By: Davies Hood, Induron President
Way back in November of 2017, I had the good fortune to participate in the very first Contractor Connect event hosted by PaintSquare/JPCL. The inaugural event was held at the Grand Hotel on the Mobile Bay right here in my home state of Alabama. Although the group was pretty small, I believe everyone in attendance saw the value and potential of an intimate, hosted event with representatives from leading coatings contracting firms, equipment manufacturers, abrasives companies and (of course) coatings manufacturers like myself. I particularly liked that first event because there were not many of Induron’s competitors in attendance AND I won the big fish contest.
A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune of participating in my 5th Contractor Connect in Hammock Beach, Florida. This event has grown, mostly because of word of mouth from participating contractors AND suppliers, but it still retains that intimate “momma bear’s rocking chair” feeling–not too big but not too small either.
I left this event with the feeling that I spent quality time with every single participant–both contractors and other suppliers in attendance. I keep mentioning both the contractors, who we are trying to sell to AND the other vendors, who are also trying to pitch their respective products, because part of the true magic of Contractor Connect is the market insight and networking that occurs when industry leaders who genuinely want to grow their businesses hang out together at a resort for 3 days!
I truly value some of the genuine friendships that have developed over the last several years. I have friends in North Dakota, Minnesota, Texas and California as a direct result of Contractor Connect. I also have a very real relationship with leaders of most of my competitors, and in the infinite game of business, I consider that valuable.
The format of what is now called Industrial Contractor Connect includes panel discussions, one-on-one business meetings, several “fun” events, like golf, fishing, shooting, kayaking, etc., and all meals as a group. Because we are all confined to 1 resort property, there is ample opportunity for networking and unwinding a little.
The success of Contractor Connect has prompted other organizations to attempt to create similar events, and PaintSquare/JPCL has even created more “niche” connect events that focus on markets such as roofing, water/wastewater and commercial painting. Although the schedule is jam packed and I left exhausted, I for one am already looking forward to next year’s event!