InTents December/January 2020 - 12

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Q&A with IFAI Board Chair Kathy Schaefer
athy Schaefer, IFM, became the 52nd
board chair of the Industrial Fabrics
Association International (IFAI) at IFAI
Expo 2019 in Orlando, Fla., in October.
Schaefer is COO of Glawe Awnings and
Tents in Fairborn, Ohio, and a former Tent
Rental Division (TRD) chair.
Companies like Glawe stay in business
generation after generation by keeping
up with their customers' changing needs
and looking ahead-and that's where
IFAI membership and attendance at industry events are critical, she says. Here,
Schaefer answers questions about IFAI
priorities, industry challenges and reasons to be optimistic.

K

Specialty Fabrics

NOVEMBER 2019
Trusted information
through a century of change

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EVIEW
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PUBLICATION

A LWAY S

INNOVATING
New IFAI board chair Kathy Schaefer
shares her vision for an organization
that helps its members navigate a
changing industry landscape.

FABRIC, FARMING
and agricultural futures

FINDERS, KEEPERS
long-term customer loyalty

IFAI EXPO 2019

REPORT
FROM ORLANDO

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EDITOR'S NOTE
This is an excerpt from an article
that appeared in the November 2019
issue of Specialty Fabrics Review
magazine. To read the full article,
visit www.specialtyfabricsreview.com.

What is your priority as IFAI's new
board chair?
My priority is that IFAI provide membership value by continuously developing new
member beneϐits, as well as improving and
enhancing the beneϐits IFAI currently offers. With IFAI, members have access to
beneϐits that they wouldn't have as individual companies without big-time buying
power. And for me, the biggest beneϐits are
the networking and the way IFAI connects
you to what is going on in the industry.
Photo by AGI Studios.

12 intents

dec 2019-jan 2020

How is IFAI working toward remaining
relevant to a changing industry?
IFAI President Steve Schiffman is continuously working with his staff to explore the
future of the organization and the specialty
fabrics industry. The association provides
a "best practices" approach and support
for innovation. IFAI listens to member
feedback and ideas with determination to
meet the challenges we as members face.
The organization's programming and educational opportunities provide relevant
content to help members stay ahead of
the changing landscape and alert them to
disruptions, innovations and other forces
that will affect how we do business. As a
member, I look to IFAI to keep me in the
loop. When you are busy running your
own company, it is easy to miss important
trends, policy changes, regulations and
other issues that affect small businesses
and the specialty fabrics industry. IFAI continually adds content that provides invaluable assistance to small business owners.
You can ϐind it within IFAI magazines and
websites, and you can search for the topics
that are important to you on IFAI.com.
How do you anticipate supporting a
membership that is diverse in terms
of market segments, size and trends?
I plan to ask a lot of questions and do a lot
of listening. While our divisions are diverse,
the members of IFAI's 16 market segments
share common issues. Trends in the fabrics
industry affect all of us. As a member of
PAMA and TRD, my company has beneϐitted from IFAI's help on industry-wide issues
such as the market share of fabric awnings
in the shade industry and the constantly
changing building and ϐire codes. Most
individual companies do not have the resources to ascertain the perplexity of these
issues and develop a strategy to overcome
them. All IFAI divisions face challenges, and
the organization is positioned to work with
members to meet those challenges.


http://www.SpecialtyFabricsReview.com http://www.IFAI.com http://www.specialtyfabricsreview.com

InTents December/January 2020

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