Just like Jimmy Buffet Parrotheads, year after year Panelheads flock to the SIPA Annual Meeting and Conference. This year was no exception, with manufacturers, builders, dealers and design professionals gathering in Tucson, Arizona at the fabulous Loew’s Ventana Canyon Resort April 2-5. We had a host of speakers, countless committee meetings, a golf tournament, networking, board meetings and dancing (more on that later) as well as the 8th Annual Auction. The atmosphere was energizing and optimistic with the re-emergence of the housing industry and focus on energy-efficient building.
Our presenters came from near and far. Fifteen speakers presented across three different tracks during Wednesday’s training: Sales/Marketing, Builder/Technical, and Timber Frame. First time SIPA speaker/attendee Jorg Thomsen traveled from Uruguay to provide an interesting and entertaining outline of the international SIP industry and his 30+ years’ involvement. A special thanks as well to Allison Bailes who provided his expertise in three different topics, including the importance of social media. All our speakers deserve a round of applause for helping to educate and energize the many builders who came to Tucson to learn what’s new in SIPs.
Our last event was the Wednesday night auction. I admit stealing the idea from the Timber Framer’s Guild – ever met an association that couldn’t use a little extra shot of cash? It’s a great way to drop the formalities, promote unity, and network. But more importantly, it’s a lot of fun. So how do you end an auction in style? Dancing, of course! The SIPA crowd was treated to an exhibition of ballroom dancing from one of our own. Manufacturer and Astair wannabe Damian Pataluna of FischerSIPs brought his lovely partner Irina Morozova to Tucson in route to Los Angeles for the 2013 Amateur Adult Championship Nine Dance Competition. The partners amazed the crowd with five different dances, and reports on Friday confirmed that Irina and Damian had defended their title once again.
With all the effort that goes in to the many conferences, shows and association meetings I attend year after year, often the most valuable part of the experience is the networking. For me, the SIPA Annual Meeting is as much about the networking as the training. This industry has some amazing people who get up every day and do amazing things, and I’m proud to be part of a group that works together for a common goal – building the SIP industry. The unity and camaraderie hasn’t always been there, but this year in Tucson it was palpable. Hope to see you there next year, and don’t forget an item for the auction.