IPC, we hear, is “the Association connecting electronics industries”. For more than a half-century, IPC has been guiding the electronic interconnection industry through dramatic changes. A global trade association dedicated to the competitive and financial success of its more than 3,500 member companies, IPC represents all facets of the industry including design, printed board manufacturing, and electronics assembly and test. So how are those industries doing these days? As of December, sales growth was flat in the electronics manufacturing services (EMS) segment of the North American electronics industry, but slight declines were seen in bare printed circuit board (PCB) and semiconductor sales, and in US new orders for electronics products. Semiconductor sales seem to have plateaued after a strong run-up in the second half of 2014. New orders for electronic products tend to lead sales by about one month.   But some trends indicate greater demand than supply, someone figured out, and that fact may be a precursor of strengthening sales growth in the PCB industry in 2015. Oh my, these consumers are just SO DEMANDING…   #IPCAPEXEXPO

New Orleans: International Roofing Expo – IRE – NRCA

IRE – NRCA?  Well, the IRE part is the International Roofing Expo, and the ‘R’ in NRCA is also about roofing.  Show records were broken, with 465 companies occupying 1,178 booths and filling a biggest-ever space of nearly 120,000 square feet.  In that space was a wide range of multi-dimensional manufacturers, distributors and representatives of all sizes displaying  products, services, technologies and innovations in roofing materials and related products.  Specifically geared towards those involved in the development, management and direction of the commercial and residential roofing industry, the conference tackled topics at the forefront of the industry wish-list and worry-list… topics such as Workplace Safety, Leadership and Management, Green Building,  Legal, Human Resources, Money Matters, plus Sales and Service.  Roll in Technical, and the multi-track educational program included 44 sessions in all, at which the leading industry experts presented the newest information and best practices.  And all “under one roof”!  (Roof, geddit?)   #RoofingExpo

Atlanta: CAMEX – National Association of College Stores

CAMEX hosted the National Association of College Stores, or NACS, which is the professional trade association representing the $10 billion collegiate retailing industry. Led by a dedicated group of elected volunteers, NACS serves as the industry’s leading resource and advocate. NACS ensures the health and vitality of higher education retailers through education and research, the provision of critical programs and services, and the development of strategic partnerships that enable members to better serve their customers.  NACS education and professional development opportunities deal with the full spectrum of college store operations, including management, textbooks and course materials, merchandising, financial record-keeping, and more.  Under the broad association umbrella,  Campus Computer Resellers Alliance (CCRA) is a special interest group within NACS that was developed to meet the special needs of computer product resellers that sell principally to students.  Teacher Be Like…. retail it.  #collegestores

St. Louis: Grain Elevator and Processing Society – GEAPS

GEAPS stands for Grain Elevator and Processing Society, the self-proclaimed “only individual-membership organization in the grain operations industry, dedicated to providing  members with forums to generate leadership, innovation and excellence in grain-related industry operations”.   It was in 1927 when two elevator superintendents first started talking about launching an organization to help them deal with the operations challenges of running their grain facilities.  Now thirty GEAPS chapters are engaged in providing a forum for some 2,400 members across the U.S. and Canada. Those and other participants around the world exchange ideas and information through an array of programs and services including conferences, seminars, trade shows and publications.  GEAPS membership network comprises some 16 countries.  How GEAPS delivers the knowledge for each core competency can vary widely. However, it’s important to note that the new vision defines GEAPS as primarily a knowledge resource.  How much do we love knowledge?  A whole geap… er, heap, I should say…  #GEAPS15

Long Beach: Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show

The Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show was the promised land for tens of thousands of travel enthusiasts, all ready to be inspired by the sights, sounds and cultures of faraway destinations from across the globe, as the nation’s largest consumer travel show returned to the Long Beach Convention Center.  Named one of Southern California’s top trade shows by BizBash, the event featured hundreds of exhibiting companies and countries representing some of the world’s most sought-after destinations, tour offerings  and travel experiences. The Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show promised a weekend of discovery and inspiration to help travelers “dream it, plan it and book it”.  Event attendees were able to shop exclusive travel deals, attend travel seminars on three educational stages and meet prominent travel experts.  There were celebrity travel personalities aplenty. Speakers included The Amazing Race host, Phil Keoghan; travel icon and television personality Peter Greenberg; Travel Channel hosts Samantha Brown and Josh Gates; and award-winning television personality and author Rick Steves.  You want the book?  Or you want TO book?  #travel

Anaheim: North American Association of Food Equipment Mfg. – NAFEM

NAFEM is the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturing, a trade association of 500+ foodservice equipment and supplies manufacturers providing products for food preparation, cooking, storage and table service.  Over 60 years and more, NAFEM has established itself as a foodservice industry leader, equipping members to succeed with a variety of products and services, representing the industry in Washington and supporting programs and organizations that move the industry forward. NAFEM offers educational opportunities to ensure that the next generation of young professionals is prepared for the foodservice industry’s future direction,  staying on the cutting edge of current trends and emerging issues to provide the industry with leadership and expertise.  The organizers have been moving ahead to develop messaging around “Why the foodservice industry?” Interesting question… though most people here would’ve said “What’s not to like?”

Las Vegas: International Franchise Association Annual Convention – IFA

Buying a franchise can be an investment in the future, but as with any major decision, the prospective franchisee needs to thoroughly research the franchise industry, the franchise model and the pros and cons of owning a franchise.  Franchising, we were told, means going into business for yourself, but not by yourself. IFA is the International Franchise Association Annual Convention.  Celebrating 55 years of excellence, education and advocacy, the IFA is the world’s oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide.  There are, we heard, more than 780,000 franchise establishments that support nearly 8.9 million direct jobs, $890 billion of economic output for the US economy and 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.  IFA members include franchise companies in over 300 different business format categories, individual franchisees and companies that support the industry in marketing, law, technology and business development.  You’re doing this for yourself, right…?  #IFA2015