The Benefits of Attending Decorative Concrete Industry Events

A classroom full of attendees who took a moment from the fun in the sun to be educated on the ins and outs of decorative concrete.
Two massive cruise ships side by side right before leaving port.
A group of cruisers enjoying time networking together on the decorative concrete cruise.
T-shirt design given to all those that attended the 2007 decorative concrete cruise.

The first annual Decorative Concrete Cruise
When Michael Bulnes of California Decorative Concrete called and asked if Concrete Decor would help him promote the first annual Decorative Concrete Cruise, I immediately started thinking that this would be a great excuse to escape the office for some “business” travel. As I thought about it further, I started to realize that such an event could actually turn into a valuable networking opportunity. And sure enough, it did.

As the Decorative Concrete Cruise set sail from Miami on Monday, Nov. 12, nearly 70 industry professionals were aboard. Having never been on a cruise before, I was a bit nervous. I was one of four speakers, along with Bob Harris of Decorative Concrete Institute, Wayne Sellon of Tajmawall and Jeff Girard of the Concrete Countertop Institute, and we each shared some thought-provoking words on the subject of decorative concrete. However, the scene of that unlucky associate from “The Godfather” being thrown overboard late one night with a brand new pair of cast-in-place concrete shoes haunted me. Needless to say, I was glad that the ship hosted lots of evening entertainment to keep everyone from ideas such as “sink the publisher.”

Among numerous choices for evening entertainment were appearances by unexpected vocal talents — Wayne Sellon and Larry Freeman, marketing director for Proline Concrete Tools. Each would certainly have made guys like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings proud. They also gave new meaning to karaoke and raised the standards for future performers.

After some snorkeling and exploring in Cozumel, Mexico, by jeep, a late-night departure that Wednesday evening set the stage for a series of informative seminars the following day at sea. The afternoon was capped off with some relaxation on deck with family and friends and a private cocktail party where numerous prize giveaways were presented by event sponsors. A fabulous dinner with everyone was the perfect finish to a perfect day of rest.

Asked if I would take the Decorative Concrete Cruise again … absolutely! In fact, the second annual Decorative Concrete Cruise is already planned for November 2008. This time, a seven-day cruise departing from Long Beach, Calif., has been scheduled. Rumor has it that a “decorative sand competition” and beach party are in the works.

The whole group of those that attended the decorative concrete cruise.

Publisher and owners of Concrete Decor magazine got to enjoy their time aboard the decorative concrete cruise.

Lane Mangum of Concrete Countertop Institute interviews Fu Tung Cheng at the annual Concrete Countertop Industry Conference.The second annual Concrete Countertop Industry Conference

This year’s second annual Concrete Countertop Industry Conference was located in beautiful Charlotte, N.C. Talk about friendly people! Charlotte was truly the icing on the cake for an event that is growing larger, more informative and more artfully focused on the emerging concrete countertop market. If asked what the concrete countertop industry and Charlotte have in common, it would have to be their rapid rates of growth.

The countertop conference is an event every builder of concrete countertops, young and old, should attend. Not only does it offer important learning opportunities, it also represents the growing need for education and the industry’s commitment to quality standards.

The event provided industry professionals with inspiring and informative how-to seminars by top manufacturers such as Fu-Tung Cheng, Buddy Rhodes and Doug Bannister. The show floor provided an intimate platform for contractors, suppliers and manufacturers to share their successes and challenges in using concrete for this kind of artful building application.

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