ABMA Annual 100th Annual Convention Report

2017 marks the 100th Anniversary of the American Brush Manufacturers Association (ABMA) and this year’s Annual Convention, held in Orlando, Florida in March, was a celebration of the association’s achievements, as well as the friendships forged, over the past century. 483 registered delegates congregated at the elegant Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort & Spa in Orlando for four days of networking, fellowship and important information sharing and honour this landmark occasion.

Arriving in the registration area, guests were greeted by an impressive, rotating sculptural installation made solely from many different brushes that had been kindly donated by a number of member brush makers. This creation was the brainchild of Sandra Butler and her team at the Durango Art Center in Colorado that took the form of a revolving horse carousel. A video documenting the conception and construction of this remarkable piece of art is available in the www.brushexpert.com Video Gallery for general viewing. This moveable exhibition is available for display by any of the ABMA member companies, starting its tour at the premises of Monahan Filaments. If you are interested, please contact the ABMA using the link at the bottom of this report.

The first day of the Convention was kick-started with the meetings of the various association Committees, followed by an All Divisional Meeting. Scott Enchelmaier, ABMA Treasurer, reported that all Divisions were doing well! It was announced that the Suppliers Assessment for the coming period would not be increased and will stay the same as in 2016.

Innovation Award presentations were made by all nominated companies:

·       Carlos Petzold – The Boucherie Borghi Group - OVALE

·       Tina Burnet – Freudenberg Household Produts – O’Cedar EasyWring Spin Bucket & Mop

·       Chris Monahan – on behalf of Monahan Partners – Freight Buster handle

·       Jeff Malish – The Malish Corp. – Sonic Scrub

·       Greg Miller – The Mill-Rose Co – Power Deuce

Next on the agenda, as part of the ABMA’s Educational Institute program, was the first of two speakers. Robert Siciliano’s seminar on “Data Security: Identity Theft Protection & Prevention” addressed the modern issue of information/computer security and discussed topics associated with hacking, data breaches and organised crime that affect individuals and businesses on a daily basis. According to Robert, “there always has been, is now and always will be a predatory, criminal element stalking its next victim”. Take a look at his slideshow for ideas on how you can protect your data.

Following on from a dedicated reception for new members & first-time attendees, Wednesday evening’s Welcome Reception was hosted in the hotel’s stunning pool setting where delegates enjoyed an informal get-together in the warm Florida evening, allowing all the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new acquaintances.

Mark Fultz, ABMA President, welcomed delegates to the Opening Business Session of the 2017 Convention, opening with a question: “What will ensure that the Association is around for another 100 years?” which he answered by looking to the 64 children in attendance at this year’s event. He suggested that therein lies the future and encouraged their eventual entrance into the industry with the observation “Every day in the brush industry is like a day at Disney!”.

He welcomed 1st time attendees into what he termed as an “association of friends” and stated that the directive for newcomers is not to be a wallflower and to introduce themselves.

He went on to thank Rachel Hack of Epic Resins for organising the daily yoga. According to Rachel, around 20 participants attended each class.

The Association counted on the generosity of its sponsors, whose Gold, Silver & Bronze level commitments made the 100th Anniversary so special. Sponsoring organisations and individuals were recognised.

Special recognition was then made for Terry Phillips of P&A Industrial Fabrications who has announced his retirement from the company.  A presentation was made by colleague Claude Pruitt who thanked him for his devotion. Terry will remain engaged with the company in a consulting capacity and said that retirement was a tough decision when working with such great people.

Braun Brush is celebrating its 142nd Anniversary and Lance Cheney, President, took the opportunity to celebrate employee Adam Czerniawski whose 67-year history with the company was applauded. He said that Mr Czerniawski was a link to their past but always looking to the future and was recognised for outstanding commitment.

Rudy Deligdish of Deligh Industries received special recognition as the oldest member of the Association at 96.  Rudy said that he remembers when brushes were made by hand and all filling materials were natural. He has witnessed major changes in the industry with, for example, the development of synthetic polymers and the mechanization of brush making processes, and said he feels fortunate to attend the 100th Anniversary Convention.

The ABMA was established in 1917 with 32 charter companies, 7 of whom are still in existence and 6 of those being in attendance. Representatives from DuPont, Elder & Jenks, Fuller Brush, M W Jenks, Osborn & Wooster Brush were each presented with a trophy; laser etched with a brush specific to that company.

A few years ago, the ABMA launched its Convention app and thanks were given to the sponsoring companies which included Brush Fibers, Monahan Filaments, Lanoco Specialty Wire, PMM & Sanderson McLeod. If you didn’t download and use the ABMA’s app, it was a great planning tool and well worth taking the time to install in years to come.  

The companies sponsoring this year’s golf and hole-in-one event included Perlon , Monahan Filaments, Brush Fibers, Hamilton Brush Co., PMM, Inter-Wire Group, Beatty Machine & Tool Works, FM Brush and Keystone Plastics.

Thanks went to the Durango Art Center and to all who contributed materials for the construction of the previously mentioned “Brush with History” sculpture, including Brush Fibers, FHP, Haviland Corp., MFC Ltd., Michigan Brush Mfg. Co., The Mill-Rose Co., Monahan Filaments, Nexstep Commerical Products, Pferd INC, PMM, Precision Brush Co, The Sherwin Williams Co., Static Inc., Weiler Abrasives Group and Zephyr Mfg Co.

Thorsten Stollberg, of Wistoba Pinselfabrik, Germany is this year’s FEIBP President: The ABMA’s European counterpart. He thanked everyone for the invitation to the Convention and stated that he was honoured and happy to be there. Thorsten stated that he came with the kind regards from friends within the European Brushware Federation and wished the ABMA good luck & best wishes for the next 100 years.

He presented the ABMA with a commemorative platter (see the article in our online News pages) and extended an invite to all ABMA members to the FEIBP’s Annual Congress which this year will take place in Leipzig 6-9 September 2017.

Daniel Strowitzki, organizer of the 4-yearly brush show Interbrush, was on hand to share feedback from the 2016 show. He remarked that it wouldn’t be easy to top this last edition and thanked all of the visitors from 90 countries and exhibitors from 40 countries for making the event so special. He also thanked David Parr for his part in co-ordinating the joint ABMA/FEIBP/German Association booth which was housed in a new, great spot right in the entrance.

As Mark Fultz stated, “new members are the lifeblood of the association”, and he was pleased to welcome not only the 10 new member companies, but also the 4 new branch members and 56 first-time attendees present.

Members of the Trade Press, the Board of Directors, Past Presidents & Service Partners were also recognised and, as ever, huge thanks went to Dave Parr and his team without whom the Convention would not be possible.

In this election year, Mark then announced the Board members for the coming period and thanked the retiring Directors for their dedication and input over the past years. Full details of candidates and their positions can be found on the abma.org website.

It is traditional for outgoing Presidents to be honoured in some way and this year’s surprise arrival of Nathan Fultz, Mark’s son, will be hard to surpass in years to come. As a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, he certainly stole the show when he presented his father with a dedicated flag that had been flown in an EA-18G “Growler” around China seas. The delegates were entertained with his personally filmed video tracing the route that he took bringing the flag to Orlando.

In customary fashion, proceedings were interrupted, this time by a 3-piece singing group who encouraged everyone on the podium and all the delegates to join in with an impromptu rendition of the Village People’s “YMCA” (changing the words to “It’s fun to be in the ABMA”!), giving Mark the send-off he deserved. The Vice President Carlos Petzold presented Mark with the engraved signature crystal bowl.

The second speaker, Jack Uldrich, continued within the Convention’s “The Future is Now” theme with his presentation “Ten Game-Changing Technological Trends Transforming the World of Tomorrow” which looked at how “the Internet of Things, Big Data, social media, robotics, biotechnology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, renewable energy and collaborative consumption will change everyday life”. He was keen to communicate that “what was relevant yesterday to your business may not be relevant today” and gave practical and actionable advice on how to cope with this fast-past change both personally and within your business. Take a look at his slideshow!

This year’s scramble golf event took place at the Grand Cypress Bay Golf Club and was very well attended with a total of 98 registered players. The winning team comprised Artur Seger (Zahoransky), Denis Valentine (Gordon Brush Mfg), Kim Erdmann (Schaefer Brush Mfg) and Bruce Massey (Inter-Wire Group).

ABMA members came together on the Thursday evening for a family cook-out, arranged to support the association’s charitable causes. With the large number of children in attendance, this event was perfect for families, with a petting zoo, carnival-style games and sideshows, a live band and a well-used dance floor. The informal dinner was followed by a truly impressive firework display enjoyed by all.

On the Friday of the Convention, this year’s Suppliers Display incorporated 52 exhibitor displays, giving suppliers of brush materials and machinery the opportunity to share their latest innovations.

The exhibition also housed a display of the products nominated for the 2017 Innovation Award and delegates were invited to place their votes for their preferred design in a secret ballot.

Whilst delegates were busy working, partners were invited to join the companion program which involved the creation of fun and whimsical centrepieces to be used in the evening’s gala celebrations.

In the afternoon, many guests treated themselves to an optional never-to-be-forgotten indoor skydiving experience.

In honor of the occasion, this year’s Suppliers Reception deviated from the usual, more casual affair and took the form of a formal black tie dinner. Delegates and their partners turned out in their fineries and were greeted by a professional photographer who took group/family photos which were printed on the night to take home.

Once guests were seated, outgoing ABMA President, Mark Fultz, welcomed everyone and started proceedings with a presentation to ABMA Executive Officer, Dave Parr, in recognition of all his efforts in ensuring the smooth day-to-day running of the association and planning of the Convention. In addition to a uniquely named trophy awarded as a sign of appreciation from everyone in the room, a contribution cheque for $17,350 was presented to Dave from past and present Board members for the Kathy K Parr memorial fund.

To commemorate the evening, a photographer was called upon to take a panoramic picture which can be viewed on the ABMA’s 100th Anniversary resource page.

Once again, thanks went out to the founding companies in attendance, the 100th Anniversary sponsors and the 100th Anniversary Task Force. In addition, praise was given to Kristin Draper of Draper Knitting for her efforts in arranging the Convention’s entertainment as well as to the Suppliers. Finally, appreciation was shown for Mike Zimmerman and Steve Workman (Wooster Brush Co.) for arranging the museum kiosk and to the Zahoransky team for supporting the old-time brushmaking experience.

The “awards” section of the evening was opened with the presentation of golf awards, followed by the announcement of the 2017 William Cordes Innovation Excellence Award which went to The Mill-Rose Company for the Power-Deuce brush for cleaning fittings and tubing, full details of which can be found in the related press release in the www.brushexpert.com News section.

Over dinner, guests were shown the documentary that tells the story of the past 100 years of brush making in the USA. As well as starring well-known actor and television legend, Edward Asner, this video, shot over the past few years, includes testimony from many of those present and is a great way of showing the general public the role brushes play in society as well as highlighting the special nature of this unique industry and the people involved therein. The video is now available for viewing in the www.brushexpert.com Video Gallery page. Thanks were given to Robin Christian Peters of the production company Dreamscape for his marvellous creation.

The evening was rounded off with music from a live band that was greeted with some very enthusiastic dancing – a suitable ending to a very memorable Convention!

Pictures from the event are available to view in the www.brushexpert.com Image Gallery!

Mark your calendars now for the 101st ABMA 2018 Annual Convention -  March 21-25, 2018, Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, Scottsdale, AZ!

Image Gallery ABMA Convention 2017 - Business
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Image Gallery ABMA Convention 2017 - Pleasure!
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