The North Carolina/South Carolina Joint Convention & Trade Show was a recordbreaker, welcoming over 200 attendees.

Meeting in Myrtle Beach

Joint Convention Offers Networking Opportunities 

The 16th Annual North Carolina/South Carolina (NC/SC) Joint Convention & Trade Show was held May 8-10, 2019, at the Marriott Grande Dunes Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. At the risk of sounding repetitive, a new record for overall attendance was set for the fourth year in a row—total combined attendance for the convention and seminars exceeded 200 paid registrations! 

“The NC/SC joint convention was one of the best ones we’ve had in a few years,” says Carolinas Chapter Chair Bernie Parsons. “Bob Caputo’s seminars were a huge plus for those who attended—not only to hear Bob speak on leadership qualities for the project managers and superintendents, but also for networking at the seminar itself. Holding the trade show in conjunction with the seminars gave attendees the opportunity to talk to many of the industry leaders who were present.” 

The Wednesday evening mixer started with live entertainment provided by “The Band of Oz,” one of the premier beach music bands in the region. The event took place on the pool deck under the stars, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Add to the mix a complete array of premier food and top-shelf drinks for the entire evening and the 176-plus attendees had a grand experience, most calling it the “best convention ever.” 

“The NC/SC joint convention was the first convention trade show that I attended as a newly appointed board member of the South Carolina Fire Sprinkler Association [SCFSA],” comments Stuart Weeks, chairman of SCFSA. “These conventions have broadened my contacts not only across the two states but also across the country. I have gotten to know other leaders within this industry that I would not have if I had not first attended this convention and later joined the planning committee. My involvement within AFSA has been a positive, career-altering experience.” 

Calvin B. Morrow award recipients were celebrated during the convention: (from l to r): Paul Hensley (2003), Randall Strother (2015), Tommy Strange (2019), Carl Jackson (2017), and Jeffrey Dunn (2014).

Thursday was highlighted by seminars taught by Bob Caputo, instructor extraordinaire and a true gentleman, and the vendor exhibition and luncheon which also incorporated a joint NC/SC Chapter business meeting. That evening’s NextGen mixer event was a success and also set a new convention record for the largest turnout with 45 attendees. The seminar series continued for the full day on Friday, again taught by Caputo. The event wrapped up that evening with an informal social gathering. During the convention, Tommy Strange received the 2019 Calvin B. Morrow Award, the highest award given by the AFSA Carolinas Chapter. 

AFSA President & CEO Debra McGuire (left) and Diane Woods, a recipient of AFSA’s Fire Sprinklers Save Lives award.

No event of this magnitude can be successful without the cooperation and teamwork of a good planning committee, and the committee did an outstanding job! The committee this year included Committee Chair John Turnage, David Abel, Chris Cranfill, Jamie Ford, Jason Graham, Bernie Parsons, Nikki Ray, Stuart Weeks, Madison Parsons Wolf, and Taylor Young. Congratulations to the committee for a great convention, and many thanks to all the vendors and contractors who attended this event and made it possible. In addition, we appreciate the attendance of AFSA National President & CEO Debra McGuire, MBA, IOM, CAE, at this event, and we hope she enjoyed our “Southern hospitality!”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Turnage is the executive director of the AFSA Carolinas Chapter. For more details on the joint convention, contact Turnage at (919) 624-3456 or For more information on these AFSA chapters, visit and


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