It’s event season and here at The Refinishing Touch it’s full steam ahead as we hit the road, meet prospects, wow clients, and mingle with associates. There’s a whole range of events (hint: to see out all the events we’re attending and have planned, check out our website) and we’re showing our whole range of services: from furniture re-engineering and refurbishment, to hardware replacement and reupholstery. As our customers and our business is across hospitality, government and eduction, there’s a variety of events we attend.
Last week was one of our education events, as we showcased at the 8th Annual ACUHO-I/APPA Housing Facilities Conference in Charlotte, NC. The conference, this year subtitled ‘Keeping on Track: Providing the Foundation for Quality Student Housing: Foster Leadership, Address Challenges, and Explore Trends in College and University Housing’, is a key gathering for Housing Facilities professionals to assess the challenges and the solutions open to them.
The Refinishing Touch shared the platform with other vendors and key members of housing departments from universities such as Wake Forest, East Carolina University and the University of Notre Dame to talk about housing facilities and to demonstrate and learn about how colleges and universities can improve sustainability and usability at their campuses. It’s a topic close to our hearts – and an area we’ve worked extensively in, having completed refinishing and refurbishing projects with more than 100 colleges and universities across the USA in the last 30 years.
Consider the college campus: students come and go, just passing custodians in a place they want to feel safe and call home for the standard four years. While many colleges and institutions market the history of their location, buildings and architecture, the pressure to maintain high standards in aging facilities is a tricky one. Every college bursar and facility team we speak to has one key concern – how to maintain the quality and standards of their school and its facilities, to maintain the high standards that help them attract students, scholars- and also great staff – and to do so within their budgets.
Following the opportunity to show our services and examples of completed projects on Wednesday, the remainder of the week was an opportunity for registered guests to attend seminars, learn and share ideas around dozens of topics – from general facilities management and master planning for housing, to the LED University program that is helping colleges and universities around the world begin deploying LED lighting to significantly reduce their energy use. Fanning out from the central theme of housing facilities, discussions were based on sustainability, maintenance and operations, custodial, construction and technology.
Education is going through an interesting phase – the economic downturn, the strain of meeting new environmental opportunities – and demonstrating this to new green-aware students and prospects. These challenges mean that now, more than ever, is the time for facilities professionals in the eduction sector to seize the opportunity to innovate, and for the industry to debate, discuss and share their ideas.
Under the program committee, chaired by University of Florida’s Tanya Hughes-Joiner and North Carolina State University’s chair-elect, Barry Olsen, this conference certainly did that, fostering a sense of innovation, networking and leadership – and showing that the eduction sector really can teach other sectors, while keeping open to learning about new ways to improve themselves.