Trade Shows & Conventions: How Important Are They to You?

Mike Taylor / October 2016

I recently attended the Florida Wall & Ceiling Contractors Association’s 2016 Convention in beautiful Orlando, Fla., and it was a great experience. What an interesting group of contractors, manufacturers and distributors. One of the highlights for me was the busy trade show where contractors showed genuine interest in the product and service lines on display. The well-attended convention tells me that Florida is back on track and positioned to take advantage of new opportunities.
    
This brings to mind how important these events really are to all of us. In my opinion they are invaluable. How can a company in today’s environment survive without help from its peers? Where else can you go and visit like-minded people, relate day-to-day issues/concerns, and perhaps get ideas on how to resolve them?
    
An example is the increased penalties (up to 86 percent) under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Advice on how to deal with those penalties and what steps you can take to avoid getting snared can come from your peers at events like this convention.
    
At conventions you can share ideas and issues that really matter to you with people you might never have met from across the country otherwise. I would venture to say that AWCI members share not just many business interests but also personal ones, so why not take advantage of these opportunities at these events?
    
Manufacturers and distributors—the often forgotten group—are a key to the success of these events. In many cases they spend great sums of money to be at our shows, so we should support their efforts. Meet them, talk to them about your issues or concerns. They can help your business grow and thrive.
    
At the Florida convention, I discussed a few concerns of my company with the president of a major EIFS manufacturer. It is the kind of information-gathering meeting that can generate business ideas and form new relationships. Remember, manufacturers are willing to promote you in your marketplace because when you do well, they do well.
    
We must recognize that being involved and connected will bring us together like never before. I encourage everyone to build on current relationships and form new ones to better your company and, ultimately, the industry. What better place to do this than at industry conventions and meet-up events like them?
    
AWCI’s next annual convention and the Intex Expo will be in Las Vegas, March 26–30, 2017.  To learn more, go to awci.org.
    
Hope to see you there.

In addition to being 2016–2017 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Taylor is executive vice president of Liddle Bros. Contractors, Inc. in Nashville, Tenn.