DALLAS - The 2013 Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration (AHR) Expo, which takes place January 28 to 30, is being hailed as the largest Expo ever held in the Southwest. With over 1,700 companies set to showcase their products and services in 375,000 square feet of exhibit space at the Dallas Convention Center, there is sure to be something here for just about anyone in the HVACR industry.
Occupying some of that exhibit space will be Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), which will be located in booth #203. The booth will feature a resource center, and members and staff will be on-hand to answer questions about the association's benchmarking, education, advocacy, and networking events.
To facilitate networking among its members, HARDI will host the annual AHR Icebreaker, which will be attended by more than 400 distributors and suppliers. The networking event will take place on January 27, from 5 to 8 p.m., and it is a tremendous opportunity to network with industry friends and associates prior to the AHR Show's opening.
MEET AND GREETNetworking is one of the main reasons why Steve Bergman, president/owner, Twinco Supply Corp., New York, N.Y., has been going to the AHR Expo for over 40 years. "I love meeting with vendors whom we don't normally see on a regular basis. We get to catch up with old friends, as well as take a look at the new products they're offering. The AHR Expo is a great opportunity to see new products from other exhibitors as well, and get a feel about the trends in the industry."
Russ Geary, regional vice president, Geary Pacific Supply, Orange, Calif., also makes a point of attending the AHR Expo every year. "For me, it's all about seeing our current vendors. The AHR Expo is where we can build on our relationships, ask questions, go over new products, or just say 'hi.' It's also a great opportunity to see other HARDI members."
Another benefit to attending the AHR Expo regularly, said Geary, is that it makes his company more visible to the industry. "It shows we're involved. Vendors start seeking us out because they've seen us around, and they know we're a good company to do business with. From that standpoint alone, I think it's worth going to the AHR Expo."
The Expo also provides Geary with the opportunity to meet with new vendors. "I'm on the sales side of the business, as opposed to the purchasing side, and there are many times we bring in a new product that I don't know much about. If the new vendors are at the AHR Expo, I'll reach out and introduce myself and ask them about their products. I use the AHR Expo to get myself up to speed on all the products we are carrying."
HARDI's supplier members also benefit from attending the AHR Expo, said Jim Bachman, national sales and marketing manager, DuPont Refrigerants, Wilmington, Del., as it provides a very good opportunity to see customers and interact with the HVACR industry at-large. "Many of our customers bring a large number of their employees, so it provides a way to see a broader mix of their employees over a compressed time period."
In addition, the AHR Expo provides DuPont Refrigerants with a forum to provide market updates, the latest regulatory information, and new product information, said Bachman. "We find that the January timing is fortuitous, especially in regard to the R-22 phase-out, as another 17 percent reduction of R-22 allowances is anticipated in 2013."
As such, the focus in the DuPont Refrigerants booth (#441) will be on the R-22 phase-out and educating customers about moving to R-22 alternatives such as DuPont(tm) ISCEON(r) MO99(tm) refrigerant. The booth will also contain information on the Opteon(tm) family of low GWP refrigerants, which is currently under development. The Opteon family is being developed to provide the optimal balance of properties - performance, safety, environmental impact and cost - for a wide range of air conditioning and refrigeration applications, noted Bachman.
For distributors, the best thing about attending the AHR Expo is that it provides a way to stay informed, as the event brings together in one location many of the major players in the HVACR industry, said Bachman. "Our distributors typically attend the AHR Expo, as they know it is the premier venue for the industry to meet, learn what's new, and prepare for the year ahead."
EDUCATION AT EXPONumerous free educational sessions covering a variety of interesting topics will also be presented during the AHR Expo, including a course offered by HARDI's Plan & Spec Committee. On Tuesday, Jan. 29, from 9 to 10:30 a.m., Ryan Whaley of TMI Custom Air Systems will discuss the benefits and design strategies associated with custom-designed, manufactured, and tested mechanical rooms and penthouses. These systems can incorporate custom AHUs, chillers, boilers, pumps, controls, electrical wiring, controls wiring, plumbing, etc., all installed, assembled, and tested at the factory prior to shipping to the jobsite.
Other educational courses and certification testing will be offered for a fee by industry groups. The Building Automation and Control Showcase will again be featured, highlighting building management systems, controls, and networking solutions, while the Software Center will include exhibitors showcasing everything from design programs to estimating and business management software.
The New Product Technology Theaters will also return, showcasing the latest new products and technologies that will impact the HVACR industry. Dozens of presentations will take place, as manufacturers from around the world display their newest products and solutions during 15-minute presentations all three days of the AHR Expo. The presentations are complimentary to all attendees, and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Seeing, touching, and learning about new products such as those featured in the New Product Technology Theater, as well as those on the show floor, are some of the main reasons why distributors keep coming back to the AHR Expo. "There aren't too many other venues that you would get to see all these different vendors," said Bergman. "I don't know any other place where you could go to get exposed to everything the AHR Expo has to offer."
Information about the AHR Expo can be found at www.ahrexpo.com.