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The Main Event

I would like to start this issue off with heartfelt thanks to all the attendees, exhibitors and, of course, our sponsors who collectively made AWCI’s 94th Convention & INTEX Expo 2011 a truly remarkable experience. Special thanks too for the AWCI staff and our Executive Vice President/CEO Steve Etkin who put in so much hard work to make the world’s largest wall and ceiling convention such a great success. We had 248 exhibit booths with many new and exciting products, and I am pleased to report that attendance, at more than 2,200, was up by well over a quarter compared to the 2010 convention and trade show, which may be somewhat attributable to the venue. Hopefully, it is also a sign that things are really starting to turn toward the better for our industry.

As I stated in last month’s message, our convention has, without fail, always invigorated me for the upcoming year. Outside of the numerous education sessions and committee meetings offered, the convention provides ample opportunity to reconnect with industry colleagues from around the country and the world. It is also a venue where we can take part in addressing industry issues at all levels. This is rounded out with our Opening Session and Awards Presentation Brunch, which outside of a great keynote speaker—Chef Jeff Henderson—and what has become consistent entertainment from AWCI Convention Committee Chairman Ken Navratil and Steve, also recognizes our Excellence in Construction Safety and Construction Quality Awards, and, of course, the Pinnacle Award. Congratulations to this year’s construction award winners for a job well done, and congrats to Burke Nicholson, our newest Pinnacle Award recipient. It was a true pleasure to see him accept this well deserved recognition; Burke’s contributions to his company, the industry and this association are exceptional as is his commitment to his family. It was through Burke and his wife Norma that I came to first appreciate the great AWCI family I was in, when I attended my first executive committee meeting.

If you missed all of this, please don’t pass up next year’s opportunity in Charlotte, N.C., April 15–19 at the Charlotte Convention Center and the Westin and Omni hotels. If you are looking way beyond next year, fill in your calendars now for San Antonio, Las Vegas, Long Beach and New Orleans.

In addition to being the 2010–2011 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Allen is vice president of Compass Construction in Columbus, Ohio.

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