Tips and Resources for First-Time Convention Attendees

For new members, first-time attendees, or anyone wanting to get the most out of NIA’s 65th Annual Convention, April 15–17, 2020, in Scottsdale, Arizona, we have some helpful advice and insider tips for you. As a first timer or new member, know that you are not alone! On average, 15% of Convention attendees are first timers or new members.

To view NIA's benefits of membership video, please click here. If you don't find an answer to your questions here, email Aimee Doyle at and we'll get back to you.

Convention Basics

With the theme of Let’s Make It Happen, NIA’s Annual Convention is the premier event for the insulation industry and attracts hundreds of attendees from all industry segments, including Merit and Union Contractors, Distributors, Fabricators, Associates (Manufacturers), and Metal Building Laminators. Held each spring in a warm-weather destination, this event is open to both NIA members and non-members. Attendees at this event learn the latest industry trends at educational sessions, gain new business contacts, network, and build relationships.

Ambassador Program

Take advantage of NIA’s Ambassador Program: When you register and check the box that you are a first-time attendee, you are automatically issued invitations to special events and are matched with a Membership Committee member who will reach out to you prior to Convention to answer any questions you may have and provide additional information that would be helpful for your first Convention. For any questions, contact

Maximizing Your Convention Experience

Tips and To-Dos Before Convention

  • Book your hotel room before March 20—which is the cut-off date for NIA’s discounted room block.
  • Consider bringing your spouse or a guest—about 40% of people bring someone along. If your spouse or guest would like to receive Convention attendee emails specifically for guests, please email his or her email address to
  • Plan to arrive by Tuesday, April 14—events on Wednesday start at 7:30 a.m.
  • Pack casual attire—suggestions include resort wear and comfortable shoes, including golf shirts and khakis for men, or capris or sundresses for women.
  • Bring plenty of business cards and carry them with you—networking is a key component of NIA’s Convention. You can also connect with new members through the Convention app.
  • If you golf, reserve your spot in NIA’s Golf Tournament when you register before March 20 (a separate fee is required). More information is available about renting golf clubs or bringing your own and creating foursomes on the Golf Tournament webpage.
  • Make contact with a Membership Committee member when they reach out to you and learn about the Annual Convention through our Ambassador Program.
  • First timers at NIA's Convention are noted with a yellow badge, keep an eye out for other attendees who are attending the Convention for the first time!
  • Look for an attendee email from NIA about a week before the Convention—it has last-minute details that will help you be better prepare for the Convention.

Tips and To-Dos During Convention

  • Make sure to attend the Convention First-Timer and VIP Reception on Wednesday. This event is specially designed for first time attendees (more information is below).
  • Don’t miss NIA’s meal events—many of your meals are included: breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Wednesday; breakfast on Thursday: and breakfast and dinner on Friday; plus amazing desserts and drinks at the Hosted Dessert Hospitality Suites, which are open to everyone.
  • Use those business cards you packed—time to make business connections.
  • Be ready to tell fellow attendees about yourself and your company—your badge will help identify you as a first-timer and our members are friendly.
  • Speak up if you have questions—industry-specific sessions are an ideal place for questions and sharing information. Most industry sessions are open and all are welcome to attend and participate.
  • Share your Convention highlights with colleagues and on social media—we have a hashtag! #NIAmeets
  • Stop by the NIA Registration Desk or find a NIA staff person for any on-site questions you might have—they are happy to assist you. Look for the staff ribbon on their badges.
  • Attend the session that matches your company’s membership category. Note that some of the sessions have speakers too and closed meetings are indicated on the schedule. To learn more general information about committees, click here.

Wednesday, April 15

9:45–11:30 a.m. Health and Safety Session
9:45–11:30 a.m. Technical Information Session
1:05–2:45 p.m. Union Contractors Subcommittee (open only to Signatory Contractors of the International)
1:05–2:45 p.m. Merit Contractors Session
1:05–3:00 p.m. Associates (Manufacturers) Session
1:05–3:00 p.m. Distributors/Fabricators Session
1:05–3:00 p.m. Metal Building Laminators Session
2:50–3:40 p.m. Joint Union/Merit Contractors Session
3:45–5:45 p.m. Young Professional Advisory Committee (open to members under 40 years of age or new to the industry)

Exclusive Events and Programs for New Members and First-Time Attendees

New Member Roundtable

Wednesday, April 15
To kickstart Convention, new members are encouraged to attend this invitation-only event to meet with NIA staff and leadership. New members will get the opportunity to introduce themselves and their company, discuss their reasons for joining and expectations, and get valuable tips on how to make the most out of their first Convention. This is a great chance to get involved and make connections, all while sipping on a specialty cocktail!

Convention First-Timer and VIP Reception

Wednesday, April 15
If this is your first NIA Convention, be sure to RSVP to this invitation-only cocktail reception where you'll have the opportunity to network with NIA leadership and industry leaders, and fellow members of NIA. Meet and make friends or new contacts before continuing to dinner. Invitations are required. To ensure your invitation to this select event, be sure to check the "First Convention" box when you register.

Helpful Tips after Convention

  • Follow up and reach out to any new connections you made during your time at Convention.
  • Complete the online Convention attendee survey that will be emailed after Convention—honest feedback helps us make the event better for all attendees.
  • Keep an eye out for the post-Convention email—this communication will include information about the speaker presentations made during the event.
  • Save the date for future NIA events: NIA’s 66th Annual Convention: March 17–19, 2021, at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, in Lahaina, Hawaii and NIA’s Fall Summit 2020, November 4-5, 2020, MGM National Harbor, National Harbor, Maryland (located just outside of Washington, DC)

What the Pros Say about Attending NIA Meetings!

Tips from Cooper Killion, Young Professional Advisory Committee (YPAC) Chair, and Marketing Director, Shook and Fletcher Insulation Co.

  • Don’t be shy—introduce yourself to as many people as possible! You’ll find that NIA is a very welcoming and friendly environment.
  • Come to the YPAC* events—I guarantee you can find someone who will make sure you’ll have a great time!
  • Attend every conference session and networking event that you can so that you and your company get the maximum value possible.

*YPAC is for NIA members who are 40 years old or younger, or have been in the industry for less than 5 years.

Tips from Dana Vlk, NIA President

  • NIA’s Mobile Meeting App—You’ll find everything you need to know in the app. Easily export your meetings into your Outlook calendar and retrieve contact information for Convention attendees. Be sure to populate your complete contact information into the app so your new contacts know how to reach you.
  • Peer-to-Peer Learning—Since NIA’s membership is national, you can learn how your peers, not your competitors, solve common business problems.
  • Meetings—Attend as many meetings as possible. In addition to great educational opportunities, each meeting has a networking opportunity you don’t want to miss.  Be sure to attend the First-Timers Reception!
  • Valuable Speakers—NIA speakers will provide a new perspective inside and outside of your business.

Tips from Joseph Leo, NIA Assistant Treasurer, and President, Atlantic Contracting & Specialties, LLC, Hicksville, NY

  • You made a decision to come to the convention, SO BE AT THE CONVENTION—instead of having your mind on your business operations 24/7, you must try to turn that off and focus on fully attending the convention and all that it offers.
  • Always carry business cards with you, even at the pool.
  • Go to all the orientation sessions and first-timer events.
  • Network, it is what you’re there for!