You may well choose to order your eggs scrambled at the HNA Awards Breakfast Banquet but you don’t want your thoughts that way when you walk into one of the show’s premier social and networking events.
The 6th Annual HNA Hardscape Project Awards will be presented during the HNA 2013 Awards Breakfast on Friday, Oct. 25 at the Hyatt Regency Louisville, Ky. The HNA Hardscape Project Awards recognize a contractor’s ability to create outstanding hardscape projects. The 24 award categories include residential and commercial applications that use a variety of products, including concrete pavers, clay pavers, and segmental retaining walls and projects of different sizes.
The winning entries will be featured in trade publications, as well as on the HNA website at HardscapeNA.com. The HNA Hardscape Project Awards are produced by the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, National Concrete Masonry Association and the Brick Industry Association. The event is sponsored by Belgard Hardscapes and Ewing Hardscape Products.
Fred Adams, Jr., owner of Fred Adams Paving Co., in Morrisville, N.C., an HNA Steering Committee chairman and a previous winner at the awards breakfast, says to come prepared.
“The great thing is that there are contractors at the breakfast who are of like minds and professionals,” Adams says. He says attendees can network with other representatives of companies from the U.S. and Canada to obtain ideas for their own projects. “Suppliers to the industry will be at the breakfast, and individuals can connect with them about tools, products and techniques that can enhance their own businesses.”
He adds that the event offers an opportunity for a contractor to “learn from the best; we are never too old to get ideas or learn from what someone else has done.” He says, “If someone attends, they can learn innovative techniques, and how to overcome obstacles and challenges in various job site conditions. In fact, all of the events are part of the learning process and can be brought back home and used in your business.”
Lisa Lackovic, an architectural representative for Endicott Clay Products in Fairbury, NE and chair of the Distributor Program Committee, says of the breakfast and awards ceremony, “This is a great event that recognizes leading contractors for their excellent work in the field. Background information on these projects is revealed and can provide attendees with creative ideas for projects in their own markets.”
She advises attendees to arrive early and mingle with the participants. “This is a `who’s who’ of the industry event. You never know who you could be sitting next to at the table. Bring business cards and exchange them with fellow contractors or suppliers,” she says.
She says it is also vital to attend the breakfast to see what types of projects are being supplied in other markets across North America. “The award winners could inspire you to reach out to owners, developers and designers in your market and promote a potential award-winning project.”
Adams says, “At the breakfast, one needs to be prepared to introduce yourself to other attendees and ask questions.”
He talked about firsthand benefits of networking at such an event.
“I had a trip planned to be in Denver this year and I visited a fellow contractor who I met and shared ideas with at the EXPO,” Adams says. “I saw his shop and job sites. I heard him tell me how he recycled materials left over from sites and I wanted to see his system. It was very cool. There are contractors from all over and have different experiences. You can’t go wrong by attending and you will for sure bring a new idea home.”
Lackovic told a similar story.
“After attending last year’s event, I reached out to a winning contractor and sold a project with a newly launched product,” she says. “He came to our booth on the show floor and used the product six months later.” That’s taking advantage of an opportunity when it presented itself.
She adds of the breakfast, “Don’t be late. This is a scheduled event with a tight agenda. You will want plenty of time to network before, during and after.”