Tent Expo 2019 shines with education and networking opportunities

More than 500 verified tent professionals gathered in Orlando, Fla., in January at Industrial Fabrics Association International’s (IFAI) Tent Expo 2019 for valuable education and networking opportunities under dozens of structures featuring the latest tent technology.

Attendees had the opportunity to meet with more than 65 exhibitors, including innovative tent manufacturers and equipment suppliers offering hands-on education, as well as vendors for flooring, fabric, rental furniture, business software and more.

David Gallick, owner of D&S Party Tent Rentals of Wisconsin Dells, Wis., said, that he came to Tent Expo for the first time because as a newer tent renter, he needed to gain knowledge about the basic tools of the business, and that the show delivered by offering opportunities “seeing the different vendors and learning about new products and new equipment, and learning some of the processes that other companies are using.”

Kenny Puff, president of Party Line Tent Rentals and Green Monster Manufacturing of Elmsford, N.Y., says he comes to Tent Expo to be able to compare products side by side and see the latest advancements of the industry.

“You leave here charged,” he said. “You go back with a lot of energy, a lot of new policies and procedures. Sometimes it’s not just tents that you learn about. It might be an employee policy or training. . . . Everything combined makes the total experience.”

The three-day event kicked off with the annual golf tournament and a happy hour geared toward young professionals, where Ramsey Duqum, CEO and owner of AAble Rents, Cleveland, Ohio, challenged those present to consider how the industry can advance its position within the larger event world.

In his keynote address, former NFL tight end Ben Utecht described his path from a small Minnesota town to Division I football, to winning a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts, to his retirement due to five major concussions. Now a professional musician and an advocate for brain health, Utecht offered an inspiring message for tent professionals about the value in being in the business of making memories for customers.

Tips and Techniques workshops covered topics ranging from stake puller usage to basic fabric repairs. During the Tent Rental Division (TRD) Boot Camp, participants got an overview of general installation site safety and hands-on experience in pulling fabric for a keder track tent, in addition to ballasting techniques and tips. Educational sessions on basic power/HVAC and job costing, a code conversation with members of the TRD Code Committee and consultant Paul Armstrong, P.E., C.B.O., and a tour of the tents rounded out the agenda.

TRD Steering Committee director and Code Committee chair Tom Markel, who passed away in December, was remembered in moments throughout the show, including the opening reception, where Steering Committee directors and IFAI staff members donned flannel shirts in his honor. Finally, Tent Expo came to a festive close with a New York-themed Party on the Pad.

Save the date for Tent Conference 2020

Mark your calendar now. The 2020 Tent Conference will be held at Westgate River Ranch and Rodeo Resort in River Ranch, Fla., on Jan. 22-24, 2020.

The Tent Rental Division (TRD) represents companies in the commercial tent marketplace. The division hosts an annual Tent Expo and Conference, a venue for networking and sourcing industry experts from within and outside the industry. The Division promotes safety for the tent installer and the public in tented events, assembles products and services listings, and represents members in code committees. TRD offers sponsored scholarships to strengthen the future of the industry. The Tent Rental Division provides a network to exchange information, solve common problems and develop mutually beneficial relationships. For more information visit www.Tent.IFAI.com

Industrial Fabrics Association International is a member-owned, member-driven trade association representing the global industrial fabrics industry since 1912. IFAI invests more than $8 million each year to advance the industry and support member companies. IFAI provides members with relevant information, sourcing solutions and networking opportunities to sustain and grow their business. For more information visit www.IFAI.com