ABMA Annual Convention 2022 – “RECOVERY”

Brush Expert Report by Josie Wadd


The 2022 Annual Convention of the American Brush Manufacturers Association (ABMA) was held from 02 to 04 March at the beautiful Hyatt Coconut Point, Bonita Springs. This really was the perfect destination; everything within easy travel access and located on Florida’s stunning Gulf coast surrounded by wildlife and environmental preserves.

What could be better? Full sunshine, receptions in the open air and everyone happy to at last be face-to-face with their customers, friends and colleagues again. Kristin Draper of Draper Knitting Co described it perfectly when she said of the experience: “This week we just returned from the ABMA (American Brush Manufacturers Association) Annual Convention in Bonita Springs Florida, and it felt ‘normal.’ To see people we have not seen in two years, unencumbered by masks (those that were comfortable) and reconnecting, it was very empowering. Empowering to see people gather again, to share the trials and tribulations of the past two years with friends and business associates who all had the same story to tell - we survived!

“The challenges of pandemic life as business owners/managers, employee shortages and materials delays shared over meals and cocktails and savoured like a fine wine instead of staring at your computer screen absolutely Zoom-exhausted!"

All delegates were warmly welcomed to the 105th Convention by Vice President, Chris Monahan who stated how nice it was to be able to gather at last being that it was the first physical meeting in 2 years.

Following the retirement of Dave Parr, who had been the ABMA’s Executive Director for over 20 years, Chris first took pleasure in introducing his successor Donna Frendt and her team to loud applause.

Chris then addressed the Association’s housekeeping business, covering the Treasurer’s report, the Standards Committee report and the Suppliers Division assessment (more information is available on the ABMA website), followed by an overview of the Divisional meetings and Convention schedule information.

Kevin White of Industrial Brush Company was invited to explain the “Meet the Pros Roundtable” event which was the first event of the ABMA’s Educational Institute and encouraged participation. Comprising 6 tables, each hosted by a different “pro” member of the ABMA’s Emerging Leaders group and covering a range of pre-determined topics, relevant industry-wide, delegates were encouraged to join in as many discussions as they wished. Details of each pro host and their respective discussion themes can be found in this article.

In the evening, new members and first-time attendees were invited to a dedicated reception with the aim of providing newcomers with mentors on-hand to explain all the benefits of being included in the very successful, family-orientated Association.

The evening’s program also included the inaugural reception for ABMA Emerging Leaders, a leadership group for young professionals in the brush industry, as well as the all-member Paul Miller Welcome Reception with a delicious hog roast meal. You can find pictures from these and other receptions in the ABMA Annual Convention 2022 Image Gallery.

The second day’s activities commenced with a general business session that was opened by Greg Miller, ABMA outgoing President, who welcomed all. Greg then announced the winner of the 2022 ABMA Foundation’s Kathy K Parr Scholarship. The ABMA Foundation is, according to the ABMA website, “the broom, brush, mop and roller industry’s premier philanthropic and charitable organization”.  Donors are able to contribute to existing funds or establish their own personal fund to fulfil their charitable objectives.

This year’s worthy recipient of the scholarship created in memory of the late Kathy Parr was Conor Tiegs who is a sophomore studying Business and Administration at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He will use $2,500.00 award to defray his tuition expenses. Click here to read more about this award in a separate article.

Next, Greg introduced the various Board members, Division Chairs, new company members, first-time attendees and the press that support the industry.

Each year, the President of the ABMA’s European counterpart, the FEIBP, and the representative of the industry’s biggest brush exhibition, Interbrush, are invited to share updates with ABMA members. You will find full details of the latest news from each via the links below:
In the traditional way, and to celebrate their time as ABMA President drawing to a close, Greg Miller surprised by an interruption from a disco dancer who arrived in full 70’s costume and wig to the loud music of Bee Gees “Staying Alive” dancefloor classic. He cajoled Greg into dancing on stage, much to the amusement of the audience who knew full-well that the doesn’t like to dance. Greg was, of course, a good sport and suffered it very well. He will now relinquish his role at the end of his term and hand the baton to Chris Monahan of Brush Fibers Inc.

3 new members have enrolled in the past year and were at the convention along with 65 new attendees. Representatives from each of the new companies were invited to take to the stage to give brief introduction to their company and products. The new members were as follows:
  • Aaron Rakovitz of Norshel Industries - Manufactures mops and mop handles. The company also imports brooms and is a master wholesaler of a complete line of jansan products
  • Joe Minne of Ascend Performance Materials – Raw materials supplier to companies that produce polymers to make filaments for the brush industry. Ascend recently introduced a new antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal polymer that is used in the bristle brush market. Ascend produces Nylon 66, 610, 612.
  • Alberto Volterina of MGG North America - MGG is a well-known company and worldwide leader in paintbrush technology that has recently opened a new branch in Charlotte, North Carolina to stay closer to their customers and provide them with dedicated servicing, maintenance support and spare parts.
Next on the agenda were the reports from the Chairs of each of the ABMA’s various Commitees:
  • Finance Committee – RJ Lindstrom, Zephyr Mfg. Co.
  • Convention Committee – Chris Monahan, Brush Fibers Inc.
  • Public Relations Committee – Tim Hack, Epic Resins
  • Membership committee – Bruce Massey, InterWire Group
  • Statistical Committee - Chip Preston, Spiral Brushes Inc
  • Safety and Standards Committee – Brian Keiser, Osborn International
More information about the Committees and their relevant activities can be found on the ABMA website.

Greg invited the audience to give recognition to the Board of Directors and Past Presidents in attendance and was pleased to introduce and welcome the incoming Executive Director, Donna Frendt with her co-workers, Samantha Kennedy and Taylor Kervin.

He then expressed enormous gratitude on behalf of the whole of the ABMA membership to the outgoing Executive Director, Dave Parr, along with his team. Greg said of support staff Kappie and Marty Swanson for those new in the room, “The people in the team were so instrumental in ensuring the convention ran smoothly from start to finish with everything that goes on behind the scenes to that on the frontline. The people I am talking about are Kappie and Marty Swanson who are truly the reason that Dave Parr was so damn good!”

In honour of their much-appreciated efforts over the years, Kappie and Marty were presented with an engraved glass plaque to loud and long applause.

Lastly it was time to give praise and thanks to Dave Parr for his “unending true support to all”. Greg expounded the appreciation for everything that he had done for him both personally and for the entire association. He explained that Dave would be receiving a gift from the ABMA; a pair of Adirondack-style chairs that they could use on their back porch while looking at the remarkable views they have at their home in Colorado. These chairs won’t be just ordinary chairs but will wrap him in the love he deserves, as the backs of the chairs would be available at various times throughout the event so that every delegate could sign with a message using the special painting tools provided. The messages will be professionally sealed and the chairs assembled and delivered to Dave‘s home: A forever memory.

Paul Long, the second Educational Institute speaker, is a motivational speaker and consultant that has challenged the corporate landscape for over decade while engaging audiences around the globe. He introduced his talk entitled “Connecting to Life Through FUN”, explaining that F is for “foundation”:  the first step in maximising fulfilment through self-reflection and identifying everything that makes YOU. U is for ”understanding others’ perspectives”: understanding the perspective of others will improve the probability of success in creating professional and personal fulfilment. N is for “next steps”: Next Steps are the tactical behaviours or FUNdamentals that will help maximize fulfilment both at work and home.

His animated enthusiastic talk was illustrated with slogans to support his very positive outlook. His main objective was for the audience to create meaningful interactions, listen with intent, embrace awkward moments and differentiate yourself, but most of all he required us to manifest more of what is good in our lives and continue our Fundamism journey.

The room was full, and the atmosphere was buzzing: A very interesting speaker with something for everyone to take home.

The golf scramble tournament started after lunch, with great participation. According to all golfers, the afternoon was both highly enjoyable and, as usual, highly competitive! For those that didn’t play, the time was used for private meetings or relaxation.

Friday started with the Suppliers Face-to-Face Meeting event straight after breakfast. The room was fully booked, with most of the suppliers reporting a full schedule of meetings.  Maybe future Suppliers F2F Meetings will have to use smaller tables to get more companies in!

The event ran very smoothly, with the 15-minute limit bell giving all manufacturers ample time to get to meet their suppliers. Everyone agrees that this method is far better than the previous booth-style tabletop exhibition system, saving time and money while affording all the fully allotted, uninterrupted time together.

A delicious buffet lunch on the veranda in the sunshine was a nice close to the morning, followed by an optional Dolphin Eco Tour in the afternoon for those who were in the mood for a cruise around the sparkling crystal waters of the beautiful Estero Bay.

In the evening, the Convention’s end was marked by the Suppliers Reception which, this year, had a “disco” theme, with many dressing up to enjoy the first big party for a very long time. The garden accommodated dancing to the lively 70’s music DJ. There were games spread around including a bean-bag-in-the-hole game, ball games and an electronic table tennis arcade game, as well as a photo booth for fun group. Overall, this was a superb, special fun evening that was enjoyed by everyone, no matter the age.

We would like to reflect the thanks and appreciation of the members shown to Greg Miller, who has been the President during the pandemic years, for steering the events with Zoom/Teams meetings, the online convention and generally doing a great job holding it all together. We now look forward to being welcomed at next year’s convention by Chris Monahan of Brush Fibers Inc who is the incoming ABMA President.

The next Broom and Mop meeting will be held in November in St Louis, Missouri, provisionally for 17th and 18th November; exact details to be confirmed at a later date.

The 106th ABMA Convention will be held in the Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, San Diego, California between 22nd and 25th March 2023. We look forward to seeing you there!

Photos from the ABMA Convention 2022 can be found in the www.brushexpert.com Image Gallery.
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