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 63rd Annual Convention, April 18–20, 2018, in Orlando, Florida, 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. If you don't find an answer to your questions here, email and we'll get back to you. Click here to see who has already registered for the event.

Convention Basics

With the theme of Learn, Lead, and Share for 2018, 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. NIA’s Silent Auction, a biennial event, is taking place this year on Friday evening.

Maximizing Your Convention Experience

Tips and To-Dos before Convention

  • Book your hotel room before March 26—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.
  • Schedule to arrive on Tuesday, April 17—events on Wednesday start at 7:30 a.m.
  • Pack casual attire—suggestions include golf shirts, khakis, resort wear, and comfy shoes.
  • Bring plenty of business cards and carry them with you—networking is a key component of NIA’s Convention.
  • If you golf, reserve your spot in NIA’s Golf Tournament when you register (a separate fee is required).
  • Download NIA’s Mobile Meeting App and get familiar with it before you leave—it puts the info you need at your fingertips.
  • Use the Customized Sample Schedules by NIA Member Type on this page to plan out your schedule before you arrive.
  • See who else is coming—we post a new attendee list every Friday.
  • Check out exclusive NIA discounts at theme parks and restaurants—many of these must be purchased in advance.
  • Take advantage of NIA’s Ambassador Program where you are matched with a Membership Committee member who can answer any questions you may have and provide additional information that would be helpful for your first Convention (more information is available on this page).
  • Look for an attendee email from NIA about a week before the Convention—it has any last-minute details that will help you be better prepared.

Tips and To-Dos during Convention

  • Make sure to attend the NIA Member Orientation and the Convention First-Timer and VIP Reception on Wednesday, these events are specially designed for first time attendees.
  • 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 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.
  • Speak up if you have questions—committee meetings are an ideal place for questions and sharing information.
  • Share your Convention highlights with colleagues and on social media—we have a hashtag! #NIAmeets.
  • Attend the committee meeting that matches your company’s membership category. Note that some of the committee meetings have forum-style speakers too and an * means you need an invitation to attend, so email if you are interested. To learn more general information about committees, click here.

Wednesday, April 18
9:35–11:35 a.m. Health and Safety Forum and Committee
9:35–11:35 a.m. Technical Information Committee
1:05–3:00 p.m. Merit Contractors Committee
1:05–3:00 p.m. Union Contractors Subcommittee (Open only to Signatory Contractors of the International)*
1:05–3:30 p.m. Associates Forum and Committee
1:05–3:30 p.m. Distributors/Fabricators Forum and Committee
3:05–3:50 p.m. Joint Union/Merit Contractors Meeting
3:55–5:40 p.m. Young Professional Advisory Forum and Committee (YPAC)*
3:55–5:40 p.m. Metal Building Laminators Forum and Committee

  • Stop by the NIA Registration Desk or find a NIA Staff person for any on-site questions you might have—we are happy to assist you.
  • Save the date for NIA’s 64th Annual Convention:  April 3–5, 2019, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, Nassau, Bahamas.

What the Pros Say about Attending NIA Meetings!

Tips from Joseph Leo, NIA Board of Directors—ESICA Representative, and President, Atlantic Contracting & Specialties, LLC, Hicksville, NY

  • You made a decision to come to the convention, SO BE AT THE CONVENTION—instead of your mind on home operations 24/7, you must somehow turn that off and focus on fully attending the convention.
  • 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!


Tips from Dana Vlk, NIA Board of Directors, Secretary/Treasurer, and VP, Marketing

  • 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.
  • 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. This is a great way to collaborate with people from all over the country and bring future value to your business. Be sure to attend the First-Timers Reception!!!
  • Valuable Speakers—NIA speakers will provide a new perspective inside and outside of your business.

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

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 matched with a Membership Committee member who will reach out to answer any questions you may have and provide additional information that would be helpful for your first Convention. For any questions, contact

NIA Member Orientation

Wednesday, April 18, 9:00–9:30 a.m.

Get introduced to a NIA mentor, learn how to get the most out of Convention, and find out which events will be beneficial for your business type. This invitation-only orientation includes an overview of how NIA serves its members and the industry, and introduces our new members and first-time attendees to NIA’s staff, committee members, and association leaders. If you are a first-time Convention attendee, be sure to check the “First Convention” box when you register.

Convention First-Timer and VIP Reception

Wednesday, April 18, 5:45–6:30 p.m.

At this invitation-only cocktail reception you'll have the opportunity to network with NIA leaders and staff, and learn more about NIA and the benefits of the Convention. Ask questions about the Convention, NIA's committees, our educational programs, or just enjoy getting to know members of NIA. Invitations are required. To ensure your invitation and space at this 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 NIA’s 64th Annual Convention:  April 3–5, 2019, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, Nassau, Bahamas.