LAS VEGAS -Where better to hold a convention of sheet metal and ac contractors than this city in the desert? Caesars Palace is the site of the 59th annual Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association convention, Oct. 20-23.

Organizers promise a whirlwind convention, with guest speakers, meetings, committee work, networking and an expanded trade show featuring the latest and greatest products in sheet metal and hvac.

Las Vegas remains a popular convention destination: In 2001, 4 million convention and trade show delegates traveled to Las Vegas, generating $4.8 billion in non-gaming revenue. Las Vegas hosts the majority of Tradeshow Week's Top 200 largest conventions and rents more convention space than any other U.S. city. More than 35 million people visit Las Vegas annually.

Caesars Palace, one of the first of Las Vegas' theme resorts, opened in the mid-1960s but has had several rebirths since then. It has 2,456 rooms and suites. Magical Empire, a multimillion-dollar dining and entertainment complex, opened in 1996. The Garden of the Gods, recently rebuilt, covers 4.5 acres and features three outdoor swimming pools with inlaid marble and granite, two outdoor spas and gardens. In 1997, the Forum Shops at Caesars opened, with 35 new shops, stores and restaurants in a 276,000-sq. ft. expansion. In 2000, a $3 billion deal closed to sell Caesars World Inc., including Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip, to Park Place Entertainment.

Scheduled keynote speaker for the convention opening session on Sunday is James Addison Baker III, former chief of staff under President Ronald Reagan and eyewitness to some of the greatest international events that shape our society today. Baker served as undersecretary of commerce and campaign manager for President Gerald Ford. He managed George H.W. Bush's unsuccessful bid for the presidential nomination in 1980, then served as secretary of state from 1989-92 under President Bush, including during the Persian Gulf War.

As happens every year, a new SMACNA president will be announced at the convention. Current President Ron Rodgers of Kinetic Systems Inc., Tempe, Ariz., will be turning over leadership at the end of the convention to incoming President Jack Desmond, Cox Engineering Co., Canton, Mass.

Business News Publishing Co. and Snips will once more publish two editions of the Convention Daily distributed free on-site to all attendees.

TABB conference

Highlighting the potential of the building commissioning market for SMACNA members, the Testing, Adjusting and Balancing Bureau will hold its first conference Oct. 18-19 in Las Vegas in conjunction with SMACNA's annual convention.

The goal of the conference is to provide challenging ideas for contractors on how to expand markets in the industry by focusing on building commissioning. The conference will open on Oct. 18, with a reception featuring humorist and Newsday columnist Ed Lowe. On Saturday, the program begins with a report on the International Certification Board by Bill Freese, president of International Testing and Balancing. Roy Ringwood, business manager for SMWIA Local 105 and ICB co-chairman, will offer a perspective on TABB. John Hughes, vice president with FMI, will address building commissioning and its relationship to TABB.

SMACNA members interested in attending the TABB conference may register by using the SMACNA annual convention registration form in the conference brochure. The cost of the two-day program is $195.Visit the SMACNA Web site, www.smacna.org, to register online and look for TABB Conference. For additional information, visit www.tabbcertified.org or call (800) 458-6525.

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