The Connections Conference and Exhibition was held in Clearwater Beach, Florida, April 29 - May 1. The program featured technical subjects on both cleaning and restoration.

The Exhibition featured 106 booth spaces with live demonstrations outside the hall. The exhibition was very busy and sales were strong. The show attendance was similar to last years with 900 attendees registering, including exhibitors.

Craig Kersemeier, President of Connections Events, said “The overall show was successful. We met our attendance goals and provided excellent educational opportunities. Connections Events is a non-profit organization with a goal to provide two shows a year, one on the east coast and one on the west coast. It is an opportunity to see all of the latest products from our vendors and bring educational information to our industry.”

The golf tournament started on Wednesday April 28 and the weather was fantastic. Also on the 28th, the Water Damage Restoration Workshop featured the latest advancements psychrometry, drying practices, the newest in tools and drying techniques.

Thursday’s program featured Gary Ryan Blair from Everything Counts. Gary’s presentation was powerful as he challenged the audience to make a difference everyday of their lives. Steve Ashkin the father of Green Cleaning defined for the audience how to bring Green to the cleaning and restoration audience. The day also featured a major presentation on Commercial Maintenance Programs, Howard Partridge teaching the audience to transform their business into a predictable, profitable, turn key operation, and Sherman Guffy from Prochem sharing Recipes for Success and hands-on cleaning tips.

Friday’s program started with Dan Bernazzani reporting on the state of the Water Damage Industry. He discussed with the audience what is happening with Lead Paint, Asbestos and corrosive Chinese Drywall. Gene Cole, DrPH, took over the program sharing with the audience the current information regarding Infectious Disease, Control and Clean Up. He discussed the role our industry plays now and the training needed to be prepared for the future.

Kent Berg, Biostar presented a strong program on Crime & Trauma Scene Biorecovery. He elaborated on business aspects of entering this area and running the operations. Sam DeAth, Benefect, discussed the use of Botanical Antimicrobials. There followed a panel discussion led by Gary Glenn, A-Town discussed Marketing and Advertising, How to get the Jobs, What to market and How to Follow Up. Al Bradham, Bruce DeLoatch, and Ivan Turner shared their perspectives on marketing and advertising and showed the audience what they use in their businesses. Finally, Eugene Peterson presented with demonstration intermediate level Xactimate programs. The Connections Beach Party had over 400 people in attendance with live music and networking on the beach.

Saturday’s program featured Bill Yeadon talking on The Customer Comes Second. He discussed the critical role technicians play in the success of your business. If they are happy and do a good job, customers will follow. Jeff Bishop and Ruth Travis presented a video demonstration on area rug cleaning including using the latest processes for excellent results. Eugene Peterson presented Part 2 of the Xactimate program utilizing live demonstrations of using the screens and mapping. About 100 attendees took advantage of the afternoon Beach Networking and the weather was incredible. Of course the volley ball and horseshoes help the activities for the afternoon. The event concluded with the Calypso Sunset Dinner Cruise.