Visitors start streaming into the International Roofing Expo’s trade show Feb. 16. Image courtesy of Hanley Wood Exhibitions.

LAS VEGAS - The International Roofing Expo has yet to be dealt a “bad hand” here. No wonder it keeps returning. The show came back to the Las Vegas Convention Center for the first time since 2009 in February, using the north halls for three days of exhibits and educational seminars.

Official attendance was 8,139 for the Feb. 16-18 event, which organizers noted was 18 percent higher than last year’s New Orleans show.

“We are thrilled with the number of attendees and the enthusiasm they brought to the buying and selling activity on the show floor,” said Lindsay Roberts, expo director. “The innovative products on display, the unmatched conference program, the demonstrations and clinics, along with the strong partnership with NRCA (National Roofing Contractors Association), made this the industry’s must-attend event for 2011.”

This year, 394 exhibitors took up 879 booths - a number that pleased organizers and made many attendees pretty happy as well.

International Roofing Expo organizers grouped many of the metal roofing companies together as part of the show’s Metal Marketplace.


Ronnie L. Rogers II, a project manager with Mr. Roof Inc., said the expo is something he doesn’t miss. He recommended other contractors don’t miss it, either.

“The IRE is a must-attend for all roofing contractors,” he said. “I attended the show mainly for the seminars, although the show floor absolutely astounded me.”

As in past years, the floor included special areas, such as the Metal Marketplace, where 44 companies offering related products were grouped.

Several exhibitors said the crowds were good this year.

“We signed up 100 new customers and came away with 300 leads,” said Karen L. Edwards of EagleView Technologies. “The show met and surpassed our expectations.”

RKW US Inc. President Morris Collins agreed.

“We’re delighted with the caliber and quantity of booth visitors and the press attention our new roofing underlayment products received this year,” Collin said. “We consider the IRE the critical venue to reach decision makers in the building envelope.”

First-time exhibitor Leo Caron of Maxiflo said his company was impressed.

“We will definitely be back next year,” he said. “The quality of attendees was outstanding.”

Those were the kind of comments that made Bill Good, executive vice president of the NRCA, happy.

“There was a positive buzz amongst our members all three days of show,” Good said.

The NRCA had an 800-square-foot trade show booth.

“The success of the show establishes IRE as the most efficient and cost-effective way to do business, find new products and stay on the cutting-edge of technology,” Good added.

The keynote address was given by Super Bowl quarterback Joe Theismann Feb. 16. Image courtesy of Hanley Wood Exhibitions.


Apart from the show, roofing expo organizers booked 41 educational seminars, most of them scheduled so attendees could go to sessions in the morning and not miss a moment of the trade show in the afternoon. It’s an arrangement that has long worked for the International Roofing Expo.

“The classes were very informative and my company and customers will benefit from my attendance,” said Wholesale Roofing Supply account manager Scott Shaeffer.

If there is one seminar topic that almost guarantees a large audience - even in the early morning in a late-night town like Vegas - it may be the economy and how to survive or thrive in it.

Ron Magnus’ Feb. 18 session, “Catching the Upturn: Ensuring Your Organization is Prepared to Return to Prosperity,” was straightforward, but upbeat. Magnus, managing director at FMI Consulting’s Denver office, had a long career in the U.S. Air Force and taught at West Point.

He stressed that world events have an impact on business conditions in the United States, even if your company only works in a small local area.

“The future for this industry is going to continue to be unlike anything you’ve seen,” he said. “It’s going to be tough.”

Don’t expect the business environment of five years ago to return.

“The roaring days - the mid-2000s - are history,” Magnus said. “And I think that’s a good thing.”

The days of 20 percent margins were “a dream” that’s not coming back, he added.

“We’ve got some challenges yet,” Magnus said.

For reprints of this article, contact Jill DeVries at (248) 244-1726 or e-mail