Schaumburg, Ill. — The 2008 Radiant Expo and Radiant Panel Association's Annual Conference, held here Aug. 13-15, was deemed by the RPA Board to be a great success, but the attendees say it best.
“REX is back!” said Dan Foley, Foley Mechanical, Alexandria, Va. “The facilities were great and the seminars were packed. A pat on the back for all involved with putting this together.”
“[REX] was a great time for sure,” said Rob Brown, Northeast Radiant Technology, Gardiner, Maine. Brown is a frequent contributor to CONTRACTOR's sister publication, Radiant Living, the official magazine of the RPA. “Huge turnout compared to last year especially! Time flies when you're chatting radiant with the likes of Siggy (John Siegenthaler) and the [Robert] Bean for sure.”
“REX was a top-notch event,” said Dave Yates, owner of F.W. Behler, York, Pa., and CONTRACTOR's plumbing columnist. “Hats off to you and your team for a job well done.”
Yates presented the seminar “Shades of Green” where he explained how to sell high efficiency equipment based on return on investment rather than on simple payback. More on selling based on ROI can be found in Yates' column in this issue, p. 58.
“The crowds were not overwhelming, and the seminars were nothing short of fantastic,” said CONTRACTOR hydronic heating columnist Mark Eatherton, Mark Eatherton & Associates, Denver. “Thanks for making it the best REX on my personal record.”
Supplier were pleased with the turnout at the trade show.
“Thanks again to you and your team for a great show,” said Mark Evans, Viega North America. “Thank you to all the RPA team,” commented Monica Irgens, Electro Plastics.
The theme of “Green Heat” was expanded upon by a group of industry experts dubbed the “RPA Green Team.” John Siegenthaler and Robert Bean were the official team co-captains, “Siggy and The Bean.” A superhero alter-ego life size cutout of the duo stood in the REX show floor where attendees could get their picture taken with the team captains.
Almost 1,000 attendees showed up for the three-day event, which consisted of the revised Radiant Precision School taught by Siegenthaler on Wednesday, seminars on a number of green topics and the REX tradeshow on Thursday, and more industry seminars and tradeshow on Friday. Seminars on solar and geothermal by Peter Biondo and Jeff Persons were packed. Yates, Eatherton, Robert “Hot Rod” Rohr, and George Royce spoke to filled rooms on condensing boilers, keeping out of trouble, operating tips, and electric solutions.
Siegenthaler's and Bean's green seminars were well-attended as was the general session where they teamed up to bring a message on the importance of energy efficiency and how the radiant heating industry can contribute.
There were 73 exhibiting companies on the REX show floor including a number that had never before exhibited at an RPA event. At the center of the show floor was a new product exhibit with equipment that was being introduced or had been introduced within the last year to the industry. More than 20 new and innovative approaches where displayed, such as GrafTech International's graphite fabric that can be used for heat transfer in many applications such as under floor staple-up. Other new products ranged from Zurn's injection pump manifold mixing system to GeoComfort's combination hydronic and air heat pump.
The trade show crowd got quiet as RPA President Ted Lowe read out the number of the winning ticket for the $1,000 Best Buy gift card door prize. Gita Datt, a first year college student studying green technology, came forward to claim her prize. She was accompanied by her father, Jay Datt of Electrical Systems & Services, Sturtevant, Wis. Datt specializes in solar and alternative energy systems.
Everyone got to enjoy the culinary excellence of the Renaissance Hotel and Conference Center during the reception held on the trade show floor Thursday evening. There was a variety of food and interesting products to view.
Thursday's general session included the induction of eight individuals to the Radiant Hall of Fame. John Fantauzzi, the RPA's first president and chairman of the Hall of Fame committee presented Robert Bean, Mike Chiles, Clayton Cole, Lawrence Drake, Ted Lowe, Robert “Hot Rod” Rohr, John Siegenthaler and David Springer a medal of honor as part of the induction ceremony.
The System Showcase Awards Dinner brought the event to a close Friday evening with talks by Bean and Yates, both contest judges, on the experience of judging and what they looked for in award winning projects. Yates acted as MC for the awards as each winner came forward to receive his gold star trophy.
A scaled back REX is planned for May 2009 in Utica, N.Y., as the RPA annual conference reverts from late summer to a spring schedule. The conference will be a social and educational event with a tabletop exhibit area. In 2010 a full REX trade show and RPA Conference will return in the spring in Reno, Nev.
The RPA is a national non-profit trade organization representing the radiant heating and cooling industry with educational materials, courses and events. Additional information is available at www.radiantpanelassociation.org