AHR 2023 is a wrap, and the biggest U.S. HVAC show marks the 20th time—minus the COVID year—that I have attended this great event. A huge shoutout to the Stevens family for organizing such a great experience. Also, huge props to Nicole Bush and her press team for helping the trade press throughout the event, and keeping them fed and hydrated.
Now that we’re all back home safely—I hope—we can digest the event and gain a better perspective of what transpired over these past three days. The numbers haven’t been shared yet attendance-wise, but it was a hugely successful event, especially coming through what some call the “COVID years,” where traveling came to a stop—with more people now connecting again.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the manufacturers’ investment in after parties that are always a hit! For the Mechanical Hub crew, for example, it was Taco, Burnham/U.S. Boilers, Rheem, RLS, Franklin Electric, RIDGID and Viega.
From what I heard, over and over again, is that Atlanta just isn’t the most optimum place for a trade show, if I can be perfectly honest. Listen, Atlanta is a wonderful city with plenty to do and many fine places to eat and drink, but the traffic, and the infrastructure to support such a trade show, need to improve. But hey, it was 65 degrees and sunny, and relatively quick flight to the show. So, I suppose it does have its advantages. Where does Atlanta rank for you? Atlanta, Chicago, Orlando, Las Vegas. Perhaps it should be noted that the sooner you book accommodations for a show, the more strategically you will be for rides, dinners, walking, etc.
Nevertheless, I can’t tell you how many people sniped about the layout of the show floor—getting from one end of Exhibit Hall C, and its meeting rooms, to the other end of Exhibit Hall B, and its meeting rooms was a hike. My feet, and the 55,000 steps according my trusty Fitbit, were a testament to that.
Also, as I mentioned, 20 years of covering the event, it’s nice to see the changing of the guard with some young talent in attendance, more pointedly—and I know some don’t like to be referred to as this—social influencers. They cover the floor tirelessly to promote the show and new products. In fact, I was lucky enough to attend the social media breakout on the last day. Ten of the brightest influencers graced the stage to talk about their experiences and the importance of social media, and what it means to be an influencer.
We also were fortunate to share the stage with some of the best podcasters on the planet, as our Make Trades Great Again, hosted by Eric Aune and Andy Mickelson, featured three podcasts during show hours to much fanfare. Guests included representatives from RIDGID, NIBCO, Navien and guest Travis Albaire, T.A.P. Plumbing and Heating. Check them out wherever you stream. Also, the Appetite for Construction podcast, hosted by John Mesenbrink and Tim Ward, featured two podcasts, which featured guests from Bradford White, Rheem, Spirotherm, Lochinvar, and Danny G and Louie the Boiler Man. These recording will be launched within a couple of weeks. In the meantime, check out these podcasts wherever you like to stream stuff, or you can always find them right here on our site.
As far as the latest and greatest, you couldn’t get far without seeing the future. Electrification, decarbonization, hydrogen technology are making waves as more heat pumps, electric furnaces, electric boilers, hybrid heat pumps and prefabbed distributed pumping methods are front and center; the latest in thermostats, and a plethora of other products that can talk to each other, and you, with a WiFi signal—from circulators, forced air furnaces to tankless water heaters. New or improved pipe joining methods through press technology, push-to-connect fittings, fusion welding, advances in pipe bending and cutting drew eyes. Listen, if it’s in the HVAC industry, it’s at AHR.
Check out Mechanical Hub websites, social media (@mechanicalhub & @plumbing_perspective on Instagram and TikTok, Facebook and LinkedIn.) and check out our ever-growing YouTube for products from the show.
Next year’s AHR Expo will take place in Chicago, my back yard, January 21-24 (2024). Again, check back for updates on the show or any other breaking announcements surrounding the event.