Dr. Shade’s Take on This Year’s IFAI Expo

Hello, Dr. Shade here! I’m excited this month to talk about one of my passions, IFAI, which for those of you that don’t know is the Industrial Fabrics Association International. IFAI is a volunteer based organization that brings together everyone in the Industrial Fabrics Markets. IFAI allows the members to share ideas with their peers and connect with industry suppliers, as well as other manufacturers. IFAI has divisions that allow members to focus with their specific industry peers. The divisions are Advanced Textiles, Awnings, Equipment, Fabric Graphics, Fabric Structures, Geosynthetics, Makers, Marine, Military, Narrow Fabrics, Tarp, Tent, U.S. Industrial Fabrics, IFAI Canada, IFAI Japan, and IFAI New Zealand.

Once a year we have a tradeshow known as the IFAI Expo, typical attendance over the past few years has been around 5,000 attendees. I serve as the Chairman of the Fabric Structures Association and have been involved with IFAI for over 20 years. I can tell you it is a great organization run by some immensely talented people and the key is the volunteers from within the industry that make the association work.

This year’s expo was well attended and we had a variety of education sessions on Tuesday that were all very well attended. I attended several sessions, the first session was on Shade Sails, presented by Tim Kohler, Lawrence Fabric Structures, and Tim Akes, with MPanel Software Solutions. Tim Kohler presented several case studies while Tim Akes explained how software was used throughout the process to develop the designs, patterning, and bills of material.

The next session was about how codes and permitting impact your business. It was put on by Ron Astley, State of New Hampshire Department of Safety and Paul Armstrong, whom is an independent consultant and ex building official. The attendance was high and having a building and fire official in the same room much less presenting together was a great session. It was great to hear both perceptions from the standpoint of fire safety and building safety explaining some of the codes and how they affect our industry.

I spoke on how to work with architects and was joined by Mary Gilmore, AIA of Campo Architects based in New Orleans. Mary spoke on things to look for when calling and presenting to architects. Mary’s key takeaway was knowing your audience and tailoring your presentation to meet your audience’s needs. I did a short presentation on how to present the AIA CE approved Fabric Structures Association presentation on Fabric Structures, where to begin.

The next education session was on Market Opportunities for Shade. This session was presented by Daniel W. McElmurray, Landscape Architect for the City of New Orleans and Margueritte Ramos, President of ShadeFLA. This session had several case studies presented by Mr. McElmurray on several New Orleans park projects. Mrs. Ramos’s presentation was on some of the latest technology in shade structures as well as unique solutions to shading.

The final presentation for the day was Mass to Membrane presented by Nick Goldsmith, FAIA LEED AP. I must admit Nick is one of my favorite speakers and he also has a new book coming out about tensile membrane structures. Nick spoke on the history and future of fabric structures. He had several projects he used as examples as FTL, Nick’s firm has done hundreds of technically challenging projects all over the world.

There were many social networking opportunities including the PAMA (Professional Awning Manufacturers Association) Pub Night which was a huge success. The Expo Plus reception, IFAI Past Chairman’s Reception/Volunteer Leadership Recognition Dinner, Shade Sail demonstration on the show floor, Opening Reception, Keynote Sessions, and Student Design Challenge winners.

If you didn’t make the Expo in New Orleans this past year be sure to join us next year in Dallas, TX. Value Vinyls will be displaying at Booth #1221. IFAI will be partnering with CAMX (Composites and Advanced Materials Expo) and the dates are October 15th through October 18th, 2018.

We are here to work with you on your next project, with some of the best people in the business on our team. For more information contact us at the following link Value Vinyls, or call us at 877-716-6651. Should you have any questions about the IFAI show and the meetings that were held, feel free to contact me, Marc Shellshear / AKA; Dr. Shade at 940-205-0434.

Thanks for your time! Marc