The 2014 RIA Leadership Summit & Industry Expo was held from April 9-11 at the Marriott World Center in Orlando, FL and consisted of a busy three days of networking, learning and seeing all the industry had to offer on the trade show floor.

But this RIA Convention was different for a few reasons. First, there was the change that was in the air. A few weeks ago, it was announced that the RIA Board of Directors chose SmithBucklin Corporation as its new management company, a change that will become effective April 28. Secondly, there was the focus of the keynote presentations. Chip Lackey, of J.D. Power/McGraw Hill Financial, kicked things off on Thursday with a presentation about what really matters to insurers and what measurements they follow. Bryan Koon, Director, Florida Division of Emergency Management, followed things up on April 11 with a presentation on a big picture view of emergency management.

There was a little bit of humor involved, too. Last year, the RIA trotted out an Austin Powers impersonator in Las Vegas to entertain during the trade show portion of the event. This year, there was Ron Burgundy...

The breakout sessions all seemed to be very well attended and included presentations on building science for restoration projects, communicating in the workplace, leadership, contents restoration, historical preservation and restoration and health risks that pose a threat to contractors. One we sat in on that was particularly well attended was “Meth: The Aftermath,” a session put on by Roy Wilkinson, of Safely Elements, Inc.

We ran a story on meth lab cleanup on in the February issue of R&R, which you can check out here.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an RIA Convention without the trade show. Here’s a look at some photos we posted from the show floor:

Finally, it’s also worth noting that an update was given on the Restoration Industry Legal Fund (RILF), which was started to fight ThermaPure. According to RIA representatives, it’s estimated that it will now cost upwards of $1 million to battle ThermaPure in court. A silent auction was held at the convention to raise funds for the legal fund and the RIA is still soliciting members for donations to the fund. You can read more about the Restoration Industry Legal Fund here. Speaking of the RILF, a release was issued during the conference claiming that RxHeat and Cambridge Engineering had just emerged victorious in a mutli-year patent battle with ThermaPure.

Next year’s RIA Convention will take place from May 6-8, 2015 at the Rio All-Suites Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

We’ll conclude this recap with a final look at beautiful, sunny Orlando…