The Roof Was Raised
Last month I attended the International Roofing Expo in Orlando. Even when economic times were at their roughest a few years ago and trade shows were struggling, I always found IRE to be a particularly strong and vibrant show. This year was no different.
As business continues to pick up, IRE seems to be buzzing more loudly each year. Attendance was good and the program was solid, but two things struck me most about my visit to IRE. First, the attendees and exhibitors seemed energized and optimistic for the year ahead. And when I asked people about their businesses, I got the answer "busy" quite a lot. That is a very encouraging thing to hear.
Secondly, I was struck by the focus on technology and innovation. Of course, this is a show that always has a focus on those things, but I saw a lot of companies testing and researching new concepts on the product side, and I also saw several exhibitors offering mobile aps and web tools designed to make the jobs of architects, specifiers, and installers eaiser. The fact that companies are investing their time and effort in new areas is definitely a good sign that things are picking up.
I suppose another thing that struck me about IRE was that it took place just ahead of the NBA All Star Game, which was also in Orlando. By the show's end, the town was filling up with NBA execs and players. It was quite a unique blend of people and it wasn't too hard to figure out who was there for which event. Both events brought a lot of excitement and enthusiasm, but I don't know many roofers who can dunk.