The 2019 Marine Fabricators Conference onboard the historic Queen Mary in Long Beach, Calif., Jan. 10-12, was a huge hit with the second-largest crowd in conference history. With nearly a hundred first-time attendees and a large Australian contingent, conference-goers had a chance to explore the majestic Queen Mary while networking with other fabricators, attending a wide variety of educational sessions, and strolling the busy exhibitor show floor to discover the newest innovations in equipment, fabrics, threads and hardware components.
“I spent three hours on the show floor schmoozing and picking up freebies,” says long-time fabricator Victoria Babylon, of Canvas By Victoria, Worton, Md. “I was also able to be hands-on with some of the new products and tools I’m interested in.”
Educational sessions included advanced upholstery techniques, marine flooring, industry roundtables, digital templating, social networking, and hands-on fabrication demonstrations of deluxe enclosures and dodgers.
“Every time I come to a conference I learn something new,” says Babylon. “And this year I’m particularly happy to see so many young people here bridging the gap between the old methods and adapting new technologies.”
First-time attendees Eileen Peckis, Joe Peckis and Kathy Haugen, from Quick Snap Tabs, Scottsdale, Ariz., came to the conference looking for distributors for their new product.
“I have been so pleasantly surprised by the warmth and openness of everyone here,” says Haugen. “I love how helpful everyone’s been,” says Eileen Peckis. “Having tables at the lunches designated specifically for the new attendees really helped create relationships right off the bat.” Her husband, Joe, agrees. “We were here primarily to walk the show floor, and a gentleman I met at the first lunch grabbed me and walked me over to a distributor he knew right away. It’s been great.”
Both attendees and exhibitors reported a high-energy, receptive crowd interested in the educational seminars as well as the products and equipment demonstrations. The social events included a prohibition-themed welcome party, a tour of Harbor Custom Canvas, the largest marine canvas shop in Long Beach, and an elegant closing night awards dinner.