Todd Dalland honored with Bruce W. Wodetzki Award

Todd Dalland, co-founder and president of FTL Solar and a LEED Green Associate, and Fellow of American Institute of Architects, received the Bruce W. Wodetzki Award at the IFAI Tent Expo 2011, presented by J.D. Howell, former Wodetzki recipient.   

This award is the tent rental industry’s highest honor, presented only to individuals who have contributed time, talent and energy to improving the industry for all participants.

In the 1980s and 1990s Todd designed and patented several new tension tent designs in the North American tent rental and military tent industries in collaboration with tent manufacturers. Several of these designs have been in continuous production and inventory for more than 20 years. Total cumulative sales figures for tents made from the designs are currently approaching $3 billion. These designs helped North America maintain its worldwide lead in pole tent materials, manufacturing and installation technology—originally established during the Golden Age of the Circus in the early 20th century. Companies representing his designs include Anchor Modules (Bandshell and Century), Eureka Genesis (Elite and Capri), Armbruster Tension Tent and MGPTS for the US Army.

In 1986, Todd introduced a wind loading criteria interpretation for temporary tents, with the help of Mike Cook of Buro Happold, that met American Society of Civil Engineers standards for buildings, which is still in use today for pole tents and clearspan tents. This helped give construction industry building code inspectors a way to assess temporary tent and clearspan designs and installations based on established construction industry business standards.

Todd founded FTL (Future Tents Ltd.) in 1977, with engineer brother Ross Dalland and Ray Gill, and was joined by classmates Nic Goldsmith and Denis Hector in 1978 and 1979 and by Robert Lerner in 1995. FTL’s close association with Buro Happold, the British engineering firm, was instrumental in its development.

FTL has been a member of IFAI since 1979, and has been awarded more than 50 International Achievement Awards. Todd has been a featured speaker at numerous IFAI events, is a former Steering Committee member of the Tent Rental Division and has participated in several of its standards committees.

FTL has prepared engineering analyses and certification reports for several clearspan, frame and pole tent manufacturers for US sales and rentals, including: Losberger, Roder, Hoecker, Neptunus, Walther, Universal, Anchor, Eureka and Sperry.

FTL has designed and engineered new circus tents for: Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey, Big Apple Circus and Cavalia.

Todd has been involved in many large special events and was the first planner and architect for the tented “Seventh on 6th Fashion Shows” in Bryant Park in New York, and was involved with the design and planning of several parts of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

In 1996, Todd was elevated to Fellowship in the American Institute of Architects for advancements in the field of design for his work on the many temporary, deployable and permanent tensile structure projects completed by FTL.

In 2007, Todd and Robert Lerner formed FTL Solar, and were joined by first investor and CEO Tony Saxton. FTL Solar produces fabrics that make electricity when held up to the sun by integrating fabric with flexible photovoltaic cells, and designs and manufactures fabric-based products using these cells. FTL Solar has begun introducing solar tents called PowerMods to the tent rental marketplace in a distribution relationship with Classic Party Rentals.

“I know there are other tent people who deserve this more, but I can’t tell you how pleased I am to receive the Wodetzki Award and join the ranks of the other recipients," Dalland says. "Many of them were the mentors and collaborators who helped give me my start. My special thanks go out to Jerry O’Connell, Pat McBride, John Daus, Harry Oppenheimer, Bernie Armbruster, Jim Reyen and Kevin McBride.

“Bruce Wodetzski was an early supporter and role model for me—and I am grateful to him. I remember a great evening with Bruce and his wife Karen in NYC.

“For me, tents are lightweight and flexible buildings—temporary architecture. And large, tented special events with portable generators are movable villages and cities—temporary urban planning.”

For a photo of Todd Dalland, please contact Jan Schieffer, TRD Managing Director, at

IFAI Tent Expo 2011 provided more than 600 participants a full spectrum of tents/fabric structures and tent rental products and services suppliers on Jan. 24 - 26, in St Pete Beach, Fla. The Tradewinds Resort was host to the exposition and provided the challenges of a sandy beach and wind exposure from the gulf.  The exposition held educational seminars, Training for the Tent Professional and hands-on workshops on emerging technologies under the theme “Work Hard, Play Hard.” Tent installations demonstrations emphasized safety awareness for the tent installer.

Keynote speaker Joe M. Turner addressed the many possibilities of providing positive customer service to inside and outside associates.  Jeff Korhan challenged all participates to participate in social media and presented “how to get started” venues for everyone.  Whether blogging, Facebooking or a LinkedIn page, the important message was to become involved today.  Karen Koppel explained the process of participating in large scale events even if you are a smaller company as there are many opportunities available if you have defined your company’s product and service offerings.

Expert industry representatives discussed the importance of site surveys; personal protection equipment and awareness; tent permits and codes; and the day-to-day operations and challenges, including training installers and the importance of owners delegating responsibilities.  Most importantly, the industry gathered to discuss the importance of establishing guidelines for the safe ballasting of rental tents. During the Tent Rental Division Annual Business Meeting, a motion passed for moving forward with the project.

Other highlights of the IFAI Tent Expo 2011 included the survival of all installed tents through a wind and rain storm of tornado strength, a tribute to the following of the established guidelines for the safe installation and maintenance of tentage.

For more information on IFAI Tent Expo 2011, contact Jan Schieffer, IFAI Tent Rental Division Managing Director, 1801 County Road B West, Roseville, MN 55113; +1 651 225 6944;

The Tent Rental Division is a division of the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), a not-for-profit trade association whose member companies represent the international specialty fabrics marketplace. IFAI is the largest, most comprehensive trade association serving this industry, and provides many products, services and programs through its magazines, bookstore, information services and conferences. For more information about IFAI, please visit