Every year the, FBMA has their Main Event & Gulf Atlantic Building Products Expo. So much planning and preparation goes on behind the scenes by the FBMA staff and the Vendors (Associates) that participate in this event to make it the premier event in our industry for the State of Florida. Dedicated Dealers and Members take time out of their busy schedules to attend in support of a great association. Once a year, it’s a time we can all get together, have a little fun and learn about the products and services that the exhibitors can provide. The week presents an opportunity to learn from each other, so we can all go back to our day to day duties in our business and serve our customers and communities even better than we did the year before. As Hurricane Matthew was bearing down on the state of Florida, all the exhibitors and dealers that did attend or attempted to attend were faced with the same questions and uncertainties: “Should I go”, “Should I stay?”, “Should I leave?”, “Is my family prepared?”, “Is my business prepared?”, “Are my employees safe?” For all the right reasons, the 2016 Main Event & Gulf Atlantic Building Products Expo had to shut down early.
Before the show was officially shut down there was one final event. For those that were able to stay, they had the pleasure to experience The Hall of Fame Lunch on Thursday to honor Spike Cissel and Robert Pearce into a Hall of accomplished leaders in our industry. After a delicious lunch, both Spike and Robert were introduced and each came up to the podium to say a few words. The microphone was then open for anyone in the audience to say something about the honorees. There were some very sincere, funny, moving and emotional comments shared by a number of people, and it was a special time for all in attendance to say what was on their mind. As everyone left the room to face the unknown circumstances of Hurricane Matthew, I left with the regret that I did not get up and say anything about two people that mean so much to me personally and to this industry. After I thought about it more I also started thinking about all the people that wanted to be at the luncheon, but couldn’t because of the extraordinary circumstances. So for all those that were at the lunch, but more importantly for all those that could not be at the Lunch, I want to share a few words on two great people.
To Spike Cissel who took the risks and built a fantastic company in Manning Building Supplies. To Spike who positively affected and created opportunities for so many lives in our industry. No matter what the circumstance, whenever I walked into Manning Building Supplies in Jacksonville, Spike always took the time to listen and share his wise opinions and knowledge. Those conversations and time you spent out of your busy schedule, meant so much to me as I strived to continue to grow in this industry. Thank You Spike! My words don’t do you justice.
To Robert Pearce who took a chance on me as a young kid out of college and gave me the opportunity as an inside sales representative with Georgia Pacific. To Robert who surrounded me with a group of competitive talented great people and always gave us all the opportunities to take chances, grow, learn and be successful. To Robert who has worked with and mentored multiple people that now are Presidents, District Managers and General Managers of organizations throughout our industry. To Robert who is a role model as a husband, father and grandfather. Thank you Robert for all you have done and continue to do for me and my family as well as so many others you have worked with.
Every year I attend this show, I leave with something that was beneficial and memorable. Although we could not complete the entire 2016 Main Event & Gulf Atlantic Building Products Expo, it was certainly a memorable one. We will always remember this show as the year of Hurricane Matthew but for me it will be The Hall of Fame Lunch and the opportunity to see and spend time with our great customers and friends in the industry. Thinking back on the past week, I can honestly say that I have no regrets and I can’t wait to experience what the 2017 Main Event & Gulf Atlantic Building Products Expo will bring.