Recapping WFCT

August 6th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

Everything Industry Related Under One Roof

By Emmariah Holcomb

After months of planning and countless double and triple checks on things to make sure it was just right, the International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™ (WFCT) took off September 4-6 in Indianapolis, Ind., at the city’s convention center. The three-day annual event is owned and managed by WINDOW FILM magazine.

Every year there’s enough to see and do to keep attendees occupied, entertained, and learning for the week while attending the conference. This year seemed to take Indy by storm starting with its opening day.

Hall of Fame Inductee

Every year for the past five years WINDOW FILM magazine has highlighted professionals in the industry who have made lasting contributions and this year Gary Benoit, of Solar Gard, was inducted into the Window Film Hall of Fame during the conference’s opening session. Although he wasn’t physically able to be there due to Hurricane Dorian, a video of his accomplishments reminded everyone of how deserving Benoit was of this honor. Rob Garlo, Solar Gard national sales manager, accepted the award on Benoit’s behalf.

“It’s an honor for me to accept this award for Gary. We’ve all been in this business for a long time and the number one thing I’m proud of is, after I’m done with window film, I know I’ll have one friend in all of this and that’s Gary Benoit,” said Garlo.

Among his other accomplishments, Benoit is known for developing ComputerCut, a computerized system that pre-cuts window film.

Grab Some Coffee

The second annual Morning Coffee With… series had eyes wide open and, no, it wasn’t because of the coffee. It was from all of the information being given first thing in the morning.

Patric Frankso, president of Eye Magnet Management, shared insights on how businesses should be aware of and utilize digital marketing. “There is a huge opportunity for businesses to spread their company brand throughout the web with digital marketing,” Fransko said.

Ed Golda of EJG Enterprises, took a different approach to his morning coffee session, as the industry legend jokingly picked on members of the audience.

“I’m going to try to give a presentation on how to set yourself up for retirement. For me, well, I was going along and having the time of my life and then I sold my business. Then it was like, ‘well Ed what happens next?’” said Golda.

Tint Talks Round Two

Since last year’s Tint Talks debut was such a hit, it was brought back for a second time during this year’s conference. The discussion is modeled after the highly successful Ted Talks given around the world. Jim Black, Madico sales director for the Americas, delivered a tint talk that focused on ways to conquer change.

“One might ask why I was chosen to speak at this year’s Tint Talk. I think it could be my years in experience or it could be the gray hair,” Black jokingly said.

When it comes to change we all have the opportunity to choose how we react to it, according to Black, who believes he thrives more off of positive change.

Throughout the talk he mentioned the importance and value of keeping an open mind when change happens.

“We need to be open, flexible and embrace change. We all get caught up in our minds about what if, as in the bad things that could happen, but I encourage you to focus on the good things and stay diligent and focus on the end game. You’ll find you’re more successful that way,” said Black.

Learning Through Seminars

The mornings and afternoons were filled with educational opportunities for those looking to take their business to the next level. Note: WINDOW FILM magazine will cover each seminar in depth in the January-February issue.

The Winner’s Circle

Competitions are always a large draw to the showroom floor and this year didn’t disappoint. This  year’s competitions included paint protection film, architectural and automotive—turn to page 14 to see who placed. The excitement surrounding winning a brand new truck came to a head when Sherry Hagar of Good Guys Glass & Auto in Kirksville, Mo., realized she had the winning key on the final day.

And so you can start planning for next year, WFCT is headed to Orlando, Fla. In 2020. The conference will take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. September 22-24, 2020.

Sponsors Don’t Disappoint

Although there was plenty to see off  of the showroom floor, once you set foot into the main hall you couldn’t help but to look for the action. Which wasn’t hard to miss, especially as exhibitors lined the walls the pathways to educate attendees and show off their latest products.

Apollo Window Film displayed its Ultra Sky series, which included the Ultra Dark Sky variation of the film. Booth staff mentioned the Ultra Sky film comes in a variety of shades and rejects 99% of ultraviolet A and B rays. Johnson Window Films showcased its new printable film which has a ship that can be printed in clear or color.

“Although it’s mostly used for retail shops and store fronts, which is a niche market, it’s gaining a lot of interest,” said Christina Ynostrosa, marketing coordinator.

Rayno staff couldn’t wait to tell those on the show floor about the company’s new Phantom series, which is an upgraded “smart film” for both architectural and automotive applications.

“It’s designed to help our customers keep their vehicles in the best condition possible. It not only enhances privacy, but it also protects the interior from potential sun damage. And it’s the world’s first carbon ceramic film, you can only get it from us,” said Rachel Min, marketing director.

Maxpro spoke to attendees about its new window film hybrid product line. According to Elizabeth Dillon, sales and marketing executive vice president, the film has a lifetime warranty and the film gives customers an IR product at a much lower cost.

That wasn’t the only new item to hit the floor, as Hüper Optik brought its new ceramics line to the show.

“We have a full line of ceramics from when you wash your car to when you’ve finished. We even have products for paints, plastics, boats, and fabrics. As you can tell we wanted to put ceramics on everything and we’ve seen a lot of interest,” said Dave Kratz, business development specialist.

Originally designed for racecars, NewVision displayed its multi-layer windshield film. According to the company, it can fit on existing windshields and is designed to protect against chips, dings and breakage from flying rocks, grit, and debris. The company also states, the film doesn’t yellow, peel or bubble and is all weather protected.

XPEL’s tint designer, Dean Mitchell, spent time discussing the company’s ceramic coating products, which launched in January. According to Mitchell, customers really enjoy its shine.

Global Window Films representatives mentioned the company is looking to get into the architectural side of the industry.

Armoured One focused on its security film. The company’s 23 mm shooter/attack/bomb resistant security film was displayed during the conference. This film is the first tactical security film to be tested with a standard based on the history of active shooters with the test simulating the average active shooter situation, according to the company. In addition to its film, the company also offered active shooter training courses and security assessments.

Several exhibitors offered items that go alongside the industry as well.

Teel Plastics recently added end plugs to its list of window film accessories. The company’s tubes, cores and now plugs can be used with a large variety of films, according to company representatives.

Chosen Payments, a credit card processing service, offered attendees information about its TintPro Cloud-based business management software. According to the company, it can help window film businesses with mobile estimating, inventory management, customer relationship management and QuickBooks integration.

Sharpline Converting Inc. now offers a liquid glass protector called SharpShield that reduces pitting and scratching along with improving night vision, according to the company. The formula bonds to the glass chemically so that there is no need for reapplication and can strengthen glass.

Keynote Hits Financials

There was barely an open spot in the ballroom when Justin Krane, president and founder of Krane Financial, gave his financial address. Those who were able to pile into the room got a workout, as Krane wanted to keep enthusiasm high during his presentation asking the audience to and sit numerous times. He began with a statement that struck a chord with most.

“Has anyone ever felt like they’re not where they should be financially with their business?” he asked.

Several members in the audience said “yes,” to which Krane reassured them saying “we’ve all been there, but we first need to understand what shape our business is in.”

“Most of what I’ll tell you will be a reminder, but ask yourself how often you think of the following things,” said Krane.

He was referring to net profit, which he said “needs to be 10% or more of your gross profit.”

“If you don’t deal with your money, eventually your money is going to deal with you. It’s better to get a good understanding of where your business is at financially at all times. I would recommend getting QuickBooks to help you figure out your personal expenses as a guide. But be sure to stay consistent,” Krane said.

Increasing business earnings was another point highlighted during his keynote address, and attendees were anxious to hear his take on ways to gain additional profits.

“When you want your business to make more money you don’t want to think about getting a loan or raising the money. You have to get more profitable based on where you’re at right now,” Krane mentioned.

Some of the essentials he mentioned included having an accurate set of books; additional help (a bookkeeper who is not yourself); a CPA; and a financial advisor.

“The theme here is clarity, you have to break down your sales on your profit net loss. You do this so you can see where the money is coming from. I know that you know this I’m just reminding you to do it,” said Krane. “You have to take personal responsibility in order to advance your financial life. It’s not about return on investment, it’s about return on life, it’s about being smart and having clarity and believing you can be the best,” he added.

Emmariah Holcomb is the assistant editor for WINDOW FILM magazine. Reach her at eholcomb@glass.com, and follow her on Twitter @WindowFilmMag. Kyra Thompson, editorial assistant, contributed to this report.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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