Great Convention!

Burke Nicholson

June 2006

Attendance at AWCI’s 89th annual convention and trade show in Long Beach, Calif., was the largest ever. While quantity doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with quality, I think this year’s show was the best ever—or at least the best one I’ve attended. I hope you were there.

We had a record attendance—unofficially 3,650 delegates—and the 220 exhibitors occupying more than 460 booths represent the largest number of exhibitors at the annual convention. Seminars tended to lean toward business and human resources topics, rather than traditional construction-related themes

This year’s theme for the Intex Expo was "Catch the Wave,” which was aptly chosen because of the Southern California location and because it was the first year of the new joint trade show. Everyone I talked to thanked us for the combining the trade show with the Ceiling & Interior Systems Construction Association. It has proved to be a great advantage to our suppliers and our members.

I spent a lot of time checking out exhibits and talking to delegates. The time and energy put into this kind of show by organizers never ceases to amaze me. Organizers made sure the show ran smoothly. I know it wasn’t easy for them to pull it off. Directional signs were well laid out, registration was easy, and lighting—something convention delegates have good reason to complain about at some shows—was just right at this convention.

Making a show like this successful is a matter of having the right people in the right place at the right time, and we are fortunate to have them on our staff. And, of course, credit must go to our suppliers who went to tremendous expense to show us their newest and best. It was a great place to get new ideas and to network with the leaders of our industry.

Planning is already under way for next year, so start marking your calendars. I hope to see you in Orlando, Fla., April 1–5, 2007.