Fixing Low Show Attendance:

I just finished reading John R. Hall’s March 19 editorial [“Are National Meetings Becoming Dinosaurs?”, page 43].

We at EWC Controls are a small manufacturer that depends strongly on getting our name out via the national meetings. And we have recently changed our view of the national meetings.

Our cost per lead has gone up due to the lower turnout and the higher costs associated with these shows. Example: ASHRAE this year had a total of approximately 26,000 people attending — about 5,000 contractors and 4,000 wholesalers. These two groups are our customer base.

Our total cost to attend the show — with travel, hotel, and exhibit hall space — was roughly $15,000. We had about 400 attendees stop by our booth and request information. Another example: The ACCA show in Las Vegas cost us roughly $3,000 dollars, but for how many contractors? Also, at the ACCA show those who were in attendance did not show up in the exhibit hall.

We do not want to see the national shows die off, but they need help. The cost per lead needs to be more attractive to the exhibitor. One thought that a few of my fellow exhibitors had at the ACCA show was to see The News cosponsor the ACCA convention to help generate a larger turnout.

The shows cannot pick a popular tourist spot and hope everyone shows up. They need to pick a large base of support in any region and cater to that region and aggressively attract from outside that base. Trying to cater to all by moving around the country year to year is not working anymore.

Mike Reilly

EWC Controls

Englishtown, NJ

Large Contractors Not Attending Meetings

I very much agree with John R. Hall’s article in the March 19 issue of The News, particularly in regard to the ACCA meeting held recently in Las Vegas.

It is also my feeling a great deal of the declining attendance is due to consolidation and acquisitions by the utilities. Those companies purchased by consolidators or utilities no longer are sending people to the meetings. They are either not allowed to attend or are getting their information from the members in their own group meetings. The same might be happening with alliance groups.

All these groups meet? at least, twice per year. How many meetings can you attend as you try to run a business?

These groups have also acquired some of the best and largest companies. As a result, the attendees at the most recent ACCA meeting were smaller commercial and residential companies.

In talking to other attendees I found out that the great majority of the companies were smaller than my Service Group. As a larger contractor I am looking at other options. I may obtain better information by joining an alliance rather than attending the national ACCA meeting.

Adrian “Ed” Blum

General Manager Service Division

A.O. Reed & Co.

San Diego, CA

No Regrets

[Editor’s Note: The following letter is in response to John R. Hall’s March 19 editorial.]

We, as an association, have been losing ground for the last few years. As a past state officer, what I see happening is people seem to be so pressed for time, attendance is falling off. Unless contractors are convinced there will be a “great” benefit, they (we) won’t make the effort to go.

I have yet to go to a convention that I regretted. There is always something to learn.

Alan Dean

Dean’s Htg. & Air Cond. Inc.

Camden, AR

Leading the Way

Leadership is the key to resolving the labor shortage. Leader training is needed by everyone to be able to accomplish any task. To address the wants and needs of the heating industry, leaders must be found and groups organized to cause the enhancement of our everyday business.

We, as technicians, train hard to know our jobs. We, as business owners, train to run a business. We, as heating industry people, need to train ourselves to be leaders and plant and grow our business. Therefore, some type of leadership training needs to be available on the net where easy and timely access is available.

Gary Fereday

Andre Fereday Plumbing Co.

Bluffdale, UT

Publication date: 04/23/2001