In February the National Association of Pond Professionals (NAPP) cancelled their 2012 Water Feature Conference & Expo. They noted that the show would not yield a worthwhile return on the investment for exhibitors, presenters and organizers - due to insufficient attendee registrations. Attendance has been the challenge facing numerous events planned for this niche, including fellow association the International Professional Pond Companies Association (IPPCA). IPPCA held their 7th Annual INFO TANZA last November.
While both trade organizations have worked hard to develop an event with valuable seminars and trade shows, our industry has not embraced them in the numbers really necessary to make economic sense for the supporters whose financial participation is so critical to staging these events.
I believe we, as an industry, need a strong industry association. But to date, something is holding us back. Some say it's the economy, which has clearly devastated our businesses harder than many others. I would argue that when times are tough, we need an association more than ever, to help our businesses navigate these treacherous waters.
It has been noted that having two associations, dilutes resources. But NAPP and IPPCA are very different organizations, and have not been able to find a way to consolidate their efforts, in any kind of unification effort. Possibly the cancellation of the NAPP event will be the catalyst that will help bring about change now. I must say I hope so.
Both organizations have staged worthy events. To IPPCA's credit, they have held seven in a row, and their 2011 event had its highest attendance ever, with over 100 attending their seminars, and a thousand or more visiting the Pond Pavilion. Good work, but not good enough, if an association is going to reach its potential as a vital service to this industry.
The majority of you reading this have never attended a NAPP or IPPCA event. I ask you why not? What would it take for you to attend? Since these events are designed specifically to help you be more successful in your pond business, what is missing that you have stayed home?
Your industry needs to hear what is important to you. What value do you need to receive in order to get you out of your office and to a Pond Industry Seminar/Expo? What areas of your business are driving you crazy, that you could use some help with? Your industry leaders need your input, to be able to stage events that are as relevant as possible.
I invite you to sound off on this today. (Scroll to the bottom of this page and share your thoughts.)
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