by Blair Vandivier
President and CEO, Asterion, LLC
As long as I can remember, there have been musings about SUR/FIN
and its value. While I agree, there are ways SUR/FIN can be improved, without SUR/FIN where would we as an industry be?
- There would be no opportunity for surface finishers from various disciplines and backgrounds to meet and discuss issues formally and informally.
- The latest information on regulatory developments would have be discerned via webinars or articles. While these forums are truly valuable for some things, the opportunity to ask questions in person, or meet with a speaker “offline” do not occur in the “virtual environment”. In many cases, the influence of regulations on operations is greater than any technical development or market-based issue!
- But speaking of these issues, where else but SUR/FIN is there the breadth of subject matter and quality of the technical presentations? Again, these are delivered live and in person. Nothing beats the opportunity to learn from personal interactions!
- Market issues? Literally hundreds of suppliers are present who yearn for the opportunity to engage in one on one conversations with potential customers. From chemical suppliers, to equipment suppliers to software and even environmental consultants, the floor of the SUR/FIN exhibition contains the entire supply community of the surface finishing industry.
- At SUR/FIN, the leadership of the NASF is ubiquitous. Current and past industry leaders are seen everywhere. All of them are more than willing to discuss any issue of concern.
Finally, I have never left SUR/FIN without having a real sense of the state of our industry. Spending a few days with others, listening and learning always helps me understand the trends that are affecting our business. Where would we be without SUR/FIN? We would certainly make less educated decisions, because we would not be exposed to the quality and quantity of information about our specific industry.
The surface finishing industry, while critical to manufacturing is a “niche” market. The only technical conference devoted to the surface finishing industry is SUR/FIN…without it our industry would be worse off and arguably much weaker. SUR/FIN and its continued success is essential to the continued success of the surface finishing industry. I am privileged to have attended both the great ones and the not so great.