With Mardi Gras festivities ending a few days before the International Roofing Expo, organizers say New Orleans will still be “jazzing” when it welcomes thousands of attendees  to its annual construction conference.

The expo will take place Feb. 24-26 at the Morial Convention Center in the city’s downtown.

“The 2015 IRE is a unique opportunity for roofing professionals to get a firsthand look at the latest trends, the newest products and the most recent innovations driving the industry,” said show director Tracy Garcia. “This is the must-attend event for the roofing industry.”

With more than 500 exhibiting companies and 16 hours of trade show displays, attendees will find a wide range of multidimensional manufacturers and suppliers of all sizes displaying thousands of innovative, profit-driving, audience-engaging products, services, technologies, officials said.

Products on display will include metal roofing, gutters, insulation, ladders, coatings and adhesives, siding, fasteners, machinery equipment and tools, ventilation, waterproofing and much more.

In this year’s product showcase, items are broken down into four categories: new, sustainable, safety and made-in-the-USA. Attendees will have the ability to try many of the items without the pressure to buy. And an industry panel will select the best products based on cost-effectiveness, productivity potential and innovation.

It’s like the Oscars for roofing products, organizers add.

The metal market

This year’s metal-roofing-focused metal marketplace will see manufacturers supplying new metal products, designs, building concepts, tools and services. If metal is your specialty, you will find what you need here, organizers say.

In the business and technology pavilion, attendees will find the latest products, services and the suppliers that will help you select the right trends to help you keep your sales up all year long.

A relatively new attraction this year is a chance to play Treasure Quest. Find new products, meet new exhibitors and have a chance of winning $2,000 cash. Pick up a Treasure Quest game card at the registration desk and then follow the map to each of the participating booths to receive an official stamp. Once you have secured all the required stamps and submitted your card, you will be entered into the drawing that will take place on site.

International Roofing Expo organizers are bringing educational sessions to the show floor this year, with the Roofing Institute’s small group business training, sponsored by Johns Manville. You will sharpen and hone your business acumen, show officials say, as well as increase the effectiveness and productivity of your business through these condensed classes covering topics from business strategies and leadership to increasing profits and more. These business 101-style classes are free with all registration packages. Seating for up to 40 people is available on a first-come, first-served basis.


Ken Schmidt, a former executive with Harley-Davidson, will provide the Feb. 24 keynote address, “Make Some Noise: Open the Throttle and Dominate Your Marketplace.” He will share his expertise on brand building, corporate positioning and customer relations, and the story of motorcycle maker’s recovery from near bankruptcy.

That evening, attendees are invited to the city’s historic Generations Hall for an evening of Louisiana culture, food and drink at the convention’s welcome party. Originally built as a sugar refinery in the 1820s, today it is a popular meeting venue. Generations Hall features a modern sound system that creates an energetic backdrop to mingle and dance while listening to the music of New Orleans-based party band the Bucktown All-Stars. Food and drinks will be served. Advance registration is required.

As always, organizers have booked a large number of educational sessions for this year’s expo. Attendees can choose from 44 knowledge-building sessions along eight “tracks” where they will learn the best practices and the latest technologies designed to improve your skills and grow your business. This year, 40 out of 44 sessions offer new topics, with three of last year’s most popular courses back by demand.

Sessions will cover code revisions, Occupational Safety and Health Administration updates, technology tools, sustainability requirements and ratings programs, leadership practices, marketing strategies, employee compensation plans, and others.

Classes are 90 minutes in length and do not overlap the exhibit hall hours, allowing ample time on the show floor.


Tracks cover technical, workplace safety, leadership/management, green building, legal/human resources, money matters, sales/service and general business.

Sessions are specifically targeted to commercial, residential and metal roofing contractors, owners/CEOs/general managers, superintendents, architects/designers/consultants, salesmen/estimators, manufacturers/ suppliers and building owners/facility managers.

Other sessions this year:

  • Home design website company Houzz Inc. will present a 1 p.m. session Feb. 24 on “Maximizing Your Exposure to Local Homeowners with Houzz.” Company officials will explain how to create a free profile on www.Houzz.com that will build your business reputation and attract new local customers.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense will explain its program Hero2Hired at 11:15 a.m. Feb. 25. Officials will explain how hiring a veteran can impact your business. Attendees will how to connect skilled service members with construction and the building trades through job networks.
  • “Targeting Your Local Residential Roofing Replacement Market” will take place at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 25 to provide residential roofing contractors information on how they can leverage local market data and reports from Metrostudy.

Before the conference opens, attendees will have the chance to donate their time and expertise to the community through the expo’s annual Community Service Day Feb. 23. New Orleans residents in need of assistance will receive free home repairs from members of the roofing industry.

Monetary donations are also accepted. 

For the full conference schedule as well as registration details, visit www.TheRoofingExpo.com or call (866) 860-1970. The expo is also on several social media websites, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as in the application stores for Apple and Android devices.

 This article and its images were supplied by Hanley Wood Exhibitions.