The MN8 Foxfire caravan pulled into the Indianapolis Convention Center wednesday afternoon. We knew it would be a good show when we already had people waiting to talk to us before we even started unpacking our booth.
Later back at the hotel we met up with our celebrity spokesmen Lt. Rhet Flietz ( www.thefirecritic.com) and Capt. Willie Wines (www.ironfiremen.com)
They were very proud to be showing off their brand new kilts. I could not be left out so one of their friends who made the drive with them, Big Mike, of the Renegade Pipes and Drums offered me a kilt to wear.
We met up with the rest of our crew and headed out to the F.O.O.L.S. outdoor party. It was so great seeing several people in the crowd wearing their Foxfire illuminating t- shirts. Rhett and Willie were mobbed like celebrities, everybody wanted their pictures with them. These two giants in the fire service are the real deal. They don’t know a stranger. Every firefighter they meet is greeted as “hey brother.”
The first day of the show was great! A few of us got to the booth several hours before the start and we already had a constant stream of people. So many people were lined up that some had to come back two and three times just to get a demo. We completely sold out of all of our illuminating tetrahedrons and almost sold all of the FDIC winning T-shirts made by firefighter Donald Wedding on the first day.
Some of the greatest comments of the day were from the firefighters that bought our products last year and were now bringing their fellow firefighters over to show them the “magic” as some people called it.
That night we had a chance for our entire team to unwind at one of my favorite restaurants, Adobo. We rented an entire room and spent the night sharing laughs, dancing to the Mariachi bands, eating table-side made guacamole and drinks, lots of fresh made margaritas.
The next two days were just like the first two, action packed and a constant stream of distributors, firefighters, and others wanting to hang out with the MN8-Foxfire team and to learn more about how our advanced photoluminescent technologies can help increase visibility, reduce disorientation and improve accountability. We even were interviewed by Mike Brooks of CNN Headline News.
The last day, we signed up for our new booth for next years show and after speaking with the person at the conference, she made a comment, “So you guys are the ones we’ve been hearing about that has been so busy that you've been blocking the aisles with all your crowds. Outside of the special visit from the “Swamp People” and the bikini girls we were one of the busiest booths at the show."
When I look back on the show and what we have accomplished since last year, I tried to figure out how we could have gained so much traction so fast and the answer is simple. The reason is something we have talked about many times before. We are taking an innovative technology and making a difference in the safety of our brothers. Every dollar we make goes back into growing our mission of "By firefighters for firefighters." We are not a huge corporation that can spend millions of marketing dollars on big trade-show booths and full page advertisements. We are just a bunch of firefighters trying to look out for each other.
Congratulations, Donald Wedding
Winner of the Foxfire Illuminating T-shirt Design Contest!
Today is the first day of exhibits at FDIC in Indianapolis. Our team is excited about meeting up with lots of firefighters over the next few days. Exhibit open at 1 p.m. today and everything at the MN8-Foxfire booth is nearly ready to go.
As promised, we are also announcing the winner of our T-shirt design contest today! You may recall that we ran a contest a couple of months ago asking for designs that would make a great iluminating T-shirt. The only requirement was that it have something to do with firefighting and be a design others would want to wear on a shirt. We received lots of great entries, thanks so much to everyone who entered and the great creativity out there! However, there could be only one winner, and so we selected the following design as the winner of our 2012 FDIC T-shirt design contest:
The design was created by Donald Wedding, a career firefighter for the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia; currently assigned to Ladder 1. He is also a technician with the Falmouth Volunteer Fireman's Association located in South Stafford, Va.
Following in the footsteps of his older brother, dad and grandfather, Donald (Donnie) is a third generation firefighter with 17 years of experience. He is also a certified Instructor 3 for the Virginia Dept. of Fire Programs, teaching locally and throughout the state.
Art is another one of Donald’s passions. At an early age, Donnie was enrolled in special arts programs. After he became a volunteer firefigher, his artistic abilities were quickly noticed. He helps create patches and logos for fire departments throughout the country. To contact Donnie about artwork, email him at email@example.com.
Here's some images of the the T-shirts, we think they turned out great!
We'll be selling the shirts at FDIC this week. They're also available through our webstore, so if you want to purchase a shirt with Donald's winning design you can go to: www.mn8foxfire.com
Let us know what you think about how they turned out!
We’re packed and headed out today for the Fire Department Instructor’s Conference (FDIC) in Indianapolis. We’ve got our blackout tent ready (so people can see the illumination from our products in the dark), we’ve got firefighters who have used the products ready to demonstrate and talk about them and we’ve got lots of products available for purchase. We’ll also be announcing the winner of our T-shirt design contest, talking about our Boots on the Street program, sharing news about some collaborations we’ll being telling you about soon and talking about our upcoming products. If you’re going, be sure to visit us at the MN8-Foxfire Booth #3026 of the Indiana Convention Center to learn more about how Foxfire illuminating products help firefighters reduce disorientation, improve accountability and increase visibility.
You might even find a couple of “celebrities” hanging around our booth.
That’s right, Lt. Rhett Fleitz of the Fire Critic blog (FireCritic.com) and Captain Willie Wines Jr. of the Wooden Ladders and Iron Firemen blog (IronFiremen.com) will be spending time at our booth when they’re not signing autographs or posing for photos.
Seriously, our entire MN8-Foxfire team has the highest respect for Rhett and Willie. They are truly good friends and great supporters of fellow firefighters and the firefighting industry. I’ve been greatly touched that they’ve become huge fans of Foxfire products and supporters of our goals of keeping our fellow firefighters safe.
It seems like we’ve been friends for a very long time. But it’s only been a year. In fact, our friendship began a year ago-at FDIC. Today, I’d like to share that story with you.
We stalked Rhett. Well, sort of. Here’s what happened: Sometime before FDIC, we’d contacted Rhett about doing a product review of our Foxfire illuminating helmet band. Keep in mind that MN8-Foxfire had just been launched months before last year’s FDIC and at that time our only products were the Foxfire illuminating helmet band and the Foxfire illuminating do-it-yourself coating kit. About a week before FDIC, Rhett published his review of the helmet bands and it was published on his blog.
His review was very positive, you can read it here
After arriving in Indianapolis, the night before FDIC began we decided to find Rhett. As you probably know, he’s big into social media. So Amy, who heads up marketing and public relations for MN8-Foxfire and I started tracking Rhett’s whereabouts via Twitter and Foursquare. When he checked into a downtown Indianapolis BBQ restaurant, I headed over to meet him and thank him for his recent review. Sure enough, I found him along with Captain Willie and Dave Statter (statter911.com), another firefighter industry blogger. And the friendships began.
In the year since FDIC 2011, Rhett, Willie and I have spent a lot of time together. When we unexpectedly didn’t have enough staffing at last year’s Firehouse Expo in Baltimore, Willie lent a hand and helped work at the MN8-Foxfire booth. With his credibility and reputation in the fire industry, it was an honor to have him work with us. Willie also helped us “work the booth” at Fire Rescue International in Atlanta last year. Rhett was also at both of these shows, talking up our products in between his Fire Critic gigs.
I guess we help each other out. When Willie and Rhett called me last year asking if MN8-Foxfire would be willing to donate helmet bands to the climbers of a 9/11 stair climb they were participating in, we immediately agreed, creating some specially designed helmet bands specifically for that event.
During the past year, Willie, Rhett and I also did some traveling together, heading to New York City twice, and visiting numerous fire stations while we were there. On our last New York Trip, we teamed up to establish a joint fundraiser to raise money for two injured firefighters from FDNY Rescue 2, a station we’d visited on our first trip.
Rhett and Willie also visited the MN8-Foxfire headquarters in Cincinnati a couple of times during the past year. On one of these visits the three of us trained in a flashover simulator in our turnout gear, along with catching a Cincinnati vs. W. Virginia football game together.
In just one year, we’ve shared too many experiences and fun times to share in just one blog post. Bottom line is that these are really great “brothers” and two men I’m honored to call good friends. If you haven’t met them before, I hope you get the chance talk with them at FDIC or some other time in the future, because they all around great guys who are worth getting to know. If you have any experiences you’d like to share about Rhett and Willie, we’d love to hear those too!
It’s Fire Department Instructor’s Conference Week (FDIC)! Our team is excited about heading to Indianapolis. We’ll be demonstrating how Foxfire products help increase firefighter safety at Booth #3026 of the Indiana Convention Center.
One of the new things we’ll be talking about is the MN8-Foxfire Boots on Street program. After many months of planning, we successfully launched this new program just a couple weeks ago with a small group of firefighters. Now, we’re ready to expand the program to an even larger group.
Boots on the Street Overview
So many of you kept sharing your stories with us of how Foxfire products have kept you and your brothers safer on the job. And many of you have taken it upon yourselves to start sharing the safety advantages of our products with other firefighters. That’s why we decided to create this program.
The MN8-Foxfire Boots on the Street program is a community of firefighters interested in building a safer environment for all firefighters. Members can be as active in the program as they are able to, on his or her days off from the firehouse. Armed with Foxfire illuminating products and a demo sized axe handle with Foxfire grip wrap and epoxy, Boots on the Streets members will visit with other firefighters and fire departments. They will then demonstrate the product and safety features of Foxfire illuminating products to other firefighters, as well as share their own experiences using the products.
Each Boots on the Street member will receive monthly commissions for sales they’ve made, bonus’ for recruiting others into the program and ongoing training and support. There is an initial cost to purchase the sales kits.
Boots on the Street is all about keeping our brothers safe. If you’re part of the program, you can be an integral part of helping your brothers improve their safety. By demonstrating what Foxfire illuminating products can do, you’ll be helping firefighters reduce disorientation, improve accountability and increase visibility so that all “boots on the street” are accounted for.
If you’d like to learn more about the program, you can select the “join our team” button at the of our website at www.mn8foxfire.com
Or if you’re at FDIC this week, our Boots on the Street Coordinator, Mariah Leavitt, will be at the MN8-Foxfire booth ready to talk about the program. Mariah will also be sharing some of her own thoughts about the Boots on the Street program in the upcoming weeks on our blog.
Thanks as always for your support in helping us create products that save lives.
This purpose of this trip was two-fold. First, I wanted to visit our largest Canadian distributor and secondly I wanted to live out a childhood dream of seeing the Edomonton Oilers play a home hockey game. As a little kid, I dreamed of Wayne Gretzkey, Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr, Mark Messier and one of the greatest dynasties in all of sports; the 1983-1990 Edmonton Oilers.
I was greeted at the airport by national sales manager Troy Mutch of Commercial Solutions. Troy does not only run one of the most successful firefighting products distributions organizations in Canada he is also a very active member of both his local fire department and national Canadian firefighting causes.
He was recently awarded a very prestigious Diamond Jubilee medal from the Queen of England in honor of his service to Canadian volunteer firefighting.
He drove me back to their offices for a grand tour. I could not have been more humbled to walk in the front door and be greeted front and center with a very prominent Foxfire display.
They gave me a tour of their warehouse and their two story indoor training tower. We were then met by Luke Brisson, another Commercial Solutions Sales rep and full-time firefighter with the city of Calgary. If I could come back in another life, I would want to be Luke. He’s a full-time firefighter, former semi-professional hockey player and chick magnet. He just got back from a one month trip to Thailand. Let’s just say this man had us all very jealous of his stories, except of course Commercial Solutions assistant manager Scott (the Rico Suave of Canada) who did not seem too impressed.....As we were walking around the building, Luke asked what any good self-respecting firefighter would ask someone on a tour “wanna go to the roof?”
Even though I just recently met these guys, I felt like I had known them for years. It never ceases to amaze me that a firefighter is a firefighter no matter were you run. These guys are more than just new friends, they are my brothers. I look forward to many more trips with them in the future (we are thinking about a July trip to Vancouver next)
Later that night we all met up again starting at a great bar/restaurant called CHOP. Wow, I would have thought I was in Las Vegas. Let’s just say Edmonton is at no loss for beautiful women.....
We then all met up with some more firefighters from Thorsby Fire Department and headed to a Brazilian Style restaurant called Pampa. According to Luke, we were going to eat so much steak that we would have “meat sweats.” I’m not sure what that meant but I ate so much that I could barely sleep that night...
I’m always on the lookout for creative and innovative products. After excusing myself to go to the bathroom, I found a product that had me rolling. Take a look at these pics and make sure to visit : www.theweee.com If any of you own a restaurant, bar or pub this is a MUST !
I woke up the next morning to something I have not seen in over a year. SNOW. Not just a few flakes but Canadian style snow; 30-40c centimeters 15+inches (I had to look that up)
We first had a duck sandwich (YUM....) and then headed to the Edmonton Fire Department for a few more meetings. It was then off to the hotel to get ready for the main event of the trip, Edmonton Oilers hockey.
In typical Troy fashion, we did not just attend the game, we watched the game from VIP seats just a few rows up from the goal. It was a great game that ended in overtime. It was a awesome time with a great group of guys. I'm looking forward to my next trip back to Western Canada and illuminating Canada with my new found brothers.