The fall PVF Roundtable meeting capped off another record-breaking year for the Houston-based industrial PVF networking group.

The October meeting, held at the Westin Galleria Houston, drew more than 400 attendees for an evening filled with networking opportunities. This was the first year the Roundtable split its four meetings into two formal dinner/speaker events and two networking only events. “The response to the networking events has been overwhelmingly positive,” PVF Roundtable President Joe Pro (Penn Machine) said. The weekend prior, the Roundtable presented the annual TroutBlast fishing event in Matagorda Bay, Texas, which attracted 285 fishermen. The awards dinner was attended by 330 individuals. Proceeds from the TroutBlast are earmarked for the PVF Roundtable Scholarship Fund. Last year’s TroutBlast raised $27,000. Pro said an exact total from this year’s event will be announced this month.

“We had an overwhelming number of sponsors participate,” he said. “This year was a rousing success and no doubt it will continue. It’s one of those unusual events that is really popular on a lot of peoples’ calendars. We had members fill entire teams with customers. It brings an enormous amount of people together from the industry to network and do something they really enjoy. And whatever we spin off with proceeds goes directly to those scholarships.”

Pro noted the scholarship fund is scheduled to award $150,000 in donations for fiscal 2015 to four industrial PVF-related institutions (two trade schools and two universities). Earlier this year, $25,000 donations were given to San Jacinto College and Lee College. Pro said in early winter $50,000 will again be earmarked to the University of Houston and $50,000 to Texas A&M University for their industrial distribution programs. Pro and PVF Roundtable Secretary Harold Armstrong (Armstrong /Weatherly Associates) will attend a scholarship dinner at Texas A & M that honors the scholarship donations of the Roundtable’s members and sponsors. “This is possible because of the pure generosity of sponsors and our members who step up to the plate at our events,” Pro said. “They are the ones who make it happen.”

Despite a tumultuous industrial PVF climate, Pro said membership in the group is up. “Membership continues to grow. We’re probably in the 240-member range if not more,” he said. “Everybody sees it as a great value. The membership fee is reasonable and there are so many opportunities to participate. There’s no other venue like it where you get an opportunity to network with others in the industry without the multiple-day time commitment. It’s at the end of the work day and you are out by the end of the night. Those who do come from out of town take advantage of their time in Houston and visit with customers and suppliers in the area.”

The PVF Roundtable kicks off 2016 with a formal dinner/speaker event on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at the Westin Galleria. The annual Don Caffee Memorial Golf Tournament takes place Monday, May 16 followed by the first Roundtable networking event of the year on Tuesday, May 17 at the Westin Galleria. Pro said the format of two dinner/speaker events and two networking events will continue in 2016.