AHR Expo
Crowds at the AHR Expo in Atlanta.

Ready... Set... SHOW!

Feb. 28, 2023
Highlights, innovations and trends from key industry shows: KBIS, IBS, AHR Expo and the WWETT Show.

Las Vegas - KBIS and IBS

The National Kitchen and Bath Association's annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center January 31 through February 2. This year—as it has for 10 years running—the show co-located with the International Builders Show (IBS) for Design & Construction Week. (New events recently added to the DCW lineup included the National Hardware Show (NHS), The International Surfaces Event (TISE) and the Las Vegas Winter Market.)

This year’s show boasted the highest attendance in DCW’s 10-year history. Overall attendance totaled 40,000 KBIS attendees, while IBS drew nearly 70,000. DCW attendees visited more than 1,800 exhibitors showcasing the latest housing products across about 1 million net square feet of exhibit space.

“It’s truly remarkable what we have accomplished these past 10 years in our industry,” said Bill Darcy, Chief Executive Officer of NKBA. “Tradeshows are back and this year in Las Vegas proves just that. You could feel the positive energy flow through the show floor.”

“What an incredible way to celebrate 10 years of Design & Construction Week with this record attendance,” said Jerry Howard, Chief Executive Officer of NAHB. “Walking the show floor and attending the education sessions and networking events, you could feel the energy and enthusiasm from exhibitors and attendees alike.”

Best of KBIS

The Best of KBIS Awards, which recognize the most innovative new kitchen and bath products presented at KBIS, were announced from the KBIS NEXT Stage, February 1, 2023, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV. Sponsored by Luxe Interiors + Design, the largest network of regional shelter magazines across the country, Katheryn Given, Luxe Interiors + Design, Style Director, hosted the awards ceremony.

“The Best of KBIS Awards is one of my favorite parts of KBIS,” said Suzie Williford, EVP of Industry Relations and Chief Strategy Officer, NKBA. “It’s amazing to see these high-quality, innovative products for both the kitchen and bath spaces. Each year we continue to be amazed by how many brands apply for consideration, and the tough choices the judges must make in picking out the BEST of the applicants!”

The Best of KBIS 2023 Awards recognize products in eight (8) categories. The Best of KBIS 2023 Winners Are:

Best of KBIS – Bath Gold: inFINE Column Shower by S.G. sri

Best of KBIS – Bath Silver: The ABSTRA Collection by Kohler WasteLAB

Best of KBIS – Kitchen Gold: Baveno Kitchen Sink System by BOCCHI 

Best of KBIS – Kitchen Silver: FOTILE Insert Self-Adjusting Range Hood

Best of KBIS - Connected Home Technology Gold: MOEN Smart Sprinkler Controller and Smart Wireless Soil Sensors

Best of KBIS - Connected Home Technology Silver: GE PROFILE 36-inch Touch Control Induction Cooktop

Best of KBIS – Impact Award (Judge’s Choice): inFINE Column Shower by S.G. sri

Best of KBIS – Best in Show: Baveno Kitchen Sink System by BOCCHI


Plumbing Manufacturers International attended KBIS to spread the word about the association's Rethink Water initiative. The mission of Rethink Water is to address the effects of climate change and crumbling water infrastructure by building a coalition sharing a vision of sustainably managed water.

“All across the globe, we all need to rethink how we use water every day,”said Kerry Stackpole, PMI’s CEO and executive director. “Not only how do we use it, but how do we save as much as possible and make it safe for those who will need it in the future. Of all the facets of climate change, its impact on water may be the most profound.”

PMI’s first Rethink Water project is legacy product replacement—replacing older, inefficient products with new, more-efficient WaterSense models. At KBIS, PMI hosted a Power Break and Briefing today to inform members, policymakers, other guests and media about the urgency of this project and the need to establish a robust public-private partnership to accomplish it.

PMI Board of Directors President Sal Gattone of LIXIL is working closely with Stackpole and the PMI board members on the legacy product replacement challenge. “During this time of climate change and uncertainty, we all need to acquire the role of a conservationist,” Gattone said.

The Code Council

"AHR is good," Shahin Moinian, Executive VP for the Code Council said during an exclusive interview with CONTRACTOR, "but it is not like this. We have about 25 people working the show. It is our biggest show of the year by far."

KBIS, Moinian said, is a crossroads for experts in all aspects of the plumbing, mechanical and building industries, all areas in which the Code Council is heavily involved. Moinian serves in the ICC's Conformity Assessment Group, partnering with regulatory bodies both in the US and around the globe to facilitate the development of safe, sustainable and resilient communities.

Currently, ICC is already accredited to provide WaterMark Certification and is capable of conducting evaluation to the Australia and New Zealand building codes. ICC intends to offer the new market its NSF 372 (lead-free plumbing requirements standard) for free to its clients.

Next year, DCW will return to Las Vegas from February 27-29, 2024.

Turn to pg. 54 for CONTRACTOR's Best of KBIS gallery.

Atlanta - AHR Expo

The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Exposition was held January 6-8 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

"This year’s show is one for the books,” said Show Manager Mark Stevens. “We heard it in every corner of the industry - HVACR is gearing up for an exciting path forward. As a collective force, we are focused on change and growth inside our industry, as well as anchoring our combined efforts on serious developments to set the course for the future of HVAC. It’s hard to miss the excitement.”

The 2023 AHR Expo hosted 42,794 verified visitor and exhibitor personnel, 1,779 total exhibitors, 425 of which were international, and filled 486,000+ square feet of exhibit space. While these numbers are still recalibrating from pre-Covid years, the strong showing from new
audiences is seen as a welcome sign of growth and a hopeful indicator for future workforce development.

Atlanta also hosted 17 industry podcasters in the show’s Podcast Pavilion. Industry podcasters dedicated their time at the show covering trending topics and speaking to leaders across the industry with the added excitement of a live audience. The pavilions remained active all three days, resulting in exciting content to roll out in the coming weeks. Full session recordings will be available on ahrexpo.com once produced content is released by hosting podcasters.


At the Caleffi booth, two industry icons were honored. David Hughes was presented with the distinguished Carlson-Holohan Industry Award of Excellence. Hughes is the ninth recipient of the award. Hughes serves as a technical adviser with the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating and is a past chair of the Canadian Hydronics Council. John Siegenthaler, P.E., was presented with the Legacy of Excellence Award for his contribution and authorship of idronics™, a technical journal of design innovation now in its 32nd edition.

Iconic Carlson-Holohan founders and past recipients were on-hand to present the award to Hughes. The ambassadors included Robert Bean, Dan Holohan, David Yates, John Barba (Taco Comfort Solutions), John Siegenthaler (Appropriate Design), John Goshulak (Weil-McLain Canada), Ingrid Mattsson (Uponor North America) and Bob “Hot Rod” Rohr (Caleffi North America). Mark Eatherton and Kenneth Webster (Viessmann-Canada) are also prior award recipients.

In the spirit of Gil Carlson and the vision of Dan Holohan and Robert Bean, the Carlson-Holohan award was conceived in 2006. The award is presented every two years to a nominee with attributes including technical mastery and a passion for hydronic technologies, demonstrated leadership as an educator and mentor, and an aptitude for cultivating fundraising opportunities for industry causes.

In a bittersweet moment over at the Taco Comfort Solutions booth, John Hazen White III was posthumously awarded the 2023 Dan Holohan Lifetime Contribution to Comfort Award. The award’s namesake, Dan Holohan, personally presented the award to John’s wife, Katelyn, and their daughter, Madison Marie.

The award is given annually to an HVAC professional or company that has made a substantial contribution to comfort technology, advancement, or training while displaying exceptional good humor and love of people—traits exhibited by Dan Holohan throughout his long career. Past award winners include Dan Holohan, Robert Bean, Bruce Marshall, Dan Foley, John Barba, and Bob Barbour.

[For winners of the AHR Expo Innovation Awards, announced before the show click here.]

Education Sessions

The 2023 AHR Expo offered more than 100 free education sessions to attendees, as well as panel discussions, new product and technology presentations, and ASHRAE Learning Institute Courses. Only a few of the highlights included:

In the session, HVACR State of the Industry Leadership Panel Discussion: Today’s Market, Challenges, Opportunities and What’s Ahead, leadership from AHRI, ASHRAE, HARDI, NCI and PHCC discussed gaps in the industry that need to be addressed in order to continue on
a progressive path. Bryan Orr of HVAC School moderated as the group highlighted what is working, areas for improvement and what lies ahead.

In Resilient HVAC Systems Meet Today’s Demands and Tomorrow’s Need, Richard Medairos, P.E., of Taco discussed how hydronic heating and cooling methods are resilient alternatives to traditional HVAC systems using outdoor equipment. Water is an efficient material to transfer heat, and hydronic systems respond well to building modifications and various controls.

In Financing Your Succession Plan: Seller and Buyer Options, Jordan Cordero of Live Oak Bank discussed a common problem for HVACR service companies, how to transition the business once the owner decides to retire. One of the best ways, he said, is through a Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loan. This SBA flagship program is easier for contractors to get approved than through a traditional loan. Using these funds for succession planning can provide a smoother transition of business ownership while preserving the name or legacy of the business, he added.

The HVACR industry has a tremendous opportunity to recruit women into the industry, but the industry also can make adjustments so women are more comfortable contributing their ideas, noted a panel of Women in HVACR members. Erica Leanor (Goodleap), Laurelyn Arriaga (Women in HVACR board member) and Kristin Gallup (Carrier) explained that the organization is focused on providing HVACR women with networking, education and mentoring opportunities to advance their careers.

This year, AHR Expo expanded its education programming to Wednesday. The headliner panel, HVAC & Social Media: Strengthening the Trade with a Community Mindset, featuring social media influencers of the industry, was the first of its kind discussion. Hosted by some of the industry’s most active content creators and trade mentors, the panel was a deep dive on how all shareholder roles can work together to better the industry as a whole.

In 2024 the AHR Expo comes to Chicago, Jan. 22-24. Registration is expected to open early summer.

Turn to pg. 55 for CONTRACTOR's Best of AHR Expo gallery.

Indianapolis - The WWETT Show

Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment and Transport (WWETT) Show is the world's largest annual trade show for wastewater and environmental service professionals. It hosted more than 600 exhibitors showcasing new and innovative products and services February 20-23, at the Indiana Convention Center.

The WWETT Expo Hall showcased exhibitors from around the globe including Federal Signal, Environmental Solutions Group, Satellite Industries, Vac-Con, Inc and CUES, Inc. aimed to address the growing industry, now estimated at 301.77 billion USD. A wide variety of products and service categories available at WWETT include Septic Pumping, Portable Sanitation, Sewer, Waterblasting, Safety Equipment, Pumper Trucks, Dewatering and Software.

“There has been tremendous advancement in the waste and wastewater industry since our last event, including innovations in maintenance, design and installation,” says Marc Acampora, VP & Market Leader, WWETT Show. “With a robust conference program, Expo Hall, and specialized industry events, WWETT provides wastewater and environmental service professionals with information on pertinent industry trends and solutions."

This year the show was proud to partner with Operators Without Borders, an organization that provides certified, volunteer water and wastewater operators who can support utilities in developing countries following emergency and disaster situations to ensure that safe drinking water and wastewater management services are resumed. On February 21a special Happy Hour General Session was held in the Expo Hall to discuss the current situation of water and wastewater utilities in Ukraine and how the industry can help.   


The WWETT Show offered close to 100 sessions spanning four days, covering a wide variety of industry and professional topics, and all are included with a full education package. Session tracks included Business Strategy and Leadership, Confined Space Training, Diversity, Muncicipal Sewer and Water, Sewer and Pipe Rehabilitation Relining & Repair, Vaccum Truck Operations and much, much more.

Sessions were led by top industry experts and professionals from leading associations, businesses and manufacturers. Many sessions count toward fulfilling required continuing educational units (CEUs) and professional development hours (PDHs).

Rodney Koop, founder and CEO of The New Flat Rate, and Danielle Putnam, president of The New Flat Rate, were both guest speakers. Koop's session, Time to Eliminate Flat Rate Frustration, focused on explaining how pricing could be holding companies back. During the presentation, Koop will also discuss pricing logic for the trades, Fortune 500 pricing, and define a pricing system that could work for attendees.

In her presentation Process Building in 20 Seconds, Putnam laid out the groundwork for creating simplicity and success in a business so their energy converts to revenue. She will explained process writing, process implementation and value building while teaching the audience how to implement them in 20 seconds.

Special Events

The WWETT Show included live product demonstrations, a film screening, a welcome party (hosted by Custom Truck One Source and Tornado Global Hydrovac, with live music by My Yellow Rickshaw), a live interview series, and even two industry-specific competitions.

The first, the NAWT (National Association of Wastewater Technicians) Shootout, is designed to bring awareness to the updated Federal Regulations regarding Pre-Trip inspections. Individuals were given a pre-trip checklist sheet with truck sections listed, and then given a truck to inspect. Contestants needed to identify any issues they found.

And, back by popular demand, NOWRA (the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association) held the National Backhoe ROE-D-HOE® Championship
Competition, a three-day open event where attendees who are skilled backhoe operators compete by using the backhoe bucket to skillfully and smoothly move small objects such as a golf ball or bowling pin in an extreme race against time. The competition is timed and culminates with the contestants with the top three times winning belt buckles—in addition to up to $1,000 in cash prizes.


After a welcome from Marc Acampora, former Navy SEAL Chad Williams took the stage to deliver his keynote speech.

Williams opened with a story about his time serving in Iraq training the Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF). His SEAL team and a group of ISOF soldiers had set out to clear a house. It was a "graduation" mission for the team he'd helped train, and was set to be one of the last operations he was scheduled to be part of during his time in the country. Little did he know it at the time, but Iraqi insurgents had set up an ambush that quickly turned into a deadly firefight.

Williams then backtracked to talk about how he decided to become a Navy SEAL, about the drive and
determination it required of him, and about the lessons he learned along the way—and how some of those lessons can be applied to business, or to any challenge life may hand you.

Some of key points were:

  • Aim small, miss small. The more clearly defined your goals are the easier it is to achieve them, and the better your results will be along the way.
  • Servant leadership. The best leaders are about the team's success, not their own. They lead by example, and build true loyalty by helping their followers achieve their own goals.
  • Earn your trident every day. The trident is the Special Warfare Insignia of the Navy SEALs that they earn upon graduation. But in a war zone, the enemy is always adapting, improving, changing their tactics, and SEALs are expected to grow, develop and adapt in turn. Continouous improvement is the hallmark of any successful organization.

In 2024, the WWETT Show returns to Indianapolis Jan. 25-27.

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