IFAI Expo 2017 attracted more than 4,500 participants to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, La., September 26–29.
Attendees had the opportunity to meet with more than 380 exhibitors, schedule one-on-one meetings with industry professionals and hear expert advice from more than 50 industry speakers.
“There’s so much information and there’s so much here from all of these different industries, that it gives anyone a very ample opportunity to learn a lot more,” said Keith Gardner of Crown Resources, chair of the Geosynthetic Materials Association executive council and an attendee at this year’s expo.
Exhibitors also had a wonderful experience, meeting and connecting with their customers.
“We love networking, really connecting to your customers and getting to spend time with them in such a fun environment,” said John Tavano of The Miami Corporation.
Highlights included Expo Plus sessions, show floor education, ShowStoppers, keynote speakers, a Shade Sail Demonstration, the Manufacturing for Good Demo Booth, Mentor Meetings, Testing Demo Zone, E-Textiles and Smart Fabric Programs, Hackathon Design Challenge and the Opening Reception at the World War II Museum.
“Our keynote [speaker], Derreck Kayongo, was inspiring and brought the entire audience to their feet,” said IFAI President/CEO Mary Hennessy, who recently announced her retirement effective June 2018. “I think my favorite part [of IFAI Expo 2017] was the Opening Reception at the World War II Museum. After following an authentic New Orleans parade to the party, we were entertained by, Hangin’ By a Thread, a band made up of our own multitalented industry colleagues. If you missed this one, you really missed a terrific event, but as they say in baseball, there’s always next year!”
Awards given out at expo included the International Achievement Awards (IAA), Industrial Fabrics Foundation (IFF) Innovation Award and the Student Design Competition.
“Getting to meet all of these amazing people is a great networking opportunity. I’m learning a lot more than I ever knew before coming here,” said Quinessa Stibbins, a student from the University of Minnesota who was a Student Design Competition winner.
Some attendees also opted for Expo Plus education specific to Advanced Textiles and Specialty Fabrics. These packages included a full day of quality education, interactive sessions and keynote speakers.
IFAI Expo 2018, cosponsored with The Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX), will take place in Dallas, Texas, October 15–18.