PMI questions annual format of ISH-North America

BY BOB MIODONSKI Of CONTRACTORs staff TUCSON, ARIZ. At its spring meeting March 19 here, the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute re-emphasized its commitment to consolidate several current industry trade shows into one event. PMI said it felt the need to reiterate its position in light of the annual format of the ISH-North America show, which will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2 in Toronto. In 1999, PMI had

BY BOB MIODONSKI

Of CONTRACTOR’s staff

TUCSON, ARIZ. — At its spring meeting March 19 here, the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute re-emphasized its commitment to consolidate several current industry trade shows into one event.

PMI said it felt the need to reiterate its position in light of the annual format of the ISH-North America show, which will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2 in Toronto. In 1999, PMI had issued a position statement that it supports the goal of a single, higher stature North American trade show for plumbing products.

German-based Messe Frankfurt, which organizes the biennial ISH plumbing-and-heating show in Frankfurt, announced in December 2000 that it would replace the North American Expo with another show. NEX had been sponsored by the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors - National Association, American Supply Association, and the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating, which all now are partners in the ISH-North America event.

“While PMI applauds the efforts of ISH-North America for working with its various trade partners to develop a unified trade show format, PMI believes that, in its present form, ISH-NA actually represents trade show proliferation,” PMI said in a prepared statement released before its meeting. “NEX was an exhibitor’s show every other year and ISH-NA plans to be an every-year format.”

PMI further stated that it continues to encourage all partners and sponsors of industry trade events to provide solutions to consolidate major trade shows along lines that meet the industry’s needs. To that end, PMI’s headquarters has mailed a letter to each of the partners and sponsors of existing shows to request that each provide PMI with any specific plans to address the proliferation of trade shows. PMI sent these letters to Messe Frankfurt Inc., the National Association of Home Builders, the National Kitchen and Bath Association and the American Society of Plumbing Engineers, among others.

The ISH-NA partners have said that they too support the concept of trade show consolidation and have invited other organizations to join their show. Messe Frankfurt Inc. President Roland Bleinroth pointed out in a letter to PMI Executive Director Barbara Higgens that the Mechanical Contractors Association of America and its Plumbing Contractors of America division, the Radiant Panel Association, the Association of Industry Manufacturers Representatives and the PVF Council Roundtable already have agreed to hold meetings in conjunction with ISH-NA.

“We are still engaged in active discussions with all other major trade show producers in the industry,” Bleinroth said in his letter, which he provided to CONTRACTOR. “We remain hopeful that additional, meaningful consolidation results can be achieved.”

Calling ISH-NA “a brave start,” ASA Executive Vice President Inge Calderon said that show consolidation will happen “with PMI’s prompting.” In her letter to Higgens, also provided to CONTRACTOR by Messe Frankfurt Inc., Calderon said that ASA and PHCC in 1993 first proposed a North American “ISH-type” biennial show that would reduce the burden on exhibitors.

Messe Frankfurt Inc. officials also have said that the annual format of the ISH-NA show is necessary, at least initially, to build name recognition for the event. They explained that even though the European ISH has been very successful in its biennial format, the show initially was held annually to build its acceptance.

The 2003 ISH-NA is scheduled to take place in Las Vegas.

“It also remains our goal to bring the show to an every-other-year rhythm opposite to the show in Frankfurt,” Bleinroth said.

“However, at this point the competitive environment in the U.S.A. does not allow us such a schedule yet.”