Will this year’s AHR Expo in Chicago be the biggest ever? The last AHR Expo in Chicago in 2012 had set the all-time attendance record up to that time, with more than 58,000 total registered attendees, including 39,000 visitors. That record was surpassed by the 2014 AHR Expo in New York City with nearly 61,000 registered attendees including more than 42,000 visitors.
“Perhaps the 2015 Chicago Show will reclaim the title for the best attended AHR Expo,” said Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Co., which manages the show.
Early on signs pointed to a big show. International Exposition Co. had to expand the show floor to meet the demand all the way back in last March.
Chicago and the surrounding Midwest area represent one of the largest marketplaces in the world for consulting engineering firms, HVACR contractors, facility managers, architects, technicians, wholesalers, distributors and HVACR manufacturers. The largest ASHRAE chapters are located in Chicago and nearby major cities. Moreover, Chicago has recorded three of the top five all-time AHR Expo attendance records.
The economy is helping out. Our publication recently met with a major Midwestern manufacturer who noted that the firm’s commercial and residential businesses did well in 2014. Economists say 2014 would be the best year for the economy since the end of the recession. An ASHRAE/AHR Expo manufacturers survey last spring predicted solid sales increases in 2014. Industry experts say the home-building market is about to take off. McGraw Hill forecast a 9% increase in construction starts in 2014. AIA forecasts commercial construction spending will increase 5.8% in 2014 and 8% in 2015. Associated General Contractors forecast the Midwest’s nonresidential construction sector growing 7%. A Fredonia study found demand for plumbing products would increase by more than 7% through 2015.
Whether the Chicago show tops New York or not, this event it huge, which is why we’ve created a publication that will help guide you through the show, At-A-Glance. Many of you who are headquartered in the Midwest have probably received a copy of At-A-Glance in the mail. In addition, we'll have plenty of copies of At-A-Glance at our booth, #1642, on the show floor. At-A-Glance is your guide to help you make the most of your time at the show. Go through it and see which of your vendors are exhibiting, make appointments to see them, make notes about what you want to see and accomplish, and make sure you see who you need to see while you’re in Chicago. Chicago is a town full of great restaurants, so check out our restaurant guide in the back of this publication.
And if you have time, stop by and visit us. Add booth 1642 to your itinerary and check out Contracting Business.com, Contractor, HPAC Engineering and HVAC-Talk.com. Our entire editorial staff will be attending, so stop by and say hello. You can also connect with us on Twitter at @contractingbiz, @contractormag and @hpaceng. We’ll be live-tweeting what we see at the show and loading up our websites with up-to-the-minute show coverage.
From the Penton team to all of you, we look forward to seeing you, and we wish you a happy, safe and prosperous New Year.