Mike Horn, Foothills Paving & Maintenance, Wheat Ridge, CO, came to National Pavement Expo West last month to present what was (not surprisingly) a very highly rated seminar. He was working at the show and those who attended his "Maximize Crack Repair Profits!" seminar likely took home some darn good ideas about how to do just that. But Mike didn't stop working once his seminar was done - because he knows how to get the most out of a trade show. First, he brought a number of his employees with him - and they all attended near a full house (note the Las Vegas reference) of NPE West seminars. So far, so good, but a lot of contractors attending conference programs do that. By bringing more people you can cover more seminar topics and absorb more information. What Mike did that was different is he scheduled what he terms a "debriefing" the week after the show. Mike brought everyone together and they compared notes. They shared what they learned, talked about what they shared, and, he says, got a little excited about where the company could go. So far, still good, but Foothills Paving & Maintenance took even another step, and this one was a giant step. At the debriefing they compiled a list of 41 points - 41! - the company wanted to act on or at least investigate. "Some of the things we learned are immediate, things we can do and will do almost right away," Mike says. "Others are short-term things that we can start working on and put in place relatively quickly. And still others are long-term things that we'll probably hand over to internal committees to look into a little more." Whoa! I'm sure Foothills Paving & Maintenance isn't the only contractor that uses educational programs in this way, but they sure offer a great blueprint to follow. We'll check back with Foothills in the future to see what the status of those 41 points is.