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The Specialty Fabrics Industry Gathers

IFAI Expo and its co-located events offer something for everybody in the industrial fabrics industry.

IFAI Expo and its co-located events offer something for everybody in the industrial fabrics industry.This years Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) Expo, to be held in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center Oct. 1-3, is expected to draw more than 8,000 attendees, according to IFAI, the Roseville, Minn.-based not-for-profit trade association that organizes the annual gathering of the specialty fabrics industry. As of press time, 466 companies have registered as exhibitors, although IFAI expects the number to reach more than 500. A total of 7,356 professionals from 54 countries attended the 2002 event, which hosted a record number of 490 exhibitors.Taking place concurrently with IFAI Expo are several other events tailored to the industrial fabrics industry, including:an educational program that features 14 tracks covering topics as varied as business and leadership, and architectural structures;an awards competition that recognizes advancements in specialty fabric design and manufacturing;a professional certification program;a keynote presentation by a US Navy captain;a Signage of Vegas Tour; anda co-located conference that focuses on fabric structures.Educational ProgramsNearly 100 educational programs that include case studies, paper presentations, seminars and hands-on workshops are scheduled to take place alongside the Expo. According to IFAI, program offerings are created for specific niche markets, including: architectural structures; awnings and canopies; business and leadership; equipment and technologies; filtration textiles; inflatable recreational products; marine fabrication; medical textiles; safety and protective products; signs and graphics; sports and recreational products; and transportation textiles. In addition, IFAI has added the new textile construction track, which is touted as a back-to-basics review of textile composition.2003 InternationalAchievement AwardsWith 26 categories, the International Achievement Awards recognize new and innovative contributions made by end-product manufacturers to the specialty fabrics industry. Photographs of this years entries will be shown at IFAI Expo. The Award of Excellence and Outstanding Achievement Awards will be announced during the Awards Breakfast on Oct. 1.IFAI Professional Certification ProgramsBesides being a showcase for the latest in specialty fabrics, the Expo show floor also will serve as a testing site for certification of specialty fabrics professionals.The IFAI Professional Certification Programs allow professionals to become certified as Master Fabrics Craftsmen, Certified Craftsmen, Industrial Fabrics Managers or Certified Project Planners. Those who become certified during IFAI Expo will be honored at the Chairmans Gala reception and dinner on Oct. 3.An orientation session for the certification programs will take place Sept. 30 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.Keynote PresentationThis years IFAI Expo will feature a keynote presentation by US Navy Captain Michael Abrashoff on Oct. 2. Abrashoff will share with Expo attendees his leadership-focused presentation, Its Your Ship, based on his book of the same title.Signage Of Vegas TourAs part of the pre-Expo activities program, the Banner, FlagandGraphics Association, a division of IFAI, has arranged the Signage of Vegas Tour, which will make stops at three Las Vegas locations, including the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino for a look at its near-scale replicas of Venetian landmarks and artwork. The tour is scheduled for Sept. 30.Fabric Structures 2003The Fabric Structures 2003 conference will be held in conjunction with IFAI Expo from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1. It will feature case studies demonstrating the benefits of using fabric as a building material, unique design elements and resources available in the fabric structures market.Included in the conference are keynote presentations by Kazuo Ishii, president, Membrane Structures Association of Japan, and James Carpenter, sculptor and proprietor of New York City-based James Carpenter Design Associates. For more information about IFAI Expo 2003 and its co-located events, contact IFAI (651) 222-2508; (800) 225-4324; fax (651) 631-9334; www.ifaiexpo.com.

September 2003