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“Be Here… Wherever You Are”

We are the CFA Board of Directors. Together, we have worked with Association staff to craft the most interactive and influential Convention ever attempted by this Association and, likely, by this industry. Convention 2020 embodies the thought leadership we project daily in the industry. While not an easy decision, setting aside the complications and risks of our Charleston event has given us a chance to challenge you for 100% participation. There are no longer scheduling conflicts, logistical challenges, family vacations, or a myriad of other excuses for CFA member organizations to miss Convention 2020. Furthermore, our staff has established a very cost-effective way for companies not currently enjoying the perks of membership to experience this particularly beneficial advantage of membership. Join us!

We are excited to welcome you to what will be an exciting week. The buzz is growing for this new opportunity created for a year when so many challenges and transitions have already been met in your businesses.

The CFA’s Convention has long been known as a kind of family reunion that provides valuable challenges to the attendees’ businesses. Yet, back in March, there were strong indicators that, for the first time, this event would not be possible in its traditional format.  

As the pages that follow will detail, Convention 2020 will be an event like no other. The typical challenges of attending Convention in “real life” (the physical event, that is), have been tossed aside. What replaces it is an immersive, interactive 3D environment that you and many from your company will be able to attend. Choose from 40 education sessions being offered! Set up a time to meet with an acquaintance you have been meaning to connect with for a long time! Discover the similarities you have with a new colleague! Challenge your company to find new technological solutions for the diversification you are seeking in your market!

The interaction planned for Convention 2020 at The Echo is new and engaging. Using the event platform by Virbela, you will arrive at a destination. The more engagement from your company, the more benefit you will receive from real-time voice conversations, convenient access to experts, advancing technology demonstrations, and education about growing your business.

If you have never been to Convention, chances are you have looked at it as a vacation you couldn’t afford to take, or perhaps there was always a schedule conflict. If you have been to Convention, how many times have you wanted specific people from your company to have the opportunity to listen to one presentation or another for their specific job responsibilities, or how many times have you sensed your company would benefit from the collective influence of a think tank? Here at The Echo, we have the ability to welcome thousands of visitors to our campus to participate in learning from our line-up of experts, learning from leading manufacturers, and learning from each other. Our complete Association staff is often unable to attend Convention, as happens with most of your organizations — but now, they will all be on hand to meet in new ways. This immersive 3D environment is not another Zoom call. It isn’t just an extension of your Microsoft 365 suite. It is a virtual realm where you won’t need your web cam, but you will come “face to face” with hundreds of avatar likenesses designed for fun and learning while coming “voice to voice” conveniently and safely. 

So, let’s take a deeper look!

The Schedule – Three Days and Two Weeks

Convention 2020 at The Echo will take place July 29-31. Each day will be filled with seminar tracks that offer an educational focus to a broad range of disciplines for your company. Each day will also offer dozens of technology exhibits with representatives ready to meet you and schedule time with you to answer specific questions and help address your unique situations and challenges. Each day will bring a chance for you to meet someone new; you will no longer be inhibited by the feeling of not knowing anyone. Everyone will have a chance to get to know each other in new ways through various means of communication, and personal profiles will help identify common interests among attendees. Each day will bring a unique social event for extending conversations and taking advantage of the larger “family” environment that exists within this professional organization.

The two weeks leading up to Convention will feature a variety of meet-ups, Association resource sessions, an annual meeting, a speaker orientation, and exhibitor virtual sales training events. These are designed to help your attendees become more comfortable with the virtual environment, begin meeting people in smaller time increments, and become ready to fully engage during Convention week.

Convention 2020 Education Legend

While everyone is invited to attend any presentation, this year’s interactive 3D experience will offer the following dramatically-expanded education matrix.  Sessions are specifically offered for departments or specialties within your company.  This legend allows you to quickly find presentations we feel are of interest to these groups so you can schedule time more effectively each day of Convention.

Note:  A special track for field crew members has been crafted by the Board of Directors, inviting Brent Anderson and his Foundation Fundamentals to be presented Friday afternoon from noon until 4:00 pm.

Getting There, Getting Around

Normally, attendees to CFA Convention jump in their own vehicle or climb aboard a plane to fly to our destination. This year, the complications of travel have been eliminated. You and every one of your staff registered to attend will be given a “passport” for downloading a piece of software for your computer. Instead of a suitcase, you will only need a desktop or laptop computer (Windows or Mac OS) and a set of headphones or ear buds with a mic. The rest is easy, intuitive, and natural in this avatar-based world where you won’t need to fight taxis, Ubers, trains, maps, and weather.

You will arrive at Convention as an avatar with your own voice. Through your avatar, you will share in the experience of this amazing, engaging, and interactive 3D environment. Once you arrive, our concierge staff and signage will get you quickly to the specific rooms of your interest for however long you have available to explore, and as many times as you choose to return.

Technical concerns: We know as soon as a computer environment is mentioned, some will fear the technical difficulty of participation. A dedicated set of technical experts will be ready to help you cross over any hurdles and alleviate your fears for getting involved. Hopefully it is encouraging to know that we have already had 2-year and 40-year members participating in this environment.

Check out this video library for quick tutorials and an orientation, which are made available to you by our CFA staff:

Hi, I’m Your Avatar

Welcome to Convention 2020

Let’s Take a Ride

Privacy Halos – Conversations With Others

The Expo Hall – Making Strategic Improvements

What do you mean by “avatar-based”?

For those of you who are not familiar with the term, an avatar is an image used to represent a person in a virtual world. Through your avatar, you will be able to walk around the virtual campus, attend education sessions, take a stroll through the exhibit hall, engage with other attendees, and participate in fun activities like taking a boat ride, playing soccer, and much, much more! With just the click of a few buttons, you will be placed directly into the virtual world and be ready to explore, learn, and interact!

Engaging in Networking

The avatar-based, immersive 3D environment for Concrete Foundations Convention 2020 at The Echo will allow you to simply walk up to others and engage in real-time conversations using your voice through your computer mic or headset mic. Talk with others openly and hear conversations of interest in public spaces, or find a private spot defined by a privacy halo. Take your meetings to any of the available meeting rooms or connect in an exhibit booth for more in-depth conversations. The environment also offers one-to-one chatting, so you can find a person in attendance and easily propose a meeting time and location after a session concludes without disturbing their attention or interrupting a conversation.

Expanded Education

At a physical convention, education is a focus for the attendees who are able to travel to our destinations, primarily CEOs and owners, and kept to a couple of half-days to cater to sight-seeing and vacationing with family. This year, participation is unlimited, and education has been expanded to reflect the broader interests and needs of your evolving companies. Education sessions will reflect the interests of both management and workforce divisions — from concrete basics and construction practices to our trusted higher-level strategy sessions, which previous attendees are accustomed to. The color-coded matrix shown here will give you a sense of how to schedule your company’s personnel so as to make sure everyone can attend sessions that will most impact their areas of responsibility and your company goals. Our education this year is not intended to lead any one person to spend an entire day listening to presentation after presentation. There will be 15-minute breaks between each session to give more time for discussions with others, visiting another booth, or taking a break for a snack, beverage, stretch, etc. The entire schedule in detail is available at

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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