I woke up today to a crisp 64° morning. It’s also starting to get dark sooner, which means fall is right around the corner. And you know what that means… and, no, I'm not talking about football. Fall is conference and tradeshow season in the plumbing and HVAC world.

I have four trips planned over the next two months, with the possibility of one or two more before the end of the year. For me, that is quite a lot. But I am excited about attending each of these events this year because they give me ideas on the type of stories that you, our readers, are most interested in reading. Conferences and tradeshows help me keep a pulse on the industry and stay up-to-date on current contractor challenges.

These types of events can be even more beneficial for not only plumbing and HVAC business owners but also your employees. In the skilled trades, staying up-to-date on the latest technologies, trends and best practices is essential for success. One of the most effective ways for contractors to achieve this — other than reading Plumbing & Mechanical every month — is by attending conferences and trade shows.

These events provide plumbing and HVAC contractors with many education and learning opportunities — attending sessions can help contractors and their employees learn new skills, improve technical knowledge and stay updated on rapidly evolving industry standards. They also provide a great way to access new technologies. New tools, equipment and software solutions are introduced regularly to streamline processes and improve efficiency. Conferences and trade shows allow contractors to witness firsthand how these technologies can enhance their operations. Being aware of and adopting these advancements can give plumbing contractors a competitive edge in the market.

Additionally, conferences and trade shows offer more than just technical knowledge. They also provide opportunities for personal and professional growth. Engaging with diverse perspectives, attending motivational talks and participating in panel discussions can inspire contractors and employees to think outside the box and approach challenges with fresh ideas.

These events also offer limitless networking opportunities to meet and connect with peers, suppliers and manufacturers. Building a robust professional network can lead to collaboration, partnerships and referrals. Sharing experiences and challenges with fellow contractors can also provide valuable insights and solutions.

And finally, participating in industry national associations or best practice groups — such as PHCC, MCAA, ACCA, Nexstar Network, Service Nation and more — can enhance a contractor’s credibility within the industry. Being seen as an active and engaged participant demonstrates a commitment to professional development and staying current with industry advancements.

The bottom line: these events offer invaluable resources for plumbing and HVAC contractors seeking growth, education and networking. By actively participating, contractors can position themselves as knowledgeable and dynamic professionals in a competitive and ever-evolving industry.