As we begin December, and head towards the end of 2020, let us acknowledge the good that we have found during the unforeseeable events of the past year. COVID-19 changed business in ways that are very significant. Even as we begin to see light at the end of the tunnel coming, we have all had to adapt our personal, family and business lives. There were no warning signs, we just had to quickly adjust to life with the pandemic as it unfolded. The fastener industry played a significant role as our industry was deemed essential from day one. Communicating with clients, suppliers and industry peers quickly evolved into Zoom meetings, webinars and virtual events as a necessity.

The fastener industry was faced with the cancellation of the largest fastener show in North America, which came with great disappointment for the industry attendees. In September the IFE show organizers, Emerald Expo, announced their commitment to growing industry connections digitally and to continue supporting business relations in the industry. 

The International Fastener Expo (IFE), North America’s largest expo for industrial fasteners, tooling and machinery, held the first digital event of its kind on November 11 – 12, 2020. Match & Meet by IFE focused on facilitating and deepening industry connections with education and networking opportunities, through a proven AI-powered platform. The digital event’s success was marked by great participation from partners, exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees. Over 500 attendees and 60 exhibitors came together during the event. Within the two days, 3,800 total connections were made and 8,500 messages were exchanged, leading to over 700 meetings and video calls. The Match & Meet platform will remain open until mid-2021 and participants can continue to connect until that time.

The event showed the resolution of the fastener industry and the companies that serve it. The educational sessions were very well attended, which has not been the case over the past few years on the show floor in Vegas. Many of the attendees we spoke with enjoyed the one-on-one meetings that were more personal than having them in-person on the show floor with so many distractions. The big take-a-way here is that what seemed improbable only a year ago has now become the possible.

Of course, the Fastener News Desk duo missed being in Vegas, connecting with industry friends, dancing the night away at the industry parties, being on the show floor, and of course looking for the Best Booth Award winners!

So, with that being said…

Fastener News Desk is excited to announce the 2020 Best Booth Digital Awards, from the 1st fastener industry virtual event, Match & Meet by IFE. We could not let the most important event of the fastener year go by without announcing the FND 2020 Best Booth Awards.

While they may be different this year, they were earned by folks who show fastener pride and passion for what they do every day. Congratulations to the following companies and individual that earned the FND 2020 Best Booth Awards.

FND would like to thank the International Fastener Expo for sponsoring this years awards.

Drumroll please…

And the winners are…

Best Digital Booth: Brighton Best International

The team at Brighton Best International wasted no time using all of the assets available in order to highlight their company at the IFE Match & Meet event. Their exhibitor page/booth was full of information, specification sheets, product catalogs and video. The team at BBI were committed and made a significant effort to making the first virtual fastener show a success and they did not fail.

Note from the Brighton Best Team:

Thank you to everyone who attended the IFE Match and Meet by IFE and took the time to meet with us.  Everyone at Brighton-Best values your business and we look forward to seeing you in the new year.  

BBI would also like to thank Fastener News Desk for this tremendous honor.  Thank you for all you do.  Happy Holidays! 

Q & A with Brighton Best 

What was Brighton Best’s experience like at the Match and Meet?  

The main takeaway that we’d like to emphasize is that a virtual tradeshow is still very much a tradeshow. To get the outcomes that you want, you need to prepare for it with the same rigor and discipline you would for any other in-person trade show.

Can you give any tips to anyone attending a virtual event?

There is truly no such thing as over communication in the world of virtual events. While in-person events rely on directional signage to guide attendees on where they should go (as well as helpful onsite staff), you need to multiply those efforts around your digital communication strategy. Make sure you know what to expect from the show including creating calendar reminders, upcoming alerts, product categories you’re interested in, reviewing invitations to break out sessions, exhibitor hours, and networking events. Generally, if there’s an activity happening, you should make an effort to attend. 

The amount and variety of content shared by Brighton Best was outstanding, as well as the availability of BBI sales force. What leadership was necessary to make this so successful?

“No man (or woman) is an island.” I’m sure everyone is familiar with that famous saying. However, our fearless leader George Hunt III, lead the efforts with the help from Nikki Gillette, Rosa Hearn and the BBI marketing team.

Coming together and working together as a team is essential in today’s business. There’s a special kind of magic that is created when a community of sales and marketing of support is formed. 

Would consider this a successful event?

It truly was a nice event. If people are having a good time during the event, that can sometimes be enough to call it a success.

Have you revisited the platform since the event to take advantage of the sessions or leads?

Most team members have revisited the platform to keep the chat open, so customers who enjoyed the show and sessions can keep the conversation going until our next meet up. 


Best Digital Marketer: Wurth Industry North America

Best Digital Marketer Award goes to Würth Industry. Würth Industry North America (WINA) is a division of the Würth Group, the world’s largest fastener distribution company. The Würth Team was everywhere at the Match & Meet event. As a top exhibitor with well-staffed booth. Würth additionally provided excellent educational content on 3D Printing and State of the Art Distribution. All of their events were very well attended, the Trends in 2020 and Best Practices was the most well attended session of Match & Meet. 

Q & A with Würth Industry

What was Würth’s experience like at the Match & Meet?

We had a positive experience with the Match & Meet event! The platform they chose allowed us to network with other attendees easily, and the built-in video call function was a great feature. The platform set people up to make successful connections and also allowed for free exploration to connect outside your suggested matches, the best of both worlds.

Can you give any tips to anyone attending a virtual event? What preparation is necessary?

Come in with an open mind! We all know these virtual experiences are not the same as saying a quick hello while walking the show floor or the impromptu meeting while at one of the sponsored social events. Prepare for what it is, and make the most of it. You’ll only get out of it what you put into it. We also planned to attend the virtual events just as if they were a “real” tradeshow – block your schedule, prepare your materials, and give it just as much effort as you would have in person.

The attendance for the Würth sessions was excellent. Can you give us any feedback?

We choose topics that we felt were going to be relevant to the industry right now. Dan Hill and Chapman Revercomb spoke to trends in 2020 and Würth’s best practices, how we have evolved to serve our customers best throughout this year. We all know this year was unlike any other, but we’ve strengthened our customer and supplier partner relationships, so it was great to share how we achieved that success. AJ Strandquist and Ben Cybulski spoke about our 3D printing solutions. As you know, we are really a first mover in this realm for manufacturers. We’ve seen incredible success this year, and we think people were excited to hear about the new, cutting edge things we’ve made possible for our customers through technology. We appreciated all the positive feedback we received and the attendance we saw. 

Would consider this a successful event?

We would definitely consider it a success! Our teams made new connections that we may not have made if the event was in person, and we have started to act on action items taken away from various meetings that, as mentioned, may not have happened without the Match and Meet platform.

Have you revisited the platform since the event to take advantage of the sessions or leads?

Many members of our teams are still using the platform to follow up on leads or new contacts. But also, for many of our team members, the new connections we formed at the event have already folded into our daily communications since the event allowed you to make such great connections.


Best Digital Networker: George Schrull – Buckeye Fasteners

Best Networker goes to George Schrull of Buckeye Fasteners. George sent out more networking communications than 50% of all attendees together. If it’s all about relationships this guy knows how. Way to go George!

Q & A with George Schrull of Buckeye Fasteners

What was your experience like at the Match and Meet?

It was busy and productive.  I was able to fill my calendar with quality appointments on both days. The platform made it simple to communicate our offerings with potential customers even when we couldn’t get an appointment during the show.

I think we are all eager to get back to normal and do in person shows again, but I would recommend this format to any company looking to make new contacts and show their products in a safe and productive way.

Can you give any tips to anyone attending a virtual event? What preparation is necessary?  Content, content, content.  The format of the show is similar to Facebook in regard to having your own “page” where you can upload the content. We were able to load our content (videos, resource guides, quality info, etc.) into the system with no issues or glitches. 

It only took a couple days to make our profiles, add our content, and train other users who worked the show with us. My tip for doing a digital show or any type of online marketing would be to focus on value-added content above all else. You have to ask yourself, “Is this content relevant to our target audience”?

“Value-added content is any unique, original, or exclusive content or information that your audience cannot get anywhere else. Examples of this added value content include video content, case studies, research studies, white papers, promotional offers, tutorials, and blog posts.” ~ Casey Cline

Can you describe your one-on-one interactions when using the platform?

The platform includes an option to set up a virtual meeting where you can meet with attendee’s face to face. The process was simple, and the communications worked properly. Once on a call, it was similar to the one-on-one moments you are able to have in person at the EXPO. You get to know potentially new clients and you get to catch up with other industry professionals and share news and maybe a couple rumors too.:) I would categorize the video calling option as essential.  A close second to the in-person event.

Would consider this a successful event?

Yes, very.  We gained more new contacts at the virtual event than we did at last years in person show. We were able to provide new quotes and orders to all of our cold-forming factories and distribution centers.

Have you revisited the platform since the event to take advantage of the educational programs?

I have revisited the platform but I haven’t signed up for any programs. I must have missed that, I’ll definitely check it out now.

About International Fastener Expo
The International Fastener Expo (IFE) is the largest and most diverse gathering of fastener and industrial professionals in North America. Founded in 1981 it serves all reaches of the supply chain, from manufacture r to distributor to OEMs, and features nearly 70 product categories. With over 650 vendors and more than 5,000 attendees from 30+ nations, the International Fastener Expo delivers industry‐leading content and facilitates vital industry connections at their annual three‐day show in Las Vegas, Nevada, the entertainment and trade show capital of North America. International Fastener Expo is owned and produced by Emerald. For more information on IFE, visit

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Best Booth Awards, Fastener Event, Fastener Expo, International Fastener Expo