2018 is well underway and with a couple huge trade shows already in the rear view I find myself finalizing this week’s job schedule and plans to leave town for yet another industry event. Between personal conversations, social media message and emails throughout the year I am asked variations of the same question over and over; “I can’t afford to take too much time away from the truck, what trade show would be best for me?”
While we here at mechanical-hub.com try to show as many highlights from the various shows we attend I know it’s not enough but it helps. If you’d like to see our coverage from past shows check out our YouTube channel.
What I hope to accomplish with this post is to give a brief description of all the trade shows, event and gatherings normally scheduled throughout the year. Hopefully this helps someone who is trying to find the best event for their time and money.
Disclaimer: My list only includes events I have personally attended. I know there are even more out there and I invite anyone to share those events in the comments below.
Building Industry focused:
NAHB International Builder’s Show
This is the premier trade fair showcasing hundreds of major manufacturers representing every aspect of the residential and light commercial building industry. This three-day show is the largest trade show I have attended in the US. There are education opportunities, hands-on demos of tools, products and more. Whether its software for running your jobsite/service business or every type of flooring, tile, tools, windows or plumbing fixture etc you will find it at IBS.
This show happens each year in either January or February, next year’s show is in Vegas. Check into it now if you’re interested. I honestly think this is the place to be to see the latest trends in the plumbing industry. The products we are rough-ing in come May or June were on exhibit months before at IBS.
It really doesn’t get any bigger than AHR Expo when you’re talking anything hvac, hydronics or mechanical. With educational opportunities available thru ASHRAE & dozens of manufacturers throughout the industry and literally thousands of industry representatives showcasing products I have never seen so many boilers, chillers, furnaces, ducts, piping systems etc anywhere else in North America.
This show also happens annually, usually at the end of January and travels to different cities each year. In 2018 AHR was in the Windy City but next year it lands in Atlanta for the first time. If you’re in the hvac construction or service industry in any way this is a solid investment of your time and energy. And like any large trade show you’ll only get out of it what you put into it. I’d suggest downloading their mobile app and making a plan each day to visit exactly who you are most interested in; you’ll be distracted easily along the way with new products and companies so having a plan is key to making the most of your time.
Eastern Energy Expo
This regional event is packed with technical training for plumbing and heating pros students and business managers & owners. Although the majority in attendance may be from the Northeast, people do travel from far and wide because of the reputation this event has built on quality education classes and a quality trade show floor. Its not a huge show but there’s a ton of action at hand. Don’t pass on the many opportunities at hand for fun and fundraising either; whether golf, bike riding or motorcycling is your thing you can get in on a charity event to help others.
The EEE takes place annually, this year it returns to Foxwoods Resort Casino, CT. May 20-23.
Plumbing & HVAC
If you’re already a PHCC member, then you know all about the annual CONNECT event that brings plumbing & heating contractors from across the U.S. for training, the annual national apprentice contest and trade show. If you are not aware of what is offered at this event then click the link above.
The trade show portion of this event is relatively small but larger than local PHCC shows; you’ll see smaller tabletop type booths but representatives from major manufacturers are there so business can be done. As mentioned already this is the event of the year for plumbing and hvac apprentices. The apprentice competition is awesome and we are very proud to sponsor a contestant each year.
Uponor’s bi-annual gathering of industry manufacturers, trainers and contractors is a can’t miss if you’re company is using their PEX-a tubing and products. I have attended twice already and always look forward to the breakout training sessions, small trade show displays and fellowship this event brings each session. There is a significant registration fee but that covers your room at the Bellagio Las Vegas, meals and entertainment.
ASPE Convention & Expo
Direct from their website: “The American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) Convention & Expo is dedicated to quality education, connections and experiences for those skilled in the design, specification and inspection of plumbing systems.”
We attend the bi-annual expo as members of the media, I’m not a member of ASPE personally nor is anyone at The Hub but this is a larger expo than you’ll see at PHCC CONNECT. Contractors are encouraged to attend for the expo and training available. This year’s event happens in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center.
I hope this list is helpful and I know there are many events happening all over North America that have not been listed. Some I have not personally attended, some I have but I wanted to share the ones I felt are most useful for contractors in the plumbing & hvac industry.