2019 Marine Fabricators Conference Delivers Second-Largest Attendance In History With Nearly 100 First-Time Attendees

ROSEVILLE, Minn. — January 17, 2019 — The 2019 Marine Fabricators Conference, held January 10-12, was a huge hit, with 260 verified registrants, making it the second-largest crowd in conference history. With nearly a hundred first-time attendees, conference-goers enjoyed attending a wide variety of educational sessions, networking and strolling the busy exhibitor show floor to discover the newest innovations in equipment, fabrics, threads and hardware components.

“I spent three hours on the show floor schmoozing,” says long-time fabricator Victoria Babylon, of Canvas By Victoria, Worton, Md. “I was able to be hands-on with some of the new products and tools I’m interested in.”

Educational sessions included advanced upholstery techniques, marine flooring, industry roundtables, digital templating, social networking and hands-on fabrication demonstrations of deluxe enclosures and dodgers.

“Every time I come to a conference I learn something new,” said Babylon. “And this year I’m particularly happy to see so many young people here bridging the gap between the old methods and adapting new technologies.”

“The level of business to business collaboration is off the charts in the Marine Fabricators Association (MFA) Division, host of Marine Fabricators Conference. IFAI members shared priceless fabrication procedures and business tips that were honed and perfected by experience. Where else can you find that kind of education? It’s really a wonderful, giving community”, says MFA Division Supervisor Magda Ronningen.

First-time attendees Eileen Peckis, Joe Peckis and Kathy Haugen, from Quick Snap Tabs, Scottsdale, Ariz., came to the conference looking for distributors for their new product.

“I have been so pleasantly surprised by the warmth and openness of everyone here,” said Haugen. “I love how helpful everyone’s been,” said Eileen Peckis. “Having tables at the lunches designated specifically for the new attendees really helped create relationships right off the bat,” she says. Her husband, Joe, agreed. “We were here primarily to walk the show floor, and a gentleman I met at the first lunch grabbed me right away and walked me over to a distributor he knew. It’s been great.”

Both attendees and exhibitors reported a high-energy, receptive crowd interested in the educational seminars as well as the products and equipment demonstrations. The social events included a prohibition-themed welcome party, a tour of Harbor Custom Canvas, the largest marine canvas shop in Long Beach, and an exciting closing night awards dinner.

Roundtables provide intense interactions

Three large rooms, a 40-minute timer, fifteen tables and 150 people talking makes for a high-energy, high-volume afternoon. The marine industry “speed dating” roundtables gave participants a chance to discuss burning issues and exchange best practices on a wide variety of topics including framing, fabric choices, staff training techniques, product line diversification, upholstery and many others.

Templating is first step to automation

Amy Poe, from Wyckam Fabric Creations in, Portland, Ore., and Gary Unitt, from Autometrix Precision Cutting Systems Inc., presented an introductory session on templating and discussed the various low-tech and high-tech methods available to create one of the simplest forms of automation.

Tools, Tips and Tricks at Marine Fabricators Conference

The Tools, Tricks and Tips competition at the 2019 Marine Fabricators Conference had no shortage of good ideas. David Huntington of River Custom Canvas was the first-place Don Racine Award winner for his Redesigned Button Die tip. Mark Peterson, SugarHouse Awning, won second place and 25 yards of Sattler 60″ solids donated by Sattler Corp. with his Tool to Roll Up Long Strips. Finally, the third-place winner was Victoria Babylon, Canvas By Victoria, for her Sharpie Eraser tip.

Aussies a friendly force at 2019 Marine Fabricators Conference

This year’s Marine Fabricators Conference included 16 Australian guests who presented educational sessions on a variety of upholstery and patterning techniques. Aaron and Kym Stroud-Smith from Canvas Barn Marine Trimming, Swan Reach, discussed dodger fabrication from an Australian perspective and gave the crowd a bit of an Australian geography lesson to help clarify the different fabricators and techniques around the country.

David Elliott, David’s Custom Trimmers from Queensland, along with Steve Szenay, Serge Ferrari North America, Inc., presented a session on deluxe enclosures. The session was full of valuable and unusual tips and techniques for working with U zippers, patterning and materials.

New marine fabricators business insurance program announced

Steve Schiffman, IFAI’s President and CEO, presented the latest on IFAI/MFA membership benefits at a luncheon which included information on new member benefits like the Textile Industry Retirement fund, APPI’s energy saving program and a new marine specific benefit called the Marine Fabricators Business Insurance Program.

This business insurance program is tailored to MFA members and their unique risks and exposures. Insurance options are offered through IFAI’s insurance broker, Marsh & McLennan Agency. Options include: Property, Inland Marine, General Liability, Auto Liability, Workers Compensation/Employers liability, Cyber Liability, Employment Practices Liability Insurance.

Posted January 17, 2019

Source: The Marine Fabricators Association/Industrial Fabrics Association International