More than 500 tent professionals gathered in Orlando, Fla., in January at Tent Expo 2019 for valuable education and networking opportunities under dozens of structures featuring the latest tent technology.
Attendees had the opportunity to meet with more than 65 exhibitors, including innovative tent manufacturers, equipment suppliers offering hands-on education, as well as vendors for flooring, fabric, rental furniture, business software and more.
The three-day event kicked off with the annual golf tournament and a happy hour geared toward young professionals, where Ramsey Duqum, CEO and owner of AAble Rents, Cleveland, Ohio, challenged those present to consider how the industry can advance its position within the larger event world.
In his keynote address, former NFL tight end Ben Utecht described his path from a small Minnesota town to Division I football, to winning a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts, to his retirement due to five major concussions. Now a professional musician and an advocate for brain health, Utecht offered an inspiring message for tent professionals about the value of being in the business of making memories for customers.
Tips and Techniques workshops covered topics ranging from stake puller usage to basic fabric repairs. During the Tent Rental Division (TRD) Boot Camp, participants got an overview of general installation site safety and hands-on experience in pulling fabric for a keder track tent, in addition to ballasting techniques and tips. Educational sessions on basic power/HVAC and job costing, a code conversation with members of the TRD Code Committee and consultant Paul Armstrong, P.E., C.B.O., and a tour of the tents rounded out the agenda.
TRD Steering Committee director and Code Committee chair Tom Markel, who passed away in December, was remembered in moments throughout the show, including the opening reception, where Steering Committee directors and IFAI staff members donned flannel shirts in his honor. Finally, Tent Expo came to a festive close with a New York-themed Party on the Pad.
David Gallick, owner of D&S Party Tent Rentals of Wisconsin Dells, Wis., said that he came to Tent Expo for the first time because as a newer tent renter, he needed to gain knowledge about the basic tools of the business, and that the show delivered by offering opportunities “seeing the different vendors and learning about new products and new equipment, and learning some of the processes that other companies are using.”
Kenny Puff, president of Party Line Tent Rentals and Green Monster Manufacturing of Elmsford, N.Y., says he comes to Tent Expo to be able to compare products side by side and see the latest advancements of the industry.
“You leave here charged,” he said. “ You go back with a lot of energy, a lot of new policies and procedures. Sometimes it’s not just tents that you learn about. It might be an employee policy or training. . . . Everything combined makes the total experience.”
Mark your calendar for IFAI Tent Conference 2020, Jan. 22–24 at the Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo at River Ranch, Fla. For updates go to ifai.com/TentConference.
View the photo gallery from 2019 Tent Expo Click Here