The year 2021 marks the second year in the COVID-19 pandemic. While that may seem like a gloomy opening line, to me, it signifies a year of phenomenal, life-saving work conducted by a strong, capable and responsive textile industry. Fabricators, welders, sewers, suppliers, warehouse/shipping workers and distributors came together to meet the demands for PPE from around the world to help combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Never before was the textile industry called upon with such a dire need for the products IFAI members make. From masks and gowns to textiles used in respirators, members are literally responsible for saving countless lives around the globe. And when life-saving work wasn’t being done, fabricators responded to high demands for new canopies and awnings so restaurants could serve socially distanced patrons, beautified boats for socially distanced activities on the water, and provided screens and textiles to separate people from exposure.
It’s also been more than a year of new challenges and struggles as we all have worked to keep our employees, partners and customers safe and healthy. The textile industry came together with strength and perseverance at one of the world’s most difficult times.
And now, with rising vaccinations rates, we are seeing the world get back to business. We’ve all missed those opportunities to see our friends, our family and, yes, our professional brethren. Even as we’ve become experts in Zoom and other virtual platforms, we know that nothing replaces those in-person opportunities to learn and network with other professionals.
This year’s IFAI Expo, Nov. 1–4 in Nashville, marks the 100th year of in-person IFAI shows. It’s the place where thousands of industry leaders gather to learn from each other, grow their businesses and discover what the next 100 years could be.
It’s time to come back together in person to connect with industry experts and peers, discover new products and applications, and advance your business with insights on market trends and expectations.
Get back to business, get reconnected with the industry.