For the first time in many years, SMACNA allowed exhibitors at its Oct. 22 product show to bring full-size equipment with them. Several companies took SMACNA up on the offer. Both attendees and company representatives reported they were happy about the change in policy.

"I think it's great," said attendee Mike Pence, vice president of Control Air North, Hayward, Calif. "I think it's a lot more informative this year, (because) of the hands-on. I thought the exhibitors seemed a lot more knowledgeable about what they were exhibiting."

Officials from duct manufacturer Spiral-Helix didn't bring any large pieces of equipment with them, citing the show's short (six-hour) length. However, sales manager Tom Munro said it was still well worth exhibiting.

"It's a great show," he said. "We meet a lot of our customers."

Many contractors echoed Munro's comments.

"I like the expanded format. You get to hang out and talk to people a little bit more than in previous years," said Dan Harden, owner of Cornwall on Hudson, N.Y.-based Harden Sheet Metal