Planning ahead for a challenging year was the central theme among contractors at the 2009 International Roofing Expo, which was held Feb. 3-5 at Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.
The nearly 400 companies who showed off their wares at the IRE were in no mood to look back, choosing instead to forge ahead with the perseverance that is the hallmark of the roofing industry. Total attendance was 7,472, with verified attendees just 367 less than the 2008 show.
“We’re very pleased the International Roofing Expo was a tremendous success for both exhibitors and attendees,” said Donna Bellantone, Director of the IRE. “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.”
Attendees were amazed with the show and especially with the product selection. “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 John Marks, Betz Bros Building Supply, Celestine, Ind., who attended the show for the first time.
In a panel discussion that kicked off the event, Bob Tafaro, President and CEO of GAF Materials Corporation, advised contractors to “plan for a challenging year” and reminded them it was a good market to recruit people and focus on infrastructure needs.
“The outlook long term is very strong,” said Fred Stephan, Vice President and General manager of Roofing Systems for Johns Manville.
Others on the distinguished panel - moderated by Bill Good, Executive Vice President of National Roofing Contractors Association - included Keith Rozolis, Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Planning for ABC Supply Co. Inc.; Mike Vall, President of Firestone Building Products; and Marcelino Susas, Vice President and General Manager - Americas, Uni-Solar.
IRE presents the best seminars in the industry, and this year was no different. Topics ran the gamut from business management to succession planning to garden roofing to legal concerns. IRE also featured a live demonstration area, a Green Products Pavilion, and a New Products Pavilion.
At the New Product Pavilion, RoofLogic Mobile was voted “Best New Product” for its handheld technology that allows roofing professionals to collect inspection and job information right on the rooftop, complete with drawings and photos. The second-place winner was Bilgin Roof Dock, which offers roofing professionals a lifetime of secure roof access and ladder docking safety. Capturing third place was Chicago Clamp Company’s Framing Clamp System - Tube Frame, which allows contractors to frame roof openings and support roof loads without welding or drilling holes.
Innovative products are a key ingredient that helps make the IRE the premier show in the industry, and this year several groundbreaking products shared the spotlight.
• OMG Roofing Products has developed a mechanically attached system that is different from any we have seen. The sheet membrane is loose laid over insulation that has been mechanically attached with special coated metal plates. Then, using an induction welder, the membrane is sealed to the plates, forming an aggressive bond.
• GAF featured its TruSlate system that features natural slate roofing that can be installed by roofers without the classical training of regular slate roofing systems. The system is said to be much lighter and less expensive than the conventional systems as well.
• The GeoEstimator is an estimating service/system that uses satellite technologies for measuring buildings for re-roof bids.
• Tremco has developed and is marketing its WHITE modified-bitumen adhesive. This will work well with the company’s highly reflective membrane systems.
• Firestone featured its new 120 PSI IsoGard HD cover board. The unique facers and iso core has the look and feel of a winner and is expected to compete with fiberglass-faced gypsum coverboards in some applications.
• Carlisle showed one of the most innovative solar panels we have seen to date. The system features arrays of tubes that will be able to address nearly any angle required for collecting rays on nearly any structure.
• GenFlex featured new packaging for its line of EPDM roofing products. Realizing there is value in smaller roofing jobs the firm has put together a package that will allow roofing wholesalers to furnish even the smallest jobs without waste.
• MetalForming showed off the most up-to-date jobsite roll-forming system on the market. The company’s Schlebach Quadro-Cinco takes instructions directly from Top View roof design software and forms and cuts the panels based on the roof design - an amazing combination of roll-forming and computer-based estimating technologies.
Next year’s International Roofing Expo will be held Feb. 22-24 at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. For more information, visit www.theroofingexpo.com.