ORLANDO, FL USA—IFAI Expo 2019, North America’s largest specialty, industrial and advanced textiles event, hosted more than 325 exhibiting companies and a total of 4,412 verified participants from 64 countries at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL USA. IFAI Expo is produced by Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI).
IFAI Expo provided attendees access to the industry’s leading companies, latest innovations in technology and textiles as well as valuable education and insight into current and future trends.
Attendees had the opportunity to meet with over 325 different exhibitors, hear expert advice at more than 83 educational sessions and gain inspiration at a rousing keynote address. 28 campfire-style sessions on the show floor provided valuable information for the Advanced Textiles, Specialty Fabrics and Shade and Weather Protection markets, with many of the sessions enjoying standing room only crowds.
“To me, as a first-time attendee, IFAI Expo is a place to meet people, a place to learn more about your own industry and a place to learn more about what else is out there, what are you missing and what is left to be discovered.”
—Jenn Bradley, Synthetic Resources Inc., Seattle, WA USA
“IFAI Expo is the perfect place to get on a level playing field with everyone else in the industry and move the future of your business forward.”
—Patrick Howe, Wholesale Shade, San Marcos, CA USA
The Advanced Textiles Conference, held the day before the show floor opened, offered an afternoon of 12 classroom sessions dedicated to the Advanced Textiles market. Session topics included challenges and applications of soft goods in human spaceflight, a look at trends that affect textiles needs within the nation’s defense strategy and how to find opportunities and respond to military bids, regulations and advances with medical textiles, a systems level overview of smart textiles as well as a look at prototyping, innovation and diversification.
Expo also hosted three days of market specific classroom education with 33 sessions focused on shade and weather protection, graphics, marine, sustainability and business operations, along with a wealth of other specialty fabrics and advanced textiles focused content.
“IFAI Expo 2019 was a success—attendees, both domestic and international, experienced the newest products and technologies on the show floor and enjoyed insightful education led by industry experts,” said Steve Schiffman, IFAI President and CEO. “We want to thank all the exhibitors and attendees who made IFAI Expo a must-attend event for 2019, and we look forward to a successful 100th anniversary of IFAI Expo 2020 in Indianapolis!”
“Having now visited all the IFAI shows since more than 5 years, I’d like to share with you our excitement and satisfaction during this year’s show. This year was particularly effective for us, as we had several opportunities to share our public funded research results with interested public.”
—Andreas Bisinger, DITF–German Institutes of Textile and Fiber Research, Germany
Highlights at IFAI Expo included: IFAI Expo’s Opening Reception where a huge crowd of Expo-goers toured craft beer stations, played carnival-style games and networked with colleagues; Industrial Fabrics Foundation Night, a lively, fun-filled night which kicked off the overall event with delicious southern food, yard games and music. Attendees were dazzled by IFAI member band, Hangin’ by a Thread, which featured industry veterans along with some guest vocalists; plus, Keynoter Thom Singer enthralled attendees to put electronics away and connect with fellow industry leaders, business owners and exhibitors face to face.
IFAI Expo kicked off by offering an all-day Behind the Scenes of Walt Disney tour where attendees explored the inner workings of one of the world’s largest entertainment enterprises. Tour attendees experienced the inner workings of The American Adventure, the patriotic Audio-Animatronics extravaganza. They received a behind-the-scenes look at the Creative Costuming workshop where costumes are created, and magic is made for Disney Entertainment and experienced one of the world’s largest laundry facilities, Textile Services, saw the skilled craftsmen who make dreams come true, from set pieces to attraction vehicles at Central Shops—Engineering Services.
Expo also offered a wellness component with the first ever 5K Fun Run/Walk. 50 participants enjoyed an early morning of fun, fitness and networking. The Fun Run/Walk was a great way to start the day and set the stage for an energized and productive day on the show floor.
One of the most popular features of IFAI Expo was the Manufacturing for Good demo area where ten IFAI member companies collaborated to manufacture a product right on the show floor! Thousands of attendees viewed live equipment demonstrations and live manufacturing of pencil pouches to benefit local charity, A Gift for Teaching in Orlando, FL, which provides free school supplies for students and teachers in need.
Attendees of IFAI’s Annual Meeting witnessed the presenting of the Chairman’s Award, an honor bestowed by the chairman of IFAI to an individual that has had an extraordinary and meaningful impact on the association. It is rarely given and awarded at the sole discretion of the IFAI chairman. IFAI Chairman Steve Ellington, President of Trivantage, presented the highly respected award to Scott Campbell, CEO of Rainier Industries Ltd. in Tukwila, WA.
Plus, IFAI presented the Outstanding Volunteer Awards, recognizing members who generously gave their time to serve on different boards, task forces and committees, judged competitions and provided education and leadership to others in the industry. This year’s award recipients were Amy Bircher, President, MMI Textiles Inc., Jonathan Chakales, National Sales Manager, Marlen Textiles, Valerie Cuchna, MFC, Material Resources Liaison, Fabric Images Inc., Wendy McBay, Marketing, Tensar Intl. Corp., Brian Richardson, President, L&A Tent Rentals Inc., Eric Sevy, Production Manager, Sugarhouse Industries.
More than 300 attendees participated in 14 Market/Division “Open Meetings” where members and nonmembers came together to discuss challenges their market is facing, new opportunities and technologies.
Mark your calendar for the 100th Anniversary of IFAI Expo, November 4—6, 2020 in Indianapolis, IN USA at the Indiana Convention Center. For more information, visit IFAIexpo.com.