If there is one fact that stands above everything else in this industry, it’s when decorative concrete industry professionals connect with one another in person great things happen.
This was the case at the Decorative Surface Solutions Group (DSSG) 2018 Summer Summit where mid- to high-volume contractors met in Chicago July 22-25 for their annual meeting and conference. Present were leading product manufacturers who provide the product quality and support that meet the criteria DSSG established when it launched in 2015.
The event was a members-only gathering in which contractors had the opportunity to hear from key suppliers, discuss project challenges, and exchange business insights and stories about products and processes that are achieving the best levels of efficiency and profitability. These candid discussions, sometimes bordering on abrasive, were a goal of the meetings.
Addressing myriad mechanical and technical challenges, the planned group and one-on-one meetings hashed out better understandings between vendors and contractors. Most importantly, they promoted healthier business relationships overall.
Entwined in the three days of business meetings and learning opportunities were much-needed social events that gave everyone some relief from all the shop talk. An architectural boat tour of Chicago’s downtown waterways gave everyone a stronger appreciation for high-rise construction and the architects’ creative inspiration. An onboard bar simply added relief to the otherwise sun-drenched afternoon. It’s these kinds of meetings that reminds everyone that day-to-day emails, social media and telephone conversations just don’t fill the need for positive human interaction.
DSSG co-founders Curt Thompson, president and CEO of Aggretex Systems; Mike Price, president of Bay Area Concretes; and Jonathan Vasquez, COO of Bay Area Concretes, were outstanding hosts. Had it not been for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ five runs in the top of the first inning, the visit to Wrigley Field for a Cubs game would have been over the top.
I honestly still don’t know how anyone can swing and hit a 95+ mph pitch. However, when it does happen every conversation in the stands suddenly shifts and centers on what’s going on in the field. Even the ongoing blaring of “peanuts, hotdogs or Bud” ceases for a moment or two.
I’d like to make a callout for those amazing Chicago Cubs fans— their heartbeats rise and fall with every moment of the game. They give new meaning to the word “community.” Then again, Wrigley Field sits smackdab in the middle of one of Chicago’s classic suburb neighborhoods.
Thinking about the great people I got to spend time with at this year’s DSSG convention, we no doubt brought a bit of the decorative concrete industry’s spirit to Wrigley Field. It just didn’t do much good for the Cubs on that Monday night. Next time!