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IFAI 2009 brings together speciality fabrics marketplace
Oct '09
Mr Stephen Warner, President & CEO, IFAI
Mr Stephen Warner, President & CEO, IFAI
After a year of economic doom and gloom, attendees at IFAI Expo 2009 came to buy and exhibitors were more than ready to do business Sept. 22-25, 2009 at the San Diego Convention Center.

"We expected low attendance in San Diego," said Frank Sinclair, President, Sinclair Equipment Co. "The reality? Day Two pounded us! We needed more salespeople. The attendees are qualified, making this an excellent trade show."

John Gluek, President of Dimension-Polyant, Inc. echoed that sentiment saying, "We are more than happy with the contacts we've made. People are eager to buy and are looking for innovation. The enthusiasm of the suppliers made it worth being here. It's a boost to the industry, which is what we all need."

Todd Grimmett, President of ShadeMatrix was very pleased with the opportunities his new company uncovered: "Since we are in startup mode at Shade Matrix, the conference was very valuable as a networking and learning opportunity. I met a lot of valuable contacts and am still busy following up! I am already a big fan of IFAI!"

According to IFAI President and CEO Stephen Warner, "Our main goal is to provide a compelling business experience for our attendees. As you can see by the activity around the exhibit hall, the speed of technology transfer and innovation is getting faster and faster. Serious industry players can't afford not to be here. Buyers are here planning for 2010."

Some 344 suppliers provided an impressive showcase for the increasing worldwide demand for high-performance textiles. While this industry might not be on everyone's radar, specialty fabrics (a.k.a technical textiles) happen to include materials that are leading the world into ever new products in such areas as-

•High-tech apparel/e-textiles (sports, medical, military, first-responder)
•Green building (green roofs, sustainable design, passive solar shading)
•Biomedical (surgical fabrics for tissue and bone) and aerospace applications for rockets and rovers used in space exploration, and even astronaut apparel.

Despite the economic downturn felt by manufacturers and suppliers worldwide, this year's IFAI Expo was a stirring testament to the business acumen and skill of both the exhibitors and attendees in fielding a tough year. Many of them have explored new markets to discover new customers and revenue streams.

"One thing is certain, Warner said, there is an increasingly pent up demand for these products." And looking around the exhibit hall it was apparent that specialty fabrics represent the most exciting and innovating segment of the textile industry.

Warner continued, "In times like this, success demands a shift in thinking that can only be realized with exposure to new thoughts and ideas that are showcased at IFAI Expo 2009. Companies today cannot afford just to stay the course if they are going to compete in the post-recession marketplace."

Reinforcing the recovery focus on everyone's mind was IFAI's keynote speaker--well-known CNBC financial expert Ron Insana, a veteran financial industry journalist and observer who has covered every economic crisis since the crash of 1987. His address, entitled: "Now What? Managing Money through the Economic Storm," thoroughly captured the audience's attention with a positive prognostication. "It's not the end of the world," he said.

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