Despite a drop in attendance for the first time in conference history, the Radiant Panel Association's annual convention was still considered a success, according to its executive director.

Just over 1,000 people attended the meeting and trade show in Chicago May 13-15, the organization said. By comparison, 1,300 people attended last year's RPA Conference in Bellevue, Wash.

"We did twice as much advertising this year," said Larry Drake, executive director of the RPA. "The Midwest is the slowest in the country for radiant heating."

The organization continues to grow at a 25 percent clip each year, Drake told PM. "We're growing at the same rate as the industry," he said.

Conference highlights included a presentation by Steve Thomas of "This Old House," a Radiant Basics course taught by Mark Eatherton, an Advanced Controls course taught by John Siegenthaler and Ellen Rohr's "Where Did The Money Go?" Other seminars covered pump sizing, cooling alternatives, selling comfort and condensing technology.

Eatherton's full-day course covered everything from elementary radiant concepts to sophisticated control strategies. Siegenthaler, a PM columnist, presented a four-hour preview of RPA's advanced control course. Rohr, also a PM columnist, led a full seminar in a panel discussion about small business finance and how to make money.

Awards All Around

The RPA System Showcase and PM/PM Engineer Publisher's Choice Awards were handed out by master of

ceremonies Steve Smith, PM's editor. Smith's "Top 10 Reasons You Know You Are A Wethead" was the talk of the awards banquet. (The list is printed in this month's "Letters To The Editor" section.)

Winners of the System Showcase Award were:

Hydronic Residential Under 5,000 Sq. Ft.

  • First Place: Daigle Oil Com-pany; Richards Residence; Madawa-ska, Maine

  • Second Place: William Jannone & Sons; Hepp Residence; Sparta, N.J.

  • Third Place: Aspen Solar Systems; Aspen Center For Environ-mental Studies; Aspen, Colo.

Hydronic Residential Over 5,000 Sq. Ft.

  • First Place: Arab Technical Group; Saraf Villa; Amman, Jordan

  • Second Place: Ambrey Mech-anical; Petrosky Residence; Breken-ridge, Colo.

    Hydronic Commercial

    • First Place: Behrends Mechanical Inc.; Wings of Alaska; Juneau, Alaska

    • Second Place: Andy Stack & Sons; Schafer Development Company; Avon, Ohio

    • Third Place: William Jannone & Sons; Landscape Materials; Hillsbor-ough, N.J.

    Hydronic Retrofit

    • First Place: William Jannone & Sons; Mastroiani Residence; Martins-ville, N.J.

    Hydronic Innovative

    First Place: Lorton Plumbing; Diamond Building; Edwards, Colo.

  • Second Place: Aspen Solar Systems; Curley Project; Bayfield, Colo.

  • Third Place: Advanced Radiant Technology; Somerset Hills; Bellevue, Wash.

Electric Residential

  • First Place: Heatizon Systems; Paulos Residence; Salt Lake City, Utah

Commercial Residential

  • First Place: Heatizon Systems; Giovale Library; Salt Lake City, Utah

The PM/PM Engineer Publisher's Choice Award winners were:

Best Truck

William Jannone & Sons; Bound Brook, N.J.

Best Web Site

Advanced Radiant Technology; Seattle, Wash.

Best Broadcast Ad

Northwest Mechanical; Seattle, Wash.

Best Print Ad

The Janes Co.; Mukilteo, Wash.

Best Other Promotion

Andy Stack & Sons; Avon, Ohio

New Leadership

The RPA installed its new leadership for the 1999-2000 term at the conference. The association's new president is Ted Lowe, a contractor and manufacturer. Lowe owns Lowe Energy Design and works for Universal Flow Control. Ken Barney from Thornt-on Plumbing & Heating has return-ed again as vice president, Mike Lahti from Lochinvar is the secretary and John Beaudreau from Wirsbo will be the treasurer.

Next year's show is slated for Providence, R.I., May 11-13, 2000. For more information, call the RPA at 970/613-0100.