LAS VEGAS - Holding back-to-back shows here didn’t seem to keep attendees or exhibitors away from the International Roofing Expo, as plenty of both turned out for the March 6-8 event.

Official attendance released by organizers Hanley Wood Exhibitions was 9,020, roughly the same number who attended the 2006 event.

However, the 465 exhibitors - a slight increase over 2006 - took up more space: 104,900 square feet of the Las Vegas Convention Center, compared with 97,500 square feet at the Mandalay Bay resort’s convention facility.

“The aisles were completely packed and the conference sessions were full,” said Rick McConnell, vice president of Hanley Wood Exhibitions. “Executives from across the country are referring to the 2007 International Roofing Expo as the most successful show to date.”

Roper Whitney of Rockford Inc. had a large presence on the show floor.

Metal roofing and ‘happyness'

As in past years, the trade show floor was open in the afternoon, with mornings reserved for the 50 educational seminars booked by organizers. Topics included safety, business management and understanding metal roofing. The March 6 keynote speaker was Chris Gardner, whose life story was recently made into a movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” starring Will Smith. Gardner was a homeless, single San Francisco father in the early 1980s who became a millionaire.

Officials estimate 1,400 saw his speech.

“His message of overcoming obstacles and balancing life’s responsibilities inspired and motivated the audience,” said Donna Bellantone, expo director.

Gardner’s presentation and the business seminars were very popular judging by the attendance and comments from attendees.

“This year’s sessions were excellent,” said Bob Burns of Rooftop Equipment Inc. in New Wilmington, Pa. “I came away from the show with lots of new ideas in roofing.”
First-time convention attendee Marti Alden agreed. Alden, with Roberts Roofing & Construction, traveled from Richardson, Texas, for the event.

“I attended great classes and received tons of useful information about motivating employees and roofing finance. It was definitely worth the trip.”

Once the trade show opened, many exhibitors were happy with the traffic, especially during the event’s first two days.

“This year’s show was excellent,” said John D’Annunzio, president of IRT Inc., a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based roofing consulting company, and contributor to Roofing Contractor, a sister publication of Snips. “We had a lot of traffic and good, quality leads.”

Patric Wright, spokesman for Denver-based New Tech Machinery Corp., agreed.

“The show has been great,” he said. “We had the best attendance we’ve ever had.”

Hanley Wood is hoping for similar comments after next year’s expo, which is slated for Feb. 21-23, again in Las Vegas.