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AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo: Welcome Back!

In early April more than 2,100 people packed their enthusiasm and headed to Texas to attend AWCI’s convention and the largest trade show in the wall and ceiling industry. The first convention since 2019, leaders at the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry took advantage of the downtime to take a hard look at the convention program and make some changes.


In his opening address, AWCI CEO Mike Stark told attendees that “no one seeks a crisis, and no one would wish a global pandemic on anyone, but I believe it gave us a different perspective. We identified better ways of doing things, and it led us to truly evaluate what is essential and what is not, what is impactful and what is not.”


One such change was the addition of more education and general sessions at the convention. General sessions featured reports and updates from AWCI leaders, NFL legend Emmitt Smith spoke about being a champion, and New York Times best-selling author Ben Nemtin told attendees how to achieve their bucket-list goals. Education sessions covered such subjects as safety management, how to win business, lean construction, setting goals and diversity and inclusion. AWCI’s new Emerging Leaders Program delivered a robust schedule that included education sessions, meet-and-greet opportunities with AWCI’s leaders and site visits.


Stark’s comments in his State of the Association report highlighted the latest work of AWCI: technical services, the hiring of an industry professional to run point on health and safety issues focused on our industry and collaborations with construction industry coalitions and associations.


Stark also noted that AWCI will provide members with an enhanced and sustained focus on the ceilings sector of our industry. “It’s in our name, so we want to be sure we are supporting those efforts for contractors and other stakeholders in this important market,” he said.


In addition, the association is currently evaluating the Doing It Right education programs to ensure the content is current, the user experience is best-in-class and that the subject matter is meeting the needs of our industry.


Finally, Stark noted that a new AWCI logo would be introduced, and beginning in 2023, the INTEX Expo will be known as Build: AWCI’s Convention + Expo. Regarding the AWCI logo change, Stark said, “It’s the same name, but the logo now has a more modern and cleaner look.”


But traditions were not forgotten during the convention. AWCI President Shawn Burnum introduced President-elect Travis Vap, who will become the association’s president on July 1, and USG continued its tradition of presenting a portrait of the incoming president. AWCI Immediate Past President Chip McAlpin gave Burnum his “presidential gavel” during the board meeting, which was Burnum’s final “call to order” during his term.


Another highlight was the excellence awards celebration dinner, which also included the traditional fundraisers sponsored by the Foundation of the Wall and Ceiling Industry. For the first time this year, the Foundation’s silent auction was online, so all members could participate whether or not they were at the event. In the end, Mike Nicholson of Bayside Interiors won the Foundation’s jewelry raffle, and Robert Perricone of Component Assembly Systems won the $5,000 raffle, but everyone walked away a winner.


The Foundation thanks the jewelry raffle sponsors—Associated Drywall Partners, Inc., BakerTriangle, Richter System® and T.J. Wies Contracting, Inc.—and many thanks to Grabber Construction Products for sponsoring the $5,000 raffle.


Awards were also presented to outstanding members and companies at various events throughout the program. Attendees at the dinner were the first to learn which companies won AWCI’s excellence in construction innovation, safety and quality awards (see pages 34–41). AWCI presented its Pinnacle Award to Mike Weber of Island Acoustics (see page 30), and National Gypsum’s George Kutcher received AWCI’s inaugural Distinguished Service Award (see page 33).


AWCI’s annual convention would not be complete without the INTEX Expo, which caters specifically to wall and ceiling professionals. After such a long hiatus, the expo was very well attended. As Burnum said in his President’s Message last month, “To be honest, we expected our attendance to be down this year because of the lingering effects of COVID-19 on the enthusiasm of our members. We were wrong. Our INTEX Expo floor was at capacity, and our attendance hit pre-pandemic levels.”


Of course none of this could happen without sponsorships. AWCI thanks the following convention sponsors:


Platinum Level: Hilti, Inc., National Gypsum Company, USG


Silver Level: ClarkDietrich, Drywall & Interior Systems Contractors Association, Flex-Ability Concepts, Gypsum Association, L&W Supply


Bronze Level: American Gypsum, Autodesk Construction Cloud, CertainTeed, Venveo


And these are the companies that helped bring the INTEX Expo to life:


Platinum Level: Hilti, Inc.


Gold Level: Autodesk Construction Cloud, CEMCO, Estimating Edge, Grabber Construction Products, Mill Steel Framing, National Gypsum Company, USG


Silver Level: Armstrong Ceiling Solutions, CertainTeed Corporation, ClarkDietrich, Crane Composites, Flex-Ability Concepts, Glasteel, Gypsum Management & Supply, Inc., Kahua, LaborChart, OPCMIA, PABCO Gypsum, Panel Rey


Bronze Level: American Gypsum, ArmourTone Finishes, LLC, Brighton-Best International, Castle Access Panels & Forms, Inc., Conwed, Dri-Design, Dryvit, part of Tremco Construction Products Group, eSub, Inc., Flannery, Inc. , Georgia-Pacific Gypsum, Imperial Products , L&W Supply, MBA Metal Framing, Mirka USA, MiTek, Palram Americas, PeerAssist, Plastic Components, Inc., Plexxis Software, Raken, ITW Ramset, Senco Brands, Inc., Simpson Strong-Tie, Spectar, XtremeInterior


AWCI is thankful for the generous contributions made by these companies—both on and off the trade-show floor.


The pages that follow show photographic evidence of the highlights and good times, and AWCI hopes you will join us next year in March when we meet again in Las Vegas ( As CEO Mike Stark said in his State of the Association speech, “We want to ensure that the convention evolves over time and is a must-attend event each year. You will often hear me talk about continuous improvement; we want this convention and expo to be better than the last one, and next year’s to be even better.”

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