Nearly 4,500 attendees gathered for the 41st Annual STAFDA Convention and Trade Show held November 12-14. The event included 650+ booths and introduced 50’ x 50’ island booths.

Nov. 12 included workshops on topics such as “Why Customers Leave and How to Win them Back”, “Reviving Work Ethic”, “Feedback with Impact”, “Creating Successful Teams” and “Evolving World of Sales”. A new Young Professionals Luncheon gave those members under 35 a chance to network with peers and enjoy a program on “The New Diversity”. That afternoon, Speed Interviewing, provided students majoring in industrial distribution, supply chain, or construction management the opportunity to meet with members seeking to hire new employees or interns.

Spouses and companions hand-crafted guitars for “Pick with Austin, a non-profit organization who donates instruments to teens battling depression, are in juvenile detention centers, or identified as “at risk.”

The Opening Party inside and around Austin City Limits welcomed members to the “Live Music Capital of the World.” The boisterous Minor Mishap Marching Band kicked things off with a raucous round of fan favorites. Attendees could then head to a variety of food trucks for tasty dinner options or go inside for more choices. Two hot Austin performers, the Bob Schneider Band and Tameca Jones entertained audiences inside Moody Theater and 3Ten studio.

On Nov. 13, the morning’s general session unveiled “STAFDA Pride” an uplifting new song representing the association’s members and their dedication to the industry. Industry speeches from Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association President, Tom Leahy of Border Construction Specialties in Phoenix, Ariz., and Associate Apeaker, Joe Smith of Metabo Power Tools North America in West Chester, Penn., emphasized raising leadership and the impact members have on the world economy.

The familiar voice of Pixar characters Hamm the Piggybank and Mack the Truck, John Ratzenberger (also beloved as Cheers’ Cliff Clavin) took the podium to promote careers in the skilled trades, learning to craft things with your own hands, and appreciating quality manufacturing – with humorous anecdotes sprinkled throughout.

Ratzenberger then helped open the trade show where distributor members could meet with exhibitors and reps to examine new products and show specials from a variety of product categories. Due to record demand, two exhibit halls were available this year. The Tech & Consultants Areas provided business-improvement opportunities for those looking for advice, services, software, and more.

Nov. 14 began with Alan Beaulieu’s annual Economic Update. His ability to bring his in-depth and well-researched information to members and provide understandable insights into what the U.S. and Canadian economies can expect has made this a can’t miss program. Two-day tours – a shopping jaunt to South Congress Street or to Fredericksburg – gave attendees’ spouses and companions’ unique views of Texas. The Trade Show floor opened again for five and a half hours before a buffet dinner at the Closing Party gave members one more taste of down-home hospitality.

STAFDA’s 42nd Annual Convention & Trade Show will take place October 28-30, in Phoenix. You must be a member to attend. For more information or photos, please contact Catherine Usher, STAFDA Member Services Director, at 262/784-4774 or