CHICAGO — I’m pausing during my visit to Chicago for the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance conference to mull over how relevant this event is to Thermostat Recycling Corp.’s (TRC’s) mission of removing and recycling mercury-filled thermostats throughout the U.S.

Our measurable goal is to increase bin placement, and networking is the most fundamental way to increase bins. Displaying our wares is less likely to get to decision makers. You have to walk the room and pitch the program. And, we’re aware of this practical side because attending these venues, especially in the HVAC and energy sectors, is consistent with our goals. They have been and remain the most likely source of stimulating mercury thermostat removals.

TRC is at the forefront of marketing and public relations efforts to deliver this message, and nothing is more personal or demonstrative about our commitment than attending various conferences and trade shows.

For a few days, for example, Danielle Myers, operations & compliance manager, TRC, will be at Efficiency Vermont representing us. Then, later this month, TRC follows up at the ACCA show in Washington, D.C., followed by the Home Performance Conference New York Regional show in Saratoga, New York. We’ll wrap it up at the Association of Energy Services Professionals in New Orleans. Much of this pace continues throughout the year.

I don’t write travel articles, despite having the opportunity to visit varied and interesting cities. But, attending these conferences is important to TRC because we understand a fundamental truth: There is almost no promotional activity you can participate in that’s more effective than a face-to-face meeting. Some might consider this a bit low-tech in today’s digital age, yet there is something both invigorating and refreshing when you are in a room filled with knowledgeable attendees willing to share their slice of industry understanding. No one has a monopoly on good ideas. And there’s no better way to learn and assess new ideas — especially trends —than listening to an enthusiastic explanation of a fresh idea or undertaking.

Our attendance also opens the door to future partnerships. Most of us can cite an example of meeting someone at a conference which seems like a casual encounter, and 10 years later, you’re still doing business with that individual.

There is also — dare I write it — some fun attached to this learning and networking function. For example, if I have a few minutes, I might visit The Bean Sculpture (real name “Cloud Gate”) in Chicago’s Millennium Park. While an interesting design and great for photographs, liquid mercury inspired its design that both reflects and distorts Chicago’s skyline. (Of course, I must visit it. It’s mercury.) It’s a picture-taking landmark. Who said being in the energy field can’t be fun?

At the next conference or trade show, if you see the TRC logo, stroll by our booth or pass me in the hallway, stop and say hello. I’ll buy you a cup of coffee and spend just a few minutes telling you about TRC’s great recycling program. We’ll both learn something.

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Publication date: 02/08/18