It was a muggy Tuesday morning, and thousands of people from all over the world were heading toward the long bank of doors to the Orlando Convention Center. The broad stream of people was just one of the signs that the International Builders’ Show® was underway.
Inside Hall C The Simpson Strong-Tie booth was impressive with a festively lit Outdoor Accents® pergola and shelves of Simpson hats and tee-shirts to give to booth visitors.
The impact drill and drivers were charged and ready to demonstrate how easily the Strong-Drive® SDWS Timber and SDWH Timber-Hex HDG screws drive into various species of wood. The Titen HD® stainless-steel anchor was prominently displayed along with the SDWC Truss screw and our whole Strong-Drive fastener line.
In the back corner of the booth we found our new partner company, CG Visions, displaying their highly realistic 3D renders of homes and communities using their impressive BIM software. CG Visions is a talented group of people focused on developing software programs and estimation tools to help builders be more efficient in planning and estimating residential developments. We are very excited about our partnership and how it helps round out our product offerings to builders. Last but not least, in the other corner of the booth was a live demo for our newly launched Deck Planner Software™, which showed customers how easy it is to design a beautiful custom deck with our free, cloud-based software.
The highlight of the day came just a few hours into the show when we had a visit from Tom Silva, of This Old House TV fame. He came by to check out our wares and demo some fasteners. We had a great time chatting with him (and hearing his Boston accent) about his upcoming projects.
On Wednesday morning, the convention participants were a little more relaxed, yet focused on gathering what information they could from the thousands of companies and products displayed at the show. In the morning, I caught a glimpse of our President of Sales, Roger Dankel, getting back to his roots by sharing his fastener product knowledge with potential customers.
Later in the day, you could feel the excitement filter through the south hall when Vanilla Ice arrived to offer autographed headshots and selfie opportunities in the Liquid Lumberyard booth. We caught this shot of these two life-long Vanilla Ice fans and Simpson Strong-Tie employees, Lydia and Yolanda (and yes, they’re also sisters).
Overall it was a great show for Simpson Strong-Tie — not just because we get to feature our latest and greatest products, but really because it gives us an opportunity to talk to you, our customers, and get a better idea of the building challenges you face and what innovations you’d like to see from your suppliers to help you meet those challenges. We love hearing from you and having the chance to meet you in person.
A Newbie’s “Rite of Passage” at World of Concrete
I smiled at the World of Concrete attendee who stopped by our Simpson Strong-Tie booth and was immediately signed up by his colleagues for the Drill ‘n’ Fill contest challenge. The contest participant raced down the block with Simpson Strong-Tie reps Tom Klisiewicz and Ruben Rivadeneira clearing the way. He was clearly new to his company and attending the concrete expo for the first time. “You can do it! Go, go, go!” as they cheered him on, it was clear to see, this was a rite of passage for this seeming newbie to his company. He skillfully made his way down the contest area, proving his skill at the installation of products into a four-stage concrete block which included the Speed Clean™ DXS dust extraction system, the Titen HD® heavy-duty screw anchor, then our drop-in internally threaded anchor (DIAB), concluding with the installation of gas pins onto a track system using a gas-actuated nailer. His clocked time was 1 minute, 33 seconds, not bad for a newbie, and he won a bright yellow “Drill ‘n’ Fill” tee-shirt to wear proudly when he goes back home.
Stepping off the contest block, the contest winner spent some time at our demo wall, watching six product installations. Behind the contest block was a table display with a huge graphic illustrating a scorching sun and a rainy day, featuring our new extreme-conditions anchor adhesive, SET-3G™. As the newbie turned toward the front of the booth, he was greeted by a 6′ stainless-steel Titen HD® heavy-duty screw anchor display with orange flashing LED lights highlighting the anchor’s innovative carbon-steel helical-coil cutting thread — with true Vegas-style glitz!
Rounding another corner, the attendee came face to face with our Composite Strengthening Solutions™ (CSS) fabric-reinforced cementitious matrix (FRCM). Nominated for most innovative product of 2018 in the Repair Materials category, FRCM combines a high-performance sprayable mortar with a carbon-fiber grid to create a thin structural layer that that strengthens concrete substrates without adding significant weight or volume to the existing structure. Also on display was the FX-70® structural pile repair and protection system, used for in-place repair of damaged marine piles.
The final highlight for our newbie visitor was the live “crush tests” of our carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) composite systems, including our carbon unidirectional laminate (CSS-CUCL), the first code-listed precured laminate in North America. Every hour on the hour, a hydraulic ram pushed reinforced beams to the limit so attendees could see the dramatic strength increase over unreinforced concrete beams.
As I observed the man walking away from the booth when he was done, I was thrilled to hear him say loudly, “That was cool!” as his coworker gave him a “great job” slap on the back. We hope you’ll join us next year, because Simpson Strong-Tie is already developing the next products to be featured at WOC 2019! Stay tuned …