ABMA 2019 Annual Convention Brush Expert Report

20 to 23 March 2019 - Atlantis Resort, The Bahamas
Atlantis, Paradise Island, with its “Bahamas at heart” philosophy, effortlessly combines the tropical beauty of fine, sandy beaches and endless blue ocean with the blue-ribbon facilities that you would expect from a world-renowned super-resort, synonymous with luxury and style. For the 258 registered delegates that attended this year’s American Brush Manufacturers Association’s 102nd Annual Convention which took place from 20 to 23 March 2019, this was a real treat!

The Bahamas is comprised of 700 islands lying in the Lucayan Archipelago and is an ecological oasis boasting some of the clearest water on the planet. The Atlantis Paradise Island resort itself is home to the largest open-air marine habitat in the world. It is also home to a PGA golf course, its own shopping village, the Caribbean’s premier casino, indulgent spa and legendary 141-acre water park encompassing everything from exhilarating slides and river rapids to quieter pools and beachfront areas: In all, the perfect destination for all, appealing both to the adventurer and those seeking relaxation. With all this on offer, plus the promise of an informative and exciting program of events, it isn’t surprising that this year’s meeting was another huge success.

Wednesday 20th March 2019

The Convention was kick-started with the combined meeting of the various ABMA Divisions (Paint Applicator, Broom & Mop, Industrial & Maintenance and Suppliers Divisions) as is now customary. The meeting was chaired by Scott Enchelmaier (Industrial Brush Co Inc), ABMA Vice President and commenced with approval of the minutes of last year’s meeting and a treasury report on the health of each Division.

Standards activity was next on the agenda with an update on the 4 Standards relevant to the brush industry: ASTM F2367-04 Broom; ASTM F2368-04; ANSI B165.1 Power Brush; ANSI D01.61 Paint Applicator. Please follow this link for information regarding the recent revision of ANSI B165.1-2019

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 ABMA will now have 4 safety slips available for purchase relating to lead, nickel and silicon, as well as a blank slip. Relevant slips are required to be included in every product, immaterial of its destination. For any company seeking further counsel on the implications of Prop 65, the ABMA has retained the services of attorney Bruce Nye whose details are available from the association. The site www.p65warnings.ca.gov also provides useful information.

Details of the 2019 National Broom & Mop Meeting which will be held from 10 to 11 October 2019 in St Louis, MO, were communicated. This year’s hosts will be Jeremy Raines of Jones Companies and Joel Hastings of Nexstep Commercial Products.

Market data showing an $80m growth over the 2015/16 period was shared with the audience. Employment data also signified a 4% increase in employee numbers for the same period. Despite this growth, the balance of trade is still in a negative situation, indicating that there is still a lot of room for US manufacturers to take up this slack. You can find industry import and export trade statistics (by product and region and by value and quantity) on the Trade Statistics page of www.brushexpert.com

Usually at this point of proceedings, companies with products nominated for the ABMA’s Innovation Excellence Award would be invited to give short presentations to the delegation. In order to ensure healthy competition, the rules state that at least 3 product nominations must be received for the Innovation Excellence Award to take place. However, with only 2 nominations having been received for 2019, this year’s award was suspended. These 2 nominations will be re-submitted for 2020, along with any new nominations received. To participate, please follow this link for eligibility and nomination details.

2019 saw the inaugural “Meet the Pros” interactive industry roundtable event comprising, on this occasion, 8 tables, each moderated by an industry peer and each focusing on different themes that affect all companies. Delegates were able to visit all tables in turn over the 90-minute segment and lively discussions around the following topics ensued:
  • Unique strategies for Employee Retention and Hiring Practices. Moderator: Enrique Mejia of PMM.
  • Succession Planning for the Shop Floor. Moderator: Tina Burnet, FHP
  • New Methods for Improving Shop Floor Safety and Security. Moderator: Mark Scagliarini of Pioneer Packaging Inc.
  • There’s an App for That! Moderator: Carlos Petzold of BorghiUSA and Bodam Int’l.
  • Employee Personality Testing and Screening. Moderator: Jim Benjamin, Precision Brush
  • Thriving as a Small Business Against Large Competitors. Moderator: RJ Lindstrom of Zephyr Mfg.
  • Best practices for reducing your carbon footprint while at the same time delivering a return on your investment. Moderator: Connie McKinney of Sherwin Williams
  • Establishing and Utilizing an Outside Board of Directors for your Closely Held Business. Moderator: Jeff Malish of The Malish Corporation.
The first day of the Convention closed with a Welcome Reception, immediately preceded by a get-together for new members and first-time attendees. This took place on a terrace reached through “The Dig”; billed as the “only one place in the world where you can embark on a journey through the streets and tunnels of the fabulous lost city of Atlantis by way of stunning life exhibits”. This consists of a series of spectacular aquatic exhibits featuring a vast abundance of marine life including venomous Lionfish, enormous groupers, shimmering jellyfish and jaw-dropping Moray eels, as well as smaller habitats highlighting lobster, seahorses, smaller tropical fish and an interactive touch-tank.

After having made their way through this underwater maze, guests emerged onto the “Dig Deck” where a pleasant evening was spent catching up with old friends, and making new, under the setting Bahamian sun.

Thursday 21st March 2019

For some years now, Epic Resin’s Rachel Hack has kindly led guests in Sunrise Yoga and this year was no exception with sessions on both the Thursday and Friday mornings: A wonderful way to start the day, very much enjoyed by all who attended.

Thursday’s business commenced with the official Opening Business Session. Carlos Petzold (Borghi USA/Bodam Int’l), current ABMA President, welcomed all attendees to this years Convention and, of the location, remarked “What a venue!”

With his time as President drawing to a close, Carlos spoke of those who had inspired him within the ABMA including father-in-law, Terry Malish, and brother-in-law, Jeff Malish, both of Malish Corp and both Past Presidents. He said it had been his pleasure and honor to serve the Association and would continue to do so well beyond his time on the Board. 
With the ABMA just arriving in the 2nd century of its service to the industry, Carlos expounded the need to stay hungry and to bring in new blood, with new ideas and to increase participation in order to remain a strong and vibrant association.

At the end of 2018, the brush industry lost Paul Miller of The Mill-Rose Company who sadly passed away at the age of 72. Paul was a leading supporter of the ABMA and proceedings paused for a moment’s silence in which we reflected fondly on the time we shared in his company. Paul was a genuine, charming and generous family-man who will be greatly missed by all.

FM Brush, manufacturers of artist, cosmetic and educational brushes, celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2019 and congratulations were extended to the Mink family who were present at the Convention.
The ABMA Foundation is “a catalyst for uniting people and organizations to make a difference through better education and opportunity.” Over the course of the past year, two awards totalling $5000 have been made to Sylvia Grellner who will soon be attending the University of Central Missouri, and to Carley Skaalen, who has work experience in the industry and will use her scholarship funds at the University of Wisconsin.

More information about the ABMA Foundation, how to set up your own fund or to contribute to an existing fund, please click here.

Fred Spach of Carolina Brush spoke on behalf of the ABMA Statistics Committee. This committee organises a number of surveys each year with the aim of collecting data helpful to members in the conduct of their businesses. Whilst members are not compelled to participate in these surveys, Fred appealed to members’ “sense of civic duty” to take time to complete them, as the more data that is collected, the better the quality of the results and their subsequent significance to your company.

Scott Enchelmaeier, ABMA Vice President, was called upon to give thanks to the Convention sponsors, including sponsors of the golf “Hole-in-One” sponsors (Perlon/Hahl Inc, Brush Fibers/Monahan Filaments, Hamilton Brush Company, Interwire, PMM, Keystone Plastics and Zahoransky USA/ Zahoranksy Germany), as well as the Meet the Pro moderators (see list above).

The ABMA enjoys a close relationship with its European counterpart, the European Brushware Federation (FEIBP). At this year’s Convention, current FEIBP President, Peter Langenegger of Ebnat, Switzerland, was pleased to be in attendance and to give details of this year’s FEIBP Congress that will be held in Lucerne, Switzerland from 26 to 28th September 2019. Registration is now open, and an invitation was once again extended to ABMA members to join the FEIBP at its 61st Congress which promises to be an unforgettable occasion, with a specially themed Swiss night at a surprise location and a Gala Dinner to be held in the spectacular Park Hotel Vitznau regarded as a “jewel on the shores of Lake Lucerne”.

For more information, please visit the Congress website or view the latest details shown in the FEIBP Update in the www.brushexpert.com News pages.

With only just over a year to go until the next edition of Interbrush, the 4-yearly exhibition dedicated to suppliers of components, semi-finished items and machinery used in the brush industry, Daniel Strowitzki, CEO of FWTM/Messe Freiburg, organiser of Interbrush, was on hand to update the delegation regarding the latest facts and figures for what looks set to be another record-breaking event. Almost 80% of exhibition space has now been booked, but there is still plenty of time to book your stand for this key event which will take place from 06 to 08 May 2020. Exhibitor registration can be accessed via this link.

With more hotel rooms having been made available, now is the time to start organising your trip to Interbrush 2020. Information and tools to help you plan your visit are available via this link.

As in previous editions of Interbrush, Association members were cordially invited to attend a welcome reception to be hosted jointly by ABMA, FEIBP and the Interbrush organisers, and Daniel encouraged all to take part in this special networking event.

Each year, the ABMA is pleased to welcome new members and first-time attendees to the Convention. Over the past year, the association welcomed 4 new members, 1 of whom was in attendance: Mauricio Amim of Malinski Wood Handles. Mauricio was invited to give a short introduction to his company and was welcomed to the association, along with WCJ Pilgrim Wire, Shurhold Industries and Premier Paint Roller who were not present.

In total, of the 258 total delegates, there were 15 new members present who were invited to stand, make themselves known to the delegation and were thanked for their participation, as were the trade press that support the industry.

The ABMA Board of Directors works extremely hard on behalf of the association and recognition of their efforts was given for those in attendance including RJ Lindstrom ( Zephyr Mfg Co) and Gary Townes (Magnolia Brush Mfrs) of the Broom & Mop Division, Fred Spach (Carolina Brush) and Jim Benjamin (Precision Brush Co) of the Industrial & Maintenance Division, Mike Zimmerman (Wooster Brush Co.) and Connie McKinney (Sherwin Williams Co) of the Paint Applicator Division, as well as Jill Shinners (Pioneer Packaging), Chris Monahan (Brush Fibers), Kevin Lannon (Lanoco Specialty Wire), Mike Fredrickson (Jewel Wire Co), Enrique Mejia (PMM) and Steve Bellocchio (Zahoransky USA) of the Suppliers Division. In addition, thanks were given to Scott Enchelmaier (Industrial Brush Company), Vice President, Greg Miller (The Mill-Rose Co), Treasurer, Carlos Petzold (Borghi USA/Bodam Int’l), President and to the Past Presidents present who were Mark Fultz (2015-17), Jeff Malish (2013-15), Ian Moss (2011-13), Ken Rakusin (2005-07), Bruce Gale (2003-05), John Cottam (2001-03) and Terry Malish (1981-83).

Next, approval was sought and received for the minutes of last year’s meeting and Greg Miller, Treasurer, reported on the health of the association which was said to be in good financial standing.

The election of candidates to the Board of Directors for the 2019-21 period was proposed as follows: Mike Zimmerman (Wooster Brush Co), Fred Spach (Carolina Brush), Mark Kappes (Tanis Inc), RJ Lindstrom (Zephyr Mfg), Charles Coward (Hillbrush), Chip Preston (Spiral Brushes Inc), Bruce Massey (Interwire Group), Tim Hack (Epic Resins), Kevin Lannon (Lanoco Specialty Wire), Dustin Manifor (AST Filaments), Mike Fredrickson (Jewel Wire) and Steve Bellocchio (Zahoranksy USA), as well as Scott Enchelmaier (President), Greg Miller (Vice President), Chris Monahan (Treasurer) and Carlos Petzold as Past President.
2019 sees the end of the terms of the following Board members: Gary Townes, Jim Benjamin, Connie McKinney, Jill Shinners, Enrique Mejia and Mark Fultz. As a token of appreciation for their commitment and hard work over the years, each was given a poker chip – we are yet to receive reports of any big wins!

Of course, 2019 also sees the retirement of Carlos Petzold who has served as President of the Association for the past two years. It is traditional for outgoing Presidents to be honoured in some way and this year’s surprise presentation led by Scott Enchelmaier focused on Carlos’ long family ties to the ABMA, suggesting that in order to be qualified to be an ABMA President, you have to drink the “ABMA Kool Aid” and that Carlos had certainly been drinking that all of his life! A slide show including some highly amusing shots of Carlos in his younger days was interrupted by the arrival of a local dancer, at whose insistence Carlos was encouraged to don a grass skirt and perform some extremely interesting dance moves, much to the delight of the audience. Loud applause for his performance and for the appreciation of Carlos’ long service to the Association filled the room.

This year’s ABMA All-Attendee Educational Institute was presented by Jack Shaw, whose “The Future of Money” seminar gave a lesson on the enabling technology underlying the digital currency Bitcoin, Blockchain, which “facilitates trustworthy transactions without requiring costly third-party intermediaries”. The impact on business as we know it will be huge, enabling the creation and maintenance of “cryptographically secure, completely immutable, totally verifiable records of transactions, ownership of assets, authentication of identity, exchange of digital currencies, and smart contracts.” His was an eye-opening and thought-provoking look into the world of the future. You can download Jack’s slideshow here:

The 2019 Annual Golf Scramble Tournament took place at the Atlantis’ own Ocean Club Golf Course set on an 18-hole, par 72 championship course on Paradise Island Oceanside’s peninsula. Described as “Challenging, masterfully-conceived and stunningly beautiful”, the Tom Weiskopf-designed Ocean Club Golf Course offers players “every element for the perfect round”.
In total, 16 teams contested the tournament, with the top 3 teams placing as follows:

1st Mike Fredrickson (Jewel Wire), Duncan Defino (Brushes Corp), Gene Heugin (Pferd Inc) and Jessica Enchelmaier Megaro (The Industrial Brush Co)
2nd Bruce Gale (Michigan Brush), Steve Bellocchio (Zahoransky USA), Brian Hinnant (Easy Reach Supply) & Frank Ponikvar (Felton Brushes)
3rd Bill Shaul (Draper Knitting), RJ Lindstrom (Zephyr Mfg), Frank Kigyos (Franklin Automation)
Prizes for longest drives and closest to the pin went to Bruce Massey (Interwire), Maura Briggs (Brush Fibers Inc) and Greg Miller (Mill-Rose Company).

Thursday evening’s Mid Convention Reception was moved indoors due to the inclement weather, but this didn’t stop attendees enjoying a well-earned cocktail or two, including the local favourite, the “Bahama Mama”, before spending the remainder of the evening in the company of family and friends.

Friday 22nd March 2019

Once again, for those so-inclined, a sunrise yoga session was offered, after which the main business of the day, the Suppliers Display, comprising 30 exhibitor displays, allowed for the sharing of new products and ideas. This event is the highlight of every Convention, but this year saw a big change to the regular 4-hour, booth-setting exhibition, and instead took the form of a “Face-to-Face” meeting with the first 2 hours being dedicated to pre-planned, 10-minute scheduled conferences, and the remaining 2 hours open to all. Due to the difficulty of bringing pop-up displays and large booth materials to The Bahamas, all suppliers were allocated plain tables with specific rules for what was permissible to be displayed. This new format worked well, resulted in a great many meaningful conversations and will be revisited in 2020.

Meanwhile, the partners, family and friends of delegates were invited to participate in the ABMA Companion Program which, this year, allowed partakers to explore their creative side and were given the opportunity to make stuffed animal toys from provided materials and patterns which were then donated to a children’s charity in Nassau.

This year’s optional tour took full advantage of the Atlantis location, with guests taking the opportunity to get up-close to everyone’s favourite marine animal in a Dolphin Interaction session. Those that joined in were able to enter the water with these amazing creatures at the resort’s Dolphin Cay. This exciting event was well-attended and enjoyed by all.

To draw a close to the truly unforgettable Convention, the Suppliers Reception held on the last night saw guests getting together for an evening of great food, music, dancing, fun and games, including some very closely-contested and highly-competitive Jumbo Jenga tournaments! Thanks go to Kristin Draper who was once again responsible for the planning and execution of hugely entertaining evening. 

Thanks also go to David Parr, ABMA’s Executive Director, and his formidable team for organising yet another show-stopper of a Convention.

Next year’s 103rd ABMA Convention will take place from 04 to 07 March 2020 at the prestigious Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg, FL. Details are now available on the ABMA website.

Photos from this year’s Convention are available now in the Brush Expert Image Gallery. We look forward to seeing you there!



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