Launch Slideshow

The Party Report

The Party Report

  • Best Weird Humanoids: Milwaukee

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    David Frane_ToTT

    You’ve seen ‘em, those guys who paint themselves gold or silver, stand like statues in tourist areas, and then pass the hat for contributions. Well, these guys are better. They’re red, they have tools, and they kept their hats on so I did not have to donate.

  • Best Ice Sculpture: Makita

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    David Frane_ToTT

    When you see an ice sculpture, you know you’re at a festive event, like a wedding or STAFDA party. The tool depicted in this sculpture is Makita’s new 7 1/4-inch dual-battery cordless circular saw. But enough about tools, let’s hear more about parties…

  • Best Booze Dispenser: Makita

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    David Frane_ToTT

    You didn’t think the ice sculpture in the previous slide was just to look at—did you? Of course not! In a feat of engineering second only to that of putting two 18-volt batteries into a single tool, Makita came up with this clever way to chill booze: Pour the drink into a hose that passes through a block of ice and it will be cold when it comes out at the bottom. And as if that were not enough, the drink is served in a glow-in-the-dark martini glass—Makita teal of course.

  • Best Greeter: DeWalt

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    David Frane_ToTT

    Uncle Sam wants you. And DeWalt does too—to eat, drink, and smoke cigars at their party.

  • Best View: DeWalt

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    David Frane_ToTT

    It’s hard to argue with the view from the balcony of the Foundation Room lounge on the top floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, which is where DeWalt held their party. If you’ve been to this lounge you’ll be surprised to hear it’s on the 44th floor. The elevator buttons say it’s on the 60-somethingth floor. It’s not, but then we are talking about Vegas—where few things are what they seem.

  • Best Performance: Milwaukee

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    David Frane_ToTT

    Milwaukee held its event in the main room at The House of Blues. The band—a mix of professional and amateur musicians—was excellent. The pros live in the Milwaukee area; the amateurs work for Milwaukee Electric Tool. There was an ever-changing cast of characters on the stage and I recognized a few from the tool company.

  • Best Door Prizes: Makita

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    David Frane_ToTT

    That’s a lot of stuff to give away. And give it away they did; I saw any number of folks walking around with these prizes later on in the evening.

  • Best Motorcycle: DeWalt

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    David Frane_ToTT

    This one was easy; DeWalt was the only company that had a motorcycle at its party. It was a nice bike— a Harley Davidson Road King—and my first thought upon seeing it was “how did they bring that thing up in such a small elevator?”

  • Best Looking Ladies: Makita

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    David Frane_ToTT

    Makita’s food spread was less impressive than in previous years but their goodwill ambassadors, Señorita Makita and Miss Makita, were as charming as ever. When I arrived at the party they were signing posters of themselves posing with various Makita power tools—though for the life of me I can’t remember what any of those tools were. I must have been distracted.

  • Best Looking Guitar: Milwaukee

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    David Frane_ToTT

    You have to love a customized guitar; I don’t know who that is playing it, but he was great. The guitarist in back—with the bow tie and red hat band—is Tim Brasher, Director of Brand Marketing at Milwaukee Electric Tool. Other folks from the tool company joined the band during various parts of the performance.

  • Best Dressed: DeWalt

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    David Frane_ToTT

    The statue at the entrance to the Foundation Room lounge was garbed for the party in a simple but elegant t-shirt. I was going to say a Zen-like calm pervaded the event—but really; it was a much better party than that.

  • Best Overheard Conversation: DeWalt

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    David Frane_ToTT

    This photo of fellow revelers at the DeWalt party was shot with the special “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” camera setting. On the elevator down from the event I overheard the following conversation: Guy: I don’t think I have ever left the Foundation Room before ten. Gal: I don’t think I ever went to the Foundation room before ten. Me: Yikes, it’s almost ten! I have to get back to my room and go to bed (Okay, I didn’t actually say that—but I did think it).

Each year, in November, the big tool and fastener companies meet with their distributors at the Specialty Tools and Fasteners Distributors Association (STAFDA) annual convention. This year it was held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, and I was there to report on the new tools that were being unveiled. I'll tell you about those tools in the coming weeks, but this story is about the convention—specifically, the evening when manufacturers entertain the folks who distribute their products. Typically, 10 or so tool companies hold parties, and there's a subtle competition to have the best.

This year I stopped in at several parties. Mind you, it was strictly business; I only went so I could report on them to you. In keeping with the competitive nature of the parties I decided to describe them in terms of the best things I saw while there. You can see them in the slideshow on the left side of this page. They include:

  • Best Weird Humanoids
  • Best Ice Sculpture
  • Best Booze Dispenser
  • Best Greeter
  • Best View
  • Best Performance
  • Best Door Prizes
  • Best Motorcycle
  • Best Looking Ladies
  • Best Looking Guitar
  • Best Dressed
  • Best Overheard Conversation