Advanced textiles and global trade are focus of IFAI Expo Americas 2011 in Baltimore

IFAI Expo Americas 2011 promises to be the "main event" once again for the entire specialty fabrics industry in North America. Thousands of visitors will converge 25-27 October at the Baltimore Convention Center for a three-day event packed with the industry's largest trade exhibition, educational symposiums, top entertainment and speakers, and plenty of social-networking.

IFAI President and CEO Stephen Warner describes IFAI Expo Americas 2011 this way: "This is the main event, the key gathering of critical industry decision-makers. You don't send someone else--you have to come yourself. We've planned an exciting, constantly-moving show.

"Baltimore was chosen for the beautiful Inner Harbor waterfront district and its proximity to Washington, D.C. We expect strong government participation as well as international buyers. It has been a long time since we have held IFAI Expo Americas in the mid-Atlantic region and people are excited," said Warner.

IFAI Expo Americas 2011 has a well-earned reputation as the one-stop-shop featuring hundreds of exhibitors from the industry's top companies in fabrics, fiber, films and chemicals, end products, components, equipment, and technology services.

According to IFAI Expo Americas 2010 exhibitor Steve Wright, of Forest Group USA: "The IFAI show puts us in front of potential customers that we do not see during our typical sales process. We are now involved in several large quoting opportunities thanks to the show."

Last year visitor Jamie Parker, president of Shadys adds, "We attended our first IFAI Expo at the suggestion of one of our manufacturers as a 'must-attend' trade show to finalize our materials and parts selection. They said, 'If you can't find it at this show, then it doesn't exist--especially if you're searching for hard-to-find items.' We were exposed to so many new materials that it stimulated our imagination and we have since developed new drawings and designs for future products we never thought possible."

IFAI Expo Americas 2011 has also been designated by the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC) as an International Buyer Program (IBP) in 2011. Each year only a few trade shows held in the U.S. are determined by the USDOC to receive the IBP designation. This is the third time in the last four years that IFAI Expo Americas has been selected, a clear endorsement that this event means international business for the industry. Buyer delegations are expected from all over the world.

One of the convenient features for buyers in the exhibit hall is the Fabric Sourcing Center, where they can view samples of the exhibitors' materials, nicely organized into types of applications, with the exhibitor booth number conveniently listed.

IFAI's Advanced Textiles Americas 2011 technical conference will be held 24-26 Oct., in conjunction with IFAI Expo Americas 2011. A broad interest for this unique conference has developed within the specialty fabrics community because it gives voice each year to new opportunities and game-changing technologies in the textile industry. Debuting in Europe in 2008, this conference has continued to serve as a platform for presenting vital business insights into new research and development, balanced with actual application-based use.

Special Events

This year's distinguished keynote speaker, longtime U.S. political analyst Charlie Cook, Jr., will bravely present the political outlook for the important U.S. elections taking place in 2012--elections that will have a tremendous impact on the U.S. economy. Based on the current political climate in Washington, Cook's presentation promises to be pretty lively!

IFAI is also holding its Gala Welcome Reception and Chairman's Dinner on Tuesday evening for a grand finale to Day One. Special entertainment will be "The Kennedys" (pictured at right), one of the best folk/rock bands in America.

A highlight of the dinner program will be the announcement of the winners of the IFAI International Achievement Awards competition. This year there were over 350 entries from more than 125 companies in 15 countries. This prestigious competition provides high-visibility recognition of the best products within the specialty fabrics market.

The 6th Annual IFF Golf Tournament, an IFAI Expo Americas pre-show event which helps raise funds for scholarships, will be held Monday, 24 October 2011, at the Mount Pleasant Golf Course in Baltimore, MD. For additional information contact the Industrial Fabrics Foundation office at +1 651 225 6545.

Leading the way in specialty fabrics education

Training is a hot button these days as one of the best ways to speed up a company's productivity and profitability. IFAI Expo Americas 2011 is offering targeted sessions which enable attendees to earn Continuing Education Hours (CEHs/CEUs).

Kathy Mattson, vice president of IFAI Member Services, says the training sessions are always packed because of their high value. "Bring your shop crew! These professional development sessions generate new ideas to help your company break into new markets and new profits." Special symposiums, programs and demonstrations include:

  • Marine Symposium: The Ins and Outs of Patterning
  • Fabric Structure Symposium: A Practical Approach to LEED and CSI Fabric Structure Certification
  • Fabric Graphics Symposium: Fabric Graphic Applications - Diversifying Your Products
  • Architect Session: Fabric Architecture - Taking the Mystery Out of Fabric Structures. Co-organized with the Fabric Structures Association (FSA). 2.0 AIA/CES HSW, SD Credits.
  • Awning Symposium: Is Your Cover Too Small? Expand and Diversify Your Awning Business
  • Business Symposium: Essential Tools for Maximizing Your Business Through Technology
  • Architect Session: Green Roofs for Designers. 2.0 AIA/CES HSW, SD Credits.
  • Demonstration: The Bigger the Better - Sewing and Sealing Techniques for Large-scale Fabrication Projects
  • Demonstration and Program: Tent Symposium: The Future of Temporary Fabric Structures

Note: Sessions are subject to change. Visit for up-to-date details on speakers and program information.

U.S. government experts present global textile overview, exporting opportunities

IFAI Expo Americas 2011 visitors will be able to attend a useful, high-level overview of everything from exporting opportunities to legislative and governmental issues facing the U.S. textile industry in several special sessions at IFAI Expo Americas 2011.

On Wed., 26 Oct., 8:00 am, Kim Glas, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles and Apparel, U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Representative Larry Kissell (D-NC) (invited), will lead a discussion on "The global marketplace for specialty fabrics." In addition there will be a panel discussion providing insights into global trade issues, Berry Amendment extension and enforcement initiatives, and global raw goods markets that affect the U.S. specialty fabrics industry. Joining Glas and Kissell will be Paul O'Day, President and Counsel, American Fiber Manufacturers Association; and Auggie Tantillo, Executive Director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC).

A presentation entitled, "Exporting for Profit - if not now, when?" will be given Tuesday, 25 Oct., by Mary Lynn Landgraf, Senior International Trade Specialist, and Lawrence Brill, Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA), U.S. Department of Commerce. It will provide a useful overview of export marketing opportunities and procedures for U.S. specialty fabrics producers and suppliers.

Overview on IFAI Expo Asia 2012 Singapore
Your gateway to business opportunities in Asia Pacific

IFAI's highly successful specialty fabrics exhibition and conference returns 26-28 June 2012 to the Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre.

IFAI will present a special session at IFAI Expo Americas 2011 in Baltimore for companies interested in exhibiting at IFAI Expo Asia 2012 and exporting to the growing Asia Pacific market. To be held Tuesday, 25 Oct., time not yet set. Visit for speaker and schedule updates.