I suspect by now that all of our readers have heard from various sources the announcement regarding the American Coatings Show. The NPCA and Vincentz Network, the publisher of international coatings journals and organizer of the European Coatings Show (ECS), will launch a new Science and Technology Initiative in the United States in 2008. There will be an American Coatings Show and an American Coatings Conference quite like the highly reputed venue held on alternate years in Nürnberg – the European Coatings Show and Congress. The American Coatings Conference will be held June 2-3, and the Show will be held June 3-5, at the Charlotte Convention Center in North Carolina.

The alignment and partnership of NPCA and Vincentz will allow them to co-brand and market the events together, offer unique opportunities for companies attending and exhibiting at both events and create a transatlantic scientific exchange. Ultimately, the industry will benefit from alternating spring shows in the United States and Europe. Their belief is that this will allow for better long-term business planning by all industry participants. “This will be the must-attend event for the industry, providing inspiration as well as networking and business opportunities”, said Andrew J. Doyle, President of the NPCA.

The American Coatings Show will be hosted on alternate years to the ECS at a dedicated location, which is in response to the direct and long-desired request by the American coatings industry, and thus provides an opportunity for long-term planning. Vincentz Network, along with Nürnberg Messe, has considerable experience and expertise in organizing the ECS – a proven success story that has shown phenomenal growth over the years.

According to NPCA, there has been a tremendous show of support from members of the industry for this new venture. The issue has been discussed widely among their membership, and they have responded very favorably; major coatings manufacturers and suppliers alike have already confirmed their endorsements. Likewise, Vincentz has been flooded with congratulations from the international coatings community. Clearly, there is a widespread feeling of enthusiasm.

In addition, the American Coatings Conference will provide a world-class forum for the leading scientific minds in the industry. Vincentz Network’s experienced staff of chemists and media managers has a proven track record of attracting top-notch coatings chemists from academia and industry, and record numbers of attendees to a program of exceptional value. The American Coatings Conference will guarantee the highest quality program, directly related to the needs of the industry. “We will be honored to review contributions from the coatings community to create a convincing content package,” adds Dr. Barbara Brune, Editor-in-Chief at Vincentz Network, who will be a member of the conference Program Committee. With a clear focus on presenting the most recent innovations in raw materials and equipment, and covering the entire range of coatings formulation aspects, the two-day event will feature a rich variety of scientific papers and speakers. Conference organizers will select proposed technical presentations based on their scientific significance and their potential to add value to the industry.

Speaking for myself, I think this announcement heralds a new and fresh beginning here in the States for the industry. Vincentz has managed, through many years of bringing us the ECS, to make it a “must attend” event. It is something you look forward to for two years and once you are there you cannot help but be energized by the enthusiasm and the actual excitement that permeates the show floor and the Congress meeting rooms. Rooms are filled to capacity and for that matter so is the show floor. For years I have been reporting back on this event to our readers and have always noted the depth of the excellence and professionalism.

There are very few global coatings shows that I have not attended in my 35 years in the industry. What has always struck me about the ECS is the seriousness of the event. On the show floor, coatings science is being discussed, coatings problems explored, business opportunities examined. It is a very serious technical and business event – which, in my opinion, is why it is so successful. In today’s business global environment, our managers and chemists need answers and ideas and they need them now. For every dollar spent attending any event you must demonstrate a return on your time and dollar investment.

The new American Coatings Show event will be successful if it patterns itself after the ECS – if it is a serious technical and business show – a show that serves the industry in development and with new ideas and products – with creativity and energy. The good old days of fun at shows and enjoyable times are gone. We who have been around a long time have wonderful and treasured memories - but today we live and work in a different environment and the industry has changed. Times are leaner, we are global and our way of doing business has changed. So too has our idea of shows and congresses and so forth. We see this in the many niche events sponsored globally as well – events that focus on very narrow markets but are also quite intense and worthwhile.

My years of working with Vincentz have been positive and beneficial. They are professional, sponsor good events and work well with industry. I know there are those who are concerned about the new American Coatings Show and Conference, and view this as competition to the ICE show. The coatings industry in the Americas can support multiple events if they are good – it is done in Europe and Asia quite successfully. We support both endeavors and want to see the industry strengthened by new ideas, growth and development – and by an insurgence of excitement about who we are as coatings professionals!