Sunday, February 28, 2016

C3 Product Show

Mark Monroe of VaproShield explaining his company's product line to Junica Cushing at the C3 Products Show, February 25, 2016 (my photo)
I’m a strong supporter of everything the Willamette Valley Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute does to promote communication and collaboration between members of our local architecture/engineering/construction (AEC) community. This past Thursday’s C3 Product Show was no exception, so I cleared my calendar and headed to the Eugene Hilton Conference Center to spend as much time as I could there with each of the participating vendors.
I was accompanied by Junica Cushing, a graduate student in her final year of the Interior Architecture program at the University of Oregon, and presently gaining practicum experience with Robertson/Sherwood/Architects (my office). Junica also holds down a part-time job as an online technical advisor for a large producer of floor coverings, so she definitely has an affinity for the manufacturers’ representatives displaying their wares at the product show. 

Though by no means the biggest of its type, this year’s exhibition did present us with a broad range of products and services to learn about. Those taking part were: 
  • AEP Span
  • AIA-Southwestern Oregon
  • Ausland Group
  • Benjamin Moore Paint
  • Dea Mor
  • Green Feathers
  • Guardian Industries
  • Ideate
  • Knife River
  • Metal Sales MFG
  • MSW Plastics
  • RainBird
  • RedBuilt
  • Rodda Paint
  • Solus Inc.
  • The Toro Company
  • VaproShield
To a person, each of the vendors was cheerful, enthusiastic, and highly informative. It was great to hear about the latest and greatest from each of them. 

As an incentive for show-goers to visit as many of the vendors as possible, CSI-WVC offered a variety of gift baskets stuffed with all sorts of enticing goodies. Junica and I ensured our eligibility to win one of the baskets by dutifully stopping by the requisite minimum of ten displays and having our scorecard initialed by each representative. Alas, neither of us was among the lucky winners. 

We spent a couple of hours at the show, between about 2:30 and 4:30 PM. Attendance during the time we were there was disappointingly sparse. The same was true for the six educational seminars, which, despite the continuing education learning units they offered, were likewise poorly attended. Regardless, all of the vendors we spoke with believed that by participating their time and money was well-spent no matter the number of people they could flaunt their wares to. I’m hopeful the turnout picked up considerably after we left, during the social hour, dinner, and keynote presentation by economist Brian Rooney that followed (unfortunately, I could not stay for these events as I had another obligation). 

The Willamette Valley Chapter definitely appreciates all of the participating vendors. Of course, the chapter is also very thankful for the generous contributions from the following C3 sponsors: 
  • AEP Span
  • Ausland Group
  • Benjamin Moore
  • Contractors Electric
  • DeaMor
  • RainBird
Big props to CSI-WVC president Marina Wrensch and House Committee chair Linn West for shouldering the lion’s share of the duties organizing the C3 show. The logistics of contacting prospective vendors, lining up sponsors, coordinating with the venue, identifying a keynote speaker, promoting the event, etc. are overwhelming. I can’t let these all too often thankless tasks go unnoticed. 
Mariel Taviana Acevedo of Solus Lighting talks about security and safety lighting during her seminar presentation (photo by Marina Wrensch) 
It’s fair to ask whether a construction products show is an anachronism in a world where information is only a mouse-click away. After all, why leave your office when the all-mighty power of Google and the ability to learn about virtually anything you want are right at hand? The answer is clear in my mind: Nothing beats face-to-face contact and being able to shake someone’s hand when it comes to developing lasting professional relationships. The show’s namesake three C’s—construction communication and collaboration—truly are the key. Nurturing these relationships most effectively begins with the trust you can establish by meeting someone in person. Being able to rely dependably upon someone you know can pay dividends over many years and for many projects. Getting to know the people you work with is why I believe shows like C3 should never disappear.  


No comments: