For the last three years, the one constant I've observed in the floor covering installation community is a desire for connection. Maybe this stems from adhesive-transfer envy, I don't know. No matter the state of the world, the state of the economy or the actual state, the professionals that make up the core of the installation industry continually come together to reconnect with old friends, develop new relationships and share experiences.

After receiving my shiny new 2002 wet-erase/childproof/hermetically sealed/laminated wall calendar/planner/organizer, I blocked off the dates for this year's association and industry gatherings and took a look at the group as a whole. This topic might have been better suited for the January/February issue, but that's when the 900-pound gorilla named Surfaces is let out of its cage for a romp in the Nevada desert.

As you're reading this, the 20th Annual Floor Covering Installation Contractors Association (FCICA) meeting is taking place in Washington, D.C. Less than one month from now, the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) is holding its annual convention in Orlando, Fla., April 18-20.

Coverings, the largest ceramic tile and stone exhibition in North America, is also in Orlando this year, May 6-9, returning to the Orange County Convention Center after a sojourn to New Orleans in 2001. The International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI to you and me), makes Kansas City, Mo. its home away from...well, no, actually, Kansas City is home, for both CFI and the 2002 convention, Aug. 15-18.

And who could forget the incomparable Jim Lee and the Floor Installation Association of North America (FIANA)? The group's 8th annual convention and trade show will take place in San Antonio, Sept. 18-21.

While it is true that technology allows communication between previously isolated individuals and groups as never before (the FCI Online bulletin board is a prime example), there continues to be a need for face-to-face, eye-to-eye opportunities to share stories and experiences in the installation community. These gatherings, and others at both local and regional levels, look to fill that need.

It's show time. See you there.