*Note: this is a guest post from Bob Wells of HVAC Training 101.
In our busy social media-driven world of the current times, it can be easy to neglect the importance of interacting live and face-to-face with others. This can be especially true within our business community. But business owners and key players must always remember that being active in one’s industry trade association can bring with it many benefits.
There is a huge advantage in being connected to other people who are likewise active in one’s business circle. It’s great to capitalize on the return on your investment by staying engaged and active, as much as possible, in gatherings of industry players. It’s a chance to see and hear about new developments as well as relate to your peers.
Why Attend HVAC Trade Shows and Events
Many business owners are reluctant to participate in trade shows or conferences, considering it an unnecessary cost. The knee-jerk perception is there is no ROI from spending for trade show participation. On the contrary, the rewards of staying ahead in one’s industry are in fact immeasurable.
Never stop learning
For one, there are educational opportunities in trade shows. Regardless of how experienced you may be in the field, the fact remains that everyone can learn endlessly. Working in a small-scale business venture can be isolating and present minimal exposure to a variety of perspectives. One can miss out on new ideas and trends that can positively impact future outcomes.
The educational aspect of a conference or trade show can provide valuable exposure to innovative ways of conducting your business. They can also help you discover how to be even more productive than you already are. If you find out there is training available in a trade show you are interested in, by all means take advantage of the opportunity to gain knowledge while visiting.
Trade shows are also invaluable opportunities to network with your industry peers. Avoiding peers out of fear of others gaining perspective to your competitive advantage can actually be limiting to your own success.
Collaboration is the positive approach to networking. While there are those whose intentions can be suspect, most industry peers can be of valuable help to each other. They can help you uncover ideas and spark inspiration when interaction transcends to personal levels.
In trade shows or conferences, you can also encounter new vendors and suppliers. Too often, people shy away from trade show exhibit halls at these types of conferences. They fear the discomfort of having to talk to salespeople. But these industry suppliers are some of the best people to get to know if what you’re after is an accurate feel of the current business climate.
Discovering innovative products and services for your business is necessary to stay competitive in today’s fast-advancing world. Additionally, these vendors who sell to your industry will have a solid grasp of what is happening within the circles of your competition. Invest time with the sponsors of these events and turn them into allies.
Build Your Own Reputation
Trade shows or conferences are great avenues to position yourself as an expert. When you are active in your industry, you can easily develop a reputation as an expert among your peers and your clients. This can lead to more potential clients. Those who are highly engaged over the long term are frequently asked to speak at these events and to write articles for industry publications. Clients will always trust those who are celebrated by their peers. Expand your brand and build awareness around it.
And of course – time to relax and enjoy!
Business can be pleasurable. Trade shows and conferences can be fun. Being in business need not be all toil; it should be rewarding and fun. Industry conferences can add a layer of enjoyment to managing your business growth by mixing a social factor into your learning and industry branding efforts.
Many events have various fun highlights such as parties, golf, and tours of the local area where the event is being hosted. Taking an extra day at the beginning or end of the trip to explore or visit friends in the area is also a great way to maximize the investment in your travel.
Major Conferences and Trade Shows
Whether you are looking to attend yourself or to send some of your staff to an HVAC trade show or conference, these are always great avenues for industry action. Here are a few notable HVAC conferences and/or trade shows we believe are worthy of your time.
You can also check a calendar of events in the HVACR industry for dates and more events
The 2018 ASHRAE Annual Conference will be held in Houston on June 23–27, 2018. The Annual Conference Program includes eight tracks and one mini-track, all selected to represent areas of focus shared among ASHRAE membership. The 2018 ASHRAE Annual Conference Program includes the following conference tracks:
- HVAC&R Systems and Equipment
- Fundamentals and Applications
- District Energy and Cogeneration Plants
- HVAC and Resiliency: Safeguarding Our World
- Residential – Modern Building in Hot and Humid Climates
- Professional Skills
- Research Summit
- HVAC & R Control Freaks
- HVAC & R Analytics
The Technical Program and the Committee Meetings, registration, bookstore, and Speakers Lounge will be held at the Hilton America Hotel and the George R. Brown Convention Center.
The 2019 ASHRAE Winter Conference will be held in Atlanta, GA on January 12-16, 2019. So it’d be good to mark your calendar for it now!
Every December, HARDI hosts its Annual Conference, the main event in HVACR distribution. The major four-day event brings together key HVACR players including distributors, manufacturers and other vendors.
At this the conference, attendees can take advantage of the opportunity to grow their professional networks and advance their industry knowledge. Several top HVAC experts provide relevant and unique perspectives. The 2018 Event will happen on December 1-4, 2018 at the JW Marriott in Austin, TX.
HARDI will also host the Marketing and Sales Optimization Conference in Miami, FL this June 3-5, 2018. This event is best for sales and marketing professionals focused on driving organizational success. The Supply Chain Conference happening on September 23-25, 2018 in Rosemont, IL focuses on operations, logistics, and purchasing optimization. The HR Workshop on April 18-19, 2018 in Columbus, OH aims to keep HR professionals trained.
The 2019 AHR Expo is slated to happen on January 14-16, 2019 in Atlanta, GA. The annual International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) has been touted as “the world’s largest HVACR marketplace”. The 2019 Expo will host more than 2,100 exhibitors. It is predicted to attract crowds of 70,000 industry professionals from every state in America and over 160 countries worldwide. The Expo provides a dynamic forum for the entire HVACR industry to come together and share new products, technologies, and ideas.
The IE3 Show, presented by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, features a unique learning program for HVAC and plumbing contracting business owners and managers. It covers everything an HVAC professional needs to know about how to run a successful business.
Some topics covered are marketing, safety, financing, hydronics, millennials, hiring, leadership, technical issues, and energy efficiency. The IE3 Show is sponsored by ACCA and IE3media. The event is usually in February.
This conference is exclusively for HVACR instructors working with the HVAC Excellence program. Attending industry educators are guaranteed that the sessions are conducted by professionals who are involved in many aspects of the HVACR industry, including teaching, manufacturing, designing, and engineering.
Slated for March 26-28, 2018 in South Point Hotel in Las Vegas, NV, the conference helps HVAC Excellence instructors with the following:
- improve their understanding of the physics and theories required for teaching other HVAC professionals
- incorporate emerging technologies into the classroom
- gain the knowledge to improve student performance
- learn about new educational delivery methodologies
- understand regulatory changes
- network with HVACR peers to discuss unique and tested approaches for incorporating these technologies, methods and concepts into their own programs locally
If you’re interested in sharing your knowledge and working with HVAC Excellence, this is a great organization to be a part of.
HVAC industry trade shows and conferences bring all aspects of an industry together. They can include suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and sometimes even consumers. This broad audience in one place is a great opportunity to conduct meetings, negotiate sales opportunities and/or collaborate on product development projects.
Trade show or conference events can facilitate discussions and move projects to the next level. Returns on your investment need not always be measured immediately; cultivate your HVACR business with the help of people from all over.
About the Author
This is a guest post by Bob Wells, a retired HVAC tech who now dedicates himself to sharing knowledge on his website HVAC Training 101. Bob worked over 30 years in the field, 23 of which he ran his own contracting business. He’s dedicated to keeping up with the latest developments in the field and helping others to learn the trade better and advance their own careers.