American Coatings Show 2008: “A Perfect Home Run!”

The launch of the American Coatings Show & Conference, held June 2–5, 2008, at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, scored top marks in all key areas right from the start.

"A perfect home run, " is how J. Andrew Doyle, President of the NPCA National Paint & Coatings Association, Washington, DC, summed up the results of the first American Coatings Show. Jürgen Nowak, Coatings Division Publisher, Vincentz Network, agreed: "The industry has clearly endorsed the American Coatings Show as its new top event." With a bright sun shining outside, the mood inside the Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, was upbeat as well. Over three exhibition days, June 3–5, some 5,600 trade visitors from no less than 48 countries gathered information from 331 exhibitors, who displayed a comprehensive range of products and services related to all aspects of paint and coatings formulation in 68,600 square feet of exhibition space. The sold-out American Coatings Conference, June 2–4, 2008, drew some 750 attendees from around the world. All told, the first occurance of the event far exceeded the organizers' expectations.

The American Coatings Show & Conference is hosted by an intercontinental team of industry experts: the organizers are the National Paint & Coatings Association (NPCA), Washington, DC, and Vincentz Network (VN), Hanover, Germany. Coordination of the trade show was entrusted to NürnbergMesse North America in Atlanta, a U.S. subsidiary of NürnbergMesse.

The American Coatings Show in Charlotte drew visitors from 48 countries worldwide. Some 79% of the 5,600 visitors were from the U.S., while 4% came from Canada and the remaining 17% from other countries and regions, including Mexico, Brazil, Japan, and India, as well as the European Union, the Middle East, and Australia. Nine out of every 10 visitors to the American Coatings Show reported having responsibility for procurement decisions at their companies, and 39% of visitors signed one or several business deals at the 2008 show. Top reasons for attending included gathering information about new products (44%), developing new prospects and strengthening relationships with existing contacts (40% to 41%), sharing expertise (39%), and furthering professional development (28%; multiple responses allowed).

Trade visitors gave the American Coatings Show 2008 top marks: 98% were satisfied with the exhibitors' presentations, while an extraordinary 100% appreciated the information and contact opportunities at the booths, as well as the overall organization of the show and the services provided. New products and innovations awaited trade visitors at half the booths, and some 75% of visitors expressed an interest in using the new products in their businesses. For some 50%, the American Coatings Show is the only event of its kind they visit, and two thirds had already decided at the 2008 show that they would be back for the American Coatings Show 2010.

With 331 exhibitors occupying 68,600 square feet of exhibition space, the launch of the American Coatings Show exceeded all expectations in terms of demand. International businesses accounted for 24% of exhibitors; top exhibiting countries after the U.S. were China, Germany, India, Canada, South Korea, and the UK.

Attracting new customers (84%), maintaining existing business relationships (77%), and enhancing industry image (66%; multiple responses allowed) were among the key reasons why exhibitors participated in the American Coatings Show 2008. Some 95% stated that they were able to reach their main target groups and establish new leads. Eight out of 10 exhibitors were satisfied with the professional expertise of visitors, and just as many expect follow-up business from the show. Overall, 86% of exhibitors viewed their participation in the show as positive, with a third ranking it as good or very good. For more than 80% of companies, the American Coatings Show represents an important or very important component of their marketing efforts. About 85% were satisfied with the trade show's organization and the services provided. By the last day of the show, 60% had already decided to return in 2010!

Featuring more than 70 presentations and other events as well as 750 attendees from 25 countries, the American Coatings Conference, which ran June 2–4, 2008, had twice the attendance originally expected. By noon of Day 1, a "Sold Out" sign was already posted over the registration desk. Jürgen Nowak of Vincentz Network was thrilled about the event's popularity: "In the software sector, you'd call it a killer application." Those who managed to register had the opportunity to enjoy a top-class conference program, jointly developed by the new Science & Technology Initiative of the National Paint & Coatings Association and Vincentz Network.

During the American Coatings Conference, the National Paint and Coatings Association and Vincentz Network presented the first American Coatings Award. It was bestowed upon Dr. James W. Rawlins of the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials at the University of Southern Mississippi and his co-authors Michael D. Blanton and Pirro B. Cipi of the University of Southern Mississippi, and C. Steven McDaniel, Melinda E. Wales, and Juan Carlo Carvajal, Reactive Surfaces Ltd., for their paper entitled "Letting Mother Nature Tackle the Dirty Work: The Future of Coatings Additives." The jury selected it for the award, which is endowed with, 500 and an attractive sculpture, from among 170 submissions. The paper explores how increased levels of understanding about enzymes and peptides, traditionally viewed as functionally restricted to very narrow environmental conditions, have led to the development of innovative, bio-engineered "smart" additives for paints and coatings.

The American Coatings Show & Conference featured additional offerings for exhibitors and trade visitors. ACL – American Coatings Literature is a series of new technical books that was introduced for the first time at the show. Like their European equivalents, the books can be obtained in North America from a U.S. distributor. American Coatings Daily, which appeared daily in a print run of 4,000 copies, the Preview issue, and the ACS-Newsletter kept trade visitors up to date throughout the event.

The American Coatings Show alternates annually with the European Coatings Show and is next scheduled for spring 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The European Coatings Show 2009 will be held at the Messezentrum Nürnberg from March 31 to April 2, with the European Coatings Conference starting a day earlier on March 30, 2009.

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