Amid a crippling snowstorm that ravaged the country's east coast and a Code Orange terrorist alert that had the world sitting on the edge of its seat, Solid Surface 2003 convened at the Mandalay Resort Hotel Convention Center in Las Vegas this past February. The weather and uncertain political climate may have prevented some of solid surface's faithful from attending the annual convention and trade show, but that didn't keep this year's fete from becoming one of the most successful ever.
The atmosphere at Solid Surface 2003 was one of quiet confidence. Confidence in the future of solid surface, confidence in the people and companies who make up the industry and confidence in the restated and revitalized vision of ISSFA.
Outgoing president Michael Wilson-South, who presided over the Opening Session, set the stage with his opening remarks. "ISSFA has taken major steps toward becoming a truly international association this year through two significant events," he said. "The first is the formation of an autonomous European ISSFA, with its own board of directors and budget. The second, is the sale of the trade show to Cygnus Expositions."
In addition to deriving income from sale of the trade show while still retaining input into show and conference planning, ISSFA officials look for other tangible benefits from the deal. "The ISSFA staff will now be able to concentrate its efforts on meeting the needs of its grassroots membership without the overwhelming distraction of putting on a major trade show every year," Wilson-South explained. "Things like expanding the scope of the ITEC and hosting well-planned and well-executed regional meetings can now take precedence."
The further advancement of the Solid Surface Standard is another item that will receive increased attention from the association. ISSFA technical director Lenny Elbon explained that ISSFA and the International Cast Polymer Alliance (ICPA) have joined forces to create a single standard that will be submitted to the International Standards Organization (ISO) for approval.
"Adoption of a single, worldwide standard will provide a common yardstick for specifiers and architects and will help promote the growth of commerce within the industry," he said.
As a matter of association business, ISSFA counsel Bill Barton announced that two members of the existing board, Jon Lancto and Tim Hovey, have stepped down. Their replacements are Vanessa Bates and Keith Layton.
Seminar attendees had the opportunity to choose from four major categories during the three day schedule. There were courses on solid surface fabrication, engineered stone fabrication, business and architect/specifier continuing education.
Perennial favorites like Repair Techniques and Sanding and Finishing were held in the Fabrication Pavilion on the trade show floor and were well attended. On the business side, conferences centering on pricing, marketing and lean manufacturing of solid surface and engineered stone were especially popular.