A lucky break
June 1, 2009
The American economy is in its deepest recession in 70 years, construction is weak and unemployment rates are rising.
In the middle of such a tsunami, organizers of the International Roofing Expo were pretty pleased with their 2009 event, which was held Feb. 3-5 in Las Vegas.
We’re very pleased the International Roofing Expo was a tremendous success for both exhibitors and attendees,” said show director Donna Bellantone. “With solid attendance during a tough economy, the show continues to deliver a valuable service as the leading industry event for products, education and networking in the roofing industry.”
Official attendance was 7,472, down from the 9,020 who came to the 2008 event. Still, many of those who did come were pleased with what they saw.
“In a down economy, I need new ideas and niches in this market. The show gave me just that with an explosion of new ideas,” said first-time attendee John Marks of Betz Bros. Building Supply in Celestine, Ind.
PleasedAlthough down from last year, a lot of representatives from the 359 companies that did exhibit said they were quite pleased with the people they met. That included Michael Gray, national sales director at RMI Inc.
“We received quality contacts at the show, which exceeded my expectations,” Gray said. “The show was a success.”
Erik Berg, applications manager at Umicore Building Products USA, was also happy.
“Our booth met our attendance expectation,” he said. “We were quite happy with the quality of the visitors we had.”
Besides the trade show, organizers Handley Wood Exhibitions included 48 educational sessions on business issues and roofing applications. Almost all of the sessions were new topics, except for six that were brought back from 2008 due to their popularity.
A new segment this year was the green building “track,” which included 10 classes on the roofing industry’s role in sustainable construction.
“I was challenged by the high level of knowledge, professionalism and attention to detail in the sessions,” said seminar attendee Bob Burns of New Wilmington, Pa.-based Rooftop Equipment Inc. “As I listened to the panel of roofing professionals, I was motivated to a higher level of excellence in my own business. I came away with some new ideas for the coming year.”
Former professional basketball player Bill Watson, who was scheduled to give the convention’s Feb. 3 keynote address, was unable to attend, so organizers assembled a roundtable made up of presidents and CEOs from some of the nation’s largest roofing suppliers.
Next year, the International Roofing Expo is leaving Las Vegas for New Orleans. The show is scheduled for Feb. 22-24 at the city’s main convention center.