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Moving the industry forward: Second symposium builds off inaugural event’s resounding success

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Year one of the Material, Technology & Design Symposium @ CPA Fall Meeting was a huge hit. There’s no telling how successful year two will be.

“A powerhouse” is how one attendee described the 2017 symposium.

The 2018 event is scheduled for Sept. 23-25 at the brand-new JW Marriott in downtown Nashville. The symposium is co-sponsored by Surface & Panel magazine and the Composite Panel Association in conjunction with CPA’s Fall Meeting.

“Without a doubt, the symposium is moving the industry forward, and anyone connected to panel processing should feel compelled to attend to learn about cutting-edge materials and technology and what lies ahead in this dynamic and rapidly changing field,” said John Aufderhaar, publisher of Surface & Panel.

The 2017 symposium featured 10 speakers in seven sessions whose topics ranged from the importance of distributors to emerging trends in materials and design to the future of digital printing. Renowned industrial designer Karim Rashid was the keynote and challenged attendees to think beyond replicating what’s known and available.

This year’s symposium will build off the solid foundation of 2017 by offering an even stronger lineup of enlightening and inspirational speakers.

CPA President Jackson Morrill said the results of an attendee survey were “very positive,” and he’s pleased the symposium will return in 2018.

“We look forward to another great program and hope each of you will put the word out to non-member end users and invite them to join us,” Morrill said.

While the 2017 symposium was Surface & Panel’s first collaboration with CPA, it was the eighth industry conference sponsored by the magazine, and it attracted S&P’s biggest turnout yet. Attendance also was the highest ever for a CPA Fall Meeting.

Thirty sponsoring businesses supported the symposium, and 27 featured products and services in an exhibition hall that buzzed with attendees.

Morrill said the symposium more than met its objectives:

“The central goal of the symposium was to develop a superior program of speakers and augmented networking opportunities that would benefit the broader membership and attract non-members, particularly users of composite panels, to attend learn more about our industry’s products.

“Moreover, the format provided an opportunity to highlight the innovation and breadth of offerings in the decorative surfaces industry.”

To learn more about the 2018 symposium and register, go to


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