The ABMA welcomed back in-person attendees to the 105th ABMA Convention last week in Bonita Springs, Fla. The atmosphere of the event could best be described as a combination of enthusiasm and gratitude along with a note of concern. The enthusiasm exuded by attendees was simply around being grateful to be able to once again meet in person and network with old friends and colleagues.
The concern centered around the December announcement that Zahoransky would not attend Interbrush going forward. Interbrush organizer Daniel Strowitzki’s update on the situation was probably the most anticipated segment of the convention. It’s clearly a tough scenario as he indicated that he would be utilizing his time at the ABMA event to gather feedback and consider ideas for the 2024 Interbrush event with key stakeholders. As he noted in his statement, it is tough for the event to lose such a big company, but he emphasized that it is only one exhibitor.
Feedback from several attendees indicated that many of the machine makers might be reluctant to support an event in Zahoransky’s backyard. On the other hand, Germany offers a strong base of brush manufacturing companies which is vital to strong attendance for the event.
FEIBP President Andrew McIlroy (Perlon) spoke and noted that the full impact of the war in Ukraine and the resulting sanctions were still unknown, but would surely impact trade. Conversely, despite some COVID-19 restrictions still being in place for certain European countries, he was hopeful that by Easter much of the region would be back to normal.
From a business perspective, the majority of FEIBP manufacturers can look back on a strong but challenging 2021, based on extreme demand contrasted against supply chain issues. And now, inflation is tracking above five percent for the region.
While emphasizing challenges ahead for the industry, he stressed the importance of in-person events like the ABMA Convention and the FEIBP Congress. He says, “We have many things in common and our goal should be to strive towards a worldwide brush industry and not just a localized one.”
After missing two years of in-person events, he indicated that the FEIBP hopes to confirm in early April that the 2022 FEIBP Congress will be able to go ahead as scheduled in Prague, Czech Republic in September.
OTHER CONVENTION NOTES
- The reported attendance was relatively strong for a comeback event with 173 attendees.
- 26 exhibitors participated in the Face 2 Face event.
- The Meet the Pros sessions were well attended with five tables (pictured above) active and full throughout the event. Participant feedback was positive.
- The ABMA Foundation announced Connor Tiegs as the winner of the 2022 Kathy K Parr scholarship for $2,500 (read more).
- Three new member organizations were announced at the event – Norshel Industries, Ascend Performance Materials and MGG North America.
- Chris Monahan (Brush Fibers) delivered the Convention Committee report and noted that 2021 surveys indicated the ABMA membership has a strong preference for in-person events versus virtual events. His report also indicated the convention meeting business is currently under price pressure due to the tourist industry. The location for the 2024 ABMA Convention is now set for the Omni at Amelia Island, Fla, with a Tuesday through Friday schedule.
- There was no Innovation Award announced for 2022, but there are three nominees for the 2023 award.