The National Plasterers Council held its annual conference Feb. 5-7 in Nashville, Tenn. It was the first since the departure of longtime Executive Director Mitch Brooks and his association management firm, Visioneering Consultants Inc. of Port Charlotte, Fla. “When these things first happen, you always wonder how folks are going to react,” said NPC outgoing Chairman Edgar Sanchez of Brooks’ abrupt departure. “Typically what happens is, some people run away, a lot stay on the sidelines, and you get other people who jump right in. We had a lot of things to be encouraged about while we were there.” NPC did not disclose exact attendance, but he reported an increase of 12 percent over last year, with vendor participation up 22 percent. For the first time, the organization offered a business track of seminars, which was well received, Sanchez said. In addition to enjoying a thriving show, the membership has increased 14 percent, he also noted. And in its search to replace Brooks, NPC is ahead of schedule. The organization originally aimed to hire a new executive director by May, but Sanchez said it has narrowed candidates down to six and should have a new hire in April. n