Volume 9, Issue 5                     September/October  2005

TAKIN' IT WEST COAST
International Window Film conference, Expo and Tint-Off 2006 Moves to Las Vegas

by Brigid O'Leary

Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. They represented the most public battle ever waged within an industry: the East Coast/West Coast rivalry that dominated the rap music scene in the mid-1990s. While the window film industry doesn’t have one set of specific icons, we’ll see just how competitive the two sides of the U.S. market are—and maybe even the two sides of the globe—as the International Window Film Confer-ence, Expo and Tint-Off™ (IWFE) moves off of the East coast for the second time in five years and to the West coast for the first time ever. 

IWFE 2006 is going to Vegas!

Things Done Changed
The window film industry will invade Las Vegas March 3-4, 2006 for IWFE. The Cashman Convention Center, near downtown Las Vegas, is the latest venue for the top international tinting competition, which will once again run immediately following the Independent Glass Association’s (IGA) Independents Days Spring Glass Show.

IWFE begins on March 3 with educational seminars, but the Spring Glass Show—to which IWFE members will be admitted free—is scheduled for Thursday, March 2 and Friday, March 3. IWFE attendees can get in free with their badge. 

The Tint-Off will take place on the final day of the event, Saturday, March 4, to allow everyone, especially the competitive tinters, more time to attend the seminars that interest them most without breaking the momentum of the educational experience.

Though the Tint-Off returns to the last day of the event, a scheduling change brings it back to its original time slot, all other formatting changes that went into effect in 2005 will return in 2006.

Everyday Struggle
Who should attend IWFE 2006 and take advantage of the chance to visit the IGA Spring Glass Show? Well, anyone reading this magazine should be there. Why? Because this is your industry and this is the best time and place to get to know others in the industry and see what resources are available to you.

At this event there may be more networking opportunities for those looking to set up what some might call referral partnerships (in this case, referring business to a glass repair or replacement company who would, in turn, refer tinting business to you). Independents’ Days Spring Glass Show is a two-day show with a large variety of exhibitors that offers attendees the advantages of seeing new products, meeting new contacts, learning new tips and techniques, and for one on one conversation with each exhibitor. Big names in the glass industry that have been participants in the trade show in years past include Dow Automotive, Pilkington, CR Laurence and Creative Extruded Products; several big names within the window film industry joined the line-up last year, such as CPFilms, Madico, Johnson and ProtectGard.

Gimme the Loot
The highlight of the event, of course, is the Tint-Off, at which the best in the industry compete for some pretty sweet prizes. In the Auto Film Tint-Off, the first prize stands at $5,000 (along with a gold medal). Second place gets a silver medal and $1,000 while a bronze medal goes to the third place winner, along with $500.

The inaugural Architectural Film Tint-Off went well in 2005, and those who would rather try their hand at competitively tinting flat glass can once again vie for a $1,000 prize (also accompanied by a gold medal). Second place winner of the flat glass competition will receive a silver medal.

One More Chance 
Tinters will compete under the same rules as years’ past. Neither the type of car to be tinted nor the size or shape of the glazing to be tinted in the Architectural Tint-Off will be announced until the day of the competition. Depending on the size of the field, preliminary rounds will be held to determine who tints in the finals, and in both cases, heat time and numbers will be determined by a blind draw.

To make it to the finals, installers in each preliminary heat will compete in on the same make/model vehicle or pre-constructed glazing replica under a pre-determined time limit. Contestants, whose rounds are individually timed, are then judged on the quality of the installation. In the case of a scoring tie leading into the finals, the faster timed installation advances to the next round.

Respect
Distributors are once again encouraged to take an active roll in the events. Not only will they send their best tinters to the competition, but also they are asked to be present for the introduction of the tinters at the start of the competition and again for the presentation of awards when the show wraps up. 

Of course, distributors get to join in the bragging rights if they sponsor the “World’s Best Tinter.” 
This event would not be nearly as successful without networking and social opportunities made possible through the support of sponsors, some of which provided lunch and snacks last year. Sponsors are also encouraged to make informal presentations during the “down time” while the judges evaluate the previous round of competition, such as the product demonstration that Bekaert and Hunter Labs provided at the 2005 event.

Multiple sponsorship opportunities are still available. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact Hayley Steele at 540/720-5584 ext. 151, or e-mail hsteele@glass.com

Loyal to the Game
Not everyone attending IWFE is inclined to compete, but for those who wish to witness the action, the same rules apply as last year. Tinters will be given at least three feet and interaction between competitors and fans should be in the form of encouragement (cheering) only. 

Early registration is encouraged for everyone thinking of attending the show. Full attendee registration for Window Film subscribers costs $149 before February 13, 2006. So what does the money get you? 

A full registration includes admission to all presentations, seminars, demonstrations, the Tint-Off, the cocktail party and closing ceremony.

Competitors will need to register, too, of course, and the fee is $350 for Window Film subscribers. Contestants must register by February 13, 2006. Contestant registration includes all the amenities that a full registration offers, as well as competition in the 2006 Tint-Off. No onsite contestant registration will be available. 

Spectators will need to register, too. Spectator registration includes admission to Tint-Off and closing ceremonies. For those who pre-register, the cost is $30, with children 12 and younger getting in for $20. Pre-registered children younger than two years old get in free. Onsite, the fees go up to $40, $30 and $10, respectively.

Keep Ya Head Up
The window film market is a very competitive one (see Going Global, page 30) and some of the best tools to survival are education and networking. What better way to prove that you’re a strong competitor than by showing your stuff and winning the Tint-Off 2006 and learning some trade secrets at the same time? 

Brigid O’Leary is the editor of Window Film magazine.

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