The ABMA 2018 Annual Convention: Brush Expert Report

From 21st to 24th March 2018, members of the American Brush Manufacturers Association (ABMA), along with their families and companions, gathered under the Arizona sun in the beautiful Westin Kierland resort located in the heart of “new” Scottsdale, for some networking, some golf and, of course, some fun. This inspiring retreat was the perfect blend of the old Arizona and fresh, modern luxury and was the ideal spot for the Association’s 101st Annual Convention.

The theme of the Convention was “Change the World” – for an Association whose members have been changing the world for a long time, this was the perfect opportunity to meet up and discuss the unavoidable changes that lie ahead.

Wednesday 21st March 2018

A beautiful sunny day greeted delegates on the first day of the Convention, which was a welcome change for most arrivals, although a thought was spared for those few who were unable to attend due to bad weather at their point of departure.

The various Committees of the Association held their respective meetings over the course of the morning and early afternoon, followed by the All Division Meeting, which is the annual co-hosted meeting of the Broom & Mop, Industrial & Maintenance, Paint Applicator and Suppliers Divisions.

Scott Enchelmaier, ABMA VP, opened the All Division Meeting and discussed the necessary financials and standards activity, and was pleased to report that the standards (ASTM F2367-04 Broom; ASTM F2368-04; ANSI B165.1 Power Brush; ANSI D01.61 Paint Applicator) are all in effect.

Brian Keiser of Osborn International, Co-Chair of the Safety and Standards Committee, updated the delegation regarding Prop 65 and its impact on any manufacturer whose product might find its way to consumers in California. The latest legislation has decreed that it will no longer be acceptable to use generic labelling and that it will now be necessary to use chemical-specific labelling. The ABMA has engaged an attorney whose details can be made available to any party seeking advice on legislation, labelling and compliance.

David Parr, ABMA Executive Director, was on-hand to share some interesting statistical data identified as a result of analysing available market data. (See Trade Statistics pages for the latest global import/export stats). According to the Association’s research, the US brush industry employs in the region of 9,000 people and is valued at an estimated $2.4 billion per year. Of this, $1.2 billion is essentially imported, meaning that there is a lot of scope for local manufacturers!

This year’s ABMA Innovation Excellence Award had 3 nominations. Representatives of each company was invited to the stage to give a short presentation about the nominated product: Ken Rakusin of Gordon Brush for the PlateScrape and Celeste Miller of The Mill-Rose Co for the Equine Cribbing Brush. The 3rd nomination was for Linzer Products Pro Edge Paint Tool. Voting for the Award was open during the Friday morning Suppliers Display, with the winner to be announced on Saturday in the Closing Business Session.

The first of the ABMA Educational Institute speakers rounded off Wednesday’s business. Carlos Hidalgo’s "Thingalytics: Challenges and opportunities of Internet of Things, Big Data and data driven marketing" was the first of a series of talks regarding the way in which digital technologies are changing the way we consume and, therefore, do business. “Carlos delivers actionable outcomes using B2B marketing strategies to stand out in the channel through personalization and customization of messaging to prospects and customers.”

First time attendees and new members were invited to a reception hosted by ABMA Board Members giving them the opportunity to make contacts within the Association at the Convention at the earliest opportunity. This was followed by a Welcome Reception for all-comers held on the hotel’s terrace overlooking the golf course,  during which guests were able to catch up with friends and associates, both old and new, in a fantastic outdoor setting on a delightful warm evening.

Thursday 22nd March 2018

Bright and early on Thursday morning, ABMA’s yoga instructor, Rachel Hack of Epic Resins, treated keen partakers to a Sunrise Yoga session; the perfect start to the day.

Carlos Petzold, ABMA President, welcomed delegates to the Opening Business Session and encouraged everyone to use the Convention to make an effort to meet someone new and forge the kind of special connections that has made the Association great throughout its history.

He went on to thank Convention sponsors, including sponsors of the Convention App (Brush Fibers, Monahan Filaments, Lanoco Specialty Wire & PMM) and the Golf Hole-in-One sponsors (Brush Fibers, Monahan Filaments, Duff Brush, Hamilton Brush Company, Interwire, Jewel Wire, Lanoco Specialty Wire, Osborn, Perlon, PMM and Zahoransky).

Each year, the ABMA invites the President of its European counterpart, the FEIBP, to come to the Convention as part of its close partnership. This year’s President, Peter Langenegger of Ebnat Switzerland, told delegates that he was honoured to be invited and was also pleased to see so many colleagues from Europe at the Convention. He spoke of the value to be gained from the ties between the associations when he said, “sometimes you can take out something small from another sector of the brushware industry that was maybe missing in your sector which helps you to solve a problem or brings you in the direction of a completely new idea”!

He extended an open invitation to all ABMA members to the 60th FEIBP Congress, which will take place in the beautiful wine-making region of Bordeaux, France from 26 to 29 September 2018.

Daniel Strowitzki of FTWM/Messe Freiburg, organizer of Interbrush, then took to the stage to tell people of the progress being made towards the show’s next edition which is now only 25 months away! Interbrush 2020 will take place from May 6th to 8th in its southern German home and the usual ABMA/FEIBP/Interbrush co-hosted reception is planned for the opening day.

An additional 1,000 rooms have been made available in Freiburg for the duration of the show, with hotel bookings now being handled by the show organizer, so visit the Interbrush website to start making your plans!

Amongst the 235 attendees at this year’s Convention were 15 first time attendees and 3 new members. First time attendees comprised Miguel Medrano, (Borghi USA), Matt Duffrin (Duff Brush), Christy Hinnant (Easy Reach Supply), Peter Langenegger (FEIBP/Ebnat Switzerland), Franziska Romhild (Filkemp), Christopher Megrano (The Industrial Brush Company), Richard Kimble (Jones Companies), Marius Luebke (Loetters Wire Corp), Kelly Moline  (Loetters Wire Corp), Scottie Mahl (Osborn International), Taylor Jameson (Ram Manufacturing Co), Daniele Davanzo (Weiler Abrasives Group), Todd Lien (Tanis Inc), Maria Valdes (Distribuidora Perfect) and Brett Bartlett (The Ames Companies). Each was thanked for their attendance.

Representatives of 2 of the new member companies told the audience more about their respective companies: Christy Hinnant of Easy Reach Supply, manufacturers of foam and solid brush blocks and extensions handles, and Marius Luebke of Loetters Wire Corp, suppliers of stapling wire and twisted-brush wire. Unfortunately, the representative of new active member company, Brett Bartlet of The Ames Companies, didn’t make the Convention due to being snowed in.

Next, the attending trade press, followed by the Board of Directors and David Parr, ABMA Executive Director, were thanked, along with the Past Presidents in attendance which this year comprised John Cottam (2001-3), Bruce Gale (2003-5), Ken Rakusin (2005-7), Ian Moss (2011-13), Jeff Malish (2013-15) and Mark Fultz (2015-17).

Finally, the ABMA staff, Kappie & Marty Swanson and Kathryn Coryell Parr received applause for their efforts in co-ordinating the running of the Convention and making it look easy in the process!

To conclude the morning’s business, the second of the speakers, Ken Gronbach, treated the audience to a humorous and spirited talk on “Demographics, Big Data and Millennials Change Everything”. As waves of generations are born and age, our fortunes and futures are determined. Ken’s look into what this might mean for the brush industry as new generations and their requirements come into play, really captured the attention and highlighted that the future isn’t all that bad if you are armed with the information to enable you to prepare for what is coming.

In the afternoon, the golfers amongst us set off for the annual ABMA Scramble Golf event, played on the resort course, one of the leading resort courses in Arizona. Participants were divided into groups of 4 and enjoyed an afternoon of friendly competition on the three championship-style nines that the resort offers.

Traditionally, the Thursday night of the Convention is left for attendees to explore the locality on their own, but a mid-convention reception brought guests together for a cocktail party on the hotel’s veranda overlooking the golf course.

Friday 23rd March 2018

On the Friday, guests were again invited to take part in a Sunrise Yoga session and re-energise for a new day’s work. Following that, the main business of the day was the Suppliers Display, comprising 40 exhibitor booths, allowing for the sharing of new products, ideas and components. This event is the highlight of every Convention and, for four hours, delegates had the opportunity to visit with the suppliers of components and machinery that are the backbone of the industry.

The exhibition also housed a display of the products nominated for the 2018 Innovation Award and delegates were invited to place their votes for their preferred design in a secret ballot.

Meanwhile, the partners, family and friends of delegates were invited to participate in the ABMA Companion Program which, this year, took the form of a “Brown Bag Iron Chef” challenge. Each team was given the tools and ingredients to create a culinary masterpiece. Judges were on hand to offer suggestions and then decide upon the best all-round chef team. It was apparently a great morning, enjoyed by all.
For those so inclined, the organised afternoon activity was a river float trip, taking in the majestic Arizona scenery from the water. Again, this was a well-attended and highly appreciated pastime.

The Suppliers Reception is always a great evening and this year was no exception! With the Phoenix area being host to much of baseball’s spring training, this year’s Spring Training Party was a night to remember, with many guests coming dressed in their team’s jersey, most notably the Zahoransky team who went the whole hog, arriving kitted out in full customised and personalised soccer kits. With great food, music, dancing and a couple of side shows including a baseball practice cage and also a pitching booth.

The winners of the golf tournament were announced, and prizes distributed. Coming in in first place with a score of 63 was the team comprising DJ Anawalt (A&B Brush Mfg), Greta Townes (Magnolia Brush), Tom Parseghian (Power Brushes) & Artur Segur (Zahoransky).

In second place scoring 65 was Chris Monahan (Brush Fibers), Michael Hooper (Fiberbuilt Mfg), Sergio Gallo (Interwire Group) and Philip Coward (Hill Brush Inc.).

The third placed team with a score of 66 was Ed Lowder (Monterey Mills), Bob Shaw (Nour Trading), Ian Moss (Brush Fibers) & Maura Briggs (Brush Fibers).

Individual prizes were awarded to:

Closest to pin -  Brian Hinnat (Easy Reach Supply)
Longest drive -  Bill Shaul (Draper Knitting)
Men’s longest putt - Bill Dwyre (Weiler Abrasives)
Women’s longest putt - Greta Moore (Magnolia Brush)

Afterwards, guests continued to dance the night away, led by the ever-enthusiastic Kristin Draper, organizer of yet another successful Supplier Reception!

Saturday 24th March 2018

Carlos Petzold, ABMA President, opened the Closing Business Session with a word of thanks to all sponsors, as well as to Kristin Draper for organizing the previous evening’s frivolities, and to all the suppliers for making it possible.

He then went on to thank the ABMA staff for organising such a great Convention; Kappie and Marty Swanson, Kathryn Coryell Parr and, of course, David Parr who, as ever, received rapturous applause. 
In total, 235 attended this year’s Convention, including the 15 first timers, 3 new members, and Carlos thanked the membership for its attendance and support of the Association.

Greg Miller reported on behalf of the Finance Committee that the Association is in great shape and also reported on behalf of the Public Relations Committee, sharing news of the improvements to the website and the Monthly Brush Up newsletter.

Scott Enchelmaier, Chair of the Convention Committee, explained the alteration to the format of next year’s 102nd Annual Convention which will be held in the fabulous Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas from 20 to 23 March 2019. Due to the possible logistic difficulties for exhibitors in getting their exhibition materials to the destination, the Suppliers Display will deviate from the norm and will be a “speed dating” event. Suppliers will remain at their tables, with the first 2 hours being of an open format, allowing people to move around freely and visit the suppliers of their choice. The next 2 hours will consist of pre-scheduled 10 minute “power meetings” allowing for higher-level discussion.

There will also be a change to the regular ABMA Education Institute program, with a revised “Meet the Pros Roundtable” format, with the “pros” in this case being peers from within the industry sharing their expertise. Examples of ideas for the pros were Human Resources Pro, Succession Planning Pro, Shop Floor Safety Pro, Social Media Pro, Employee Screening Pro, E-commerce Pro, Prop 65 etc. The ABMA is looking for volunteers, so please contact Dave Parr if you wish to get involved.

For the Membership Committee, Jill Shinners provided a review of new and lost members and called for recommendations for new members. She also reported on behalf of the Statistics Committee who have been conducting reviews of the questionnaires and surveys issued by the ABMA and urged members to take the time to complete these.
Scott Enchelmaier gave the review of the All Division Meeting, including an update on Prop 65 and the research that has been undertaken regarding safety slips in order to be compliant. He thanked Osborn International, Pferd Inc and Weiler Abrasives for shouldering the largest part of the work.
The ABMA’s Kathy K Parr Foundation has awarded 2 scholarships this year to Peter Bernacki and Kevin Valentin. Details were shared with the delegation and full details can be found in this news article.

The ABMA William A Cordes Innovation Award for Excellence winner was then announced, with the Gordon Brush “PlateScrape” taking this year’s accolade. More information can be found in this article.

The final speaker, Ryan Jenkins, spoke about “Hiring, Retaining and Managing Millennials” and gave an interesting view of how companies can manage, develop and engage Millennials in the workplace.
Slides from all of the ABMA Educational Institute speakers can be found on the ABMA website resource section.

Images from ABMA Conventions past and present can be found in the Image Gallery.

The Brush Expert team looks forward to seeing everyone in Atlantis Resort, Bahamas next year for the 102nd Annual Convention!

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