Anxious but determined, a record crowd packed workshops, speeches and seminars at the Fifth Annual LMCI Finishing Industries Forum (FIF) in November.
The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades launched the FIF in 2005 as a venue for IUPAT labor leaders and their signatory contractors to meet and discuss some of the issues facing them as they do business in their particular industries.
Workshops at the event, led by renowned experts in business, provided attendees with valuable information, ideas, and concepts to aid IUPAT industry partners in remaining competitive and successful in their crafts.
It was an enormous and immediate success. The event grew from just under 300 attendees in 2005 to a record breaking crowd of more than 500 in 2009—despite the economy. “We actually had to turn people away from some of the workshops because we filled up so quickly,” said LMCI Administrator Bill McDevitt.
On opening day, IUPAT General President James Williams praised the attendees for taking the time away from their jobs to be at the event.
“It’s fitting that ‘Now More Than Ever’ is the unofficial theme of this event,” said Williams. “Right now, many of you have troubled times back home, and you could have easily decided not to come. To your credit, all of you realized that now is the time we need to pull together, share ideas, and learn from each other. If our work here this week was instrumental in landing even only one project or job for one of our contractors, then the work here this week was well worth it.”
The featured speakers included Dr. James Canton, a futurist and author who talked about how a series of radical trends and disruptions are reshaping health care and their effects on business models, standards of care, management of disease, and redefining health care.
Attendees also received “some hard data and a report on trends that will do nothing but help our industry partners run a better business in 2010,” said McDevitt.
Workshops included “Advancing Apprenticeship into the 21st Century,” “New LEED AP Standards in Green/Sustainability Construction,” and “The FTI Year in Review.”
Networking was more popular than ever at the event. “All too often, many of the problems our people have in their day-to-day businesses have already been solved somewhere else,” said McDevitt.
“So, when we get together at FIF and share some stories or problems over an informal dinner, we’re giving LMCI members the chance to learn from their colleagues’ successes and mistakes. That’s when you really get the sense that everyone believes we’re in this together, and we’ll make it through this down economy because of that.”