With the start of a new year so begins a new tradeshow season, first kicking off with Design and Construction Week, held Jan. 21-23, in Las Vegas, followed by the AHR Expo, held Feb. 3-5, in Orlando, Florida. Both events present contractors and engineers with the unique opportunity to learn about industry trends and new products and technology.
Two for One
Design & Construction Week features the co-location of the NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) and the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Last year, the event brought together more than 95,000 attendees from around the world.
The NKBA is offering more than 70 continuing education classes as part of its annual Voices From the Industry (VFTI) conference at KBIS this year.
“We understand people attending KBIS have full agendas,” says Suzie Williford, executive vice president of industry relations and chief strategy officer, NKBA, in a news release. “Our goal is to provide a comprehensive educational program that touches on a variety of topics to keep our industry up-to-date on the latest emerging industry trends and business strategies. Three full days of curated content gives them plenty of options, and the tools and learning to enhance their professional development and help improve their businesses.”
Among the list of available courses are 25 new speakers and presentations on topics ranging from designing for the smart kitchen and bath, improving wellness in the home with bioadaptive lighting, how to evolve from designer to design leader and reinforcing resilience in design. The course schedule also includes several returning favorite topics, such as building your brand, living in place, thinking big about small spaces and the latest kitchen and bath design trends.
All sessions are classified in one of five categories: Grow Your Business, Design, Kitchen & Bath Specialty Training, Customer Service and Management.
Each one-hour session is eligible for 0.1 CEU from the NKBA and many may qualify for other industry CEUs. For all certi-fied NKBA members, VFTI provides an opportunity to fulfill a large part of the 20 hours of education required to maintain certification status.
In addition to VFTI, the KBISNeXT Stage will feature more than 15 programs, including four awards events and more than 50 industry-leading voices and personalities. This year’s topics range from health and wellness, resilient design and business development. Stage sessions are free to attend and seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Design & Construction week also presents manufacturers with the opportunity to network with customers face to face.
“At Moen, we pride ourselves on constantly listening to and learning from our customers and trade professionals so we can design products that make their lives and jobs easier,” says Jeff Swartz, president, Americas, Fortune Brands Global Plumbing Group. “KBIS continues to be a great opportunity to gather feedback from the industry, as well as introduce what’s new in our portfolio. This year, we’re looking forward to showcasing an array of exciting innovations, from cutting-edge smart home products to on-trend new styles — all intuitively designed to improve people’s experiences with water.”
Gene Barbato, vice president of brand management for American Standard, notes that KBIS presents the opportunity to showcase new innovations and designs and build relationships within the industry.
“This year, we’re looking forward to featuring two of our latest collections, including the urban-inspired Studio S bathroom and kitchen suite, and our SpaLet bidet seats and toilets,” he says. “As always, we’re excited to connect with our customers, as well as walk the floor to trend spot and get inspiration.”
AHR Expo Returns to Orlando
The AHR Expo attracts thousands of attendees from across the globe and with more than 500,000 square feet of exhibit space featuring everything that is new in the industry. The event is co-sponsored by ASHRAE and AHRI, endorsed by many industry leading organizations and is held concurrently with ASHRAE’s Winter Conference.
The show’s 2020 Education Program will include more than 200 free seminars, new product and technology presentations, professional certifications and continuing education courses. Each year, the Education Program discusses some of HVACR’s biggest opportunities and challenges through a series of comprehensive, informative and industry-focused sessions hosted by leaders from every sector of the industry. This year, the AHR Expo will add a series of HVACR trend discussions led by members of the AHR Expo Expert Council.
“The Education Program adds a unique element of learning to the AHR Expo with the opportunity to hear directly from leaders within the HVACR industry about the latest trends, applications and practices,” says Mark Stevens, AHR Expo show manager, in a news release. “The development of our session schedule is ongoing, and we take careful consideration of discussions happening across the industry to identify pain points, opportunities, trends, etc., where we might offer support and solutions through dedicated sessions. There is tremendous planning involved, internally with AHR Expo as well as from the speakers and sponsoring organizations, to deliver useful advice, perspectives and tools to advance as professionals in the industry.”
The 2020 Show features 76 free sessions led by industry experts working with leading organizations. Each session will range from one to two hours and will aim to deliver solutions to some of the HVACR industry’s most pressing challenges and exciting opportunities. Attendees are invited to attend general HVAC-related subjects as well as those specific to their sector of the industry and practice. Additionally, show management encourages attendees to download the MyShow-Planner App for iOS and Android to manage their Show and Education Program schedule.
Show attendees can also participate in professional development courses through ASHRAE Learning Institute (ALI) and short courses/professional development seminars approved for CEUs that can apply toward maintaining P.E. licensure. Attendees are required to register and pay tuition fees in advance of the show and can do so by visiting the ASHRAE registration website at bit.ly/2r23QQU.
“Today’s world of technology is evolving so quickly that continuing education is like swimming upstream,” says Steve Swanson, customer trainer at Uponor North America. “As soon as you stop, you will be going backwards. Without continuing education, your competitor will get your jobs, because they are attending the sessions. One of the great benefits of attending these seminars are rarely mentioned but very valuable, and that is the networking that you can do with a group of like-minded peers with a similar focus and the same desire to move ahead.”
The Radiant Professionals Alliance (RPA) will be sponsoring six sessions at the AHR Expo this year, according to Les Nelson, vice president, RPA.
“Tradeshow education sessions are an opportunity for industry members to showcase products, solutions and opportunities for specific technologies, with time for questions and answers from the experts,” he says. “RPA-sponsored education sessions are designed to inform attendees about the cutting edge of radiant and hydronic heating and cooling systems. With this knowledge, the RPA believes that attendees will be better prepared to specify, design and install high efficiency, water-based space conditioning systems for their customers.
“The AHR Expo is an excellent opportunity for the RPA and its Hydronics Industry Alliance-Commercial committee (HIA-C) to showcase water-based HVAC systems,” Nelson continues. “Each year, the HIA-C sponsors a breakfast meeting on the last day of the show to bring attendees up to speed on its latest activities. This year, the free breakfast will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 9 a.m. in Room W305B, where attendees will learn all about the H2O Accepted outreach and education effort now underway. We hope to see you there.”
Additionally, the AHR Expo will feature more than 100 presentations in its New Product and Technology Theater this year. Each presentation will last approximately 20 minutes each, and are planned across all three days of the show. These free presentations provide attendees with brief overviews of new product announcements and technologies that can be found in exhibitor booths on the show floor. Attendees are invited to follow up presentations with a visit to the booth for a more in-depth explanation and one-on-one interaction with products and representatives.
Bill Werthman, hydronics business development manager – West, Legend Valve, will be giving a Legend Product Technology showcase presentation as well as an hour-long one on hydraulic separation.
“The AHR Expo gives contractors and manufacturers alike the chance to see the latest and greatest technology available,” Werthman says. “It allows us as manufacturers to get in front of contractors and engineers and show them what we have developed. Most contractors just keep doing what they’ve been doing because it works great and they’re making money, but we have new great things out there. Without these seminars, nobody would know about it, unless we go around the country contractor by contractor showing it. This is a great opportunity and a great platform to show lots of people all at once.
“I’m most looking forward to seeing customers, talking to them about the products and getting feedback on whether it’s something they think they will use,” he continues. “I’d rather spend 10 minutes with a guy one-on-one because it’s better than anything in the world if you can answer all of their questions and get immediate feedback.”
To view the full 2020 AHR Expo education schedule, visit bit.ly/2rV580r.