ORLANDO — I just wound up a little stroll around the trade show floor. The Fitbit says 13,000 steps worth of strolling, to be exact, at the Orange County Convention Center. The occasion was the National Association of Home Builders' International Builder's Show (NAHB/IBS). The IBS is the largest component of the annual Design & Construction Week, held in Orlando, in conjunction with the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS). 

IBS 2017 was attended by roughly 80,000 building professionals, most of whom could be described as "euphoric" about their business prospects and the residential building industry for 2017. This had to be the spiciest IBS I've been to since 2007 — since before you know what. It was good fun to meet with folks from all over the light building spectrum, especially our good friends representing the roofing industry. 

My first stop was to catch up with Bill Collins, a long-time business consultant and member of Roofing Contractor’s Editorial Advisory Board. Bill was in search of facts: roofing and building industry statistics on behalf of the companies he advises as part of his consulting practice. Collins was likewise confident that 2017 was going to be a good year, looking for a 5 to 7 percent increase in growth over 2016 for asphalt roofing. 

Speaking of forecasts, be on the lookout for our February issue and the annual State of the Industry Report sponsored by GAF. We’ll hear all about it on an upcoming Webinar, as well. 

Navigating a show this big can be challenging, but I did manage to veer into some old acquaintances, new friends, and some intriguing new products. At the GAF booth, I met Sudhir Railkar, the head of research and development for GAF Roofing. He introduced me to DecoTech, their new solar panel system. This plug-and-play system will be furnished and installed by GAF Master Elite contractors and is sure to move many more residential roofing contractors into the solar space than ever before. GAF Vice President of Marketing Paul Bromfield said we’ll receive product details in the next week or two, so be on the lookout for more details. 

DuPont introduced three new roof underpayment products. Owens Corning brought the Pink Panther to bring attention to their products, including their 2017 shingle "Color of the Year." TAMKO's Stephen McNally and Lee Nelson shared the good news that their new "Mega-plant" is up and running flawlessly in Tuscaloosa, Ala. 

DaVinci Roofscapes announced a couple of new composite slate and shake products along with some aggressive pricing. Ecostar showed off some interesting new colors, including some they developed for the new theme park in Shanghai, China. 

Also on hand to show their very best were tile makers, Boral and Eagle Roofing; Euroshield, MFM, TAPCO, Malarkey, CertainTeed, Berger Brothers, and Allmet Roofing Products. There were others showing off roofing and roofing accessories; too numerous to mention. 

Protecto Wrap showed off three of their newer offerings, including their lead-free flashing for concrete tile roofing, self-adhered EPDM flashing, and a self-adhered rake flashing that adheres to the deck and the rake shingles. 

And on the education front, Decra's new Jump Start program for training, supporting, and rewarding their installing contractors is underway. Their Natalie Tanner told us about it and promised full details to come. 

All in all, the NAHB should be very proud of this exhibition, and Orlando always makes for an outstanding venue for trade shows and conventions. 

All of these people and products (and more) will be on hand when the 2017 International Roofing Expo convenes March 1-3 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas. I’ll be there. You will not want to miss it!