The 2016 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo), held January 25 to 27 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., welcomed 60,926 registered attendees to the world’s largest HVACR marketplace.
Despite havoc from Winter Storm Jonas, including flight cancellations across the country and travel bans in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, the 2016 AHR Expo was successful in welcoming tens of thousands of contractors and engineers, OEMs, distributors and plant managers from all facets of the global HVACR industry.
In total, 469,540 square feet of exhibit space was occupied by 2,063 exhibitors, 334 of which participated in AHR Expo for the first time in 2016. This year’s 18,254 exhibitor personnel addressed 42,672 visitors, based on a preliminary attendance count by the show’s management company, International Exposition Company.
“A lot goes into making this show such a valued platform for today’s professionals to come together, but I’m proud to be part of making it all happen,” said Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Company. “Based on early feedback, we’re already working on several aspects of next year’s show to accommodate more attendees and to make the experience even more worthwhile.”
The 2016 AHR Expo show floor encompassed a compelling 20 football fields’ worth of exhibits throughout Florida’s largest convention center. Many exhibiting companies, including Beloit, Wisc.-based Regal Beloit America, Inc., which develops systems for converting power into motion in climate solutions and other market applications, returned as well-seasoned AHR Expo participants.
When asked about the value in attending AHR Expo, many exhibitors shared common sentiments. Both Lindsey Ford, manager of multi-channel communications at Rheem, remarked on how an influx of international attendees has positively affected both networking and sales efforts.
“Rheem has been exhibiting at AHR Expo for years – it’s a great networking opportunity that sets the tone for the year,” said Ford. “The show has become much more international lately, allowing us to establish relationships and connections around the world. Admittedly, it’s sometimes easier to use technology, but you can’t put a price on the face-to-face interaction you get by attending.”
Lindsey Simpson, business development associate at Rinnai America Corporation, noted the importance of keeping up with industry standards and trends.
“We work in an industry that is rapidly changing, particularly in recent years,” said Simpson. “It’s tough to stay on top of the Department of Energy standards. Yes, a lot of us are in competition with one another, but on the other hand, we have to work together to meet these standards to better the world we live in. By exhibiting at AHR Expo, we get names, faces and a better understanding of who’s on our team.”
While there was no shortage of things to see and discover on the show floor, the thousands of AHR Expo attendees and exhibitors also had the opportunity to engage in a full schedule of educational programs. A mix of exhibitors’ new product and technology presentations, ASHRAE Learning Institute courses, certification exams, PM Live seminars and many free programs offered by endorsing associations and other groups filled the Orange County Convention Center’s many conference rooms. Attendees and exhibitors were able to expand their knowledge on a wide range of topics – from how to commission an economizer, to cyber security measures for intelligent buildings, to the latest advancements in China’s indoor air quality market.
At the close of three action-packed days in Orlando, many 2016 AHR Expo attendees were eager to share their experiences.
“When I first thought about coming here, I thought it was just a bunch of vendors showing things that I may or may not use,” said David Perrotta, president/owner of P P C Contractors in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. “What I’ve learned is that many of the exhibitors are not only willing to talk to you, but are willing to train you and give you very informative demonstrations on their products. You can’t get that over the phone or via email. The in-person meetings are invaluable.”
Next year’s AHR Expo will be held in Las Vegas from January 30 to February 1, 2017.