The Urethane Blog

PFA Meeting Overview

Polyurethane Foam Association Spring Meeting Stresses Association’s Work In Member Support, Industry Advocacy

Meeting Features Technical Papers, Keynote Speaker Sam Allman, Industry Issues Forum, And Flexible Polyurethane Foam Hall Of Fame


PETERSBURG, FL (June 8, 2017)—The Polyurethane Foam Association (PFA) recently concluded its spring member meeting, documenting the association’s work in industry advocacy and education in numerous areas, including environmental, flammability, and safety.

PFA’s three-day meeting in late May brought together more than 160 executives from foam manufacturers, chemical suppliers, and other companies supporting the flexible polyurethane foam industry for in-depth discussion of industry issues.  Five technical papers were presented, and an industry issues forum allowed attendees to catch up with the association’s work over the last six months.

“This is a dynamic organization, that takes an active role on behalf of the flexible polyurethane foam industry,” said Chip Holton of NCFI Polyurethanes, President of PFA. “PFA concentrates its efforts on education, advocacy, and when necessary, action to represent our industry’s interests. This meeting shows just how much work is being done.”

Holton said that the flexible polyurethane foam industry continues to face significant communications and educational challenges in issues as diverse as fire safety, environmental stewardship, and manufacturing plant safety. He said that PFA works to build coalitions with other industry groups, as well as public interest organizations such as firefighters and environmentalist associations.

“We communicate using good science,” Holton said. “This has given PFA an extremely credible voice.”

  • In St. Petersburg, PFA hosted a technical program with five papers covering:
  • Gluing and Cutting of Synthetic Foams: Innovations in the PU Industry

The Application of ViscoElastic HyperSoft Memory Foam Technology

Optimized Surfactant for Flame Laminated Polyether Foam

New Soy-Based Polyols, Systems and Blends for Flexible Foam Applications

Update: PFA Member Community Awareness Program And Workbook

The meeting’s Keynote Speaker was Sam Allman, Chairman of Allman Consulting, an education and training organization that has worked with Mohawk Industries, Home Depot, Sherwin Williams, and numerous other companies in the home furnishings industry. Allman, an expert in branding, addressed the industry’s challenge of branding and enhancing value in what is often perceived to be a commodity product.

“Research shows that satisfied customers will leave you,” he explained. “But LOYAL customers will stay. What can you do to make your customers loyal?”  Allman then outlined a variety of techniques for enhancing customer loyalty and communicating value at the product and corporate levels.

A highlight of the meeting was the induction of longtime industry advocate Hugh Talley into the Flexible Polyurethane Foam Hall Of Fame. Talley, who died in 2016, had a long, distinguished career in the flexible foam and upholstered furniture industries, working in product development and quality control in furniture after beginning his career with North Carolina Foam Industries (now NCFI Polyurethanes) and Reeves Brothers. Talley was a key contributor to the Upholstered Furniture Action Council (UFAC) voluntary standard for furniture flammability resistance, which has been instrumental in reducing fires involving upholstered furniture and in saving thousands of lives.

Talley was also largely responsible for the flexible foam and furniture industry’s Joint Industry Foam Standards and Guidelines, published in 1994 and still appropriate and in use today. Talley also served as an expert witness on behalf of the foam and furniture industries, providing clear, persuasive technical information that benefitted both industries on many occasions.

“It is somewhat sobering to think of where the upholstery and flexible polyurethane foam industries might be, in regard to regulation, had it not been for the passion, intelligence, and perseverance of Hugh Talley,” said Robert Luedeka, PFA Executive Director. “Everyone in this industry will be forever grateful to him for this.”

Accepting the award on Talley’s behalf was his wife, Tommye, along with his daughter Tanya Talley Schmidt, her husband, Carl, and Talley’s son-in-law, Tim Clevenger.

The meeting also provided PFA members the opportunity to meet newly-appointed PFA Associate Director Russ Batson, a longtime veteran of the furniture industry who joined the association earlier in May.

The Polyurethane Foam Association is a trade association founded in 1980 to educate customers and other groups about flexible polyurethane foam (FPF). This includes providing facts on environmental, health and safety issues and technical information on the performance of FPF in consumer and industrial products. FPF is used as a key comfort component in most upholstered furniture and mattress products, along with automotive seating, carpet cushion, packaging, and numerous other applications.


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