IFAI is also the not-for-profit organizing committee of the biennial geosynthetics conferences, most recently its Geosynthetics 2015 event in Portland, Ore., last February. Geosynthetics 2017 will be held March 12–15 in Orlando, Fla.
The annual IFAI Expo conference and trade show is the largest display of specialty fabrics and technical textiles in the Americas. According to an IFAI press release, the show was attended by more than 5,500 registrants and 376 exhibitors at the Anaheim Convention Center.
IFAI president Mary Hennessy said she was excited about the turnout for the 2015 show. “The show was a home run. Exhibitors and attendees raved about everything. Attendance was strong and steady, and the opening reception was awesome. Outside, beautiful weather, fun food trucks and lots and lots of people were icing on the cake. We are hearing nothing but positives!”
The release noted that exhibitors said they were happy with the show turnout. “The traffic at this show has exceeded the last three years,” said Marianne Iosso, vice president of Illinois-based Iosso Products. “We’ve talked to a lot of qualified buyers who are truly needing quality products, and the days have all been equally good for us.”
“This has been a phenomenal show for us,” said Robert Hinsch, vice president of Indiana-based Top Value Fabrics. “It has really been a high-energy show, and we’ve had good, quality traffic.”
The press release said that attendees were equally happy with the quality of the show. “I wasn’t going to come at first; I thought it was too far,” said structural engineer Wayne Rendely, P.E., who is based in New York. “But the show was unbelievable. I met a lot of great people, and now I have too much work.”
IFAI’s 2015 Expo featured several new additions, such as “Campfire Sessions” that promoted informal customer dialogs and equipment demonstrations on topics such as welding, cutting, patterning, custom sewing, laser technologies, and general techniques for operation and maintenance.
The release said that another big draw for all participants was a shade sail demonstration that allowed for an up-close look at architectural features.
The Expo’s annual ShowStoppers competition continued its popularity with 58 participants competing to win awards for their innovative products and services. A disaster mitigation and response display focused on how specialty fabrics can protect lives and property. On display was equipment used for biohazard, paramedic, fire, chemical and oil spill response, fall, heat and flood protection, emergency shelter, potable water, and mobile bathing.
The press release said that a new component for the 2015 Expo was a show floor area dedicated to shade and weather protection. This area was designed to attract a new spectrum of show participants. Similarly, a newly added testing area on the show floor and a complementary Testing 101 course addressed what textile test methods are and how they apply to various products.
Show participants filled a ballroom to capacity for a keynote presentation from Erik Weihenmayer, a blind adventurer who has climbed Mt. Everest, kayaked the Grand Canyon, and has gone on adventures all around the world. His inspiring message captivated those in attendance.
The annual International Achievement Awards were announced, with 61 awards from 29 categories, including two winning geosynthetics projects that will be profiled in the February/March 2016 issue of Geosynthetics magazine.
Next year, IFAI’s Expo 2016 will take place in Charlotte, N.C., Oct. 18–21.
The Industrial Fabrics Association International is the world’s leading and longest-running specialty fabrics trade organization since 1912, with more than 1,500 member companies located in 55 countries. IFAI publishes market-specific magazines and organizes global industry events. www.ifai.com