During his welcoming remarks to attendees patiently waiting in line during the official SUR/FIN 2012 ribbon-cutting ceremony in Las Vegas earlier this week, Tony Revier, NASF president, was positively brimming with excitement. (Not because he hit the jackpot at the slots or ran the poker table.) Rather, the elation was based on early registration returns that reflected robust participation in North America’s premier surface finishing event.
“We were a little nervous at first,” Revier recalled, thinking back to the site selection a few years ago, “but Vegas has turned out to be a great spot for this show. We have built on each successive SUR/FINs, and this event is shaping up to be one of the more robust conferences we have had in a long time.”
Revier also took the opportunity to tip his hat to the efforts of Cheryl Clark, NASF’s director of events, as well as all those who serve on the Technical Committee for their work in putting together a well-rounded educational conference program. Kudos also went out to the West Coast-based surface finishing organizations--MFANC and MFASC -- for their work in promoting the show to California’s plating community.
Revier was not alone in his observations and assessments. Steve Smith, SUR/FIN 2012 Steering Committee Chairman, said attendance was up not only in terms of full-conference registrants and exhibitors, but also among attendees based outside the U.S. “The international attendance at this show is the highest it’s ever been,” Smith said, citing the allure of Las Vegas. What’s more, he said attendees were focused and participated in more of the activities and programs SUR/FIN 2012 had to offer due to the amenities at the South Point Hotel & Casino. In fact, the NASF Steering Committee was so pleased with the facilities (spoiler alert!!) that it is seriously entertaining a return to the site in four or five years.
Meanwhile, on the exhibition show floor, vendors said the surge in attendance was palpable. “This reminds me of the old days, when more platers came out to SUR/FIN,” said Walter Senney, Met-Chem. Ditto for SERFILCO’s Chuck Schulz, who reported particularly brisk activity in his booth during the first half of opening day at SUR/FIN. The vendor experience was equally positive for first-time SUR/FIN exhibitors such as Ronatec C2C, a manufacturer and distributor of specialty chemicals (including both electroless and electrolytic nickel) and equipment for the plating industry. “We had a lot of traffic through our booth this afternoon,” said Jim Wetherald, technical sales manager, on opening day. “We would definitely considering coming back again.”
Look for more coverage on SUR/FIN 2012 in the July/August dual edition of Metal Finishing magazine. In the meantime, be sure to save the date for SUR/FIN 2013, which returns to Rosemont, Ill., June 10–12.