Marine Fabricator Conference 2019
We have the luxury of being in an industry where we get to provide service and products to improve our hobby. We love boating and water sports so supplying world class aftermarket biminis and covers for brands like Nautique and Centurion is easy work (at times). At the same time, we are in an industry that has a national organization to help push us all to deliver the highest craftsmanship.
We are excited every time we have the opportunity to attend the Marine Fabricator Conference. We get to spend a weekend with the best marine canvas and upholstery fabricators from around the world. We get to see what crazy, yet genius things Dave Elliot is doing in Australia. We get to learn new CAD skills from the up and coming Adam Penner with Paul’s Custom Canvas. And those new to the industry, will leave with a completely new love of their trade and way too much information to process in one weekend.
Tips and tricks, innovations and ideas, processes and training methods are all shared for the purpose of lifting our industry up as a whole. We are lucky to have this chance to make friends and mentors from all over the world.
Along with this event comes the Awards Dinner. Fabricators from all over the world submit the projects they are most proud of and put their work up against the best in the industry. The MFA picks a panel of judges that evaluate each project on the specifications, customers purpose, use, and expectations along the complexities and the end result, including aesthetics.
With a group of people that all feel as artist and craftsmen, the judges are very critical. They want to make sure the winners of the respected categories delivered above what was promised. Using the right materials and the right manufacturing prosses is reworded, cutting corners is not. As with every year, the competition was tough and with membership in the MFA growing so are the number of submissions.
With the Awards Dinner underway, we had hopes of being recognized in two categories, Exterior Upholstery and Tops. In each category, they recognize two projects, Outstand Achievement and the Award of Excellence. As luck would have it, the completion was too stiff in the Exterior Upholstery only raising our anxiety for the outcome of the Tops category.
As the night continues and our anxiety rising, the projector screen behind the presenter now says “Tops.” They run through all the submissions, all of them deserving of recognition. At this point, we know we only have two possible awards we can walk away with. They announce the Outstanding Achievement award, and it goes to, Paul’s Custom Canvas, our anxiety rises again. It was a custom designed bimini to that matched designs from the upholstery. It was very deserving and could have very well won the Award of Excellence.
We are now down to one last chance, we know our competition was plenty. We were already feeling left out from the upholstery disappointment and really wanted to wash the bad taste from our mouth. As the presenter said “and the Award of Excellence…” drum rolls started, at least in our heads, as he continued… “Nautique FCTv3 – Sewlong-Custom Covers.” We did it! Who needs an upholstery award? Ok not quite that far.
You feel a lot of pride when your peers, that you respect and know they take as much pride in their craft as we do, recognizes your project as the best this year. It’s been a few years senses we have won, and this has inspired us to continue to push ourselves and we have a few projects up our sleeves for next year.
See you next year MFA, we hope to bring home some more hardware.