As the 25th International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference and its renown education seminar series approaches, we thankfully don’t have to noodle over such existential quandaries.
We at IBEX know what came first, where it is now, and where it’s headed. The chicken and egg story still inspires and provides IBEX-style clues — but we’ll get to that later.
Where’s IBEX Now?
For starters, it’s stronger than ever and easily the leading, largest marine industry trade show around. With a following not just in the United States but around the world, IBEX is produced by Professional BoatBuilder magazine and the National Marine Manufacturers Association. Trade Show Executive Magazine has named IBEX to the Fastest 50 Class of 2014. With more than 550 exhibitors and 7,000 attendees, not to mention 56 education seminars, dozens of free exhibitor workshops as well as daylong super sessions, IBEX is the place to be for technical boatbuilding expertise.
Where’s IBEX Headed?
This year’s event is at the Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, Kentucky, from September 15-17. In 2016, IBEX moves to the Tampa Convention Center, Tampa, Florida, from September 27-29.
IBEX: Looking Back
Our mission — unrivaled education and advancement of boatbuilding techniques, tools, materials and components — is the logical extension of show founder, Professional Boatbuilder magazine. In response to reader requests, ProBoat editors started IBEX in 1992 as a forum where the marine industry sector could do business, share ideas, and accelerate new product development.
As the new manager of the seminar series, I thought it would be fun and enlightening to hunt through the archives and share some historical anecdotes. Here’s how the founding editors in the first year of ProBoat’s existence put out the call to create IBEX, in the 1990 August/September issue (No. 6):
“Among the more insistent requests we’ve received have been those asking us to produce a boatbuilders show, one unlike any other. This show (which we have named The International Boatbuilders’ Expo) will be centered around hard-hitting business seminars and exhibits of manufacturers and suppliers.
“It seems from what you’ve told us that you want to: come to one location, meet with other builders, repairers and designers, have an opportunity to speak with the technical staffs of leading materials and supply manufacturers, and be stimulated by targeted business, technical and marketing seminars.”
After asking readers to fill in and return feedback cards, ProBoat’s editors got busy. The result of their efforts came in the February/March 1992 issue of ProBoat (No. 15) announcing the show Feb. 5-7 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Besides flagging the first IBEX on the magazine’s cover, the issue contained a full-page ad as well as an eight-page guide to the show, with 32 seminar descriptions, a list of exhibitors and workshops as well as a mail-in registration form. Seminar themes ranged from “Making the Most of CAD/CAM” to “Mastering Modified Resin Systems” and “Controlling Galvanic and Stray-Current Corrosion.”
It doesn’t sound all that different from what will be on offer in September 2015, though certainly time and technology have moved thinking and processes into a vastly different arena. And more importantly, the founding mission of IBEX remains intact, 25 shows later.
Chicken or Egg?
A casual episode of web surfing didn’t really answer which came first for me, and I’ll admit it was a silly hoax to get you to read about the origins of IBEX. Yet it certainly drove home the value of an event like IBEX and its seminars, where problem-solving and discoveries about materials and methods are what it’s all about.
According to an online version of a story that appeared in Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper a few years back, scientists uncovered evidence — the discovery of a protein in chicken ovaries that’s essential to egg formation — that they believe swings the chicken-egg argument in favor of the chicken. The discovery’s value can’t be overlooked, argues Professor John Harding, for its other uses, according to the Daily Mail account.
“Understanding how chickens make egg shells is fascinating in itself but can also give clues towards designing new materials and processes,” Harding said. “Nature has found innovative solutions that work for all kinds of problems in materials science and technology — we can learn a lot from them.”
Alas, if you can’t take your clues from Mother Nature — there’s always IBEX. See you in September.
-Elaine Lembo, IBEX Seminar Manager