'Biggest ever' AHR Expo indicates optimistic industry
One of the leading indicators an economy or market is turning south is an industry filled with once-prosperous, but now struggling, trade shows and expos. Exhibitor floor space shrivels up, attendance numbers slump, shows even consolidate or disappear altogether.
On the other hand, organizers of the 2017 International Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition, Jan. 30- Feb. 1 in Las Vegas, said on the first day of the show this AHR Expo would be the largest ever, with nearly 2,000 plumbing and HVACR companies displaying their newest and most advanced products to an international crowd of nearly 70,000 attendees who browsed more than a half million square feet of exhibits filling two of the facility’s mammoth exposition halls.
“Very, very large,” chuckled Ed Langlo from E.C. Langlo Co., in Santa Barbara, Calif., who said interest in new technologies brought him to the 69th edition of the show. “I’ve been contracting since 1971, so I’m old school, and I’m just trying to catch up on the newer technologies. Zoning systems, controls — those types of things.”
On the international front, Tom Kennedy said he’s been making the trek to AHR Expos for the past seven or eight years: “The exposure we get from an international trade show brings us two opportunities that we don’t see a lot,” said the purchasing manager for Source Atlantic, an electrical, plumbing and construction supplier based in St. John, NB. “So, we’re at a stage where we have strategic meetings with suppliers while we’re here, and with the two of us here, we can develop those relationships.”
In addition to trade show floor fun and frolic, the event boasted an impressive array of both free and paid educational sessions and seminars. The actual fact is an attendee could easily have spent his or whole entire show in classrooms without ever seeing a twinkle of the exhibit halls learning about everything from radiant heating and cooling, high-performance building design, or designing high-performance healthcare HVAC systems.
Another highlight of the Expo was the presentation of its annual Innovation Awards to companies who’ve come to market with the coolest hardware. Not all winners were from the plumbing category, but there were some familiar names among the honorees, including Noritz America, whose Combination Boiler won the prize in the Heating category and Taco, Inc., which took the nod in the Plumbing category with its SmartPlug Hot Water Recirculation Control
Also on tap during the AHR Expo was the Radiant Professionals Alliance Annual Membership meeting, during which the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating chair David Hughes presented a CHC Award of Merit to longtime radiant hydronics expert Robert Bean. At an RPA social event later that evening the group gave its first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award to John Hazen White, Jr., of Taco.
Next year’s event moves to the friendly confines of Chicago’s McCormick Place Jan. 22-24, 2018. Monitor www.ahrexpo.com to be sure you’re getting the latest on the show.