It wasn’t a hurricane but the 2012 International Roofing Expo® that took Orlando by storm in late February. Held Feb. 22-24 in the South Halls at the Orange
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County Convention Center, the show was well received by attendees and exhibitors alike.
Total attendance at the trade show was 8,382, an increase of 3 percent over the 2011 show in Las Vegas. This marked the second year in a row the show registered an uptick in attendance. The 3 percent increase in 2012 follows an 18 percent surge in 2011, further solidifying the IRE as the industry’s premier event for leading-edge product demonstrations, educational sessions and networking opportunities.
“We are very pleased that the show generated an increase in attendance for the second consecutive year,” said Lindsay Roberts, director of the expo. “The state-of-the-art products, the cutting-edge conference program, the show floor demonstrations and clinics, along with the strong partnership with NRCA, resulted in an all-around compelling event.”
The tradeshow floor featured 932 booths, a 6 percent increase over 2011. There were 415 exhibiting companies, a 5 percent increase over last year. Of the 415 exhibiting companies, 99 were first-time exhibitors or exhibitors who haven’t exhibited in several years, including 3C Network, Classic Metal Roofing Systems, Direct Metals, Global Wrap Interior Protection, HailAppointments, HailStrike, Kyocera Solar, Peak Fall Protection, Solar Energy international, and Storm Leads, just to name a few.
Participants came from all segments of the roofing industry, including commercial and residential contractors, builders, remodelers, building owners, facility managers, manufacturers, architects, engineers and other ancillary industry professionals.
Attendees represented all 50 states, with the largest number from Florida, Ohio, Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, North Carolina, Michigan, California, New Jersey, Missouri, Wisconsin, New York, Minnesota, and Colorado. The largest number of international attendees came from Canada, Mexico, Germany, Korea, Ecuador, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Japan and Brazil.
“This year’s IRE was the best I have been to yet. I received a wealth of knowledge and made valuable contacts that will pay dividends for us this year,” said Dan Cupit of Professional Roofing and Exteriors. “I was happy to see a good mix of new and established exhibitors. I was able to find new suppliers, service providers and sources of information that will provide a direct benefit to our business.”
The show’s opening day featured an inspirational Keynote Address by Kyle Petty, who discussed his life as a businessman, philanthropist and as one of NASCAR’s most respected drivers.
As he reminisced about joining his grandfather, Lee, and father, Richard, in the exciting and dangerous sport of stock car racing, he pointed out a lot of similarities between racing and roofing. The main reason his grandfather was in the sport was to support his family.
“My grandfather was one of the first guys to make a living racing full time,” said Petty. “He didn’t care about the trophy. It was all about going to Daytona and getting that big check to help his family. As long as we could eat and run a race car, we had plenty of money.”
The NASCAR theme spilled over onto the show floor, which featured the NASCAR Experience complete with a NASCAR simulator that gave attendees the opportunity to sit inside a genuine NASCAR race car modified for computer simulation. Prizes were awarded each day to the top scorer in the fastest lap contest.
Debuting this year was the Technology & Business Services Pavilion, a designated area on the show floor that provided education and resources to attendees about the latest business and technology products and services. Featuring exhibits and a product showcase area, this new pavilion also provided a two-day series of 30-minute vendor presentations and demonstrations.
In addition to the numerous product demonstrations on the show floor, the expo’s educational conference featured 43 educational sessions addressing a variety of issues including workplace safety, business management, green building and sales.
The opening night Welcome Party held at Universal CityWalk® was preceded by an actual storm that blew through Orlando with heavy rains and strong winds. Mother Nature only disrupted things for about 30 minutes, after which attendees and exhibitors were able to relax, network, and enjoy something to eat and drink as they caught up on the day’s events.
Exhibitors had high praise for the show. “The IRE met our expectations and we feel it was a tremendous value,” said Richard Spanton Jr, CEO of AccuLynx.com. “The quality of contractors gets better every year at IRE.”
“This year’s show was very successful for Sealoflex as we were able to showcase our new Enviroflex product with great success,” Mike Gore, national sales manager, Sealoflex. “We were very pleased by the number attendees and the amount of time they spent at our booth.”
“We thought this year’s show was a huge success,” said Chris Fagan, sales manager at DCI Products. “We were able to see some existing customers, meet some prospective new customers and also network with other industry professionals in our market.”
“This was FlashCo’s first year to exhibit at the IRE and I was absolutely blown away by the overwhelming positive response,” said Greg Morrow, president, FlashCo Manufacturing Inc. “The number of attendees that were decision-makers exceeded my expectations. This was the best trade show FlashCo ever did.”
The 2013 International Roofing Expo will be held Feb. 5-7 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.
For even more information about the IRE, visit www.roofingcontractor.com.