Fuse Alliance Holds First Virtual Conference
Fuse Alliance’s first ever virtual conference, which took place earlier this week, was an overwhelming success according to executive director Geoff Gordon and many of the organization’s members and suppliers. While Fuse was able to hold the 2020 conference just days before the pandemic shutdown, the organization announced last summer that the March 2021 meeting, scheduled to take place in Dallas, would happen virtually instead.
“The two-day Fuse 2021 Fuse annual conference, which was open to members and suppliers, had more than 680 unique registrations – almost three times the registrants of our typical in-person conferences,” said Gordon. “Our members and suppliers enthusiastically embraced the virtual format and held watch parties, lunches, and happy hours so that more of their team members got to experience the benefits of our annual conferences and organization in general,” said Gordon.
Gordon explained that the meeting theme, Impact of One, was inspired by how the organization was strengthened by the unusual circumstances of 2020.
“We experienced our largest ever membership growth last year because when you think about it, organizations like Fuse Alliance are really made for moments like this. 2020 was a good year for our organization because we bonded as a group like never before by increasing our interaction and communication and sharing business advice and best practices. I am very proud of what we accomplished, and that’s what inspired the meeting theme because we really came through this pandemic together stronger and with a renewed sense of purpose,” said Gordon.
Because the Fuse annual conference always includes an exhibit hall, which is popular with members and suppliers alike, the organization invested in a sophisticated virtual trade show platform.
“With this platform, suppliers were able to build out their own booth which included both text and video chat capabilities. Attendees could navigate the exhibit hall with their laptop or smart device, download product information, and interact with suppliers. We were able to track attendance and activity in real time, and this was the biggest trade show participation we’ve ever had,” said Gordon.
Gordon said everyone is looking forward to being together for the 2022 conference that is scheduled for March 7-9 in Dallas, but the organization is considering continuing certain virtual aspects of the meeting so that members and suppliers can include associates who don’t typically travel to the conference.
Additional Conference Highlights:
• Cheryl Durst, CEO and executive vice president of IIDA (International Interior Design Association) delivered a very positive and uplifting keynote address on the future of commercial interiors in the wake of a pandemic.
• Renowned leadership and employee development coach Mike Moore’s message about the importance of teamwork was perfectly timed for what everyone is experiencing right now.
• Floor Focus publisher Kemp Harr led a timely and informative state-of-the-industry panel with the top executives from HPS Schonox, Mohawk Group, Engineered Floors Commercial Division, Armstrong, Ardex, Daltile and Teknoflor.
The virtual meeting concluded with the annual awards ceremony. Here is a complete list of winners:
Garmon & Company captured the Excellence in Communication and Highest Growth Awards. Re:Source Floors, Inc. took home Excellence in Reporting Follow-up, and was also recognized for its contribution to Ecollect, Fuse Alliance’s reclamation program. Fromkin received Excellence in Loyalty, and Chelsea Floor Covering received the Spirit Award. All Commercial Floors was recognized for most volume on Experius.
Supplier Awards, based on an annual member survey, were presented to the network’s preferred suppliers. Ardex Americas captured both Supplier of the Year and Best Product. Mapei received Best Service, and HPS Schönox won Best Support.
Based on originality, quality of installation and design innovation, the Spark Awards represent outstanding craftsmanship, skill and expertise in the flooring industry. The awards were judged by the Fuse staff, and the project images can be found on the Spark Awards website.
Commercial Interior Contractors captured Best in Show for the Miami Airport renovation. Pavilion Floors won Most Maximized Budget Grubb Street and Most Aggressive Timeline for Alternate Care. The Best Flooring Solution went to Continental Office for the Hannah Neil Center for Children. Toughest Site Conditions went to Garmon and Company for AC Downtown Marriott. And finally, Best Branded Environment was awarded to Franklin Flooring for Discovery Senior Living.