It’s back to Las Vegas for the International Roofing Expo.

After a successful 2006 event at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, show organizers have booked this year’s March 6-8 show at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the off-Strip property that holds many of the city’s biggest conventions.

The trade show is expected to again draw hundreds of exhibiting companies, with products covering the entire roofing industry. Trade magazine publishing company Hanley Wood, which produces the show, said interest in the event has been high. It announced last summer that its advanced “space draw,” where companies that make an early commitment to exhibit are assigned the best booth locations, had 19 percent more participants than the last “draw.” More than 81,000 square feet of space were assigned.

“Our space-draw results have exceeded our most optimistic projections,” said Rick McConnell, vice president of Hanley Wood’s exhibitions division. “The growth in companies committing to space shows the industry’s commitment to the leading event in the roofing marketplace.”

Organizers are predicting 10,000 will attend.

Sessions

Besides the trade show, Hanley Wood has booked 50 seminars under the categories of technical, general business, leadership/management, sales and service, money matters and workplace safety. Forty-four of the sessions are new topics. The others are being repeated due to attendee demand, officials said.

“We built and designed our educational conference program to provide up-to-the-minute information on areas that are impacting the roofing industry,” McConnell said. “With the in-depth content, broad range of topics and unparalleled speaker expertise, attendees will come away with valuable strategies to grow and develop their businesses.”
  • As during past conventions, metal roofing will be well represented at the sessions. Here are some of the sessions on metal roofing and other subjects most likely to be of interest to Snips readers.
  • “What the Heck is Selfish Safety?” will offer tips on motivating workers to reduce injuries. Donald Bradway of Monarch-Kneis Insurance Services will explain how to have a common safety message and add humor to safety talks to increase compliance.
  • “Metal Roofing: The Devil’s in the Details” will take place at 7:45 a.m. March 6. Vaughn Bacon of NCI Building Systems will lead this presentation on the difference between “good” and “bad” detailing, roof penetrations and how to keep other trades workers from damaging the roof.
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  • Rob Haddock’s always popular “Understanding Metal Roofing: Part I” will be at 7:45 a.m. March 7. This presentation on the history of metal roofing has been given at many trade shows across the country, including last year’s Roofing Expo. Part II will be at 9:45 a.m.
  • Also at 7:45 a.m. March 7: “Internet Marketing 101: Get Online and Grow Your Business.” Although the Internet has been a mainstay of business and culture for more than a decade, many smaller companies still do not use this resource. This session will explain how to create a Web site and drive Internet users to it - and your company.
  • During “Get More Business (Especially for People Who Hate Selling),” Dave Harrison, a vice president with GAF Materials Corp., will explain why the approaches you read about in sales books and hear in most seminars don’t work for the roofing industry. Harrison will offer suggestions that do work for the roofing industry. 
  • “How to Trim a Metal Roof” at 7:45 a.m. March 8 will feature Dan Perkins, who has given this presentation at Metalcon, the annual metal-building event. Making and installing flashing, reducing the oil-can effect and architectural standards will be explained by this contractor who lives in Michigan’s Northern Peninsula, a popular market for metal roofing. An article on this topic appeared in the February 2006 issue of Snips.
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  • Another 7:45 a.m. March 8 seminar focuses on selling. “Outrageous Marketing That Really Works” will explain why many customers are immune to sales messages and what contractors can do to break through.
Attendees may also be interested in the March 6 keynote speech, “The Pursuit of Happyness” by Christopher Gardner.

Gardner was a homeless, single father who took an unpaid internship with a San Francisco stockbroker to provide a better life for him and his son. His story was a best-selling book and is currently a movie starring Will Smith.

Gardner’s speech is at 9:45 a.m.

If you don’t attend this year’s event, Hanley Wood recently announced there would be two more chances to experience the show in Las Vegas. The 2008 show, originally slated for Jan. 10-12 in San Antonio, has been moved to Feb. 21-23 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The 2009 show is scheduled for Feb. 3-5 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

For more information on the International Roofing Expo, visit www.theroofingexpo.com.

Sin City offers much more than gambling

There’s more to Vegas than just buffets and bingo.

Las Vegas is a city best known for gambling and showgirls, but it also has a reputation as one of the nation’s top convention destinations.

According to industry journal Tradeshow Week, Las Vegas is the No. 1 convention city in the country, beating out such popular locales as Chicago and Orlando, Fla.

No doubt the fact this city offers 24-hour entertainment is a big reason why it’s popular with show organizers such as Hanley Wood. The slot machines and tables are always open, so attendees don’t have to worry about not having enough time for recreation after the convention day ends. If you’re willing to skip sleeping, you’ll always find something - more likely, many things - to do.

For people who have little interest in gambling or other vices that this desert mecca seems to encourage, such as drinking, smoking and general gluttony, a meeting in Sin City might seem only slightly preferable to a hip replacement. However, although Las Vegas retains its reputation as an “anything goes” town, those who eschew the traditional Vegas pursuits will still find plenty to do. Las Vegas’ 1990s flirtation with the family market failed, but most hotel-casinos offer plenty of nongambling activities. In fact, many of the newest resorts make more money off the high-end shopping, dining and spas they offer than they do from the dice tables.

With that in mind, here’s some other options for leisure time that won’t take you near a slot machine (Well, you might walk past one, but you don’t have to stop).

Experience Star Trek: The Experience. This popular attraction at the Las Vegas Hilton - one of the Roofing Expo’s official hotels - has been a longtime favorite of “Star Trek” fans and Vegas tourists alike. According to its Web site, riders are “immersed in a futuristic world where they see, feel, touch and live the 24th century.”

The area surrounding the attraction also has a “Star Trek” theme. A special casino with hand motion-activated slot machines and a reproduction of Quark’s Bar from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” will keep “Trek” fans happy. One of the largest show merchandise stores in the world is also part of the Experience.

Check out Shark Reef. This attraction, which is housed in the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino, includes more than 1,200 aquatic species, including 15 types of sharks, reptiles, tropical and fresh-water fish. They’re contained in 2 million gallons of water up to 22 feet deep. Experts are available to answer questions at this American Zoo and Aquarium Association-accredited facility.

Hail Caesar at the Forum Shops. This mall inside the Caesars Palace resort recently doubled its size. It includes some of the finest upscale shopping in America, all within an area designed to resemble what the ancient Romans might have built if the emperors had a taste for Versace and Hugo Boss. Imitation cobblestone streets and a faux sky at twilight add to the effect.

Caesars also lures shoppers with two animatronic shows that take place on the hour. The “Fall of Atlantis” show recreates the demise of the mythical city, while the “Festival Fountain Show” features a discussion between Apollo, Venus and other Roman gods.

Take in a show. Las Vegas has long been known for entertainment, but during the 1970s and 80s, it seemed to be a place where many performers headed when their careers were in decline. No more. Today, popular acts in rock, pop, country and comedy appear in limited engagements or as permanent headliners. Celine Dion and Elton John have long-term contracts to appear in Caesars’ main arena, and comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno regularly perform.

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, which caters to a younger crowd than many older Vegas resorts, includes the Joint, which offers the chance to see stars such as the Rolling Stones and Fiona Apple in an intimate venue.

Las Vegas also offers exclusive entertainers who don’t appear anywhere else, such as impressionist Danny Gans and magician Lance Burton.

Tickets for some headliners can be more than $100; however, prices for lesser-known acts are often under $50. Discounts are sometimes available. Many casino lounges also offer entertainment for the cost of one drink.

Have a gourmet meal. Las Vegas has come a long way from the $2.99 buffets and $2 steak specials the city used be known for. Such bargains are still available, if not at quite-so-low prices, but Las Vegas now attracts some of the world’s top chefs. Wolfgang Puck, who brought his famous Spago chain to Caesars Palace a few years ago, now operates Postrio in the Venetian, a Renaissance-themed resort. Bradley Ogden, Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse are among the other celebrity chefs who now operate eateries in the city.