Reason No. 1 -- A Really Big Show: This could be the start of something big. Our industry needs a large, consolidated trade show appealing to a diverse audience, and ISH North America represents maybe the last, best hope to forge one. Show coordinator Messe Frankfurt Inc. is a world-class trade show company and brings more resources to the effort than ever before. An unprecedented array of industry organizations -- PHCC, ASA, CIPH, PCA, RPA, AIM/R, PVF Roundatable, PMI (although lately expressing disappointment with the every-year format) -- has lined up in support of ISH NA.
ISH NA aimed for 400 exhibitors the first year, and is more than 90 percent there as of this writing with three months still to go. You can see a list of those exhibitors by going to the PM Web site, www.PMmag.com. Click on the ISH NA icon in the right-hand column, then click on the exhibitors link.
Reason No. 2 -- All-Star Education: In addition to the product exposition, ISH NA is accompanied by an all-star educational conference seldom matched by any industry convention. There are some 55 programs slated, many by PM’s columnists. You can download the conference brochure via the ISH NA Web link cited above.
Reason No. 3 -- Toronto: Toronto is a great city, and within driving distance of many U.S. locations in the Midwest and Northeast. If you fly, there’s still time to obtain attractive air fares buying several weeks in advance.
Despite the late fall date, weather should be OK. Toronto sits on the shores of Lake Ontario, which, like any other big body of water, has a moderating effect on climate. Pack a fall coat, but you can leave the parka and galoshes at home.
Reason No. 4 -- Big Bang For Your Dollar: Canada is a travel bargain due to favorable currency exchange rates. Toronto is Canada’s version of New York but at Des Moines prices.
Reason No. 5 -- The Gang’s All There: PHCC -- NA holds its convention in the days prior to ISH NA, so this is a good opportunity to attend both. If you’re a PHCC member that hasn’t attended the national meeting in a while, or thinking of joining, this would be a good time to call them at 800/533-7694 to register.
Also, the Radiant Panel Association will hold its first meeting in Toronto, and will get together with the Canadian Hydronics Council. Various manufacturers and supplier organizations also will be in town. Odds are good of running into people you want to see.
Reason No. 6 -- International Flavor: ISH NA will have an unprecedented number of international exhibitors and visitors for an American plumbing industry event. Spain, Italy, Germany and Austria have planned exhibitor pavilions, and various other foreign companies will be represented.
This foreign influence alone will make it different from previous PHC trade shows in this country. You’ll get a chance to see products never before shown on these shores, and bask in different points of view about PHC industry affairs.
One of the most striking aspects of the every-other-year ISH trade fair in Frankfurt, Germany, is the cosmopolitan nature of the audience. They come from upwards of 80 nations around the globe. Visitors get a perspective of the big picture like nowhere else.
This is not to say ISH NA will match that experience -- not yet. It is a smaller scale version of the ISH show in Frankfurt, but with the potential for growing to something comparable or beyond.
Reason No. 7 -- Networking: Product exhibitions and educational programs may be icing on the cake compared with the greatest value derived at any large-scale industry gathering. This has to do with the networking opportunities in meeting fellow professionals from all over the country -- in this case, from all over the world.
The word “networking” conjures up images of people standing around a cocktail party making conversation with people they don’t know. There certainly will be some of that in Toronto, but the term networking goes far beyond that.
Over the years, I’ve made hundreds of beneficial contacts while attending PHC industry conventions and trade shows. Almost never do I return from one without having acquired new friends and professional associates.
Where do you meet them? Everywhere. You run into them in hotel lobbies and elevators, in bars and restaurants, wandering the trade show floor or hanging out by a particular booth. If you peek at enough name tags, you’ll recognize some names you’ve been anxious to meet.
By definition, these chance encounters cannot be planned. But my experience has been they are almost certain to occur.
Except when you don’t attend. Time is growing short. Don’t miss this chance.
Reason No. 8 -- Sex Sells: In checking on tourism events in Toronto, we found out there’s a show playing in town Oct. 31-Nov. 3 titled, “The Everything to Do with Sex Show.”
Olsztynski At ISH NA
Jim Olsztynski is a scheduled speaker at the ISH North America trade show debuting in Toronto. Jim will offer "Kitchen & Bath Best Practices" on Thursday, Oct. 31, at 10–11:30 a.m.; and "Supply Chain Best Practices" on Friday, Nov. 1, at 10–11:30 a.m. To register for the show, visit www.ish-na.com.