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Southern Metal Finishing Conference Recap

January - 2010
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This year the Southern Metal Finishing Conference started off with a new twist.

The first annual Fishing Tournament sponsored by PF Online  was held early (and I mean early) Sunday morning when a group of us met up with Hot Shot Charters over at the Ashley River marina.  I can say from firsthand experience that there is nothing quite like seeing the sun rise over downtown Charleston.  We’ll except for maybe landing a 50 inch Wahoo – but you’ll have to ask Leif Walther of Greystone about that.  Almost everyone caught fish on this trip…..which was cooked up by Chef Tommy at the Francis Marion later that evening and served to a group of about 20 of us.

The 6th annual Swamp Fox Scramble Golf Tournament sponsored by Finishing Market, was held later that morning on September 13th at Patriot's Point Links golf course on Charleston Harbor had perfect weather…. especially if you consider how miserably hot it has been over the past few years.  Team “Go For It” took the first place trophie that team consisted of Bruce Sigman, Cubex, Inc.; Scott Sawyers, Ato Tech; Roger Kerstin, Oxford Instruments & Tim Fender Greenwood Fabricating & Plating.  Aron Lorenz WMV, Inc. & Rob Eischen of the Allen Lund Company had the longest drives, and Paul Skelton, Finishing Market, and Aron Lorenz of WMV had the closest to the pins - Aron's was on the signature island hole and was nearly in the cup!

The reception was open to all attendees, and kicked things off in style with appetizers and an open bar sponsored by American Plating Power and PF Online, and. It took place in and around the Exhibit Hall, where conference goers had a chance to meet with some of the exhibitors while mingling with other industry professionals in a fun and casual setting.  Live entertainment was provided by the co-hosts of the popular online metal finishing show, Finishing Talk Live, and Episode #9, one of the best live tapings of the show yet was captured at this event.
The Southern Metal Finishing Tabletop Expo took place on September 13th and 14th. More than 25 exhibitors from all over the country set up tabletop displays and discussed their products and services with our students during breaks and scheduled visiting times.

"Jon Allen, Sr. Vice President of RamQuest, talked to us about "Galvanizing customer relationships in a challenging marketplace" for as our keynote speaker on Monday.
The presentation was an overview and discussion on the steps required to build strong relationships. His presentation was a thought provoking discussion on new ways to think about your existing customer relationships and how innovation can help solidify winning partnerships. We all learned a little about how to move beyond the traditional customer-vendor relationship model and become a strategic partners in business with our customers.

The Scavenger Hunt and Pub crawl was just as popular as ever, and a huge success by all accounts.  We had 8 teams competing for cash prizes on the streets of Charleston on the evening of September 14 (some of which I don’t think we ever saw again) to turn in the best score sheet resulting in solving the riddles, tasks, executing tasks, challenges, etc... throughout downtown Charleston. The whole thing wrapped up with another exciting Rickshaw Race back to the Francis Marion – it was a blast!  Dianne Patterson was awarded the honorary “Hard Core Crawler” award for her sincere dedication and determination - year after year.

The Awards Ceremony on Tuesday September 14th was the last official event for the 2009 conference.  With the full attendance of over 60 students, we announced the winner of the, “The Gephardt Award” which was given this year to James R. Trottier, an Expert Electroplater from Southern IL.  The Gephardt award is to honor those who most unselfishly share their knowledge, and experience with the Finishing Talk Online Community Members.
Following this special Finishing Talk announcement, we honored our Fishing Tournament’s best catch, the Golf Tournament’s winning team, longest drive, and closest to the pin, and presented the Hardcore Crawler award.