Working at The NEWS and living in Michigan, there are two things that you can count on like clockwork come January: the International Air-conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) and the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).

These two events share some similarities. Each is focused on only one industry, and each participating manufacturer choose what to bring and how to exhibit what it brings in its space on the show floor.

Of course, there are more differences than similarities between the shows. Obviously, at the AHR Expo, all things HVACR and related products are shown, while at NAIAS, it’s all about the automobile and the truck.

Also at the AHR Expo, some products make their first public debut and are ready to be distributed into HVACR contractors’ hands. Yet at the auto show, many of the displays feature concept cars that will never end up being available for purchase at your local auto dealership. (This leads me to wonder what concept HVACR equipment would be like if manufacturers in this industry showed concept heat pumps or display cases or other types of HVACR equipment.)

Not to leave out the components manufacturers, accessory makers, and others — all of these and more can be found at the AHR Expo. The NAIAS only shows off the finished product. At least at classic car shows, you can look under the hood sometimes and see various parts that make up the engines and other systems.

And one last different difference is that the NAIAS is always in Detroit, whereas the AHR Expo moves to different cities and different regions of the country from year to year. Every third year it does return to Chicago, which is where we will all be for it this year.

If you’ve never been to an AHR Expo before, it’s worth going to. You can see new or new-to-you products, learn, and have a chance to meet just about the whole industry.

If Chicago this January isn’t your thing or you can’t make it, then plan on joining the rest of the industry at the expo in Dallas next year. When is it you ask? In January, of course.