DALLAS — Industry professionals full of energy and excitement filled the halls of the Morial Convention Center to take part in three days of education, networking and a bustling trade show floor at the 2015 International Roofing Expo (IRE).

Taking place Feb. 24-26 in New Orleans, the annual tradeshow and conference drew a total attendance of 9,337 roofing construction professionals.

“The trade show floor was the largest since the 2000 show,” said Tracy Garcia, CEM, IRE show director. “Exhibitors enjoyed steady traffic as they introduced hundreds of new and innovative products to high-caliber decision makers.”

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 related industry professionals.

In attendance were representatives from 15 of the industry’s top 25 roofing and construction companies, including CentiMark, Tecta America, Baker Roofing, North American Roofing, Nations Roof, Simon Roofing & Sheet Metal, Titan Roofing, Douglass Colony Group, Saratoga Roofing, Advanced Roofing, United States Roofing, D. C. Taylor, KPost, Interstate Roofing and Burns & Scalo Roofing.

Attendees represented all 50 states, with the bulk of attendees from Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Georgia, Ohio, Florida and Mississippi. The largest number of international attendees came from Canada, Mexico and Seoul.

First-time registrants made up 42 percent of all attendees. “We had an awesome first year at the IRE. There were a lot of great vendors, great products and great people,” said Cody Taylor of SupplyHog. “This is an exciting time to be in the industry, and we look forward to coming back next year!”

“My experience was fantastic because I have never seen such a large amount of roofing products together!” said Dino Vasquez of Mapei SpA, Milano, Italy.

“This was my seventh year attending, and I feel the IRE continues to improve yearly,” said Robert Andreu of Hunter Warfield. “The location, vendors and show management each exceeded my expectations.”


Exhibit Hall

The trade show floor was comprised of 1,178 booths, a 13 percent increase over the 2014 show. New, value-added services and innovative ideas in roofing materials and related products were displayed on the show floor, including metal, shingles, coatings/sealants/adhesives, flashing, waterproofing, underlayment, modified bitumen, bitumen/asphalt, gutters/roof drains, fasteners and much more.

Exhibitors were pleased with the number of leads and inquiries generated during the show. “IRE 2015 was a huge success,” said Nick Wood of JobNimbus. “It exceeded our expectations by at least three times in terms of meeting new and existing customers and making great partner connections.”

“The IRE is the most important show of the year for us to engage our customers in person and showcase our new products and technologies,” said Karen Edwards of EagleView Technologies. “We expect to see a great return on investment.”    

Of the 465 exhibiting companies, 87 companies were first-time exhibitors, including Houzz, Alliance Construxion Group, Ford Motor Company, Gaussan Technologies, Nissan Commercial Vehicle,  Roof Angel, Specialty Fastening Systems, Viewpoint Construction Software and Viking Barriers, to name a few.

“We have attended many construction trade shows in the past, and by far the IRE has been the most productive in terms of high attendance which has generated a great source of leads to grow future business,” said Eric Velliquette of Lakeside Construction Fasteners. “If you haven’t attended or exhibited at the IRE, you should!”

“Business is strong within the roofing industry,” said Bill Good, executive vice president of the National Roofing Contractors Association, the show’s official sponsor, who had an 800-square-foot booth at the event. “The enthusiasm was evident throughout the buying and selling activity on the show floor.”

“I have attended since 1980 and for a good reason — once each year I get to spend a few days gathering valuable information and resources,” said Alan Meier of Hi Tec Roofing Services. “It’s hard to imagine being in the roofing business and not being a member of the NRCA or attending the IRE each year."


Educational Conference

In addition to the show floor’s buying and selling activity, the show’s educational conference offered 44 educational sessions addressing a variety of industry issues.

Educational tracks included technical and workplace safety classes, as well as  business-related sessions including leadership/management, green building, legal/HR, money matters, sales/service and general business.

“I come to the IRE each year to reconnect with friends in the industry while getting the best roofing-specific education from an extensive list of seminars offered each morning,” said Rob Therrien of The Melanson Co. “Each afternoon I visit the show floor to see the latest new innovations to come into our industry, from materials to safety, to help our team and our customers.”

“We brought seven members from our team,” said Chris Adler of Adler Roofing and Sheet Metal. “We received really valuable information from the seminars that will help us improve our business as well as protect our business as we move forward.”       

“The IRE show is extremely valuable to our company because the seminars are packed full of useful information that we can apply immediately and improve our bottom line in 2015,” said Steve Pike of White Stone 1998. “We are very busy with our business, but this is time well spent. With what we learned, we are positioned to become a market leader.”


Show Floor Highlights and Special Events

On the show floor, attendees found new products and ideas at the Metal Marketplace that featured 70 booths, the Business & Technology Pavilion with 49 booths and Exhibitor Product Clinics from OMG, Equipter and Tremco.

Education was available on the show floor through The Roofing Institute. Sponsored by Johns Manville, these condensed classes covered topics from business strategies and leadership to increasing profits and more.

At the Product Showcase, attendees were able to see, try and compare the latest products in the following categories: new, sustainable and made in the USA. Based on innovation, productivity and cost effectiveness, a panel of industry experts awarded Leister Technologies’ UNIROOF E 40 MM - 120V/15A as Best New Product, while Tie Down Engineering’s Roof Zone – RZ Guardrail was awarded Best Sustainable Product.

Attendees had the opportunity to find new products and meet new exhibitors by playing the Treasure Quest game. Wesley Stienecker of Nitro Roofing & Construction was the winner of $2,000 after his name was drawn from a pool of attendees who visited each of the 10 participating Treasure Quest sponsors.

Giving back to the New Orleans community, a pre-show Community Service Day took place on Monday, Feb. 23, where 50 attendees and exhibitors enthusiastically volunteered to help renovate the homes of two families in need.

The show's opening day featured a motivating Keynote Address by Ken Schmidt, the former brand visionary at Harley-Davidson, who shared his expertise on brand building, corporate positioning and customer relations.

Attendees and exhibitors networked while enjoying complimentary hors d’oeuvres and drinks at the opening night Welcome Party on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at Generations Hall.


Save the Date for 2016

The 2016 International Roofing Expo will be held Feb.17-19 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. Housing reservations can be made online beginning in May and online attendee registration will open in September.

For more information, visit www.theroofingexpo.com.