A Magical Gathering
Sunny Florida wasn’t so sunny the weekend of February 25-28th, but few people seemed to notice at the International Window Film Conference, Expo and Tint-Off™ (IWFE) 2005 in Orlando, Fla.
While the rain came down and the wind picked-up outside, members of the window film industry gathered at the Rozen Plaza Hotel for two days of educational seminars, and the IWFE Tint-Off 2005 (see pages 20-21) in between.
Quality Education I
“They go through a series of lies. What’s the first lie you’re most likely to hear?” Baker asked.
“I’d like some information,” one person responded.
Baker seized the response and advised attendees that this was the first junction at which they had to be careful.
“If you give them all the information you have, what are you doing? Free consulting,” he said. “If you give them all your information up front, they can take that information to other shops and then tell these other shops what they want, compare prices. We call that spilling your candy in the lobby.”
Baker even assigned “homework” to his audience as he came back to these themes on Monday with his “Guerilla Marketing” session.
Following Baker’s Keynote, attendees had a choice between a session on automotive film, “Future Technology and Opportunity” with Blair Imbody, and one on architectural film, “Protective Glazing: Real Life Examples” with Scott Haddock, president of the Protective Glazing Council as well as Glasslock, and Walid Bishara of Armashield Egypt.
While Haddock used video imagery of bomb blast testing and diagrams of buildings showing the degrees of catastrophic failure at different segments of the building, Bishara shared pictures and reports from his native Egypt that illustrated first-hand experience he has had with applications that have been successful. One of Bishara’s success stories that clearly had an impact on this audience was his company’s success in landing McDonalds as a client—though not in a way most would want. Bishara knew that the American eatery could be an easy target, and though the company didn’t see the immediate need of adding security film to its windows, he was able to convince them to let him film just one—at cost—to prove its worth. He applied security film to the windows of the McDonalds near Cairo University and two weeks later, during some political unrest in the country, that same location was the target of a bomb.
“By midnight that night I had a contract to film all the McDonalds in Cairo,” he told his audience. Bishara also brought pictures of the United Nations building in Cairo that had come under attack by refugees (see Window Film magazine November/December 2004, p. 6) just months after security window film had been applied. The photos he shared showed the damage to both the inside and outside of the building, and clearly illustrated just how protected occupants of the building were with the window film.
“Before 2003, I felt like a burden,” Bishara told his audience, ensuring them that persistence pays off. “We have to focus, to believe we are doing something, not just making money but helping people, helping the community.”
You’ve Got Questions, They’ve Got Answers
Sitting on the board were Lawrence Constantin with Bekaert, Jaime Knutson from Madico and Ben Ford of Global Window Films, who took questions including one from someone concerned about how much responsibility film applicators must take with the question “Will manufacturers ask us to put a laser up to the house?”
“No, but you’re as much an expert as anyone else. You’re putting your hands on the window, so it’s you, not the manufacturer, to whom people are going to refer,” said Ford.
Constantin followed up on the thought that while the installer isn’t necessarily the final authority on the job, he should be knowledgeable about the window on which he is working.
“We ask people to identify—to know the glass you’re working on,” he said, encouraging the audience to register jobs they do with manufacturers so that warranties can be fulfilled and so that information about a job is on file if there is ever a question about the window or the film.
Film, Meet Glass
The change seemed to make a difference, too; attendees and exhibitors alike had a chance to meet with exhibitors from their industry as well as the opportunity to meet with glass distributors.
“We’ve been jammed here today. It’s been great!” said David Maxey, who was manning the CP Films booth and helping show the company’s paint protection film for clear bra as well as its cutting system.
Others in the business echoed the feeling as well.
“It’s been a great day,” said Steve Gross who was working the Madico booth. “It’s an outstanding opening show. Being here with the glass people, it’s a nice blend. There are a lot of glass guys I’d like to get to know.”
“The show was very good and we got many potential customers and booked local and international business. It was well timed and organized well,” said Raj Sood with Protect Gard, whose colored high performance metalized films attracted many a visitor.
Quality Education II
At the same time Smith was wooing potential new industry members, Wade Belcher of the GSA and Steve Sabac of Sun Coast Glass Protection were sharing tips and information regarding the need for safety and security film and the role proper attachment systems play in that equation.
Rounding out the first day of seminars were Ed Golda and John Rizzo of Michigan Glass Coatings who led a seminar session on ethics and professionalism in the industry.
A whole day was set aside for the IWFE Tint-Off and accompanying festivities, with seminars starting up again on Monday, February 28.
Baker returned to kick off the day with his presentation on Guerilla Marketing, followed by Peter Huyser of Decorative Films, LLC who brought examples of some new options for decorative window film, discussed the direction in which that side of the industry is heading and made suggestions as to how one should consider the sale of decorative film.
To help sales, Huyser suggested using local trade shows, such as home and garden shows, and bringing along an array of decorative films for display.
Following Huyser were two seminars led by Window Film publisher Debra Levy, covering the building codes and how they impact the window film industry. A timely topic, the seminars were well received.
“I very much liked the presentation on codes and standards because it’s not something I’m overly familiar with,” said John DiNoval of Designer Glass in Carrollton, Texas, who attended the show with is wife, Margo Rudder.
DiNoval, a first time IWFE attendee, found the experience worth his while.
“Personally, I found it very helpful. We’re very new to window tinting,” said DiNoval. “Every word we hear is very beneficial to us. The speakers were uniformly good – the sales speaker was very good. He talked about the sales side – none of us got into the business because we like to sell, but because we like the product.”
While DiNoval is new to the show, even long-term tinters and attendees such as Jeff Laclave of Sunset Tinting in West Melbourne, Fla., found the experience worthwhile.
“Everything was great,” Laclave said. “I’ve been tinting for more than 20 years, so I kind of know what’s going on.”
Attending the seminars and competing in the tint-off has helped him get a good idea of what others in the industry are doing, looking for and gaining experience with peers in the industry he said.
That experience was something Bill Valway of Absolute Perfection in Finksburg, Md., found beneficial, too. Though he attended in 2004, Valway returned in 2005 and brought, Tim Cooke, one of his employees to attend the show for the first time.
“It was very informative for myself and for my employee, especially when he’s out in the field he learned a lot that he can take with him,” Valway said, noting that Cooke’s field work has improved since the seminars. wf
Brigid O’Leary is the editor of Window Film magazine.