At the time of this writing, only a few weeks had passed since walking the bustling exhibit floor at TISE 2017, held last January in Las Vegas. If I were new to the industry and this were my first show, I’d be completely overwhelmed by the plethora of new products, the sometimes distracting pageantry of Las Vegas and the virtually countless opportunities to learn about the latest installation techniques or take on industry certifications from organizations including the International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI), Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) and Natural Fiber Installation Certification (NFIC).

Of course, this wasn’t my first TISE; I’ve been going since 2003. And I was still a little overwhelmed. You have a plan of attack, a list of appointments and a concrete idea of what you want to accomplish at the show. But before long, that plan falls apart as you find a booth not included in your notes that’s displaying a new product, a new brand or a new direction. As a journalist, my job is to share the most outstanding and interesting news from the many trade shows I attend; TISE is an event where one can basically flip a coin, visit booths based on chance and still come away with a good story.

If you’ve never been to the show, I suggest you make plans to attend next year. The meetings with key company personnel, the invaluable networking and learning opportunities, and the competitive advantage of previewing new products before the guy down the street even knows about them will help set the tone for the rest of your business year.

The show this year felt bolder and brighter than it has in some time. People weren’t cautiously optimistic—they were optimistic, full stop. Companies were not shy about showcasing new products and rebrands, and many were already excitedly making plans for next year’s show. This felt like the first show since the global recession hit where business was booming in all corners of the packed exhibit hall. The show feels like it is healthy and growing once again.

Another Opportunity to Grow 

Along with TISE, I wanted to take a moment to mention that we are getting ready to unveil our 2017 FCI Installation Awards program ( I remember when we first brainstormed this program four years ago, we privately wondered whether it would take off. In fact, it has more than delivered on our expectations, and we owe all of that success to you. Thank you for submitting your residential and commercial projects. Thank you for being part of the voting process. And thank you for sharing your passion for installations done right.