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The memory business

Editorial | April 1, 2019 | By:

Ideas and inspiration from Tent Expo 2019

Sunny Orlando, Fla., and cozy flannel shirts don’t seem like they go together. But that’s how Tent Rental Division (TRD) Steering Committee members and IFAI staffers honored our friend Tom Markel, who passed away in December (see page 10). Tom and his flannel shirts and baseball caps were a fixture at industry events, so for Tent Expo 2019’s opening reception, we donned flannel shirts in his memory.

I’ve probably spent more time on the phone with Tom than anyone else in the tent rental industry. That’s partly due to the fact that Tom was a man of many, many words. But it’s also because Tom was willing to take the time to make sure this journalist understood what she was writing about. Tom’s contributions to the advancement of the industry, including his efforts on code revision and the TRD Ballasting Study, will be felt for years to come.

I came home from Tent Expo with a notebook thick with new story ideas and a heart and mind thick with inspiration from keynote speaker Ben Utecht. A former NFL tight end, Utecht retired due to a series of major concussions and is now a speaker and advocate for brain health. He told Tent Expo attendees about the thrill of winning a Super Bowl, as well as his realization that he was beginning to lose memories of significant events.

In his autobiography, Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away, Utecht writes, “I get up every morning determined to make the day count. I treasure every moment I have with those I love. . . . I pause and reflect and grab hold of that memory with everything I have.”

Utecht encouraged Expo attendees to seize every day and take pride in the fact that the tent rental business is really a memory-making business. From graduations and weddings to birthdays and retirements—you create the moments your clients will remember for the rest of their lives. 

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