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Reflections on CFA Convention 2015 From My Perspective

Why is convention so important to this industry? What do you, as a leader, take away from this event?

There are few limitations within a network of people who share a common goal. Together, they push the boundaries of their industry, create a higher demand for their products and services, foster healthy relationships and fuel innovation. As we begin to prepare for another convention full of networking, education, entertainment, new products and technology, I’d like to take a step back and reflect on my first convention as CFA’s manager of communication and networking. Why is convention so important to this industry? What do you, as a leader, take away from this event? If you manufacture a product in this industry, why should you exhibit at convention? If you were at CFA Convention 2015, these questions are most likely already answered. If you have yet to attend this event, I strongly encourage you to consider joining us in Myrtle Beach in 2016.

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Colonial Williamsburg welcomed the CFA with a fife and drum corps at the Kick-Off Bash.

As I sat in on several seminars at the Williamsburg Lodge this summer, I couldn’t help but wonder why every concrete contractor was not in that room. It was apparent that the topics being discussed were concerns felt across the board. Attendees discussed behind-the-scenes issues that every contractor is facing. They asked questions and questions were answered. The entire room was engaged. It was evident that this is where company leaders come to discuss their concerns and work  through their frustrations with the people who are in their exact same shoes, gaining a sense of unity and re-assuring that they are taking their company in the right direction with the right tools and knowledge.

“I came tired and fed up with my company and business. Really was trying to figure out if it was time to move on. After this event, I am re-energized and confident that I’m in the right place and ready to lead on.”

At the Awards Gala, attendees were treated to the Groaning Board feast complete with historic table bibs and pitchers of ale.

Taking time away from your company is not always easy. You have projects that need your utmost attention, you have to find workers who you can trust to get the job done and jobsites that are falling behind because of whether issues. Convention is not only a time to address these issues and discover how others have found a way around them, but it is a time for you to re-energize with your family, be reminded again why you are in this business and leave with a new perception and a new sense of accomplishment.

“We received solid content at each seminar. Based on the conference, our company had a debrief meeting and are planning to take immediate action on about 15 ideas that were all derived from the conference.”

Bartley Corp receives a Project of the Year Award for Above-Grade Home (L-R: CFA Executive Director Jim Baty, Kevin Brooks, Anthony Renner, Andy Bartley and Jim Bartley of Bartley Corp.

Bartley Corp receives a Project of the Year Award for Above-Grade Home (L-R: CFA Executive Director Jim Baty, Kevin Brooks, Anthony Renner, Andy Bartley and Jim Bartley of Bartley Corp.

Ballinger AE receives the Grand Project of the Year Award (L-R: Jim Baty - CFA, Edward Zinski and Angela Fante - Ballinger AE, Dimitrios Frantzis - A&F Engineers.

Ballinger AE receives the Grand Project of the Year Award (L-R: Jim Baty – CFA, Edward Zinski and Angela Fante – Ballinger AE, Dimitrios Frantzis – A&F Engineers.

Amongst the new ideas, renewed spirit and sense of unity that were taken away from convention, attendees also left with newfound relationships with their suppliers. The energy created in the exhibit hall is an important piece to the puzzle. As we look forward to CFA Convention 2016 in Myrtle Beach, we are getting feedback from our exhibitors on how we can continue to foster personal relationships with key decision makers in the industry. These relationships not only benefit the suppliers, but they allow for open conversations on how to keep costs down, what products are out there to make your job easier and how can you use these tools to benefit your company.

Third generation company owners? CFA Convention is a place for future generations every bit as much as it is for taking today’s business seriously.

 

David Whitlock of Whitlock Law LLC presents one of his two seminars to attendees at CFA Convention on the topics of quality hiring and keeping quality employees.

David Whitlock of Whitlock Law LLC presents one of his two seminars to attendees at CFA Convention on the topics of quality hiring and keeping quality employees.

Although the energy created in the exhibit hall is an important piece to the puzzle, it is far from being the only piece. The location of convention plays a vital role in the dynamism of our event. Amongst all of the seminars, the discussions, the awards and networking, CFA strives to immerse you and your family into the culture of the location. From dinner at a gold mine in Breckenridge, train rides in Durango and Mt. Hood, to a fife and drum band kick off in Williamsburg, we want to incorporate that culture into the event as much as we can. We take the time you invest with us seriously, and this is another way to show our dedication and appreciation of you being there.

Celebrating retiring Executive Director, Ed Sauter (center) with a group “selfie”.

Celebrating retiring Executive Director, Ed Sauter (center) with a group “selfie”.

Left: The “Eds” were out to help celebrate the twenty two years of service and growth of the Association with Ed Sauter (center left) at the helm.

Left: The “Eds” were out to help celebrate the twenty two years of service and growth of the Association with Ed Sauter (center left) at the helm.

I challenge each of you to invest some time and engage yourself with industry leaders who are becoming a part of the solution to the daily struggles that each contractor may face. As we wrap up last year’s convention and look towards 2016, I look forward to using your feedback to make 2016 our best year yet! We have a lot in store for you in Myrtle Beach, and we continue to be relentlessly dedicated to the success of each CFA member.

lbloomquist-ConcreteFacts
Lindsey Bloomquist
CFA Communications and Network Manager
lbloomquist@cfawalls.org

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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us