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March 23, 2011
By Randy Vilneff

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March 23, 2011 - We’re on the road to FDIC 2011 in Indianapolis. This is my fifth trip to FDIC; each one is unique and full of surprises, even though there is an overall feeling of familiarity.

March 23, 2011 – We’re on the road to FDIC 2011 in Indianapolis. This is
my fifth trip to FDIC; each one is unique and full of surprises, even
though there is an overall feeling of familiarity.

As the training officer for the Marmora and Lake Fire Department in Ontario, I hope to check out some of the new apparatuses to see what unique and useful ideas that have been integrated into trucks. Sometimes simple concepts get overlooked until you put them in a larger context.

As a sales rep for M&L Supply, it is important for me and my colleagues to see what the new-and-improved products are in our lineup. We get to spend a lot of time looking at, touching and handling these products – not just the ones we sell, but also those of our competitors. It is truly a sensory show in every way.

 With me on this road trip are fellow sales representatives Steve from M&L headquarters in Ingleside, Ont., Rick from Napanee, Ont., Brian from Port Hope, Ont., and Jeff from Chatham, Ont. We’re meeting Mark P. and a few others in Indy – they are taking a flight. We’re driving down today, attending the show Thursday and Friday and coming home Saturday. There is a lot to pack into a mere 60 hours.

As usual, FDIC is being held at the Indiana Convention Center and the Lucas Oil Stadium. The convention center is newly expanded with 50 per cent more space – and it is all filled! As you wander through the convention center filled with gear, tools, nozzles, pumps, SCBAs and trucks, you will be struck by the size of this show. But the real showstopper is when you first see the dozens of aerials in the stadium, all reaching for the roof. The view will stay with you forever. In addition to the trade show, there are seminars, H.O.T. sessions, workshops and competitions. There is no way anyone could possibly attend everything!

The time spent after hours is really for networking with friends, business partners, manufacturers and distributors. In past years, we have been to some fantastic restaurants with Task Force Tips and Total Fire Group, hit a few bars (where we asked them to put the hockey game on TV!), been entertained at Stop, Drop, Rock & Roll, toured around the speedway (yes, THAT speedway) and have encountered many friends.

Hopefully, what I will bring to blog readers is a sense of what FDIC is: its size; the variety of people who attend the conference; the culture; and some insight into what happens after the show closes for the day.

So, stay tuned. And with any luck, you will get the feeling that you are in Indy with me, if in spirit only.

Randy Vilneff is the training officer for the Marmora and Lake Fire Department and a sales representative for M&L Supply. This is his fifth trek to FDIC.


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