Temperatures soaring into the 100s during the three-day Starnet Worldwide Commercial Flooring Partnership Spring 2013 meeting, held recently at the JW Marriott in Palm Desert, Calif., didn’t keep members or vendors away. In fact, the event set records. According to President and CEO Jeanne Matson, “Attendance was strong, with final numbers exceeding our expectations by 80 people. We were happy to have more members and vendors in attendance this year as well as a good number of guests.”

The Preferred Vendor Trade Show set a record with 64 exhibitors. James Pouliot, director of administration for IFTI said, “We love coming to Starnet. It allows for great networking opportunities and future recommendations for jobs.”

Another record was set when more than 210 golfers teed off for a Starnet golf tournament that kicked off the show. Also at the event, keynote speaker Cpt. Steve Ahlberg, U.S. Navy Seal (ret.), spoke about team bonding and how to strengthen a team for better results. Featured training workshops focused on a range of topics, including how to prepare your business for a natural disaster and increasing your customer base with cold calling. Doug Mason, Burke Flooring district manager, said he found the opportunities at the Starnet meeting invaluable. “We’ve been Starnet members for a couple of years and it was a great decision. It has helped opened doors for us as a business.”

During the show, Starnet presented the 2013 Design Awards. The Grand Prize went to the LaSalle Plaza Office Tower Skyway in Minneapolis, submitted by Starnet member Floors by Beckers and featuring product from Preferred Vendor Partner Tandus. Also notable, a gold award in the first ever People’s Choice category was given to Lippert Tile for the Bostik, Inc. campus in Wauwatosa, Wis., featuring materials from Preferred Vendor Partners Tandus, Lees, Mannington, Armstrong and Johnsonite.

Awards were also given for projects spanning the corporate, hospitality, healthcare, education and retail segments, as well as nods for tackling unique installation challenges and exhibiting environmental achievement. After the awards ceremony, vendors and visitors were encouraged to enjoy each other’s company at the Afterglow Lounge for entertainment, cocktails and free time to mingle with one another.

Starnet also announced its 2013 Board of Directors, with members elected to leadership positions for three-year terms. Those elected included: Cheryl Acierno, Acierno & Company, Denver; Bill Croswell, CraftCroswell, Inc., Ridgeland, MS; and Paul White, Paul G. White Tile Company, Portland, ME.

To close out the meeting, Starnet hosted a new activity: the Carnival under the Stars on the lawn of the hotel. The Carnival under the Stars was exactly that – an outside carnival brought directly to the attendees. It made for a relaxing time where people could network and enjoy the Southern California heat.

The fall Starnet meeting will take place in New Orleans. Matson commented, “We are still planning the fall meeting, but we plan to take advantage of our location. Our hotel is next to the Superdome, so we plan to hold our Welcome Reception at the club in the Dome.” She expects around 300 people to attend.

For more information on Starnet or to become a member, visit www.starnetflooring.com.