Connections Brings the Industry Together

March 8, 2005
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Connections Events burst onto the cleaning and restoration scene with amazing success. Attendance at the second Connections Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas in September 2004 and at the inaugural Connections Conference and Exhibition held in Florida last April exceeded all expectations.

But what, exactly, is Connections Events?

The idea of bringing the industry together, to have all of the associations working as one, is certainly nothing new. It has taken many forms, been called many things and been debated and discussed at great length. In 1999, four associations did take part in a show in Las Vegas, but it wasn't until the first Connections Convention and Trade Show graced the halls of the Riviera Hotel and Casino in 2003 that the concept's true potential was recognized.

Formed in 2004, Connections Events, Inc., is a non-profit 501 (C6) corporation. There are 12 national and regional trade associations currently involved in Connections Events: the Carpet and FabriCare Institute (CFI), the Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaners Association (PCUCA), the Carpet Cleaners Institute of the Northwest (CCINW), the Professional Cleaning and Restoration Alliance (PCRA), the Society of Cleaning and Restoration Technicians (SCRT), the Association of Wisconsin Cleaning Contractors (AWCC), the New York Rug Cleaners Institute (NYRCI), the Carpet and Rug Cleaners Institute of Illinois (CRCII), the Low Moisture Carpet Cleaners Association (LMCCA), the Mid-South Professional Cleaners Association (MSPCA), the New England Institute of Restoration and Cleaning (NEIRC), and the Floorcovering Institute of Ontario (FIO).

These associations are dedicated to working together to improve the educational opportunities in our industry. They all had their own successful, private conventions and trade shows, but to the last they could see the bigger picture, and so they gave up their own events and came forward to support this endeavor of bringing the industry together.

There are two different shows composing Connections Events. The Connections Conference and Exhibition, April 18-20, is a pure technical program. It is run in a single track, designed to present the most up-to-date information available to our attendees, and features a full exhibition of more than 120 booth spaces.

This year's conference features some very unique programming for attendees, including: a NASA invention for identification of soil in carpet; "Methods, Myths and Made up Stuff," with live demonstrations and discussions about all of the carpet cleaning methods, how they work, and if they work; "Building Science and Construction Problems that Cause Water Damage" is an in-depth look at the restoration problems we all see in water damage and mold remediation; "Humidity Control in the Indoors as it Relates to Structure and Contents" presented by Lew Harriman; and our keynote address from Dave Howard and Bill Yeadon on "How to Use Effective Marketing to Keep Your Customers Out of the Hands of Your Competition."

Connections Events programs feature the leading researchers and speakers in our industry. This event is for individuals and companies who want to lead the field in their geographic areas.

The second event is the Connections Convention and Trade Show, Sept. 23-25 in Las Vegas. This is truly an industry event, featuring four educational tracks and boasting the largest trade show floor in the industry with more than 250 booth spaces. This show is for everyone, and features great specials from our exhibitors. Our educational program features both independent training seminars and sponsored, product-specific education sessions.

Our sponsors and exhibitors are the real reason this show is so successful. They put on one heck of a show in the exhibit hall, outside with live demonstrations of their equipment, and in their seminars. Yes, we allow them to tell you about their products, how they work and how to use them. They generally also teach how to sell your services. We separate the tracks and identify the sponsored training from the independent segments. The independent training programs are a "who's who" of the best trainers in our industry. The sessions cover four areas: cleaning; restoration and remediation; management; and marketing.

The live-demonstration area is truly a pivotal piece of the show's enormous success. Step outside and try every truck-mounted unit available, or get demonstrations of the finest trailer-mounted desiccant dehumidifiers on the market. It is a sight to see, and a great opportunity to try before you buy.

The Connections events offer a place for the industry to gather together, network, and also have some fun. We always schedule social activities with live music, dancing, auctions, and just time to get to know other cleaners and restorers from around the country. We all work hard; it is great to have the opportunity to get out and play.

Connections Events also produces the Connections Cleaning College at both the conference and the trade show. The Cleaning College features the best in certification classes available from the IICRC. The classes are run concurrently to the shows, giving companies the opportunity to attend the convention or conference, see an incredible trade show and get great discounts, and continue their certification education program with the IICRC (generally at a discounted price for members of the sponsoring trade associations).

Connections Events, Inc., is about bringing together our industry and finding ways to work together to improve the quality and technical proficiency of our work. We encourage you to vote your support for this concept by joining one of the regional or national associations. Education is a major key to improving our rapidly growing industry; get involved, and be a part of Connections.

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