ROCKY GAP STATE PARK, MD — With 150 customers attending its 6th annual engineering conference here, heating and air conditioning distributor Standard Air & Lite, of Pittsburgh, PA, didn’t bother bringing any commercial equipment to show.

Instead, according to Ed Szpara, P.E., the distributor’s manager of systems and engineering, Carrier Corporation’s new Mobile Innovation Center — an 18-wheeled, self-contained, traveling exhibition trailer — rolled into town for the September conference.

“We’ve done customer shows before where we’ve undergone a lot of logistics to get equipment in to show customers, but here the trailer pulls up, you open the doors, and you’ve got an instant all-weather, training tool delivered in one simple package,” Szpara explained.

The exterior of the 53-foot long, 9-foot wide, 14-foot tall traveling showcase is like a double-sided billboard featuring a variety of Carrier product lines, Szpara said. Once the distributor’s customers stepped inside, however, all of Carrier’s latest ASHRAE 90.1-compliant products were on display to “touch and feel,” many with interactive touch-screen kiosks.

At Rocky Gap, Carrier North America Commercial president Todd Bluedorn unveiled the Mobile Innovation Center to Standard Air & Lite’s customers.

“The brand new 18-wheeler Carrier Mobile Innovation Center making its debut here is full of all our new products — products designed with customer input,” Bluedorn stated. “Our product and technology strategy is directed at providing solutions for our customers, not just metal boxes. We don’t sell air conditioners, furnaces, and refrigerated display cases — we sell cooling, comfort, and preservation.”

The Mobile Innovation Center is filled with Carrier’s latest commercial equipment, complemented with graphic displays explaining each product’s features and benefits.

“In the evening, when it grew colder, the Duct-Free Split Unit on display served a dual-purpose — it actually heated the mobile showcase,” Szpara said. “In warmer climates, this unit will also provide a comfortable, cool environment within the trailer.”

Several displays, including those for the Aero air handler, Centurion rooftop, Aquasnap chiller, and CCN controls, have touch screens built-in.

Customers can touch-select screen buttons labeled “Contractor,” “Building Owner,” or “Engineer” to view presentations, demonstrating each unit’s features and benefits, tailored for the interests of each commercial industry market segment.

“Our customers spent a lot of time with the tailored presentation touch screens,” Szpara said. “This sophisticated-looking tool is so easy and fun to use that our customers were practically training themselves.”

After this initial appearance at Rocky Gap, the Mobile Innovation Center is now scheduled to tour the country with stops at various conferences, sales offices, and customer events.

For more information, visit the Carrier website at

Publication date: 09/30/2002