Stanley Furniture Co.

Panelists will share stories of how they first became involved in the industry as well as triumphs and challenges along the way. A Q&A at the end of the session will provide tips for the next generation to navigate the deep waters of an ever-changing business landscape.

Over twenty students have signed up to participate in the afternoon at Market. Job shadowing mentors offer students a variety of career opportunities to explore. From buyer to marketing manager to chief operating officer, students will get a rare behind the curtain look at the inner workings of the home furnishings industry. “It’s a pleasure to work with the NAHFA and Next Gen NOW on a mentoring program like this during High Point Market,” said Jeff González, Director of Furniture and Latin American Sales for Nourison Industries of Saddle Brook, New Jersey. “It’s a wonderful chance for seasoned members of our industry to guide and answer questions to eager minds.”

For more information or to register online go to
The group encourages you to follow their activities during Market on Twitter using the hashtag #NGNHPmkt.


About Next Generation-NOW
Next Generation-NOW,, is a community of young, passionate and vibrant home furnishings professionals that are the future of the home furnishings industry. Working together, this community will develop the next group of industry leaders through educational events, social networking and guidance and give a voice to the unique needs of future generations in the furniture industry.

Next Generation-NOW’s sponsors include benefactor sponsor Ashley Furniture Industries, Coaster Company of America, High Point Market,, Serta, Surya Rugs, and MicroD, Inc. Next Generation-NOW is facilitated by the North American Home Furnishings Association. To become a sponsor and support this important segment of the industry contact Cindi Williams, NAHFA Marketing & Events Director, at or at (916) 960-0277.

About the NAHFA
The North American Home Furnishings Association,, is the nation’s largest organization devoted specifically to the needs and interests of home furnishings retailers. The organization’s membership encompasses more than 10,000 stores in all 50 states and several foreign countries. Providing a unified voice, the organization will allow those in the industry to work more cohesively as well as increase negotiating power and cost efficiency. Three offices serve the organization with locations in the East, West and Central United States.

About the High Point Market Authority
The High Point Market Authority,, is the official sponsor and organizer of the High Point Market in High Point, N.C. Featuring an extensive selection of exhibitors spanning every category, style, and price point, and attracting tens of thousands of visitors from more than 100 countries twice each year, the High Point Market is the driving force of the home furnishings industry. Find the High Point Market anywhere online, and follow on Twitter using the hashtag #hpmkt.

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