CHICAGO – Lots of equipment. Lots of exhibits. And lots and lots of people.

That sums up AHR Expo 2018, according to organizers.  The official totals were a record 72,075 attendees and 2,155 exhibitors. They filled up a record 534,080 square feet at Chicago’s McCormick Place conference center Jan. 22-24, making it a show with perhaps even more tired feet than usual.

But few were complaining, said Clay Stevens, president of the International Exposition Co., which owns and manages the expo.

“The excitement generated by this year’s record crowds of attendees and exhibitors was palpable from the show floor to the training sessions,” Stevens said. “Whether you are designing a building’s HVACR system from the ground up, or want to make your existing spaces warmer, cooler, quieter, smarter, safer or more comfortable and efficient, the AHR Expo is the only place where you can see and experience it all, learn from the industry’s top experts and stay at the forefront of innovation.”

Elton Vega, a vice president at Puerto Rico-based JV Mechanical Contractors, said the expo is the only major event his company attends.

“A lot of other conventions touch only on certain aspects, like sheet metal or plumbing, but at the AHR Expo we get everything we want all in one place,” Vega said. “This show is a huge opportunity for us to meet face-to-face with suppliers and customers and to make sales in the U.S. We get more sales leads at the AHR Expo than we do at any other show.”

Officials with exhibitor Rossi Hardware, a California-based duct accessories manufacturer, agreed. Tony Petrossian, marketing director for the company, said the expo is a must-attend event for Rossi.

“We always walk away with valuable new relationships and we are very grateful for the opportunity because our products are really well-received here,” Petrossian said. “The AHR Expo has been tremendous for our company’s growth.”

The 2019 AHR Expo is scheduled for Jan. 14-16 at Georgia’s World Congress Center in Atlanta. It will be the first time the expo has visited the city since 2001.