Just yesterday I had a chance to witness some powerful marketing and educational efforts by Rose Paving, Bridgeview, IL. Alan Rose has been a member of the Pavement Advisory Board since 1997 and he invited me to the Rose Paving 2010 Facilities Maintenance Conference,which the contractor hosts every other year. The idea of this type of event is to introduce current customers and prospects to some new technologies, some solutions to problems, and obviously to showcase Rose Paving. But it's the composition of the audience that packs the marketing punch. The folks in attendance were all decision-making principals who engaged with one another during a get-to-know-you informal networking breakfast, at breaks, during lunch, and even during the sessions. They were property owners, property managers, facility managers, engineers, material suppliers (SealMaster was in the house) -- and they were a mix of current customers and potential customers. And as we all talked and moved from one person to another it was clear that prospects could learn informally from existing customers how they have used Rose Paving. What better marketing could their be, especially to decision-making attendees? First up on yesterday's schedule was a presentation of "green paving solutions," which touched on stormwater management, sustainability, and a variety of enhancements such as brick pavers and porous asphalt that can transform parking lots into "green" sites. That was followed with a discussion of how property managers can evaluate the condition of their own parking lot (Rose has developed and copyrighted a guide to walk them through it). After a break the 100 or so attendees were able to ask questions of a panel that included Chuck Sampey, director of development & facilities for the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority (which operates U.S. Cellular Field where the White Sox play ball); Ernie Wong, engineer with Site Design Development; and Melissa Jones, Lead in Energy & Environmental Design, which assesses the value of green property improvements and provides a green ranking for the property. Questions ran the gamut but focused most heavily on green aspects of parking lot improvements -- based largely on the first presentation of the day -- and the panelists were able to provide insightful answers from three distinct perspectives. Following lunch comedian and TV veteran John Caponera ended the day with 45 minutes of entertainment, and then Alan Rose drew four raffle winners. This is not an easy event to pull off. It requires long-term planning, promotions, and a few bucks were spent. But my guess is it's highly successful for Rose -- and something other contractors should consider.