And it's the worst crying shame that more people aren't crowing about the ISH North America conference program.

In its three years of existence, the ISH North America product exposition has generated abundant publicity within the PHC industry. Yet, most coverage of this trade show has focused on the product displays, and that has served to obscure one of the most stunning developments to take place in the PHC industry in the 27 years that I've been associated with it. With not enough fanfare, the organizers and sponsors of ISH North America have put together, for three years running, one of the most dynamic educational programs the industry has ever seen at a single event.

Next month's version in Boston is going to feature some 68 educational sessions, 53 of which will be unique programs. (The other 15 are repeats, to give attendees a better chance to attend popular sessions.) Presenters include a superstar lineup of some of the industry's most knowledgeable practitioners and consultants. These will include almost all of PM's regular columnists and contributors, including Dan Holohan, John Siegenthaler, Julius Ballanco, Al Levi, Carol Fey, Ellen Rohr, Maurice Maio and Paul Ridilla.

I, too, will be on the program as moderator of a panel discussion on "The Future of Manufacturing in America," featuring Nibco CEO Rex Martin, Gerber/Globe Union senior executive Ron Grabski, and Thomas Bradtke of Boston Consulting Group and author of BCG's April 2004 report on "Capturing Global Advantage," which discusses strategic options for capturing and selling opportunities in low-cost countries. Make it a point to sign up for and attend this revealing session, which takes place Saturday morning, Oct. 16, 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (End of commercial. We now return to the rest of this commentary.)

Moreover, the keynote address will be given by Dan Holohan. Dan gave the best keynote speech I've ever heard at an early meeting of the Radiant Panel Association a few years after its formation. I guarantee people will leave that room buzzing about his ideas. Don't miss this presentation.

Also presenting a seminar at the conference will be longtime plumbing-heating star of PBS's "This Old House" TV program and former PM columnist Rich Trethewey. Rich is another speaker who finds it impossible to be boring. Kohler Co. President David Kohler also will be speaking at an Oct. 14 luncheon, and will share his vision of the industry's future. All of these gentlemen deserve huge audiences.

Radiant and hydronic heating in general are going to be particularly well covered at this year's program by virtue of its location in the hydronics hotbed of New England. But there also are numerous seminars and panel discussions covering plumbing, HVAC, kitchen and bath, environmental systems, and business management and marketing topics. No matter what the nature of your business, you'll find plenty of opportunity in Boston to pick up some valuable business tips from the industry's most acclaimed experts.

Those of you attending in conjunction with the concurrent annual conventions of RPA, ASA and PHCC will have additional educational opportunities in the days preceding the lavish ISH North America Academy conference program.

It's hard to overstate what a wondrous opportunity this is. No matter where in the country you're coming from, the total cost of this mind-expanding adventure shouldn't be much more than $2,000, and that's only if you stay in a plush hotel and live it up after hours at the finest restaurants and watering holes. If you manage a budget excursion, the entire package could come in at less than $1,000.

That's a bargain price in view of the value received. The conference schedule makes it possible to attend as many as six educational sessions over the three days of ISH North America, plus the addresses by Holohan and Kohler. That in itself would be worth the expenditure. Plus, you'll get to tour some 500 product and service exhibits, speak with some of the industry's top vendor executives, and take advantage of networking opportunities galore.

Oh, and you are likely to have a terrific time after hours in one of America's great historical cities. There are many ways to spend $1,000 to $2,000. There are not many better ways to do so for anyone serious about improving their business fortunes.

More specifics about the ISH North America conference can be found at ISH North America moves to an every-other-year schedule after the Boston event, so it will be two years before you get the next chance to sponge up so much valuable information in a single setting. Don't miss it.