SACRAMENTO, CALIF. — More than 1,000 people attended the 2003 Annual Radiant Panel Association Conference and REX (Radiant Expo) trade show May 7-11 here in what turned out to be REX’s swan song as an independent show.
ISH North America announced that Loveland, Colo.-based RPA has elected to join the ISH-NA show partnership. RPA will attend this year’s ISH-NA show in early October at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center and will begin actively selling booth space for an RPA section within ISH-NA for both this year’s Las Vegas show and the Boston show in 2004.
The news of the merger was well received by RPA’s membership of contractors, manufacturers, wholesalers and reps. When RPA Executive Director Lawrence Drake announced the move during a general session May 8, the members applauded.
RPA’s convention and show featured RPA schools, a variety of seminars with more than 20 presenters, workshops, discussions and a trade show with 93 exhibitors. The annual conference focused on all types of radiant panel heating from heated floors and ceilings to warm towel racks and snow-melting systems. It included hydronic as well as electric radiant products.
The REX trade show included leading-edge products such as creative pumping and manifold modules to snap together floor systems. Many of these products were seen for the first time at this year's conference.
"The industry has grown up," Drake said. "The products that were introduced at REX this year are well thought out, well engineered and demonstrate that the industry has reached a new level of technology."
Randal Ridell of the California Energy Commission addressed a crowd of more than 400 at the general session. He praised the RPA for its efforts in certification of installers and designers, and recognized radiant heating as a significant factor in reducing energy use in buildings.
RPA President Michael Ackmann and Vice President John Barba presented the 2003 RPA System Showcase Awards. First-place winners were: Felciano Plumbing and Heating for Hydronic Residential construction of less than 3,000 sq. ft.; Radiant Specialties for Hydronic Residential of more than 3,000 sq. ft. and Hydronic Residential Retrofit; Rehau for Hydronic Commercial; Electro Plastics for Electric Commercial and Electric Residential; Apollo Heating in the Most For The Least category; and Told Plumbing for Innovation and the Judges’ Choice Award.
All the finalists’ projects were displayed in a digital presentation at the System Showcase kiosk in the trade show.
At the close of the show, the RPA board voted to integrate the REX show into ISH North America. RPA will hold it semi-annual meeting in conjunction with ISH-NA 2003 in Las Vegas and its annual meeting starting in 2004 in Boston.
"An important part of the ISH North America vision is to bring multiple industries and associations under one roof, in one location," said Roland Bleinroth, president of show organizer Messe Frankfurt. "RPA is a perfect fit within this framework. The merger with this leading industry association marks another important milestone toward trade-show consolidation.”
Echoing this sentiment, Drake noted: "Times are changing with recent world events and restrictions on travel. A decisive move toward trade-show consolidation benefits both the exhibitors and the attendees who make a substantial investment in time and money to attend. By partnering with ISH North America we will be able to provide our membership with more quality activities to see and do than ever before. It is a true ‘value-added’ package that provides important reasons to attend the Radiant Panel Association’s annual convention."
With RPA officially joining Messe Frankfurt, the American Supply Association, the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating and the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors -National Association, ISH-NA management said it anticipates both increased exhibitor bookings and RPA membership attendance at this year’s show from Oct. 1-3.
"This is definitely a win-win opportunity for everyone," Drake said. "The RPA will continue with our annual conference and the quality education courses, seminars, awards ceremonies and the intimate focus on the radiant industry. The only difference is that, once the seminars let out, attendees can walk into a trade show that offers a wide range of products beyond radiant or heating. For those who are only interested in radiant technology, ISH-NA will provide a specific area."
Ike Casey, executive vice president of the PHCC-NA said: "Our educational program will be even better in the future with the additional support and input from RPA. With special RPA courses, our extensive multi-track seminar program, PHCC International Apprenticeship contest and other on-site events, ISH-NA is packed with events designed for our multiple-discipline audience."
Bleinroth added, "We are extremely pleased that RPA has elected to join the ISH North America family, bringing with it a loyal base of top manufacturers who exhibit each year."